What to Do If You Are Involved in a Car Accident
- STOP – DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE
In Florida, if you are involved in a car accident, regardless of how minor, you are required to stop. The failure to do so could result in you being charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident. If a person leaves the scene of an accident which resulted in injuries, that person could be charged with a felony.
- STAY CALM. TAKE A DEEP BREATH
Being involved in an automobile accident is undoubtedly a stressful situation. However, taking a second to calm yourself could help you react more rationally to the emergency.
- CHECK FOR INJURIES
Once out of harm’s way check yourself for any injuries that you may have sustained. If you are able, help check others for injuries. If a person has a neck or back injury, or is unconscious, it is advisable to not move the person until medical professionals arrive, unless there is a present danger which requires the person to be moved.
- CALL AN AMBULANCE
If someone is injured and needs assistance, immediately call 911 for an ambulance. If the person’s condition is uncertain it is always best to error on the side of caution and call for emergency assistance.
- CALL THE POLICE
Call the police. The police should be called in all accidents regardless of the severity so that they may document the accident and write a report.
- MOVE YOUR VEHICLE OUT OF HARMS WAY
If your vehicle is operable, you are physically capable, and you are otherwise safely able to do so, pull your vehicle off the road or to another safe area nearby. Removing the vehicle from the roadway will help prevent you or your vehicle from being involved in a second accident due to the obstruction. Furthermore, it will help traffic move more smoothly, enabling EMS and Police to arrive sooner.
- USE YOUR SAFETY EQUIPMENT: HAZARDS, CONES, OR FLARES.
Immediately after the accident turn on your hazard lights. Furthermore, use any cones, road flares or other markings to warn approaching drivers of the accident ahead. This may help prevent a subsequent accident.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION
Get the names of all drivers involved in the accident. Obtain their contact information including their phone number and address. You should also get the name of the drivers’ insurance company, the insurance policy number, their drivers’ license number, and their registration.
- OBTAIN WITNESSES INFORMATION
You should also obtain the names of any passengers who were involved in the accident and their contact information. Furthermore, you should get the names and contact information from anyone at the scene claiming to be a witness.
- DOCUMENT THE SCENE
TAKE PICTURES! Many people expect that law enforcement officers will take pictures when they process the scene. However, this is often not the case. If you can take pictures of the scene do so. If you cannot, have a friend or family member take pictures. This is the only opportunity you will have to take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to photograph the surrounding area, the vehicles involved and any property damaged.
- BE CAUTIOUS ABOUT TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT THE ACCIDENT
Remember, many statements you make can be “admissions” and used against you later. Also, when speaking with law enforcement explain the facts as accurately as you can. Let them know if you do not know or do not remember something. Do not speculate.
- REPORT ACCIDENT TO YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
You are required to report an accident to your insurance company. It is best to do this as soon as possible. This means giving them the date and time of accident and parties and vehicles involved. Often times the other party’s insurance company will contact you to try to obtain a statement. It is not advisable to provide a statement to the other party’s insurance company until you have spoken with an attorney and advised of how your rights can be affected.
- FOLLOW UP WITH MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND FOLLOW THEIR TREATMENT PLAN
If you are injured you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. In Florida, if you don’t see a physician or other qualified medical professional within fourteen days your rights can be drastically affected. Remember to follow your doctors’ treatment plans to ensure your recovery goes well.
- CALL AN ATTORNEY
Call an attorney who focuses on practicing personal injury law. It costs nothing for you to speak with Gross and Schuster as our consultations are free and NO FEE UNLESS WE RECOVER. A qualified Florida attorney can help protect your rights and preserve the evidence to assist in making sure that you are adequately compensated for your damages.
Call us today for a free case review! 850-434-3333