Many people get behind the wheel or ride in a vehicle to travel from place to place. For some, traveling in a motor vehicle occurs multiple times most days of the week. It is a familiar part of their routine.
In 2021, there were more than 7.8 million registered vehicles in Florida. That same year, 683,869 drivers were involved in car crashes throughout the state. Although nobody expects to be in a car accident when they get in a vehicle, car accidents are daily occurrences and can be life-altering. At best, being in a car accident will disrupt your daily routine. At worst, it will leave you with repercussions that last a lifetime.
You may be in shock after an accident, or you may be confused or disoriented. And although car accidents may be everyday occurrences, they’re unexpected and uncommon for the people involved. Knowing what to do if you are injured in a car accident is crucial because it can help you avoid mistakes with financial and legal repercussions.
What to do after you are injured in a car accident
There are some things you should do immediately after a car accident, and there are things you should not do. There are also additional steps you should take after receiving medical care.
What to do immediately after the accident
Your injuries may prevent you from completing some or all of the steps outlined here. Still, it would help if you attempted to complete the steps you can, and you should note whether other drivers involved in the accident are taking these same steps.
Steps you should take after a car accident include the following:
- Check for injuries: Check in with each person involved to determine who’s injured and provide medical care, which could consist of performing first aid or calling 911
- Move victims/vehicles if necessary: You may need to move accident victims or vehicles in a dangerous location. Suppose the accident occurred at the bottom of a hill with limited visibility. Someone could come over the hill and strike one of the vehicles. In that case, you should move vehicles to the side of the road.
- Call 911: Florida law requires you to contact the police if you were in an accident causing injuries, death, or property damage of $500 or more
- Exchange information: You must provide your name, contact information, and insurance information to other drivers involved in the car crash
- Create records:
- Make notes about what occurred before, during, and after the accident
- Write down any observations about factors that could have contributed to the accident, such as the weather or malfunctioning traffic lights
- Use your smartphone camera to capture video and images of the accident scene
- Take photos of witnesses and the location around the accident
- Talk to a car accident attorney: Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, for a free over-the-phone consultation. Your attorney will ensure you take all the steps you can and avoid making mistakes at the scene.
- Contact your insurance company: Let your insurance company know about the accident so they’re prepared for calls from other insurance companies and can send their insurance adjuster to assess the damage
What not to do after you are injured in a car accident
Do not do any of the following after a car wreck:
- Leave the scene: Unless you’re removed from the scene by medical professionals, you must remain at the scene until the police confirm you can leave
- Accept blame: Accident victims can sue for damages if an at-fault driver’s negligence caused the accident. Although Florida is a no-fault state, in civil lawsuits, drivers can share fault if more than one driver is responsible. A thorough investigation can reveal factors that aren’t evident at the scene, so even if you think the accident was your fault, you shouldn’t accept blame because an investigation could reveal another driver’s fault.
- Give extra information: Give other drivers or police only what you must provide
- Sign anything: Only sign documents with your lawyer present. You could sign away your rights to sue the at-fault driver or accept responsibility for an accident you didn’t cause.
You also shouldn’t speak to another driver’s insurance company. Insurance companies may try to get you to make a statement or accept partial or complete responsibility for the accident. Anything you say can be used to prevent you from pursuing a claim or reduce the compensation you receive.
Suppose the insurance agent asks if you’re injured. You’re in shock and unaware of internal injuries, so you say you’re okay. After your call, you realize you’re injured and need medical care. The insurance company can use your statement to argue that you’re making fraudulent compensation claims for medical bills.
What to do after you receive medical care
You should follow your doctor’s instructions after receiving medical care. Get all the recommended medical tests to ensure a comprehensive diagnosis after your accident.
You should complete all prescribed treatments to ensure you’ve taken all steps to promote your recovery. This will guarantee you don’t jeopardize the amount of compensation you receive from a lawsuit.
Attend follow-up appointments with your doctor and keep copies of all medical records, prescriptions, and bills.
How a car accident lawyer can help you
Your car accident attorney is your legal representative. Your attorney considers your interests and advocates for you to receive fair compensation.
Your lawyer will investigate your accident. If appropriate, they’ll talk to witnesses, retrieve video footage, and subpoena records. Suppose you were in an accident with a business vehicle. The company’s maintenance records could establish their liability if lack of maintenance caused the accident.
Your attorney will file all legal paperwork before the statute of limitations expires. They’ll handle negotiations with the insurance companies to get you a fair settlement. If you aren’t offered a reasonable settlement after their negotiations, they’ll represent you in court and present your case.
Your attorney will help calculate the amount of damages to seek, ensuring you receive all the compensation you deserve. Attorneys can get victims higher sums because they know the law and are familiar with trial precedents they can use to justify their client’s claims.
Call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, today
Call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, to discuss your Tampa car accident. We’ll ensure you take the appropriate steps and guide you through the legal process until you get fair compensation for your injuries.