The actions you take after a car accident could make or break your personal injury claim. Following are some tips on how to minimize your troubles and maximize your chances of receiving as much compensation as possible.
What to do at the scene of the accident:
- Move your vehicle safely off the road. Do not leave the scene of the accident unless it is dangerous to remain, because leaving the scene of an accident is a crime in Florida absent special circumstances.
- Notify the driver of the other vehicle of your name, address and registration number.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Show your driver’s license if requested to do so.
- Provide your license, registration, address and any other relevant information to the police if requested.
- Call 911 unless an ambulance or the police are already on their way.
- Provide any emergency assistance that is necessary, but be very careful about providing first aid — you could be blamed if your assistance exacerbates an injury.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident as well as all vehicles and damage.
- Exchange contact and vehicle information with witnesses.
- Photograph the scene of the accident, including all vehicles involved.
- Get the police officer’s name and badge number.
- Seek medical attention without delay. If you delay seeking medical treatment, the insurance company might claim that your injuries were not caused by the accident.
What to do over the next few days:
During the first few days after the accident:
- Seek immediate medical attention for any late-breaking symptoms. Symptoms of whiplash or a concussion, for example, are sometimes delayed hours or even days after they occur.
- If the police did not arrive at the scene of the accident but damages are likely to exceed $500, report the accident to the police station with jurisdiction over the place of the accident
- Use the officer’s name and badge number to get a copy of the police report from the police department.
- Contact a Miami car accident lawyer.
What not to do:
To protect the value of your claim, observe the following precautions:
- Don’t apologize for the accident. If you apologize, your apology could be used as evidence that the accident was your fault.
- Don’t talk to any insurance adjuster until your lawyer OKs it. You might even want to refer all inquiries to your lawyer.
- Don’t sign a settlement agreement without consulting with your lawyer first; in fact, don’t or even agree to a settlement verbally. Your claim might be worth more than you think it is, and you could sacrifice this amount if you agree to a settlement before you realize how much your claim is worth. The initial offer by an insurance company, for example, is almost always too low.
- Don’t sign any other documents without your lawyer’s consent. In particular, do not sign any document that would give the insurance company unfettered access to your medical history.
- Don’t post anything about your accident on any of your social networking accounts. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Either place your privacy settings on maximum or suspend your accounts until the case is over.Observing these precautions may not guarantee you victory, but it will greatly boost your chances.