Last Updated: July 1st, 2019 at 9:21 pm
Read Time: 6 Minutes
What to Do Immediately After a Car AccidentA car accident can undoubtedly leave you feeling scattered. However, it is imperative to follow post-accident procedures to make sure you take the proper steps after a car accident to protect your rights as a car accident victim.
Step 1: Move to SafetyMake sure everyone involved is safe. It is not safe to stay near your car, if possible, move your car out of the way. If this is not possible, flip on your hazards to warn other drivers that your vehicle has been in an accident. Turn off the engine and move off to the side. Take a moment here to catch your breath and compose yourself. Make sure everyone has been moved to safety and that no one is seriously harmed.
Step 2: Check OthersCheck everyone involved in the crash, including other drivers, the passengers, and even pedestrians. If anyone may be injured, please call 911, even a seemingly minor injury should be checked out by a health care professional. Car crash injuries are often not apparent at the scene.
Step 3: Call the PoliceEven for minor accidents, a police accident report will come in handy when dealing with insurance companies and other drivers. Avoid blaming others while at the scene, let the police objectively write the report. Remember, Florida is a no-fault state, which means every motorist is required to have personal injury protection coverage, and this insurance goes into effect immediately after a claim has been filed, regardless who caused the accident.
Step 4: Gather InformationWhile at the car crash scene, you want to make sure – if you are able – to gather as much information about everyone involved in the crash as possible. We will discuss the exact documents you want to make sure you document in the following section.
Step 5: Document the AccidentIn today’s world, everyone has a smartphone with a camera. After you are sure you’re fine, and you haven’t sustained any serious injuries, make sure to take some photos of the accident scene. Take pictures of your vehicle, the scene, the other driver’s vehicle, and so on.
Step 6: Decide What Type of Claim to FileSince Florida is a no-fault state, immediately after a car accident you can use your PIP coverage for your injuries and the injuries of anyone in the car with you. However, you still have the right to sue the other driver for serious injuries, or if your injuries exceed your PIP coverage.Also, you can also choose to file a collision coverage claim, in which case you will work directly with the insurance company for reimbursement. This process can be lengthy and extremely complicated as insurance companies will always be looking out for their benefits, not yours.
What Documents You NeedWhile at the scene, you want to make sure you gather specific documents that will help you process your claim. It is crucial you collect as much information as possible since all parties, from the insurance company to the car accident attorney, are going to refer back to this information throughout your case.
From the Other Driver/Passengers InvolvedFirst of all, you need a list of everyone involved in the accident. You want to make sure you have the following information:
- Name of the other driver
- Address of the other driver and contact information
- Other drivers’ insurance company name and policy number
- Other drivers’ vehicle description – making, model, and year
- Vehicle registration information (VRI)
- License plate number
From the SceneWhile you are not a police officer or detective, the most information you can gather about the crash scene the better your claim process will be. Make sure to collect the following information:
- Date and time of the accident
- Detailed address of the crash
- Nearest cross street
- The direction you were traveling in
- The direction the other car was traveling in
- A detailed explanation of what happened
- Notes regarding driving conditions (visibility, weather, etc.)
- Pedestrians or witnesses names and contact information
From the PoliceOnce the police arrive at the scene, they will also be demanding information from both parties and a short explanation of what happened at the scene. However, the car accident victims also need information from the police, including:
- Official car accident report copy
- Officers name and badge number
- Contact information for each officer
From the ParamedicsRegardless of the type of injuries car accident victims may sustain during a crash, contacting the paramedics or medical care attention immediately after a car accident is imperative. In occasions, car accident injuries don’t appear noticeable until a few days after the crash. From the medical attendees, you need to gather:
- Official medical assessment
- The complete post-accident medical report
- Medical bills and expenses
- Treatment plans, if applicable