After an auto accident, it’s very common to feel overwhelmed and you may not know what to do first. Here are a couple recommended steps to take after an accident get you started:
Remain calm and contact the police.
The police will be able to help assess the situation, provide assistance and ensure no further injury will occur after the accident. Having everything on file will also help for insurance purposes and potential compensation for damages later on.
Collect facts and refrain from admitting fault.
If you’re able to, collect any information you can at the accident scene. Take photos, get the other driver’s information, etc. While doing so, do not admit legal liability, even if you believe you may be at fault. There may be outside factors you weren’t aware of that contributed to the accident, so it’s important to get all the facts before admitting fault.
These are the first few steps of what to do at the scene of an accident. Read our article After Your Car Accident: Your First 3 Steps to learn more about what to do next.
When you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s important to know who to contact after the accident has occurred.
First and foremost, contact the police. They will help get medical assistance to anyone involved in the accident who needs it, document the accident scene and redirect traffic so another accident doesn’t occur.
The next step to take after a car accident is to contact a friend or loved one. Many do this instinctively, but this is important for more than just providing emotional support. If you’ve been unknowingly injured (concussed, for example), it can be very unsafe to drive. A friend or loved one will be able to help ensure your safety and provide the assistance you need.
Then, contact your insurance company. Although Florida does not have a law that requires drivers to report accidents, most standard auto insurance contracts require those they insure to report them within a very short timeframe (typically a day or two). Often, if not reported in that window, financial coverage may be denied altogether. Use this list of insurance company phone numbers to file a claim with your provider.
If you’ve experienced an injury as a result of the accident and you choose not to go to the hospital right after, your next phone call should be to the doctor. It’s very important to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to ensure you’re eligible to receive compensation for your bills.
Finally, if you’ve experienced a serious injury (or the death of a loved one) as a result of a negligent driver, the last call you need to make is to a personal injury attorney. A trusted attorney will guide you every step of the way and represent your case to help fight for the recoveries you deserve as a result of the incident.
One of the first steps to take after a car accident that many people overlook is to see a physician as soon as possible.
Many people don’t realize they’ve been injured. When the body first experiences trauma, it produces very high amounts of adrenaline and endorphins to reduce pain and boost energy to stay alert. It’s often not until a few days or weeks later that people start to feel more intense pain and begin to realize the severity of their injuries.
Even without immediate symptoms, it’s crucial to have a thorough assessment from a doctor as quickly after the accident as you can. Under Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) law, injured victims must seek medical treatment within 14 days of an auto accident in order for auto insurance carriers to cover up to 80% of their medical bills. If this deadline goes unmet, they will not be eligible for compensation. Learn more about Florida’s PIP law now.
When you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you may receive a call from the negligent driver’s insurance company offering you a seemingly high settlement amount. But before accepting this offer, it’s important to know why you should be wary of initial offers like this.
Unfortunately, it’s not an insurance adjuster’s priority to protect your best interests. Financially speaking, an insurance adjuster’s main goal is to spend the least amount of money possible on behalf of their insurance company.
For that reason, they often offer a seemingly high settlement amount to prevent you from taking any legal action against them. But what’s important to consider is the long-term expenses you may be responsible for as a result of accepting this offer—things like ongoing medical treatments or therapy, lost wages, property damages and other out-of-pocket expenses.
All of these items can add up to thousands of dollars, so it’s important to consult with a personal injury attorney first so you can discuss the items you could receive compensation for if you choose to take legal action, as well as to know how to handle a lowball insurance settlement offer.
One of the most important steps to take after a car accident is to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to assess your case. A trusted attorney can help you stay on top of deadlines, speak to aggressive insurance adjusters on your behalf, calculate all damages you may be eligible to receive compensation for, and handle the many nuances that can result after accidents.
If you’re considering speaking to a lawyer, don’t delay. Learn more about how why you should speak to a personal injury attorney today, or contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Since 1970, our personal injury attorneys at The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen have represented 100,000+ cases and recovered more than $500 million in settlements for clients across South Florida, including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Hollywood.
View our case studies now to see some of the many cases we’ve represented.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or death in South Florida due to someone else’s negligence, let our trusted personal injury attorneys fight for your case. Schedule a free legal consultation with us today.