Knowing what to do after a car accident that wasn’t your fault is difficult. In the State of Florida, car accidents occur every day, but many people are unsure about who to contact or whether or not they are entitled to seek compensation. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), over 400,000 car accidents occurred in 2018 alone in Florida. Of these accidents, over 250,000 injuries were sustained and 3,000 fatalities. An accident involving a motor vehicle can change the driver’s life in an instant, so knowing how to get over it and what to do is incredibly important.
Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash is often an extremely stressful and long process, especially when those involved have sustained serious injuries. It can be especially difficult for accident victims to know what to do after experiencing an accident, as many simply have little to no knowledge or experience with personal injury cases. Navigating through the legal process after an accident when another driver was at fault can cause even more confusion as other insurance companies become involved in the process too. Therefore, it’s important to seek legal representation and counsel. At The Law Place, our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience in Florida law. Our legal team has dealt with thousands of car accident cases just like yours, so we know exactly what to do when an accident occurs.
Our phone lines are always open, so you can call us and discuss your case with a skilled personal injury attorney whenever you want. After a free case evaluation, you will be appointed with an experienced lawyer that is best suited to handle your case. Call us at (941) 444-4444 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.
Important Steps to Take After a Car Accident
After a car accident, it’s important to follow some essential steps in order to ensure the safety of those involved in the crash and also to increase your chances of receiving compensation for your claim. Following the law and taking the correct legal advice can strengthen your claim if your case was to go to court.
First and foremost, it is essential to remain calm if you have been involved in a car accident. Once you have ensured the health and safety of you and any other passengers in the car, you should take the following steps:
Call the Police
After an accident occurs, it’s very important that you call the police immediately and stay at the accident scene even if you believe that the crash was not your fault. In Florida, drivers are legally required to report a car crash within 10 days of it occurring, as per Florida Statute 316.066. However, we strongly recommend contacting the police as soon as the accident occurs.
When law enforcement arrives at the scene of the accident, they will make their own official police report as they investigate what has occurred. If possible, ask for a copy of this report. We recommend doing this as already having a copy of the police report without having to request it later on can speed the legal process along (waiting for official paperwork from legal authorities can sometimes take a long time). An accident report can be used as evidence to be submitted to car insurance companies in order to prove that the accident happened and strengthen your personal injury claim.
Seek Medical Care
Seeking medical treatment after a car accident is essential. Even if you feel physically sound, it is still highly recommended to seek medical care. Some car accident injuries, including internal bleeding, can sometimes take days, weeks, or even months to become apparent to the victim. Also, the adrenaline and shock inflicted on the victim after an accident occurs can cause the victim not to fully realize their pain until minutes or even hours later. A medical professional will be able to review the injuries you may have sustained as well as your general state to determine if further medical treatment is required.
Having a record of the injuries you have sustained is extremely useful when filing a car accident claim. You may be owed compensation for your injuries as well as the medical bills you have incurred as a result of treating said injuries. We recommend requesting copies of x-rays that were taken by a medical professional, as well as receipts of medical bills that you have incurred. Your medical records can be used as evidence of the injuries that you have suffered from, which can be presented to your own insurance company and/or the other driver’s insurance provider when filing your insurance claim.
Once you’re sure that the other parties involved in the car crash and yourself do not require urgent medical care, you should document as much of the scene of the accident as possible. This includes taking pictures of the vehicles involved, any damage to the vehicles, and any physical injuries sustained. We recommend taking the at-fault driver’s contact information, including their name, contact number, and vehicle license plate. If possible, ask for the other driver’s insurance company details. If the at-fault driver is reluctant or refuses to give this information, do not persist, a car accident attorney will be able to find this information for you. Take photographs of the scene of the accident, including any debris on the road, marks on the floor, and signs close to where the accident occurred.
We also recommend collecting the contact information of potential eyewitnesses of the car accident. Eyewitness statements can be extremely useful when filing an insurance claim as they often help to determine who was responsible for the accident.
Once you have collected this evidence, take note of other information that may help in establishing how, when, and where the accident occurred. For example, take note of the time and date of the crash, the weather at the time it occurred, and the general traffic pattern (were the roads congested?). Documenting the circumstances surrounding a car accident can help a personal injury attorney determine how the accident occurred, who was liable, and whether or not the client may be entitled to compensation.
File a Claim With Your Insurance Company
In accordance with Florida Statute 627.7407, the State of Florida is a no-fault state. This means that, in order to recover compensation for your accident, you’ll need to first file a claim with your own car insurance company. If your claim exceeds your own insurance policy limit, then you may be able to also make a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced car accident lawyer from our law firm can help you file a personal injury lawsuit with the other driver’s insurance company and ensure that you get the maximum amount that you deserve.
