If you have been involved in a car accident, the first moments following the crash can be overwhelming; however, the coming days and weeks can be just as stressful and confusing as you start to look towards the future. This page is meant to give you advice about how you can handle the first moments, days, and weeks following your accident. Remember, you are not alone. According to The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are an average of roughly 1,100 accidents across the state each day, and Miami car accidents are certainly part of that average. However, your own auto accident is very important, and working with an attorney is the best way to make sure it is treated as such.
Remember, there is help out there. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service that connects car accident victims with attorneys and doctors. The sooner you contact our team for a free initial consultation about your accident, the sooner you will be connected with an experienced, diligent Miami car accident lawyer who will fight for the money you deserve — money for your medical bills, lost wages, and the many other damages you are likely to suffer. When you are backed by an experienced personal injury law firm, you can focus on your recovery without the added pressure of your Florida car accident case.
Take a look below at some of the most important steps after car accidents, and contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to connect with a personal injury lawyer in Miami-Dade County.
Steps After a Miami Car Accident
The following steps are meant to give you a sense of the process you can take to resolve your claim, but remember that you will need to adjust your plans according to the unique situation you are in. If your injuries are overwhelming your ability to handle things like the accident report and administrative requirements, trying to handle this case yourself may be insufficient. Remember, once you are working with a Miami car accident attorney, they will be able to handle these steps for you. Your health is the absolute number one priority after a Miami, Florida auto accident.
1 Take Stock Of Your Situation
Victims find that after auto accidents, a lot can happen all at once. One of the best things you can do for yourself (if there are not urgent hazards like a fire) is to take a moment to gather your thoughts, inspect your car accident injuries, and check in with your passengers to see if they have been hurt. Adrenaline sets in quickly after a motor vehicle accident — victims may risk making things worse if they simply rush out of the car and ignore the initial pain and suffering their body is trying to alert them to. Try to keep as calm as possible.
2 Call 911
Ensure that the authorities are on their way — whether you are calling them or another person on the scene. If you make the call, be absolutely sure you do not admit fault for the accident. Things happen fast on the road, and it can be hard to tell exactly who or what contributed to the accident. Many people rush through their conversations with a 911 operator, thinking they need to get off the initial call in order to dispatch the emergency responders, but this is not the case. As soon as you alert the operator to your car crash, they will dispatch Miami police, firefighters, and EMTs who will secure the area, address ongoing hazards, and administer medical treatment to the accident victims at the scene.
3 Get Medical Attention At the Scene
The most important thing for car accident victims to do is to prioritize their health from the moment they are involved in Miami-Dade County car accidents. This means accepting a field examination from the EMTs at the scene of the car accident, and taking their advice seriously. Many people are scared off by the potential of a costly ambulance ride, but remember that you will be able to seek compensation for all of your medical bills during your car accident case. Refusing an ambulance or additional treatment can lead to significantly more pain and suffering, which may, in turn, lead to more medical bills. If you are injured in a car accident, be certain to get all of the care you require.
Your car accident lawyer will need a copy of the report from the interactions you had with the EMTs, whether or not you ultimately take an ambulance to the hospital. One of the first things car accident lawyers will ask about during your initial consultation is the help you received at the scene, because it will give them a better sense of the moments following your Miami car accident.
4 Provide and Gather Necessary Information
If your injuries allow, you will speak with the attending Florida law enforcement officer about your side of the story so they can complete an accident report. REMEMBER: If you admit fault or describe the accident inaccurately, this information can be used against you during the case. If you have accepted responsibility or incorrectly described the accident’s events, contact a car accident attorney in Miami immediately to begin working on your case.
While emergency responders make their way over to the scene, collect the following information in writing or on your phone — if you are physically able:
- The name, address, and phone number of the other driver
- The other driver’s insurance company and policy information
- Pictures of the vehicles involved, particularly the license plate of the other car.
- General details of the crash, including specific locations and the events leading up to the crash, such as the speed and direction you were traveling
- The names and phone numbers of any witnesses that may have been present on the scene or that may have seen any aspect of the car crash. These details are crucial, so even if there is a language barrier — attempt to collect as many witness identifiers as possible
However, do not overwhelm yourself or complicate your injuries trying to rush around collecting this information. Miami car accident lawyers are skilled in gathering this information, and will make sure nothing is missing from your report or the information you have. In addition to the work that your car accident attorneys will do for a follow-up, the Miami police officer at the scene will collect a significant portion of the above information for their own police report.
