Insurance industry statistics say that each of us will be in a motor vehicle accident about four times in our lives. In fact, every year, there are about six million automobile accidents—resulting in injuries to about three million people. Two-thirds of these injuries are permanent in nature, impacting those affected for the rest of their lives. That’s why it is critical to know what steps to take immediately following an accident and in the days following.
- Assess the injuries of those involved. If anyone is too injured to move safely, wait for first responders. Anyone who is injured should seek medical treatment, even if it just appears to be soreness. Be aware that some injuries can take days or weeks to fully manifest themselves.
- Report the accident. Immediately after the accident, you should contact authorities, making a point to report any injuries. In Florida, the law requires that accidents be reported to police if the damages exceed $500, if there are injuries, or if there is loss of life. Photos should be taken of the damage to the vehicle(s) involved and of any injuries. Those involved should answer any questions from the police to the best of their knowledge.
- Document everything. In the early stages following an accident, fault may not be immediately apparent. This is why photos, witness statements, police reports, and copies of medical exams be secured. It’s also imperative that you make a note of all names and contact information of those involved in the accident as well as any witnesses. These documents and contacts will be extremely important in any insurance claim or legal action that may take place.
- Keep a record of losses and expenses. The impact of an auto accident can last for weeks or months. Immediately document any losses or expenses you may incur following the accident. Be sure to include rental car expenses, rideshare or taxi costs, towing, and lost time from work. If you experience discomfort, document how you are feeling physically and mentally in a journal.
- Secure legal representation. A lawyer can help ensure you are making appropriate decisions following an auto accident and potentially establish the responsible party. An experienced auto injury firm can help ensure you are properly compensated for your losses and suffering. They will guide you through important medical and legal procedures and serve as your advocate when you need one most.
Remember, you should never admit any guilt to anyone on the scene, and you should never give a recorded statement to an insurance company representing another party without first consulting your attorney. The insurance companies involved may attempt to get you to admit liability or underestimate your injuries on the record. These statements may come back to work against you in any future claim.
An experienced personal injury attorney can be extremely valuable. Harrell & Harrell attorneys have established themselves as shepherds in Jacksonville and Northeast Florida personal injury law. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation today.