What to Do After a Car Accident
A car accident can leave you a little shaken up and stressed, whether you were at-fault for the accident or not. While it’s not something anyone wants to think about, the time to review accident procedures is before you need them.
In the unfortunate event of a car accident. there are certain actions you should take to ensure everyone involved is safe, to abide by the laws in your state, and to start the insurance claim process. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends following these steps to help keep our cool after the collision:
Check for Injuries. After the crash, the safety of yourself and anyone else involved should be your first priority. If anyone is injured or appears injured, call 911. Even minor symptoms such as dizziness or a bump on the head should be examined by emergency personnel. If you are too seriously injured, have someone else call 911 and try not to move until help arrives.
Move to a Safe Place. If no one in the vehicle is seriously injured and the vehicle is drivable, move it out of harm’s way to the shoulder or a parking area. If there are injuries or the vehicle is non-drivable, turn off your vehicle, turn on the hazards, and wait for help to arrive.
Call the Police. Whether the accident is a minor fender-bender or a major crash, the local police or highway patrol should be called. In the State of Florida, the crash must be reported to the local municipality of Florida Highway Patrol if there is damage exceeding $500, bodily injury, or death. The responding officer(s) will ask for your driver’s license, contact information, proof of insurance, and registration. They may also ask for identification and information from any passengers in your vehicle. Once the officer documents the incident, request a copy of the accident report for insurance purposes. The report will include the officer’s name, badge number, and contact information.
Exchange Information. Even though this information was collected by the police officer, make sure you obtain the following information from the other driver: full name, phone number, email, driver’s license information, insurance policy information, license plate number, and make and model of the vehicle. If there are any witnesses, obtain their names and contact information as well.
Document the Collision. Use your mobile phone to take photos of the accident. Photos you should take include: all vehicles involved in the crash taken from multiple angles; damage to the vehicles; location of the crash; and other relevant pieces of evidence (i.e. skid marks, road hazards). You might want to take photos of the other vehicle’s license plate and driver’s information, just in case you lose your notes or wrote the information down incorrectly.
Record the Details. Document everything you remember about the accident. You can write it down, dictate the events into your phone, or send yourself a voice-to-text memo. Record the location, road conditions, time of day, weather conditions, the actions of other vehicles involved, and any other pertinent information you can think of. This detailed documentation will be helpful for insurance purposes.
Contact Your Insurance. Call your insurance, from the scene of the crash if possible, to start the claims process. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to file your claim and submit photos via their mobile app instead of waiting for a claims adjustor to assess the damage.
If you’re one of the lucky ones who haven’t been in a car accident, you can prepare for the unexpected with these tips:
Pack a safety kit in your vehicle.
Have important documents including driver’s license, insurance information, and vehicle registration readily available should you need them.
Bring your fully-charged with you whenever traveling by car.
Keep odds & ends (i.e. napkins, pens, tire pressure gauge) in the glove box or center console. In the event of an accident, loose items will fly around.
Even the most seasoned driver can be overwhelmed after an accident. Following the above steps can give your peace of mind, allowing you to focus on your recovery and claims process.
With offices in Wesley Chapel and Tampa, Florida, Stark Injury Law provides individualized representation, with the goal of obtaining fair and just financial compensation to our clients in their time of need. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, you can turn to our firm and expect to receive a high caliber of legal service from an experienced and accessible advocate. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call 813-221-6889 today!
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