Despite your skill as a driver, or the precautions you take while behind the wheel, studies done by organizations such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have some sobering news for ALL drivers: the average driver will be involved in a car accident 3-4 times in their lifetime, about once every 17.9 years.
Thankfully, the vast majority of the 10 million accidents that occur in the United States each year are not deadly. However, they are costly (we’ll discuss that at another time). More than 2 million people are injured in crashes every year. That said, it’s important to know what steps you need to take after being in a car accident. Here is a list of specific steps you should take, in order of importance:
1. Ensure Your Safety First!
- Your safety, and the safety of all parties involved in the accident is paramount!
- Move to a safe location, away from traffic if possible.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights.
2. Check for Injuries and Call for Medical Attention if Needed
- Immediate medical attention can prevent further complications.
- Getting checked out will also provide evidence of injury that can be used in potential claims.
- Call 911 if anyone is injured in the car accident.
3. Report the Accident to the Police
- Florida law REQUIRES you to report the car accident if there are injuries, fatalities, or significant property damage.
- A police report may also serve as vital evidence in any subsequent legal actions or insurance claims.
- Wait for authorities to arrive, provide an objective account of what happened, and make arrangements to get a copy of the report once it is complete.
4. Exchange Information with the Other Parties
- This info is vital for insurance claims and potential legal actions.
- Be sure to obtain the following:
- Phone numbers
- Insurance details
- Vehicle details (make, model, license plate #)
- Driver’s License numbers from all parties involved
5. Document the Scene and Gather Evidence
- Photographic evidence and witness statements can corroborate your account of the car accident!
- Take photos of the following if possible:
- Vehicle damage
- Skid marks
- Road conditions
- Gather contact information from witnesses.
- Note the date, time of the accident, and the weather conditions.
6. Do NOT Admit Fault or Discuss the Accident at the Scene!
- Any statements can be used against you later.
- If asked, provide only factual details.
- DO NOT speculate on blame or possible causes of the car accident.
7. Seek Medical Attention Even if You Feel Fine
- Many injuries, especially whiplash or internal injuries, may not manifest immediately following the accident.
- A medical record can provide evidence if symptoms arise later.
- Symptoms can eventually be connected to the accident.
8. Acquire and Keep ALL Documents and Records
- They may be required for insurance claims and/or potential legal action.
- These documents/records include:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repair bills
- Police reports
- Correspondence with Insurance Company
9. Notify Your Insurance Company
- Reporting the car accident promptly can help in the claims process, and is often required by some insurance policies.
- Contacting your insurance company does not mean your premiums will be increased!
- If you are not at fault, your insurance company may provide benefits/support during the claims process.
10. Consult GOLDLAW!
- The experienced car accident lawyers at GOLDLAW will do the following:
- Guide you on your rights.
- Advise you on filing potential claims.
- Provide invaluable advice after a claim is filed and if your case goes to court.
Have you or a loved one been in a car accident? Have questions about what to do next? The West Palm Beach car accident lawyers at GOLDLAW are here to help. How?
- GOLDLAW has the financial resources smaller firms don’t allowing us to battle the deep-pocketed insurance industry.
- GOLDLAW has experienced, board-certified lawyers that handle ONLY personal injury cases.
- GOLDLAW has served the legal needs of the West Palm Beach community for over 20 years. Our lawyers and staff live here, support the local community, and truly care about your well-being and the well-being of your family.
To set up a COMPLIMENTARY consultation, click here, or call us by “Choosing the 2’s!” at 561-222-2222!