Auto accidents can be traumatic and life-altering events. In Florida, where bustling highways and densely populated cities often lead to a higher frequency of accidents, knowing what to do after an auto accident is crucial.
Accidents can happen to anyone, whether you’re a seasoned driver or a novice. It’s vital to be prepared and informed about the necessary steps to take in the aftermath of a collision.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, we provide legal representation for accident victims and provide them with the help they need to recover the compensation they are entitled to. You can learn more about what to do after an auto accident here.
Prioritize Safety First
After a collision, your first priority should be safety. Ensure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. Check yourself for injuries and then assess the condition of other passengers. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately. Florida law requires individuals involved in an accident to assist injured parties reasonably (Florida Statute § 316.062).
If possible and safe, move your vehicle out of the traffic flow to prevent further accidents or injuries. Turn on your hazard lights to alert other drivers to the accident scene.
Contact Law Enforcement
In Florida, contacting law enforcement after an auto accident is essential. Even if the accident seems minor, it’s crucial to have an official police report. This report can be valuable when dealing with insurance claims and legal proceedings. You are legally obligated to report accidents to the police if they involve injuries, deaths, or property damage exceeding $500 (Florida Statute § 316.065).
When the police arrive, provide them with accurate information and cooperate fully. Stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault. The determination of fault will come later during the investigation.
Exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident. Obtain their names, addresses, phone numbers, driver’s licenses, and insurance information. Be sure to provide your information as well.
Use your smartphone or camera to take photos of the accident, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any relevant road signs or signals. These photos can serve as valuable evidence later.
Seek Medical Attention
Even if you don’t feel injured immediately after the accident, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is essential. Some injuries, like whiplash or internal injuries, may not manifest symptoms until hours or days later. Prompt medical evaluation can help identify and treat any injuries promptly.
Keep records of all medical treatment related to the accident. This includes hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, and medical bills. This documentation will be essential for insurance claims and potential legal action.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company to report the accident as soon as possible. Be truthful and provide all necessary details. Failure to report the accident promptly could result in a denial of coverage.
Avoid signing any documents or accepting insurance company settlements without consulting with an experienced Florida auto accident attorney. Insurance companies may offer settlements that do not fully cover your damages, and an attorney can help protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.
Consult with an Auto Accident Lawyer
After an auto accident in Florida, consulting with an auto accident lawyer is wise. An experienced attorney can provide valuable guidance and help you navigate the complex legal process. They can also advocate for your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation.
Florida follows a comparative fault system, meaning that fault for an accident can be shared among multiple parties. It’s crucial to have an attorney who understands this law and can determine the extent to which each party is responsible. Your compensation may be reduced based on your percentage of fault (Florida Statute § 768.81).
Maintain a file of all documents related to the accident. This should include police reports, medical records, insurance correspondence, and other relevant paperwork. Having organized records will make it easier to build a strong case.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, obtain their contact information and statements, if possible. Witness testimony can be invaluable in establishing liability.
Understand Florida’s Statute of Limitations
Florida has a statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit related to an auto accident. Typically, you have four years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for injuries and property damage (Florida Statute § 95.11).
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to another party’s negligence, you may be entitled to various types of compensation, including:
- Medical Expenses: Coverage for current and future medical bills related to your injuries.
- Lost Wages: Compensation for income you’ve lost due to the accident, including future earning potential.
- Pain and Suffering: Damages for physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
- Property Damage: Reimbursement for vehicle repair or replacement costs.
- Punitive Damages: In cases of extreme negligence or intentional misconduct, punitive damages may be awarded.
Stay Informed and Communicate
Stay updated on the progress of your case. Your attorney should keep you informed about developments but don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns.
Maintain open and regular communication with your auto accident lawyer. They need accurate information to build a strong case on your behalf.
At Zimmet & Zimmet, Our Auto Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help with Your Case
Experiencing an auto accident in Florida can be overwhelming, but knowing what to do in the aftermath can significantly affect your recovery and ability to seek compensation. Following these steps, prioritizing safety, seeking medical attention, and consulting with an experienced Florida auto accident attorney at Zimmet & Zimmet can help you confidently protect your rights and navigate the legal process. Remember, you don’t have to face the aftermath of an auto accident alone; we’re here to help you every step of the way.