In a Car Accident? Take These 7 Steps Immediately

Being in a car accident can be frightening and disorienting, but in order to protect yourself legally, it’s important to follow certain steps if you are physically able to do so in order to ensure that your damages are covered, not only those that your vehicle sustained in the crash, but also any injuries that you and any passengers who may have been with you in the accident might have suffered.

Even if a car accident seems minor, it’s important to follow certain steps, because a wrong move during the initial phases of an accident may result in bills you yourself cannot cover – and the other driver’s insurance company may refuse to take on.

Here’s what to do:

  • Check for major injuries, then call 911.

Even if you or other drivers do not seem to be injured, the adrenaline of an accident’s aftermath can mask pain, so you may be unaware of any injuries, even serious ones. Call 911 so the crash can be documented and so that you can be checked for injuries. Medical professionals such as EMTs can better access your health. If you don’t feel the need to take an ambulance to a nearby hospital, visit an urgent care facility or make an emergency appointment with your primary care physician after you leave the accident to determine if you did sustain any injuries.

  • Stay at the scene.

Leaving not only makes you more likely to face criminal charges, but you may also end up paying compensation to the other driver even if the accident was not your fault. Exchange pertinent information with the other driver – or drivers – while waiting for the police to arrive. Officers will then interview all involved and determine who was at fault in the accident and issue the appropriate citations.

  • Take photographs.

If you are able to do so, take pictures of the accident scene. Photograph the damages to your vehicle, take shots of the other vehicle, digitally document tire marks on the road, and snap photos of anything that might be useful as evidence if your case goes to court.

  • Gather information.

Talk to as many witnesses to the accident as possible. Also, gather contact information from those witnesses so that your attorney can talk to them later. Collect information from the police officers who respond to the accident, including their names, their badge numbers, their contact information and the police report number so you or your attorney can use it as evidence. Also write down as much information as you can about the other driver involved, including his or her name, address, phone numbers, email addresses, license numbers, insurance company information and the make, model and year of the car involved.

  • Notify your insurance company.

It’s important that you inform your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident, even if the accident was not your fault. The insurance company of the at-fault driver might be slow to settle, so you may want to use your own collision coverage to make repairs. Your insurance company can then seek reimbursement from the other driver’s company.

  • Call an attorney.

In the event of a serious accident, it’s important to have an advocate who understands the complexity of the legal process and won’t let an insurance company underpay you for your car repairs and medical bills, especially if your injuries are serious. Insurance companies want to make money, not spend it, and in the aftermath of an accident, you’re vulnerable to an insurance agent who will make the smallest possible offer. An attorney will protect you and make sure that you will be fairly compensated, including for medical bills that may not be immediate, such as physical therapy.

  • Keep a diary of your medical records.

It’s vital to document your medical treatment if you are injured in a crash. Keep records of your appointments, bills for appointments, therapy, treatment and medications and chart your recovery process in journal entries so you can share your history in depositions or in court.

Additionally, it’s important to watch what you say initially after the accident. Do not apologize, especially if the accident was not your fault. Anything you say can be later used against you, and could leave you on the hook for your medical bills and other expenses.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney

Protecting yourself after a car accident is important, especially if you are dealing with injuries that could lead to large medical bills. Having an experienced attorney at your side can prevent an insurance company from encouraging you to settle for less than you’re owed, so you can pay your bills without worry. If you’ve been in a car accident, call Ricardo Rodriguez at Rodriguez Law at (305) 262-8226.

About Rodriguez Law, P.L.

Rodriguez Law, P.L. is dedicated to providing quality personal legal services to our clients. Our reputation for combining quality, knowledge, and technology to deliver efficiency and value makes us one of the most trusted law offices in Miami-Dade and Broward.