Did you know that over 6 million car accidents occur each year in the United States? According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, an estimated 200,000 car accidents are recorded in Florida each year. This averages out to around 650 crashes each day.
Here at Busciglio and Sheridan Law Group, our personal injury attorneys have helped many car accident victims in Tampa. If you were recently in an automobile accident, there are specific actions you can take to protect yourself and your interests.
1) Don’t Drive Away
If you have been involved in an automobile collision, one of the worst things that you can do is drive away from the scene of the accident. Ask any personal injury attorney in Tampa or St Petersburg, and they’ll tell you the same thing. You should not drive away from the scene the scene, even if it’s a minor accident.
2) Take Action to Prevent Further Accidents
Following the accident, we recommend putting on your emergency flashers. This type of action can help prevent further accidents and injuries. If the collision occurred at night, we also recommend keeping your lights on so other drivers on the road can easily spot you. If your lights were damaged during the car accident, you can also use your flashlight on a smartphone in order to signal other drivers.
If you have been injured during the accident, then please wait in your car until help arrives.
3) Call the Police ASAP
Following a car accident one of the first things you should do is call the police. This is recommended even if no serious injuries have occurred. Depending on your car insurance policy, a police report may be needed in order to file a claim. The only reason that any of the vehicles involved in the accident should be moved vehicle is if they are interfering with traffic.
4) Try to be Accurate
Once the police arrived on the scene they are going to going to speak to you about what happened. To the best of your ability, tell the investigating officer exactly what happened. This includes mentioning that you might not know certain things. This is not a time to speculate, guess or misstate facts.
If the investigating officer asks if you’ve been injured and you’re not sure, tell them that you aren’t sure instead of saying no. It is not uncommon for an injury sustained during a car accident to present itself hours after the point of impact. If a statement is taken from another passenger in the vehicle, it should corroborate your own statement.
5) Take Pictures If You Can
Do you own a smartphone or do you carry a camera often? If there is visible damage to your vehicle and you have the ability to do so, we recommend that you take pictures of the scene of the automobile accident. We also recommend that you take pictures of any visible injuries sustained if you have the faculties do so. Please do not risk additional harm to yourself in order to take these pictures if you sustained a serious injury during the accident.
Once police are on the scene you should not interfere with their investigation in order to get a picture. If you are unable to take a few pictures at the scene of the accident, try to take some of the vehicle as soon as possible afterwards.
6) Get Pertinent Contact Information
Normally this is not something you’re going to have to worry about doing if police are able to respond to the scene of the car accident. That being said, if the authorities are not involved, we do recommend that you obtain the name, address and telephone number of all people involved in the accident. This includes all passengers in addition to the drivers. During this process, you should also request to see the insurance card for each driver.
Did someone witness the car accident? We recommend that you get their contact information as well. Your personal injury attorney may need to contact them about the accent.
The police will provide all people involved in the accident with a report number that they can use if they have additional questions about the automobile accident. This is the number that you are going to use in order to obtain the police report at a later time. Please note that if your accident occurred on the highway, you are going to need to obtain the report from the state police.
7) Notify Your Insurance Provider ASAP
The next thing you need to do is notify your insurance company about your car accident. Most car insurance policies require immediate recording of the incident and full cooperation on your part. If you are injured in a automobile accident, you may be wondering whether your insurance will cover your medical expenses. This is a good question.
Florida is one of the 12 states that require some level personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. this type of insurance is a no-fault coverage, meaning that even if you were at fault for the accident, any medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers would be covered up to the policy’s limit. PIP can also be used to cover lost wages and rehabilitation services.
In Florida specifically, PIP insurance will typically cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages, up to a limit of $10,000. In any case, this is not something that you want to wait until after an accident to be sure of. We recommend that you contact your insurance provider now and ask them about your PIP coverage for your car insurance policy.
8) See a Doctor Immediately
A lot of injuries sustained during an automobile accident are not immediately apparent to the victim. many of our personal injury clients in Tampa report feeling the pain after a day or even two following the accident. While you may not need to rush off to the emergency room, we do recommend that you make an appointment with your prefered physician even if you are certain you were not injured.
Even minor car accidents can result in very serious and life-threatening injuries. So please be safe and talk to your doctor after this type of incident.
9) Keep a Detailed Record of the Accident
An automobile accident results in a lot of paperwork. As personal injury attorneys, we recommend that you keep all your accident-related documents and information in a secure place. Here are some of the more important details that you should have in your records:
- Your insurance claim number
- The name of the claims adjuster that is handling your claim
- Contact information for all people involved in the car accident (including witnesses if there were any)
- Receipts for any expenses incurred as a result of the automobile accident (rental car, etc)
10) Talk with a Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa
If you have been in a car accident in Tampa, we recommend that you consult with a personal injury attorney. Our legal team can protect your rights and make sure valuable evidence is not lost following the accident. As we mentioned before, you are going to need to make that claim with your insurance provider shortly after this incident has occurred. We recommend obtaining that legal council before making the claim.
A personal injury attorney can advise you on a variety of critical issues following an automobile accident. From how to make sure you’re receiving the best medical attention to making sure you’re fully compensated for this type of incident. Remember that as personal injury attorneys, we operate on a contingency fee basis. What does this mean for you? There aren’t any legal fees to pay unless we are able to get you the compensation you are seeking.