5 Follow Up With Your Primary Care Physician
If you’ve already taken an ambulance to the hospital, this step is redundant and likely unnecessary. Your doctor should be alerted to the initial medical treatment that you received at the hospital and you will need to follow up with your primary care physician regardless. This step is more important for those who are able to walk away from injuries from auto accidents who may not realize the importance of medical records for their personal injury claim. Naturally, the most important thing throughout the entire process is getting appropriate medical care, but the additional benefit is that you will generate significant documentation that will help to prove your pain and suffering and other impacts after being injured in a car crash. Make sure that you are in close contact with your doctor.
6 Follow Up On Your Police Report
As stated previously, do not admit fault. Anything you say can and will be used against you by the insurance company representing the other party or parties involved in the accident. Remember that it is okay to say “I don’t know” when responding to the questions posed by law enforcement officials. Once you confer with a Miami car accident lawyer, you may be able to provide additional details to the investigating officers that you are not sure of at the time of the crash. Make sure you have a thorough examination by the medical professionals on the scene, and if possible, report those details to law enforcement to include in the report. Insurance companies will use these reports as the central source of truth for accident cases, so be sure yours is accurate.
7 Call 1-800-Injured to Connect With a Miami Car Accident Lawyer
Call us immediately so we can arrange a motor vehicle personal injury lawyer for you who focuses on helping injury victims of Florida car accidents recover the compensation they are entitled to after involved in a motor vehicle accident. Many people believe they should hold off on speaking with an accident lawyer in Miami until after they have filed a claim with the relevant insurance companies, but the reality is that the moment an adjuster takes over your Fort Lauderdale or Miami, Florida accident claim, they will be looking for any reason to limit your settlement amount. Insurance agents are skilled in handling car accident cases, and are working on behalf of their employer, NOT the accident victims. You deserve a personal injury attorney to fight for your best interests.
Miami Car Accident Statistics
As one of the most populated cities in America, there have been hundreds of thousands of Miami motor vehicle crashes in recent years. Florida saw 401,867 car accidents in 2019, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). Of those 401,867 accidents, there were 3,185 fatalities. Statistics show the risk for a potential auto accident in Florida is among the highest in the United States, so drivers are warned to remain alert and always drive defensively to avoid imminent accidents when possible. The risk of an accident in Florida is due to a number of factors, which may include wide highways, many tourists, and an aging population whose reflexes may not be as sharp as they once were. Of course, there are just a few of the many reasons you are at a high risk of a Florida car accident no matter how diligent you are.
Remaining alert when driving remains one of the best means for avoiding a car accident in Miami-Dade County or anywhere else in Florida. Just one second can mean the difference between a life or death accident so drivers are encouraged to remain focused on the road, and not to text and drive. Talking on the phone in itself while driving is illegal in 22 states and territories. Distracted driving is dangerous even when phones are not involved, and it is routinely shown to be a significant factor in many accidents, and may even cause wrongful death. According to the CDC, over 2,800 people were killed in an accident caused by distracted driving, and 400,000 accidents across the country involved this dangerous behavior.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, don’t be just another statistic: contact 1-800-Injured as soon as possible to be connected to experienced car accident lawyers in your area. If you have lost a loved one in a car accident someone else caused, we can connect you with a Miami wrongful death attorney today.
Be Aware of the Florida Statute of Limitations
The 2020 Florida Statutes set forth the rules surrounding car accidents and other personal injury claims. The law explains that a person has a limited amount of time to file a claim in regard to an accident, making it very important to contact an attorney immediately. In most cases, a car accident victim has four years from either the date of the accident or the date the injuries were first identified. Auto accident attorneys use this time in order to build strong cases for their clients’ accident claims, so make sure you do not wait to start working with personal injury lawyers in Miami. Florida law allows for four years, but this time will go by quickly.
If you were in a car accident in the state of Florida and believed you were not injured, only to find months or years later that you were, your statute of limitations may begin on the date you discover the injury. Make sure you connect with a Miami car accident attorney or personal injury law firm as soon as you discover your injuries so they can help you understand the limitations of your insurance coverage, how your claim will work after a delayed start, and more. While you are certainly entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and the many other damages of a car accident in the state of Florida, it can be more complicated to prove these injuries are stemming from the accident when dealing with insurance companies.
