The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported more than 350,000 crashes last year. Of those crashes, more than 240,000 involved injuries and more than 2,500 resulted in fatalities. If you or someone you know has been injured in a Florida car accident, it is important that you take the following 8 steps to preserve your safety, health and legal rights:
- Protect yourself. Take a deep breath and stay calm. Check yourself and other passengers for injuries. If you or your passengers have been injured, then call 911. Even if the accident is minor, call the police or highway patrol. It is important that a Florida Traffic Crash Report is made documenting the incident.
- Gather Information and Take Notes. If your injuries do not prevent you from doing so, obtain the names, phone numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers and basic insurance information from all the drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their contact information. As a general rule, try to be polite and courteous when speaking with anyone at the scene. When you are able to do so, also jot down some notes about how the accident occurred and perhaps even make a sketch of the intersection and position of the vehicles involved.
- Talk to Witnesses. Canvas the immediate area for potential witnesses and, if possible, get their contact information.
- Take Pictures. As soon as practical after the accident, take photographs of any damage to your vehicle, the scene of the accident and your injuries. If you can, take photographs at the scene of the accident itself, photograph the vehicles, their position in relation to each other and any roadway evidence, such as skid marks, created by the crash event. Do not have your vehicle repaired or removed from the tow yard until you have consulted with an attorney. Have a friend or family member take photographs of your injuries throughout your hospital stay. Photograph even minor bruises as they may provide important evidence to support your claim. For instance, if you have bruises that were caused by wearing a seatbelt, it is important to document them.
- Track Your Medical Treatment. Record the names of doctors, physical therapists or other medical personnel that you receive treatment from. It helps to keep a journal during this pivotal time and record how your injuries impact your daily routine. The journal should also include medical expenses, co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses as well as any missed workdays.
- Talk to a Lawyer First. Describing the incident or your injuries to the other drivers, to the police, to an insurance company representative (even your own insurer) or even to your friends can destroy your claim. Insurance adjusters will sometimes visit accident victims in the hospital and may appear to have the best of intentions. However, do not let down your guard. Insurance representatives are not your friends and are often more interested in undermining your rights than helping to preserve them. Be polite and direct any communication to your attorney. Similarly, do not post anything on social media until you have discussed the accident with an attorney. Even the most innocent post can devalue your claim.
- Review settlement offers with an attorney. A quick settlement offer is usually a bad one. Many times, your most significant injuries will not manifest themselves until days or weeks after the accident. You cannot receive complete compensation for your injuries unless you understand the full extent of those injuries. Once you settle your claim, there is no turning back. Consult with an attorney before accepting any settlement offer or signing any documents.
- Contact the attorneys at the Boyers Law Group, the Champions for the Injured. Our skilled car accident lawyers have years of experience litigating these claims and a team of investigators, paralegals and staff at their disposal to aggressively and successfully pursue your case.
Serious car accidents can result in devastating injuries or death and often raise important questions about what to do and who to trust. When contacted promptly, the car accident lawyers at the Boyers Law Group can help you protect your case and secure just compensation for your injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and you would like to speak with an experienced Miami car accident lawyer, please contact us at 800-545-9100, for a free consultation about your legal rights.