When you are involved in an Orlando car accident, you will be overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath by adrenaline along with fear, confusion, anxiety, distress and many times pain. After an auto accident, it’s not always easy to make rational decisions. Many accident compensation lawsuits are lost because of something the driver failed to do. That’s why it is important to understand what you are expected to do once an accident happens in Florida. Even though the circumstances may make it difficult to remain composed, keeping calm is vital. According to our car accident attorney in Orlando, here are the seven things you must do after an auto accident.
Saving lives should be the No. 1 priority. The 911 call serves two purposes. First, it’s an official notification that an accident has occurred. Second, you can request medical assistance if there is an injury or fatality. However, even if no one was hurt, calling law enforcement, in most cases, the Florida Highway Patrol, will provide important support in a potential lawsuit in the future since the law enforcement officers will write a report that records their assessment of who was at fault. No matter if it is the FHP, Orlando Police Department or the Orange County Sheriff’s office, the police record will detail all key elements of the collision, including names, vehicle registration, road conditions and witness statements.
Leaving the scene of a car accident prematurely is referred to as a hit-and-run and is a serious offense especially if injury or death occurred. Even when the car accident doesn’t seem serious and there are no obvious injuries, it is best to play it safe by staying for longer to make an accurate assessment of the damage. If your physical state allows you to do so, make sure everyone else is alright and provide first aid where required. For individuals who seem seriously injured, don’t move them until emergency responders arrive.
Pictures create a visual record of the event. In decades past, a driver taking photos of a car accident they were involved in was not always possible since not everyone carried a camera with them. The ubiquitous camera phone has changed all that. Virtually everyone has a cellphone with a camera so there should be little reason not to take pictures of the accident. Do not just capture the vehicles but also any injuries you experienced. A video overview can also be invaluable. In addition, many drivers now use dash cams. The footage from these can go a long way to showing a driver was not at fault for an accident, or provide evidence that another driver caused the accident. Many law enforcement officers now have the ability to download a driver’s dash cam video at the scene of the accident. Just remember to keep the original video card with the dash cam video on it.
Reach out to the other drivers involved in the accident and exchange details, including names, addresses, phone numbers, vehicle registration, driver’s license numbers and most importantly insurance information. If passengers were hurt, collect their details, too. The goal is to capture as much information about the car accident as is possible. This could prove crucial if the case ends up in court.
Talk to your insurance company at your earliest possible convenience and regardless of whether you intend to seek compensation from the other driver’s insurer. Most insurance policies require drivers involved in an accident to report to the insurer immediately while providing as much detail as they can. This is part of the “no-fault” provision of the Florida no-fault law. Under the Florida no-fault law, every driver who operates a motor vehicle registered in the state of Florida must have a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
A driver’s PIP coverage is meant to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver may suffer in an accident, no matter who caused the accident. This PIP will cover the first $10,000 of a person’s medical coverage, minus the deductible, and will come from the operator’s insurance, no matter who was at fault. Please note that while PIP is mandatory in Florida, it covers only medical bills and lost wages, not any damage that results from an accident whether that is damage to property or the car itself.
It’s not unusual for another vehicle to come crashing into the scene of a car accident. Many accidents are made worse when another driver slows to look at an accident and an inattentive driver behind crashes into them, sending both cars into the first accident scene. You can minimize the risk of harm to yourself and others by making sure neither you nor the other parties are exposed to the danger of a second accident.
If the accident was minor, nobody was injured and the vehicles are drivable, move them off the road to avoid obstructing traffic. You can also minimize your risk of an accident by being attentive when you come upon an accident scene yourself. Slow, but be aware of drivers behind you and in front of you as well.
However, if the car accident led to injury, death or major property damage, the cars should remain in place until law enforcement arrives. Turn on the car’s hazard lights or place warning triangles on the road. Irrespective of whether the cars remain on the road or are moved off it, all persons should move out of the road.
Once an accident occurs, the insurers of the drivers involved will establish who is financially liable. Many times, the matter is closed with mutual agreement. In other instances, however, one party may want the issue decided by the courts. Get in touch with an Orlando car accident attorney if there’s a likelihood of your dispute ending up in court. Quality representation from the best Orlando auto accident attorneys is crucial in ensuring you get what is rightfully yours.
You want to make sure you have the best lawyer for car accidents. The Badgley Law Group has many years of experience handling Orlando car accident cases. Your choice of attorney could make or break your case. Do not take chances if you have been involved in a collision. Talk to our team of attorneys today.
You deserve to have your life restored to as close to the way it was as possible. While this is the goal of insurance, this is not always the case, and there are also drivers who are uninsured. If you feel you are not getting the justice you seek, contact us today.