What to Do After a Car Accident
Legal Insight from Our Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyers
The steps you take immediately after a car accident can improve (or diminish) your chances of making a financial recovery. The following information is designed by our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys to help you understand common problems that car accident victims face and how you can avoid them. Additionally, this information can help you prepare for an accident claim or personal injury lawsuit, should you decide to seek financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.
At the Accident Site – What to Do and Avoid
Certain elements of your car accident claim and lawsuit depend on your actions or lack of action at the scene of the crash. Whether you were sideswiped, rear-ended, or involved in a more serious collision, safety is your priority. The first step is removing your vehicle from the flow of traffic, if you are able, and making sure you, the other drivers, and any passengers involved in the accident are safe. If anyone is hurt, call for emergency services.
“Everyone Is Safe, What Should I Do Now?”
- Call the police. Once law enforcement arrives, describe the accident to them. Whether or not they issue a citation to the at-fault driver, ask for a copy of the police report.
- Gather evidence. It’s easy to be confused or upset after an accident. These responses are normal, but it is important to remain calm and gather as much evidence regarding the crash as possible. This means taking pictures of your vehicle, weather conditions, tire marks in the road, the site of the accident, and the other driver’s car / damages.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver. This includes the other driver’s insurance information. Speak to anyone else involved in the accident (passengers and witnesses) and gather their contact information as well. Witnesses may be able to help you establish the facts later in your car accident case.
What to Do After the Accident
Once you are free to leave the scene, seeking medical attention is your priority – even if you don’t feel seriously injured. There are two reasons for this: First, the severity of your accident does not always coincide with the severity of your injuries. Additionally, some injury symptoms may not appear for several days – even weeks - after the accident. By visiting the doctor for a checkup after your accident, you can establish your medical damages during a claim or lawsuit. By not visiting the doctor, you can create evidence against your case.
Common Mistakes to Avoid After an Accident
- Do not apologize. Even a simple statement such as, “I’m sorry” can put your financial recovery in jeopardy.
- The other driver may try to downplay the accident and keep it “off the record.” This could be an attempt to keep you from getting compensation. Always file a report with law enforcement and ask for a copy of the report.
- Do not avoid the doctor, even if you feel fine. Medical records are an important part of any personal injury lawsuit or claim.
Speak to an Attorney As Soon As Possible
Contact a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer as soon as you are able. By talking to a legal representative now, you can stand a better chance of making a full, fair recovery for your damages. Whether your accident led to serious property damage, ongoing physical therapy, hospitalization, or other damages, an attorney from Kelley/Uustal can help you seek compensation for your financial and noneconomic suffering.