What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Tampa lawyer Armando Edmiston helps you prepare
It’s normal to feel upset, confused, and overwhelmed in the aftermath of a car accident. What information do you need? What are you supposed to say to the other driver? Are you supposed to call the police? Is there any evidence you need to collect at the crash scene? What if someone’s been seriously injured?
These are all common questions people have after being in a car accident, which is why Armando Personal Injury Law has created a list of steps to take following a crash. Read these useful tips from Attorney Armando Edmiston and you’ll be better prepared in the event you get into an accident.
10 steps to take after a car accident in Tampa
Even though you can’t predict when and where you’re going to have a car accident, being prepared and knowing what to do after can have a huge impact on whether or not you get the compensation you’re entitled to when you file a claim.
After a car accident, you should:
- Keep calm and assess the situation – If anyone has been injured and needs immediate medical attention, call 911 right away to request an ambulance. Otherwise, you should move your car out of harm’s way so that you don’t impede traffic or have another collision. Turn your hazard lights on to alert other drivers there’s been a crash, and place down flares or safety triangles if you have them.
- Call the police – Let the dispatcher know you were in a car accident and where you’re located. When the investigating officer from the Tampa Police or Florida Highway Patrol arrives, tell the truth about what happened and just stick to the facts. You should be able to obtain a copy of the official accident report on the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website for a fee. This is an important step to take, as police accident reports are often critical pieces of evidence that can make or break your claim.
- Get information from the other driver – You will want to get the name, address, phone number, license plate number, driver’s license number, insurance company name, and insurance policy number from everyone involved in the crash. If you were involved in a car accident with a commercial vehicle, be sure to get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer.
- Don’t talk about fault – The last thing you should be doing at the scene of your crash is arguing with other drivers about who’s at fault. You’re better off not saying anything. Remember, even saying something that seems harmless like “I’m sorry” or “I didn’t see you” can be interpreted as admitting fault.
- Take pictures and video – If you’re able to, take detailed pictures and/or video of your car accident. Make sure to show all the damage, skid marks, street signs, traffic lights, road markings, construction, hazards, and any visible injuries. Do your best to paint a clear picture of the crash scene. Bonus tip: Take notes about your crash while it’s all still fresh in your mind. Write down when and where the accident took place and any important details that could be useful down the road when filing a claim.
- Seek out witnesses – If anyone saw your car accident happen, ask them to stay to give a statement to police. Before they leave, see if you can get their name and contact information. Eyewitness testimony is often a difference-maker when trying to prove fault.
- See a doctor – Even if you don’t have any visible injuries or symptoms, you should get checked out by a licensed medical professional within 24 hours of your crash. Some injuries have delayed onset symptoms and aren’t immediately noticeable. Make sure to document your doctor visits and attend all follow up appointments. Try to remember that for PIP claims, you are required to seek medical attention within 14 days of your crash.
- Go off the grid – Do not post anything online about your car accident. This includes talking about your crash on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and all other social media platforms. Anything you post online about your accident could potentially be used against you to challenge or deny your claim. You’re simply better off not discussing the details of your accident online or with your family and friends.
- Notify your insurance company – You are required to notify your insurance company that you’ve been in a crash, so call them to let them know you were in a car accident. There’s no hard and fast rule for how long you have to notify the insurance company, but most require prompt notification or else they will deny your claim. Give the facts of what happened but do not go into too much detail. If an insurance adjuster pressures you for more information or wants you to give a recorded statement, politely decline and refer them to your attorney. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first.
- Call a car accident lawyer – An experienced car accident attorney will be able to meet with you, learn the details of your crash, discuss your legal options, answer your questions, and help you figure out the best way to maximize the value of your claim. Since the majority of personal injury lawyers offer free consultations and will represent you on a contingency fee basis, it probably won’t cost you any upfront money to have a car accident lawyer tackle your claim.
Following the steps listed above will put you in the best position for a favorable settlement or successful lawsuit. Take these steps even after a seemingly minor car accident – you never know whether you could have a hidden injury or an unexpectedly contentious claim.
Let our law firm handle every aspect of your claim.
You can follow the 10 steps listed above to put yourself in a good position when it comes time to file a claim with the insurance company. An insurance adjuster might try every trick in the book to challenge or deny your claim, which is why being well-prepared at the scene of the crash is so important. The more evidence we have, the stronger your case will be. To find out more, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation. We accept clients on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to pay anything unless we win.