A car accident, even a minor one, can be a very stressful experience, especially if it results in an injury. When the parties involved and their insurance providers have a liability dispute, things can get even more stressful. Many victims of car accidents assume that their insurance company will handle everything in terms of medical expenses and property damage, but in more complex cases, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney in order to protect your rights. A personal injury claim could be the only way to be fully compensated for your losses, and The Law Place can help.
With 75 years of combined experience between them, our team of experienced personal injury lawyers can support you every step of the way, so you can focus on your recovery.
This guide offers some advice about what you can do to protect your rights following a car accident in Florida, but for more information in a free, no-obligation consultation, call us today at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24/7.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The best thing to do to protect your rights after a car accident is to step back and think about the logical steps to take during the immediate aftermath. We recommend that you do the following:
Move to a Safe Area Close By
Most drivers are aware that they are required to remain at the scene of the accident. However, it is not always safe to stand on the side of a busy road or highway. If you are not seriously injured, move to a safe spot close by and inform the first responders of your position. You should move your car to a safe spot if it is not seriously damaged, but if you are unable to do so, turn on your hazard lights to warn other drivers and prevent another collision.
Check for Injuries
All drivers who have been involved in a car accident have a legal responsibility to check on other parties involved and render medical aid if necessary, according to Florida Statute 316.062. If anyone needs urgent medical attention, you should call 911 immediately.
You should make sure that you fully assess your own injuries and consider getting checked over by a medical professional, even if your injuries seem minor. Symptoms such as dizziness and shortness of breath could be a sign of something more serious, and some injuries present themselves later on. Without a professional medical assessment, it can be difficult to claim compensation for your injuries.
You should always call the police if you have been involved in a car accident. When a law enforcement officer attends the scene of an accident, they will always file a police report, and this report will document exactly what happened. This will usually be used to determine who was ultimately at fault for the accident, as the police are trained to give an unbiased account of events. Insurance companies will use these reports to make their judgment because they consider them to be more accurate than eyewitness accounts.
Gather the Necessary Information
Once you have taken the necessary immediate action, you need to think about gathering the following vital information:
- The name and address of the other driver/s involved.
- The insurance company name and policy information of the other driver/s involved.
- Contact information from any witnesses.
- License plate information from the other vehicle/s involved.
- The make and model of the vehicle/s involved
- The badge number and name of any responding law enforcement officers.
- Take pictures of the vehicles involved and the accident scene.
- Notes of your surroundings, e.g., any security cameras that may have recorded the accident.
A personal injury attorney can use all of this information to support your version of events because you are not making claims based on memory, which can change over time. It is also easy to forget minor details that could be important to your case.
Start an Accident Log
Keeping a detailed accident log is a good way to document all of the expenses you incur as a direct result of the accident. This is important if you choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. You should include all of the information you gathered at the scene of the car accident, car repair estimates from your insurance provider, medical bills for any medical treatment, and even things such as travel expenses for going to and from any follow-up appointments. If you decide to hire an attorney to represent you, this accident log will help them to assess the damages you are entitled to.
Contact your Insurance Company
Your insurance company can make a professional estimate of the damages to your vehicle, so it is important that you contact them as soon as you can. This is the first step toward being fairly compensated for your losses and protecting your rights after a car accident.
Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
A car accident lawyer is not necessary in every case, but you should always consider it. You might need legal support due to the severity of the accident or because the case is complex. The best thing to do is to find a law firm that will offer a free consultation and ask a professional lawyer if you could benefit from their services. For example, minor accidents like fender-benders can usually be handled adequately by your insurance company, but in the case of more serious accidents that resulted in injuries or a complicated liability dispute, the only way to protect your legal rights is by hiring a lawyer. At The Law Place, we always provide an honest case review and will not push you into hiring us if it is not necessary.
Car accidents that warrant legal representation may include the following:
- Physical injury.
- Wrongful death.
- Significant damage to property.
- Reckless driving.
- Driving under the influence (DUI).
- Vicarious liability cases (for employers of commercial truck drivers).
In cases like these, and many others, a car accident attorney can help you seek adequate compensation to cover any losses you have sustained because of the accident. For more information on damages that you could claim and how a car accident lawyer could help you to protect your legal rights, call us today for a free consultation.
Deadline for Filing a Personal Injury Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident and are looking to file a claim, you will need to start the process as soon as possible. This is because there are legal time limits on all types of legal actions, otherwise known as the statute of limitations. In the State of Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is four years.
The statute of limitations has two main purposes. Firstly, they encourage those involved to pursue a lawsuit as soon after the accident as possible so that evidence and witness testimonies are reliable. Secondly, it stops the defendant from having a lawsuit hanging over them for an indefinite period of time.
There are some exceptions to this rule, so no matter when an accident occurred in your case, you should call us to discuss your options in a free consultation.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney From The Law Place Today
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Florida, hiring an attorney may be the only way you can protect your rights and successfully make a claim for the compensation that you deserve.
The car accident attorneys at The Law Place have years of experience in representing personal injury clients throughout Florida. Once you have decided to work with us, our dedicated law firm will work quickly to investigate your case, identify all of your damages, and work tirelessly to make sure you are fully compensated for your losses.
Contact us today for a free consultation by calling (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.