Most people who have a car accident in Sebastian, Vero Beach, or anywhere in Florida are in shock. Victims have a million thoughts going through their minds starting with it hurts here, it hurts there, and the pain is really unbearable in this spot. It’s tempting to go fast - to talk and react as if you need to make many decisions at once. The better course is to slow down– to methodically run through a checklist of things you should do to preserve your health and strengthen your car accident case. It’s important to understand what you should do and what you should not.
Move to a safe area
If possible, drivers and passengers should move away from their cars and stay on the side of the road so they can’t be struck by any other vehicles - and are far away in case the fuel tank ignites or there is any other type of explosion.
If the cars are drivable and nobody was injured, you should consider moving the cars off the road. If the cars can’t be moved, then the police will help move them – usually by calling for tow trucks or other service vehicles.
If anyone was injured or tragically died – or if there is significant car damage – then you should wait for the police to arrive so that the evidence of the accident crash can be preserved and so that injured victims can receive medical attention first.
Contact the police or 911
You should call for emergency help. Police are trained to respond to car accidents. They will take many steps to help anyone who is hurt, prevent further accidents, and conduct a preliminary examination of the accident. Police officers will:
- Help set up warnings around the accident site so other drivers don’t crash into the accident site. The police will also, in emergencies, help move any vehicles off the road and away from traffic.
- Arrange for any ambulances or emergency medical technicians to take people who are injured to hospitals or burn centers after receiving immediate emergency care.
- Obtain basic information including the license numbers, insurance information, car registration, and contact information for each driver.
- Conduct an initial review of the accident. By law, police officers are required to file an official report of their investigation within 10 days of completion of the investigation.
- Issue traffic citations such as speeding tickets and may arrest a driver if they suspect the driver who caused your accident was intoxicated.
Stay at the scene of the accident
Anyone who is involved in a Florida car accident is required to stay at the scene of the accident. Drivers should stay at the scene and call the police if anyone is injured or there is significant car damage. Even if the damage is minor and nobody is injured, drivers must exchange their car information and contact information. Leaving the scene of the accident may result in a hit-and-run charge against the fleeing driver.
Exchange relevant information
No matter the seriousness of the accident, drivers do need to exchange the following information:
- Name, address, and phone number
- Driver’s license cards
- Car registration information
- Insurance policy information including the name of the carrier and the policy number.
You should not discuss how the accident happened. Any conversations can be used against you. You need time to think. Mostly, you need to speak with experienced Indian River County car accident lawyers who will guide your through each phase of your car claim process.
You also should never discuss settlement with any of the insurance companies. There’s a lot you will miss. Your car accident lawyer will negotiate your claim for you when the investigation as to the cause of the accident is complete and the status of your injuries is clear.
Most drivers and passengers have smartphones with cameras and videos. You should record images or videos of the following:
- The damage to the vehicles.
- The accident scene as best as you can safely do.
- Your injuries and the injuries to any passengers in your car. These photos are not a beauty contest. You need to show how awful you look.
Many newer cars have dash cameras that may have recorded how the accident happened. The police may even download your dashcam images.
Call your insurance company
Your insurance carrier has a right to know that an accident happened so they can conduct their own investigation of the accident. Your own insurance carrier will also work to pay your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Injured drivers and passengers can claim up to $10,000 in medical and lost wage benefits subject to any deductible. If PIP doesn’t pay for all your bills and you do have injuries or car damage, then you may have the right to file a liability claim against the driver who struck you. At Lulich & Attorneys, we work to show your injuries are serious enough to qualify for a personal injury claim.
Your insurance carrier also has the right to know about the accident because they may be required to pay some of your damages if the people responsible for the accident didn’t have insurance or were underinsured.
Call your Indian River County car accident lawyer
Once the police investigation is complete and you’ve received any emergency medical care you need, you should contact a seasoned Sebastian or Vero Beach car accident lawyer. We’ll:
- Answer all your questions.
- Arrange for our own investigators to examine the accident site and speak with any witnesses.
- Determine which drivers, car owners, and others are responsible for your accident.
- Communicate with your doctors about the severity of your injuries.
- Conduct discovery of the accident by questioning the driver and other relevant witnesses.
- Analyze all the damages that you’re entitled to including pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, and damage to your vehicle.
- Negotiate with the insurance companies for the responsible parties.
- Prepare your case for trial if a settlement can’t be reached.
Contact our Vero Beach and Sebastian car accident lawyers today
At Lulich & Attorneys, our car accident lawyers fight for you from the moment we take your case. We work aggressively to show who caused your accident and why they should be held liable for your injuries. We demand full compensation for accident victims and the families of loved ones when someone in your family dies in a Florida car crash. To make an appointment, call us at 772-589-5500 or fill out our contact form. We handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis.