After experiencing a car accident in Tampa, most drivers and their passengers are very shaken and have difficulty deciding what to do next. While this is a very natural feeling of confusion and overwhelm, the next steps an accident victim takes are crucial.
To preserve your case and protect your rights after an accident in Tampa, follow the recommended steps below.
1. Always remain at the scene of the accident.
Leaving the scene of a car accident in Florida is considered illegal according to Motor Vehicle Statute §316.065 if the following occurred as a result of the car accident:
- A hit and run accident occurred
- Death or any injury
- Accident involving an intoxicated driver
- Property damage greater than $500
If your accident meets any or all of these criteria, you need to ensure you wait until law enforcement has arrived and completed an accident report.
2. Check for injuries.
Unless no one was injured in the accident, request medical attention as soon as possible to ensure everyone receives proper care. Even if you feel fine, it’s important to see a medical professional after your car accident to check for internal injuries.
3. Report the accident to the police immediately.
When speaking with the officer, make sure to state only the facts of the accidents, not what you think happened or what you think the other driving was doing (unless you saw them on their cell phone, distracted while driving, or you smelled alcohol on their breath). Inserting emotions or assumptions will not assist in the officer determining what happened and could actually hurt your case.
4. Take photographs to preserve the scene.
Accurately reflecting the current state of the road conditions, weather, obstructions, and position of the vehicles is extremely important. If you must move your car out of a roadway for safety reasons, quickly take photographs first, as long and it is safe to do so.
Capturing photographs moments after the accident can help the police, the insurance companies, and your car accident lawyer to understand what happened. Make sure witnesses and the other drivers involved do not attempt to tamper with the scene in any way until the police arrive.
5. Contact your Tampa car accident attorney immediately.
Starting your claim as soon as possible is important so that your Tampa car accident attorney can start interviewing witnesses, get you medical treatment, negotiate with your insurance company (you should never talk to your insurance company after an accident or give a recorded statement).
Car accident attorneys also know some of the best medical professionals that are willing to testify on your behalf or offer evidence to your insurance company that is considered expert documentation. Insurance tends to offer a lower settlement to unrepresented parties, so knowing you have an advocate in your corner alleviates a lot of stress during a very stressful time.
Request a Consultation with a Tampa Car Accident Attorney
Following the steps above will help you preserve important evidence, protecting your rights, and ensure everyone involved receives proper medical attention. Your car accident attorney can help protect you, pursue a claim against the insurance company, and advise you on what you are entitled to in a personal injury settlement.
Contact Steinger, Greene & Feiner today at (813) 553-5352 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.