15 Feb 4 Things to Do in the 24 Hours Following a Florida Car Accident
The aftermath of a car accident is confusing and chaotic. While car accidents are unfamiliar events, they are relatively common. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported that there were 401,867 crashes in 2019, just slightly less than the 403,626 crashes reported in 2018. This averages out to over 1,100 crashes in Florida every day.
Because most people are involved in a car accident at some point in their life, knowing what to do following a collision is important. If you file a claim, your actions following your accident may be analyzed or scrutinized, particularly in regard to getting medical care.
#1: Contact Law Enforcement (Local Police or Florida Highway Patrol)
The first thing to do after an accident is to contact the police. Law enforcement will come out to the scene and take a report. Staying at the scene of a crash and calling 911 is required in any of the following situations, under Section 316.065, Florida Statutes:
- A crash with injury
- A crash with a fatality
- A hit and run crash
- A DUI crash
- A crash that requires a vehicle to be removed off the road
- A crash with a commercial motor vehicle
- A crash where apparent damage is at least $500.00.
If the crash causes only minor damage to the vehicle, and no injury, you may be able to self-report the crash. This must be done within ten days under Section 316.066(1)(e), Florida Statutes.
While you wait for police, you should document the accident scene as much as you can, with photographs. Use your phone to record photos and video clips of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and the surrounding area. If you are unable to take photos yourself, ask a passenger or witness to help you. The police or highway patrol will likely take photos, but they may not take enough, and ideally, you do not want to rely on their preservation of evidence.
#2: Get Medical Care
Seeking medical attention must be a priority after an accident. Do not downplay your injuries, or go home to see how you feel later. If you have been injured, get to the hospital, or urgent care as soon as possible. Your medical treatment record is an important link between the accident and how you are feeling. If the doctor treating you recommends that you follow up with your primary care provider or a specialist, make sure to follow those recommendations. If you later make a car accident claim for your injuries, the insurance company will review your file and question why you did not follow recommendations.
#3: Report the Accident
Your insurer requires you to notify them of an accident. Because Florida is a “no-fault” state, most people will file a claim with their own insurance. If your injuries meet Florida’s “serious injury” threshold, you can proceed with a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
#4: Get a Free Consultation with a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
Anyone who is hurt in a car accident caused by another negligent party is well-advised to speak with a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. When you hire Sara Jones Law, P.A., you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery, while we negotiate a fair settlement. We will put our experience, skills, and knowledge to work for you. We strongly advise not taking on a case alone, as attorneys are almost always able to recover a far greater settlement. Contact us today to discuss your case. Your initial consultation is free, and under our contingency fee agreement, there are never any legal fees unless we recover money for you.