What to Do After an Accident
Orlando, Florida, Injury Attorney
If you drive a motor vehicle the chances are good that you will be involved in an accident at some point in your life. Even the best drivers cannot control the behavior of others on the road.
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If you are involved in an accident involving a car, truck, motorcycle, or any other type of motor vehicle, it is important to know what to do. What happens immediately following an accident can have a bearing on whether or not you will be able to later receive compensation for the full extent of damages you suffered.
What to do After an Accident
In general, you should first seek aid for any injuries and then take actions that will create a record of what happened and preserve evidence. It's wise to have an emergency kit with first-aid supplies, a pen and paper, and a disposable camera in your glove box or trunk.
There are Dos and Donts to every car accident:
Following a car accident, many victims are left confused, distressed, and injured. As a result, they do not have the composure to make sure they gather all of the critical information that is needed to construct a strong auto accident lawsuit later. The decisions you make in the minutes, hours, and days following your accident are critical. Read the following dos and don'ts to educate yourself on exactly what you need to do if you are in a car accident.
Do ensure that your tow operator, mechanic, or junkyard contact retains any and all pieces of evidence, even things that may seem insignificant.
Do document the scene as best you can. Take notes, sketch a diagram of the accident, note the date and time, and jot down any significant landmarks or weather conditions.
Do get information from the other drivers involved, including full name, insurance, license number, address, and two ways to contact them. Obtaining both a phone number and email address is ideal.
Do make sure you are aware of the difference between the replacement value of your car and what you actually owe on the car. If your car is totaled, most car insurance will only cover the cash value of your vehicle at the time of the accident.
Do keep receipts for money you spend on car rental, medical bills, and purchases made in connection with the motor vehicle accident.
Do call the police. Dial 9-1-1. A police report is one of the first piece of evidence that can be used to substantiate your case.
Do take pictures of the property damage.
Do videotape the scene as soon as possible. Come back to document it if you do not have a camera on you.
Do get witness names, numbers, and addresses
Do take pictures of any bruising, cuts, scrapes, and other injuries you may have suffered
Do not give a statement to the other side's insurance company.
Do not wait to seek legal representation. The longer you put off getting help, the harder it will be to prove your case and make sure you are compensated.
Do not ignore time limit s to file your insurance claim run out. If you do, your claim may might be barred.
Do not accept a check from your insurance company, especially if it says final payment. Wait until you have obtained legal advice and carefully weighed your options.
Do not sign a release or waiver until you have gotten reliable legal advice. You may feel pressure to sign from your insurance company, but it is your right to explore your options.
Do not rely on the other driver to contact you. Be sure to obtain all contact and insurance information there at the scene, as it may be impossible to later.
Please follow these steps:
1. Get medical assistance. If you or anyone else in the accident has been injured, get medical treatment as soon as possible.
2. Call police. Request that an accident report be created and obtain the accident report number.
3. Exchange information with other drivers. Write down the name, address, phone number, driver's license number, and insurance policy number for all drivers involved in the accident. Write down the vehicle identification number and license plate number of all other motor vehicles. Find out who owns and insures the vehicle, if that person is someone other than the driver. Note the make and model of each vehicle and whether they were damaged. Make sure you get the correct information and be aware that the person at fault may try and leave the scene of the accident.
4. Speak carefully. Be polite, but do not tell other drivers or the police that the accident was your fault. Refrain from discussing your injuries—or lack of them—with other drivers.
5. Talk to witnesses. Write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Find out what they saw. They may be able to help you if other drivers disagree with your description of events.
6. Take photographs or video. Record the scene of the accident and damage to each vehicle. Take photographs from many angles as well as close ups of damaged areas. If you have any signs of physical injury, such as cuts or bruises, take photographs as soon as possible. Be sure you get the photos printed promptly. If you have a video camera or phone that has video capacity, videotape the accident scene, hospital visit, and any injuries you may have suffered.
8. Don't sign anything. An insurance adjuster may contact you and offer you a quick settlement. By signing such an agreement, you give up your right to be compensated for injuries and other damages that may develop later. REMEMBER INSURANCE ADJUSTERS REPRESENT INSURANCE COMPANIES AND THEIR JOB IS TO SAVE THEIR INSURANCE COMPANY MONEY.
7. Contact an attorney. A personal injury lawyer will be able to give you legal advice to protect your interests. At The Umansky Law Firm, we will deal with the insurance companies, so you can focus on your medical treatment and physical recovery.
From our offices in Orlando, we help victims of auto accidents every day. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our Orlando accident lawyers if you have been involved in an accident.