You Can Help Your Legal Case In The Aftermath Of A Car Accident
At The Law Offices of Gonzalez & Associates, we talk to people every day who have questions about what steps they should take after a car accident. Even a “fender-bender” collision can be traumatic and disorienting. Knowing what to do in the event of a car accident will pay dividends if it happens to you or a loved one. Even if you are reading this after the fact, there are still steps you can take to help your personal injury case.
One of the most important things you can do after an auto collision is contact an attorney. You cannot count on your insurance agency to protect your interests.
Call 911 And Stay Safe
Summon the police to the scene, and if you think anyone might be hurt, have them send the paramedics. Do not move your vehicle before the police arrive unless traffic poses a risk of further danger. Staying in your vehicle until help arrives is usually safest. You will later need a copy of the police report to file a medical benefits claim and/or personal injury lawsuit.
Seek Medical Attention, Sooner Than Later
Waiving off medical care may come back to haunt you. First of all, your injuries may be more serious than you think. Many symptoms are not felt until hours or days after an accident. Getting checked out will identify any hidden injuries or give you peace of mind. It also creates important medical records if you later turn out to have an injury lawsuit. Under Florida law, you must seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident to file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim.
Gather As Much Information As You Can
Florida has a large number of uninsured drivers. Get the other driver’s name, contact information and insurance information. Get the license plate number and a description of the vehicle. Take photos of the positions of the vehicles and the surrounding scene. Photograph your vehicle from different angles, especially visible damage. Take photos of any visible injuries you or your passengers have, such as cuts or bruises.
While the incident is fresh in your mind, write down any relevant notes about the accident, such as weather conditions, sun angle, road obstacles, what you saw or heard before impact, etc. Keep a journal of your doctor visits, your pain level and symptoms, and other aspects of treatment and recovery. These records may be very useful in your legal case.
Give As Little Information As You Can
You are required to give the other driver your name, contact and insurance information. Do not volunteer any apologies or statements that could be construed as admitting fault. Avoid verbal confrontations with the other driver.
If an insurance adjuster calls, stick to the minimal facts or refer them to your attorney. Do not overexplain the accident, give a recorded statement, sign any releases or accept any settlement offers before getting legal advice.
Call An Attorney, Sooner Than Later
After seeking medical care, your next priority should be to speak with a personal injury lawyer. They will know how to investigate and preserve critical evidence. They will advise you of your rights and what to say to the insurance companies. They will negotiate on your behalf and, if necessary, represent you at trial to secure your compensation.
Trying to handle your own personal injury claim – or waiting too long to hire a lawyer – can seriously hurt your legal case. Your medical bills may be covered by your no-fault insurance if your injuries are minor but you will need legal representation if your losses exceed the limits of your PIP coverage.
We Stand Ready To Help
Gonzalez & Associates has handled thousands of car accident cases throughout Florida, with offices in Miami, Orlando and Tampa. We can answer all your questions with a free initial consultation. Call today at 866-626-4257 or contact us online.