How you react after a Florida car accident can make a huge difference
There are many considerations following a car accident, including injuries to yourself and your loved ones, injuries to the driver or passengers in other vehicles and the damage to your car. After the dust settles, you could be confused, hurt, worried and even scared. You know you should call the police, and you seem to remember something about talking to the other drivers and getting statements from witnesses, but in the midst of all the chaos, it is easy to forget. There is help available, though, to ensure that you get the information you need to both file a claim with your own insurance company and preserve your right to bring a legal action down the road.
Several of the nation's top car insurance companies have both checklists available on their websites and smart phone apps (for both Apple and Android operating systems) that will help you gather the right kinds of information after an accident and take steps to ensure your safety without jeopardizing your legal rights. There is also a comprehensive auto accident guide on the official Florida Department of Motor Vehicles website.
Important steps to take
If you can, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road or to an emergency lane so as to not block traffic. This not only allows traffic to proceed, it also makes the scene safer for you and any other victims if you are out of the direct flow of traffic. If the damage to the car or your injuries makes moving the car impossible, turning on hazard lights or using flares is recommended.
If you or anyone in your vehicle has been injured, seek medical attention immediately, even if you are not in much pain. Often, injuries sustained in crashes don't fully manifest for several days, but trained medical professionals can diagnose them based on early symptoms that might not register with a layperson. For example, a slight headache could be indicative of a concussion, soreness in the neck could mean a slipped spinal disc or soft tissue injury, and a seemingly ordinary bruise might indicate internal bleeding. Don't take chances with your life or the life of a loved one; have any accident injuries examined by a physician.
Once the vehicles have been secured and the injured have received medical treatment, provided you yourself aren't too badly injured, it might be possible to start gathering information. The most important thing for you to get following a car accident is the name, address and insurance policy information of any other drivers involved in the accident.
If there are any witnesses, try to get a statement from them or at least collect their names and addresses; having additional verification of the chain of events can make proving your losses easier both to your insurance company and in court. Since other drivers and the police will need your information as well, keeping your registration and insurance card in your vehicle at all times, and always having your driver's license on you when you drive can be very helpful.
Important steps to take
Anyone injured in a car accident will likely have questions. Will I heal? When can I go back to work? What is going to happen to my car? What should I do if the insurance company denies my claim? If you are dealing with these or other questions following a Florida car or truck accident, don't try to muddle through on your own; seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.