In Florida, all drivers are required to have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as per Florida Statute 627.736. Personal injury protection insurance covers some economic damages, including medical expenses that were incurred as a result of a car accident.
It’s important to note that insurance companies are ultimately businesses looking to maximize profits. Therefore, they will be reluctant to pay out large sums of money to claimants. A car insurance company may try to dispute your claim in order to avoid rewarding their clients with compensation. A car accident attorney at The Law Place will deal with the auto insurance companies involved in your car accident case and ensure that they pay out a fair and reasonable sum to the claimants.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Knowing what to do after a car accident is difficult. Legally, you are required to file a claim with your auto insurance company if you want to seek compensation. However, we recommend talking to a car accident lawyer before signing any documentation with your insurance company. Some insurance providers take advantage of claimants by asking them to sign documentation that could prevent them from receiving a larger amount of compensation. Knowing what to say to your insurance company and when to say it can be hard, but an attorney can offer guidance on this. Our attorneys will lead negotiations with insurance companies and ensure that the total amount offered by the insurance adjuster is fair.
Your lawyer will gather all necessary evidence, including eyewitness statements and hospital bills, in order to strengthen your case. At The Law Place, we understand that both minor and severe injuries can take a long time to recover from, and victims may not be physically able to collect the evidence during the recovery period. We also work on a contingency basis as monitored by The State Bar Association. This means that during your recovery time, you won’t have to worry about spending more money on legal representation as we only charge our clients if we are successful in winning compensation for them.
We’ll help you file your claim and take the parties involved to court if necessary. Going to court can seem daunting. However, we take on all the necessary paperwork and legal documentation involved in these cases so that our clients don’t have to. Because of our expertise and experience, most of our cases never have to go before a judge, as we tend to settle them outside of the courtroom.
Damages You Could Claim After Car Accidents
If you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Accidents that involve motor vehicles can cause long-lasting effects for all the drivers involved. Car accident injuries and damaged property are examples of damages that can leave victims with large amounts of debt to worry about. Seeking compensation can alleviate these worries and give victims time to recover from the accident in peace. Damages you could claim after a car accident include:
- Medical bills – Hospital bills that are usually incurred after a serious car accident can be extremely costly. If you have suffered from a bodily injury, it is likely that you have had to pay large amounts of money in order to receive medical care. Medical expenses are often large after a car accident, as treatment, including surgery, can be very expensive. A lawyer will be able to calculate how much you have been charged for the medical care you have received and fight to recover these expenses.
- Property damage – After a car accident, it’s likely that your personal property has sustained some damage. Repair costs for property damage are often high, especially when motor vehicles are involved. If your property has been damaged due to your car accident, an attorney can calculate how much it will cost to repair or replace it and ensure that you receive compensation to fund these expenses.
- Lost wages – You may have been left unable to work as a result of your accident, which could have resulted in experiencing a loss of income. An attorney can determine how much you may be owed in past, present, and potentially future lost wages and add these damages to your insurance claim.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering refer to both the physical injuries and emotional stress that you have experienced as a result of your serious accident. You may be eligible to claim compensation for the loss of quality of life due to your accident. For example, if you can no longer participate in an activity that used to bring you pleasure, you could receive compensation for this. It can be difficult to determine how much you could be owed for pain and suffering. However, during your free consultation, your attorney will be able to establish how much you could be owed after reviewing your case.
- Wrongful death – If you have lost a loved one after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation that would cover expenses, including funeral bills. At The Law Place, we understand that receiving compensation after the death of someone you love may not seem like a priority. However, it may relieve some stresses and anxieties caused by large debts and bills that need to be paid.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, call The Law Place today. An attorney will help you win compensation for the damages you have sustained and help you return to your normal life as soon as possible. Getting over a serious accident that wasn’t your fault can be a long and taxing process. However, with the support and guidance of our legal team, you won’t have to worry about the legal process and complex technicalities of Florida law.
During your free consultation, your attorney should be able to determine who was liable for your accident. If they believe the other party to be responsible for the accident, they won’t stop until you receive the compensation that you deserve. Your attorney can file a claim with your insurance provider as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance company if the damages exceed your policy limit. Following the advice of your lawyer can help strengthen your claim and increase the likelihood of receiving the maximum amount of compensation possible for your case.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so someone will always be available to take your call. Contact us at (941) 444-4444 to schedule your free legal consultation with a passionate lawyer today.