Car Accident FAQ
The following are just a few of the many questions an experienced Miami personal injury attorney will be able to answer for you. Keep in mind that the following questions and answers are simply meant to give you a general sense of your own situation, but the only way to get a clear answer relating to your unique circumstances is by working directly with a lawyer. The sooner you contact the team at 1-800-Injured, the sooner you will be able to connect with a Miami personal injury attorney without hassle.
Can I settle Miami car accidents with the other driver?
Though it may be tempting to avoid the hassle, there’s too much risk involved in this option. The other driver may change their mind after agreeing to settle directly, any inconsistencies or lack of a crash report may mean that you are left paying for the damages that someone else caused. Always call 911 after a Miami accident, even if you believe there was only property damage, to make sure that there is a reliable third-party bearing witness to your statements, as well as the statements made by the other driver. You will have a very difficult time convincing the other driver to cover damages like your medical care, lost wages, or pain and suffering, which insurance coverage is designed to do, and what car accident lawyers are trained to fight for.
How much will my personal injury claim be worth?
There are many different unique factors that go into determining exactly how much a car accident victim is owed, and your car accident lawyer will be able to guide you through the range of impacts you may have suffered in order to identify each before going back to calculate the dollar value. There are no set settlement packages for car accidents, since each one varies by the type of injuries suffered, the cost of the medical care, the lost wages, as well as the wide range of intangible “non-economic damages” you have endured. Personal injury attorneys are very experienced at recognizing, cataloging, and quantifying both economic and non-economic damages. The sooner you are working with an attorney, the sooner you will have clarity on the total sum of damages you are entitled to through either an out-of-court settlement or lawsuit award.
When should I hire a car accident attorney?
After a Miami car accident, many people are inclined to file an insurance claim on their own, and ultimately go through much of the insurance claims investigation without legal representation. They only realize that they need an attorney once the insurance company concludes the investigation and returns with a pittance for a settlement offer. At this point, it is not too late to hire an attorney, but the past 30+ days could have been highly productive for a lawyer as they performed their own investigation in tandem with the insurance adjuster’s.
The reality is that if you could hire an attorney before even getting out of your vehicle following an accident, that would be the best time. The next best time is now. Once an accident lawyer in Miami is handling your claim, you can focus entirely on your recovery without taking on the additional stress of the claims investigation — not to mention that your attorney will be able to avoid common errors that insurance agents capitalize on when dealing directly with victims.
What if my premiums go up?
In Florida, it is illegal for your insurance company to increase your insurance coverage premium unless you were at fault for the accident. It is important to note that if your insurance company finds out you violated their contract by not reporting an accident you were responsible for, they may deny your coverage completely. This is equally true if you use your personal injury protection (PIP) or file against other insurance companies, provided the other driver is responsible for your accident. Personal injury protection is an important part of your own insurance coverage that will cover medical expenses if the other driver is underinsured or uninsured.
What if my injuries aren’t that severe?
Oftentimes after an accident, your adrenaline is pumping from shock, which means you may not notice symptoms of an injury for several days. Soft tissue injuries can take weeks before they flare up, and if you wait too long before seeing a doctor your insurance company may even deny your claim. Do not wait to get a medical exam no matter how minor you believe your injuries are. Injury victims, no matter how minor or serious their injuries, do not deserve to take on the financial burdens of someone else’s reckless or negligent driving behavior in Miami. In initial consultations with car accident attorneys, you will get a better sense of how and why filing claims after car accidents is the most responsible thing you can do.
My car is fine, should I skip dealing with insurance?
You may think that your car is fine, but that may not be the case. If you drive your car with physical or mechanical defects and the damage becomes worse as you drive, you may find yourself paying more for additional repairs than if you had gotten the car fixed through your insurance right from the start. Not to mention, you will save yourself the trouble and the worry by getting it all done at once by a skilled professional through your insurance. Property damage is one of the easiest types of damages to recover from an insurance company in Miami car accidents, and car accident lawyers will be happy to help.
Miami Car Accident Lawyers
1-800-Injured is connected with diligent, experienced car accident attorneys who can represent you with your claim. If you’re injured in a car accident, contact us today to speak to a Florida car accident personal injury lawyer in your area.