1. Stay at the Scene
The drivers and passengers should remain at the scene. Even though the accident might initially look like a minor collision because of no immediate obvious injury, it is important to stay and correctly assess the damages. Examine all the people involved in the car accident and ensure that they can breathe and move properly. If a person experiences serious pain, do not move them before medical help arrives. If people are injured, it is important to wait for the police and provide all the necessary information about the accident. Fleeing the scene is called “hit-and-run” and might have serious legal consequences like suspension or cancellation of your driver’s license or even imprisonment.
2. Stay Where You are/or Safely Pull Over
If you can safely keep your car where it is, don’t move it unless it is causing major traffic problems. If you have to move your car, safely pull over to the shoulder of the road.
3. Check for Injuries
Make sure that you and your passengers are OK. If anyone is seriously injured, call 911 or have someone else call 911 immediately.
4. Call the Police and File a Report
No matter what, call the police and insist they come out and write a police report. It does not matter if the accident was big or small or if people were or were not injured. You want the police to interview everyone involved and document what happened. This will prevent people from trying to change their story later. Do not forget to get the police report number and the responding officer’s name and badge number.
5. Take a Lot of Pictures
If you’re physically able, take pictures immediately after the crash. It’s the best time, and it may be the only opportunity that you have. Take pictures of your car, the other person’s car, the position of the cars, any skid marks, road signs, and the surrounding area. Take pictures from different angles and distances. You want your pictures to be able to tell the story of exactly what happened and how bad the crash was.
6. Talk to Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident, write down their names and their contact information.
7. Exchange Information
Drivers that were involved in the accident should exchange valuable information like names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, insurance details, and phone numbers. If other passengers were involved, you should collect their information too. Document the accident thoroughly because this might help you prove what happened in court should you or the other party file a lawsuit.
8. Get Medical Care
Many people that have been involved in car accidents report that the pain was excruciating a day or two after the accident. The immediate shock can mask or delay serious symptoms of physical or internal injury. With this in mind, anyone involved in an accident should go to the hospital and require a detailed examination. For example, spine and head injuries can be extremely serious but not immediately apparent. If someone was dazed, confused, or unconscious after the accident, they should be immediately taken to the emergency room.
9. Keep Detailed Files and Reports
It’s very important and highly recommended to own a file that includes all the relevant information like the names and addresses of the other parties, dates of medical visits, and claim numbers from the insurance company. The insurance company will assign a specialist that will be investigating the accident; you should add his name to your file. Document any other relevant information or details. Any data that could help the case should be kept together for easy access and will help you remain organized and clear about the matter.
10. Find a Good Lawyer Right Away
Talk to a good Florida personal injury lawyer before talking to the insurance companies. Definitely do not sign anything or provide a recorded statement without talking to a lawyer first. A good lawyer will bring you peace of mind and give you the best chance at a maximum settlement. Call us at Adolphe Law Group, where we have over 40 years of combined experience representing injured clients.