7 Critical Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Lakeland FL
Being involved in an automobile accident is often a stressful and life-changing experience. Most people panic and do not know what to do next. This is a natural reaction to a stressful situation. However, the steps you take after a car accident are going to affect the outcome of your personal injury case, which is why it is vital to do the following things following a vehicle crash in Lakeland or other parts of Florida.
- Check for Injuries and Seek Medical Attention
Refusing to get medical care at the scene of a car crash is one of the most common mistakes people make after being involved in an auto accident. Often, car accident victims do not realize that they have been injured in the crash right away because an adrenaline rush might cover up their symptoms.
Even if nothing hurts and there are no visible injuries following a crash, it is better to be on the safe side and seek medical attention when the ambulance arrives or go to a hospital for a checkup.
- Get to Safety
After the impact, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk if you are able to do so. If your car is operational and could be a hazard to other motorists, pull it to the side of the road. Getting to safety is an important step to avoid additional injuries.
- Report the Car Crash
Another critical step to take following a car crash is to report the accident to the police. The Florida Statutes Section 316.065 requires motorists to report accidents to law enforcement when the crash involves bodily injury, death, or at least $500 estimated property damage.
- Exchange Information
Following the crash, you must exchange contact and insurance information with all the parties involved. The Florida Statutes Section 324.242(2) allows a person involved in a car crash or their attorney to request the other party’s insurance information. Write down the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate, and insurance information.
When communicating with other parties involved in the collision, avoid admitting guilt or saying anything that could compromise your legal claim.
- Gather Evidence
The two most important pieces of evidence that may be readily available at the scene of a car accident are:
- Photos and videos depicting vehicle damage, injuries, skid marks, road conditions, hazards, and other relevant elements; and
- Witness statements that can be used to determine how the crash happened and who was at fault for causing it.
- Contact Your Insurance Company
Under the Florida Statutes Section 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state that requires all motorists to purchase and maintain personal injury protection (“PIP”) insurance coverage. Under the no-fault system, drivers must file claims with their own auto insurance company regardless of fault. You must contact your insurer within a reasonable amount of time of the crash to seek compensation for your injuries.
- Speak with a Lakeland Car Accident Lawyer
Last but not least, you should contact a Lakeland car accident attorney to help you maximize your financial compensation, negotiate a fair settlement, and navigate the legal process. Speak with our attorney Sanga Turnbull, the principal attorney at The Turnbull Firm, to discuss your particular case. Call at 863-324-3500 for a case review.