What happens after a car crash? | Auto and Traffic Accidents
Deciding how to proceed after a car accident isn’t always easy, especially if you’ve been injured or your car has been badly damaged. If you know what to do before you have an accident, it can save you time and frustration. Simply being involved in a collision can be heartbreaking and exasperating. A lawsuit can add to those feelings, so if you decide to proceed with a lawsuit, you want to make sure you have selected the right law firm to represent you. You want a firm who is willing to make your case a priority. Here are some steps you should take immediately following an auto accident.
Call for Help
First, check yourself to see if you have been injured. Next, check on the passengers in your vehicle. Then, if you are able to, check on the people in the other vehicles. Remember, do not move anyone who is complaining of a back or neck injury, unless they are in immediate danger, for example, if the vehicle is on fire. Do not attempt any medical procedures unless you are trained. Call 911 and request police, and if there are any injuries, report that you need an ambulance. If there are multiple people injured, tell the 911 dispatcher so they can send adequate assistance.
You will want to move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road if possible to avoid additional injuries or damage from oncoming cars. However, before you move any cars, try to take some pictures of the vehicles as they are positioned immediately following the accident. This will help clear up any future disputes about which vehicle was where on the road. Do not leave the scene until you’ve dealt with the situation. If you leave, you may face criminal “hit-and-run” charges.
Because Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance company. This does not mean that you will be unable to recover money from the at-fault driver if you sustain a serious injury or damage. A consultation with a proven personal injury attorney will help you determine if you are able to receive compensation.
After an accident, you will probably be shaken and upset. If there are any witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. Often, people do not stay until the police arrive, and if you have not gotten it before they leave, their information is no longer available. Eyewitness reports can help determine who was at fault in the accident.
The police are going to ask you and the other drivers involved for contact information and your own description of what happened. If you have been badly injured and taken from the scene before you give your statement, expect the police to contact you at the hospital. Law enforcement officers will write up a detailed report, often documenting the weather and road conditions, the state of the vehicles and people involved, and other important information.
If you have to take the case to court or to a settlement table via a personal injury lawyer, you’ll need records to file a claim for damages. Get copies of and keep the following records:
- An official police report
- All medical records related to the incident
- Records of auto work done, including any estimates
- Contact information for everyone involved
- Witness statements, signed and dated
- Photographs of the accident scene, your vehicle, your injuries
- Receipts for out-of-pocket expenses for things like co-pays and prescriptions
- A detailed log of time missed from work, including time off immediately after the accident and time missed for doctors’ appointments, therapy, etc.
Along with these hard pieces of evidence, keep a log of how the crash has affected your life, including your emotional response to the incident and any changes in your daily life. Do not be surprised if you have long-term emotional distress following an accident. It is a very stressful event.
Hire an Attorney
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, then contact a personal injury attorney. Experienced auto accident attorneys know how to review the details of a case to determine how to proceed, and you don’t want to take any chances when it comes to personal injury claims. Most car crash attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay until your case results in a settlement or judgment.
At Diez-Arguelles & Tejedor, our experienced team knows what it takes to fight for our clients in auto accident claims. We will work to get you the justice and compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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