What Should I Do After A Car Accident in Florida?

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Legally reviewed by Eric Feldman on September 12, 2022 Eric Feldman is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

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There’s never much time to prepare for a car accident: you notice a driver making a dangerous maneuver out of your peripheral vision, you realize they are heading towards you, and in a moment of sheer panic, you realize there is nothing you can do to avoid them. Then the crash. Whether you were in a low-speed fender-bender in the supermarket parking lot or you were hit head-on while driving down the road at night, those first moments after the crash are a mix of fear, confusion, and shock as you try to make sense of what just happened. Flooded with adrenaline, your brain wants to spring right into action. But what should you do?

In any accident, no matter the type, your top priority must be your safety and health. When they show the face masks dropping from the cabin ceiling in the pre-flight movies on an airplane, what do they tell you to do? Put your mask on first before helping anyone beside you. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then how can you do anything else? The same logic applies in a car accident, which is why it is so important that you take a moment to collect your thoughts, scan your body, and take a few deep breaths before you take any next steps. 

1-800-Injured is a legal and medical referral service designed to connect victims with personal injury attorneys in their area for a free consultation. At the scene of the crash, there isn’t a whole lot that an attorney can do, but when it comes time to think about the next steps, connecting with a lawyer is always a good decision. 

Read more below to learn about the steps you should take after a car accident in Miami, FL, and remember that there is a simple way for you to connect with an experienced lawyer by submitting a request through our online form or calling us at 1-800-Injured.

Most importantly, remember that keeping safe is more important than following each of these steps to the letter.

Take a Moment and Collect Your Thoughts

Everyone is affected by fear and pain differently, but it’s almost certain that in the moments after the collision, you will be overcome with heightened awareness and adrenaline. Seconds can feel like minutes, and you may feel supercharged, but this is when it’s most important to take a moment and check in with yourself, your passengers, and the situation as a whole. 

Are you injured? Scan your arms, legs, chest, back, neck, and head to look for any pain. Sweep your hands over injured areas to see if there is any blood. Then verbally check on your passengers as you scan the area and try to identify any other threats such as oncoming traffic or the possibility of a secondary crash. Try to get a read on the situation.

Call 911

If you’ve been in anything worse than a fender bender, it’s always a good idea to call 911 to make sure that there is an officer at the scene to document everything. Sometimes the at-fault driver will attempt to convince (or coerce) the victims to handle everything directly, but there is nothing worse than exchanging all of your information and parting ways in good faith, only to find that the at-fault driver has changed their story or is trying to avoid liability. 

Inform the 911 operator of any injuries that you are aware of, as well as any other relevant information that will be helpful for the police, firefighters, and EMTs to know before they arrive. If the other driver is agitated — or seems intoxicated — then this is also important information to pass along.

Exchange Information

You will need to provide your insurance and contact information to the other driver and take their information down as well. Make sure that you get their name, phone number, address, insurance provider and policy number, driver’s license number, and license plate, as well as the year, make, and model of their vehicle. 

If there are any eyewitnesses, get their contact information as well.

Get Checked By the EMTs

Even if you think you aren’t injured, it’s best to have a professional check you over at the scene of the accident to be sure. Some injuries, like whiplash, may not show themselves — or show their full extent — for a few more days (and in some cases, injuries may not show for months), so even if they give you the “all clear,” you will still want to follow up with your doctor.

If the EMTs suggest an ambulance to the emergency room, it is in your best interest to follow their professional lead.

Gather Photo and Video Evidence

This step is a “nice to have,” so only do it if you are not injured, but gathering photographic and video evidence will be very helpful for your insurance claim. No matter how vivid the situation feels right now, your memories are certain to fade, and the more you go over details with your attorney or the insurance adjuster, the more likely it is for those details to become cloudy in your memory. Photos and videos are irrefutable and unchanging, and your attorney will thank you for having such concrete evidence that they can return to as necessary.

If possible, narrate over the video and call out certain details, such as the events that led up to the crash as you recall them, key landmarks, and other things that you feel could be relevant. 

See Your Doctor

Follow up with your primary care physician to have your injuries checked. For starters, this is the best way to take care of yourself, but secondly, it will generate important documentation about the timeline and details of your injury. Often, an insurance company will try to either downplay the severity of an injury or suggest that it was preexisting, but with your doctor’s support, you will have plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Hire a Lawyer

Many people make the mistake of initiating an insurance claim without first consulting with an attorney, which is understandable because of how difficult it can be to find a lawyer that is available to talk to. Not so with 1-800-Injured. We make it easy to connect with a lawyer for a free consultation where you can discuss your accident and get specific and comprehensive advice on the next steps to take. 

When an attorney initiates your insurance claim on your behalf, the adjuster knows that you are going to fight for the money you deserve and have professional guidance to lead you through the process. The sooner you are connected with a car accident lawyer in Florida, the more time you will have to build a watertight case and fight for the compensation you are rightfully entitled to.