It seems like traveling on Florida roads is more dangerous than ever. Being in any kind of car accident is a stressful experience. There’s not only a possibility of severe injuries. But your vehicle could also be damaged beyond repair. While it’s perfectly reasonable to be upset, the best thing you can do is to keep a clear head. Taking the right steps will greatly increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve.
The car accident attorneys of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh are here if you or someone you love is injured in a car accident. We have decades of experience in the area of personal injury. And we have a long record of delivering results for our clients. Give us a call at (561) 295-5825 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Here is some information on what you should do if you’re ever in a car wreck. Remember, the more decisive you are, the better your chances of receiving full and fair compensation.
1. Call 911 to Report the Accident
This will be the most important thing you can do, especially if you or someone else has suffered a serious injury. Dispatch will send an officer to the scene as quickly as possible. They will also send emergency medical help. Police officers and EMTs not only do intensive training for these types of stressful situations. They can also spot signs of an injury that victims can’t see – or even feel – because they have so much adrenaline rushing through their body.
When police arrive, it will be critical that you don’t admit even the slightest amount of fault for the accident. Even if you’re not completely sure what happened, don’t give too many details that may be considered admitting fault. If you do, you could possibly do irreparable damage to your personal injury claim.
2. Seek Medical Attention
Again, when some people are hurt in a car accident they don’t even realize it, because they’re running on powerful adrenaline. But even if it’s not readily apparent you’ve suffered a serious injury, you’ll still need to see a medical professional. There are many types of injuries that don’t immediately show symptoms. Some people don’t even realize how badly they’ve been hurt for days, or even weeks.
As important as it will be for your health, there’s another reason to see a doctor. It will ensure that your injuries are documented. If you delay getting medical attention or you fail to get any medical help, that could greatly reduce the amount of compensation you’re able to obtain. It could very well result in your insurance claim being denied completely.
3. Document Everything
You could be absolutely, 100% certain that the wreck was someone else’s fault. They may have been talking or texting. Or they might have plowed into your rideshare because they were drunk. You could have been riding a bicycle and been hit by a driver who ran a red light or a stop sign.
It really doesn’t matter how certain you are that the accident wasn’t your fault. You’re going to need solid evidence to prove it. That’s why you’ll need to document as much as you can at the scene of the accident. Take videos and pictures of the scene, as well as any injuries you may have sustained.
Write down the license plate numbers of any other vehicles involved. Get the contact information of witnesses (more on this later), as well as the other driver’s information. Keep all of this information in a safe place.
Once you start receiving medical treatment, keep a file of all of your medical bills, treatment records, and any other piece of paper that has anything to do with your injury. If you have to miss work, keep your pay stubs to show how much money you would have made had you been able to work. This will go a long way toward proving your lost wages. Keep all of the paperwork related to your vehicle damage as well. Anything related to your accident and injuries may potentially prove losses that should be compensated by a personal injury claim.
4. Trade Insurance Information
The next step will be to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Get their name, address, date of birth, phone number and email as well. Ask the driver if they own the vehicle. If they say they don’t, get the owner’s contact information as well.
Why is this important? An insurance professional will do whatever they can to reduce or deny your claim. If they can trip you up by getting you to admit fault – even a portion of fault – that could seriously hurt your case.
5. Speak With Witnesses
Eyewitnesses could be critically important to proving your case. If anyone saw what happened, their statement could make the difference between winning and losing your claim. At the very least, get their contact information so your attorney can ask them questions later. If possible, ask them questions yourself and write down their answers as accurately as you can.
6. Get a Copy of the Police Report
The police report is another critical piece of evidence. It will have a great deal of vital information, such as the makes and models of the vehicles involved in the accident, any injuries that may have occurred, and whether or not the other driver was impaired due to drug or alcohol use. Most importantly, it will contain the officer’s account of why they believe the accident took place and who was to blame. This will help establish the situation, reasons for the accident, and injuries you sustained.
7. Contact a Car Accident Attorney Before Speaking to Your Insurance Company
The one thing you shouldn’t do is talk with your insurance company before speaking with a lawyer. You can call your own insurer to start the claims process. However, never answer any questions without having an attorney present. Or better yet, direct all of those questions to your legal representative.
You’ll need to hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible so that they can investigate the accident scene and gather any other evidence that could support your case. Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh has a team of experts who know how to perform these investigations. And we know how to help our clients achieve full economic recovery.