Car accidents are on the rise in the Sunshine State. In 2015, the state reported 2,699 fatal crashes, with close to 3,000 total automotive fatalities that year. And not all of these crashes were because of irresponsible driving. Car accidents can happen to even the most responsible drivers – sometimes, there’s very little that you can do. What you can do, however, is to stay calm and react appropriately. Here’s a list of things you should do immediately after an accident:
• Stop: Not doing so is an offense, especially if it results in an injury to you, any other person or animal, or if it results in property damage. Stop, even if it is a minor accident. Stop, even if the accident is not your fault.
• Call 911: Do this even when the accident does not result in serious injuries. You will thank yourself later when insurance companies are battling each other. An independent report from the police can help you substantiate your claims. Explain the accident as clearly as possible and to the best of your ability. If you’re not sure of certain details, explain that as well.
• Check if everyone’s alright: If you aren’t injured, check if everyone around you is safe; ask for help if someone is injured. If you are injured and cannot move, stay where you are until help arrives. Turn on the hazard lights and use road flares to alert other drivers. Move the car out of the pathway to make way for others, but leave the car as it is after help arrives.
• Take pictures: Take pictures of the accident, even if the police are already doing so – but do not interfere with their investigation. If you cannot take them immediately after the accident, do it as soon as you possibly can. This can be given as supporting evidence later to your personal injury lawyer.
• Exchange insurance information: Ideally, the police collect this information from both parties. But, in situations where the police haven’t responded yet, you can record important information, including name, contact details, etc. Get information from any witnesses so that you or your car accident lawyer can contact them later.