What to Do After a Car Accident in South Florida
Knowledgeable Car Accident Attorneys Represent Palm Beach County, Broward County and South Florida Communities
The time following a South Florida car accident can be hectic and overwhelming. But it is important to take certain steps after the accident to preserve your right to compensation.
Both Florida law and the insurance companies will require certain documentation after your motor vehicle accident. It is also important to seek out medical attention even if you do not think you were injured.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our South Florida car accident attorneys are here to help you maximize your right to compensation from the insurance company and any negligent driver.
What You Should Do After a Palm Beach County or Broward County Car Accident
After a car accident, the very first thing you need to do is check for injuries. If there are any injuries, you should quickly call 911 to obtain necessary medical attention. Unless someone is in immediate danger, such as from a fire, do not move them.
Once you’ve done everything you can to make sure everyone is okay, it’s time to take steps to protect your legal rights. You may need evidence when seeking damages from the insurance companies and any negligent drivers.
To ensure that you are fully protected after a car crash, our South Florida attorneys recommend that you:
- Call the police. After a car accident, it is important to report the accident to the local police, Florida Highway Patrol, or the sheriff. If the accident caused damages that exceed $500, this report will be necessary to get compensation later. If you’re not sure if calling the police is necessary, call them anyway to be safe.
- Get the vehicles out of the way. If no one is injured and the vehicles are still working, move them out of the flow of traffic.
- Exchange insurance and contact information. If you were not seriously injured, obtain the names, addresses, insurance information and phone numbers of the other drivers involved in the accident. Also, take a photo of the other car’s license plate and insurance card.
- Take photos. If possible, use your smartphone to take photos of the vehicles and accident scene. These pictures may be useful when dealing with other drivers concerning fault or with the car insurance companies.
- Do not admit fault. Whether talking to a police officer or another driver, explain what you believe happened. Tell the truth, but do not say you caused the accident. You might learn later that you weren’t at fault or that you were only partially at fault.
- Organize your evidence. This means backing up your photographs and gathering all the information you have concerning what happened. It will usually be helpful to takes notes about where the accident occurred, when it occurred and how it occurred. Memories fade with time and it will be useful to have something to reference when speaking with your car insurance company or attorney.
- Notify your car insurance company. Under Florida’s no-fault law, you will initially file a claim with your own insurance company after an auto accident. This is the case even if the accident was not your fault. It’s a good idea to notify your car insurance company as soon as possible, even if you don’t plan on filing a claim.
- Contact an attorney. After a car accident, contact a car accident attorney to get advice regarding your rights and responsibilities. While an attorney may not be necessary for a simple fender-bender, it’s strongly recommended you have one if the accident resulted in any serious injury or if you may be facing criminal prosecution.
It is also important to note that you are required to attempt to locate the owner of a motor vehicle that was unattended when you hit it. Additionally, if you are involved in an accident with another driver, do not leave the scene until you have exchanged information with the other driver. If a police officer responds to the accident, get the officer’s permission before leaving the scene.
Helping Your Florida Car Insurance Company Investigate the Accident
Your car insurance policy will require you to cooperate with your car insurance company as a condition of coverage. So if you intend to file a claim, plan on taking reasonable steps to provide them with any information you have about the accident.
There are two things to keep in mind, though. First, you think you may be criminally charged for a crime relating to the accident. Second, you get the feeling that your car insurance company is not acting in your best interests. For example, if you think they’re looking for a reason to wrongfully deny your claim.
If either situation applies to you, obtain legal representation. You will still be required to cooperate with your car insurance company if you expect coverage. But your attorney can help you decide what information you can share without incriminating yourself or hindering your ability to get paid for your injuries and/or property damage.
Paying for Medical Treatment in South Florida Following a Car Accident
For the sake of your health, it is critical to have all of your accident-related injuries properly treated. You should also do this because Florida insurance laws require that you seek medical treatment to make a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
Florida PIP law requires that you seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to receive PIP benefits. It is important to remember that injuries are not always immediately apparent and they can show up later.
Another reason to seek medical attention is if you decide to sue the at-fault driver later on. The longer you delay medical help, the harder it will be to recover compensation. One reason for this is because a delay implies your injuries weren’t severe.
Trying to Figure Out What to Do Next Following Your Florida Car Accident?
The time following a car accident can be hectic, frustrating and stressful, especially if you sustained serious injuries. Our South Florida attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. are here to help.
If you would like to discuss your car accident case, contact our offices at 561-898-0497, or toll-free at 888-888-3903. You can schedule a free consultation where we can learn what happened and provide you with trustworthy and compassionate guidance. This will help you recover from your injuries and evaluate your legal options.
For greater convenience, we have two offices. Our main office is located at 813 Lucerne Ave, Lake Worth, FL 33460. But we also have an office in Pompano Beach.