How Do I Protect My Rights After a Car Accident?

Protecting your rights after a car accident in South Florida

How do I protect my rights after a car accident? After you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, this is the question you’ll probably be asking.

After a motor vehicle crash, it is critical that you act quickly to protect your legal rights and options. Failing to take these steps may cause you to lose out on the ability to seek financial compensation from the driver or other party responsible for the accident.

Document the Accident Scene

In Florida, you are required to report an accident to the authorities when it involves death or injury, a hit-and-run, an intoxicated driver, or property damage of more than $500. You can fulfill this requirement by contacting the local police department or the Florida Highway Patrol on the highway. If you contact law enforcement, an officer or trooper will come to the scene and write up an accident report. Make sure to request a copy of this report from law enforcement after the accident, as it often serves as a key piece of evidence in car accident claims.

If possible and safe to do so, take photographs of the accident scene, including damage to the vehicles involved in the accident, the position of vehicles after the crash (if they have not been moved), traffic controls, visual obstructions, and weather and traffic conditions. Also photograph any visible injuries you’ve suffered.

If any eyewitnesses saw the crash, ask them for their contact information if they are willing to provide a statement.

Get Examined by a Doctor

It is critical that you are seen by a physician soon after your accident. Even though injuries from a car crash can take days or even weeks to begin causing you pain or other symptoms, promptly diagnosing your injuries can help avoid significant pain or worsening conditions down the road, and can also create a record that establishes that your injuries were caused by the crash and not by pre-existing or degenerative conditions, as insurance companies often like to argue. 

Make sure to follow all treatment instructions and recommendations. If you allow your injuries to worsen, you can jeopardize your right to compensation. Not following through with treatment also gives the insurance companies a reason to argue that you aren’t as serious injured as you claim.

Keep a Diary or Journal

Start a journal after the accident, beginning with your recollection of what happened in the crash, so that you’ll have something to refer to throughout your case to refresh your memory. Keep notes about how your injuries and treatment impact your life, including the pain and difficulties you experience.

Have Your Car Inspected

It can help your claim for property damage to have your car inspected by a couple of auto shops to receive estimates for repairs, or a determination that your vehicle is not economically salvageable (the cost of repairs exceeds the value of the vehicle) 

Track Your Damages

You should also keep copies of all documents of your expenses and damages from the accident, including medical bills and invoices, receipts for vehicle repairs and car rentals, copies of your pay stubs or income statements to document your lost wages, and any other record of out-of-pocket costs.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer

Finally, you should arrange to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the crash. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and walk you through the first steps in pursuing compensation from those at fault for the accident.

Contact a Lake Worth Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Car Accident Case in Florida

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a car accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. represent clients injured because of car accidents in Miramar, Coral Springs, Davie, Boca Raton, and throughout Florida. Call (561) 533-0345 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 813 Lucerne Ave., Lake Worth, FL 33460, as well as offices in Pompano Beach.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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