If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know how difficult it can be to deal with the aftermath. You may be in shock, hurt, and worried about the consequences to you or your passengers. However, there are steps you can take after a car accident that can help keep you safe and get compensation for your losses.
Florida Car Accident Help
Car accidents are some of the worst experiences people have to go through. They’re unfortunately common in Florida and can lead to extreme injury and financial trouble. On top of that, insurance complications and frustrations expose you to another set of difficulties.
If you’ve recently been in a car accident in the Tampa area, our team of attorneys can help by guiding you through the claims process and seeking the maximum settlement possible. Give our Tampa office a call at (800) 316-8514 or fill out our online form. Let a Tampa car accident lawyer from Steinger, Greene & Feiner help you through this difficult time.
Any time you have been in an accident, there are certain actions you should take. Even if you haven’t been in an accident recently, the steps below can prepare you for the future.
At the Scene of the Car Accident
Make Sure the Situation Is Safe, and Call the Police
First, make sure you haven’t been seriously injured. A good way to do this is to take slow, deep breaths to calm yourself down. The moments after a car accident are highly stressful and adrenaline may mask the pain of an injury.
If there are no injuries, you can call the local non-emergency police number, or simply call 911 and explain the situation. You should always request an officer to respond to the accident and make a report. Even if the police don’t seem necessary, it’s always better to have an accurate record of events for insurance purposes.
Next, unless someone is seriously injured or the wreckage is too severe, move vehicles away from traffic. Instruct others involved in the accident to do the same. A nearby parking lot or emergency lane are good spots to inspect vehicle damage further and wait for the authorities to arrive.
If someone is badly hurt, it’s usually best to stay put unless you smell gas, see leaking fluids or smoke, or notice some other obvious danger.
Document the Scene of the Accident and Wait for Authorities
Once everyone is out of harm’s way and the authorities are en route, you should take pictures of the scene of the accident.
If there’s no immediate danger right after the accident, try to get pictures of the surrounding area and damage before moving any vehicles. The better you’re able to document the crash, the easier it will be for authorities and insurance to piece together the scene later on.
Take pictures of anything relevant to the accident, including road conditions, weather, and anything that was damaged. Video is another good option since it can help recreate the scene at a later date.
You’ll need to make sure to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved. This is another area where taking pictures is a good idea. Get a picture of their insurance information, driver’s license, and contact information.
If there are any witnesses, you should get their contact information, as their account will help enormously in an investigation or claims case.
Make a Concise, Accurate Statement to Police Respondents
When the police arrive, they will ask you and other individuals involved for their description of the accident. When answering questions or talking to anyone else about the accident, make sure you don’t admit guilt, apologize, tell people you’re fine or not hurt, or try to fill in gaps with extraneous details. It’s usually better to provide a factual, simple explanation.
When the police are done, ask them how you can get a copy of the report, as insurance will need it down the line.
The Days Following a Car Accident in Tampa
See a Doctor
See a doctor within 1-2 days of the accident. Even if you don’t think you were hurt, it can sometimes take days or even weeks for the symptoms of a car accident-related injury to show up.
If paramedics examined and released you at the scene of the accident, you should still see a doctor 1-2 days after an accident. EMTs are equipped for quick field exams, but a proper medical facility will be able to fully examine the extent of any injuries.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
To legally drive in the state of Florida, you need a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury insurance. Very soon after a car accident, you will want to get in touch with your insurance company to report the incident.
Just as before, don’t over-explain or admit fault when describing the general details. This is also important to remember if you ever talk to the other driver’s insurance. You’re not legally required to answer any of their questions.
Be extremely careful with the information you disclose, and decline to speculate fault, make a recorded statement, or release your full medical records. You should always remember that insurers have a profit motive, so they are looking for any opportunity to lessen your insurance payout.
Get an Attorney
If you’ve been involved in an accident in Florida, let Steinger, Greene& Feiner assist you with the stressful aftermath. Our Tampa team of personal injury lawyers will be able to do the legwork when dealing with stubborn insurance companies and at-fault drivers. Our assistance and legal guidance can provide the peace of mind you need while you recover.
We offer free consultations, so give us a call risk-free at (800) 316-8514 or fill out our online form so we can get working on your personal injury case right away.