If you’ve been in a car crash in Florida, you may be worried about how to pay for medical expenses, how to make up the days of work (and pay) you have missed, and how you will pay for medical expenses and other household bills while taking time off work to recover. How will you fix or repair your damaged car? What if you can never work again? Who will pay you the money you deserve for your injuries? The losses that arise from a car accident can be life-changing, devastating, long-lasting and expensive to treat. If you have been hurt by a careless driver, you should enlist an experienced and aggressive Orlando car accident lawyer at Jon Lambe Law to help you seek the financial compensation you deserve.
The most common types of car accidents we see at our firm include:
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, it is often difficult for people to remember what they need to do, from ensuring that everyone is safe and out of harm’s way, to gather all of the documentation they may need to file a claim once everything has settled down. It is only natural to be flustered, confused, and concerned about the safety of yourself, your passengers, and the other people involved in the accident, so it is important to keep a checklist handy to ensure that you do not forget an important step following a crash.
The car accident lawyers at Jon Lambe Law have seen firsthand how confusing things can be after a car accident, especially one that involves injuries to one or more people. We firmly believe in lending a helping hand to those who have been hurt, and we are ready to assist you in any way possible. For those who have never been in an accident or those who do not know what to do in the event of a crash, we have put together this handy Car Accident Claims Checklist. We hope you never have to use it, but if you do, we hope it allows you to follow the correct steps to ensure a smoother process of tracking the details for filing an insurance claim.
Move to the shoulder or a safe location. Car accidents can occur anywhere at any time, so you may find yourself in an area that is not secure or is near heavy traffic. Do not stay on the road if possible. Try to move all vehicles (if possible) out of the way of vehicular traffic. Also, make sure to stand in a safe place far away from traffic and behind any traffic control barriers, if possible.
Stay on the scene and call 911. Never leave the scene of an accident. Emergency services and law enforcement should be contacted immediately, especially if someone has been injured in the collision. Make sure to remain on the scene and follow all instructions given to you by emergency personnel.
Immediately seek medical treatment. If you or someone else is hurt, get evaluated and treated on the scene by Fire Rescue. When you are injured you should also ask to be taken to the emergency room to be evaluated by a doctor. If you are not hurt and someone else is, make sure to assist with any emergency procedures that need to be administered, but do not move someone who is seriously injured.
Take photographs of the accident scene. Take photos of the accident scene as well as every vehicle involved in the accident. Because evidence may be cleaned up once the vehicles have been removed, it is essential that you document as much as possible before the scene has been altered. Take pictures of all of the vehicles involved (including license plates) making special note of damage to all vehicles and where the damage was. Take pictures of the surrounding scene, including traffic signals and signs and any skid marks, tire marks in the grass, or other elements that may come in handy when piecing together the cause of the accident. Document any objects that were damaged in the accident including guardrails, signs, or posts that may have been struck. These photos are very important and will assist you in your claim or if your case has to go to court.
Contact your insurance agency. As soon as possible following the accident, call your insurance company to let them know you were in an accident. Speak with the agent about your next steps and ask about emergency roadside assistance to help you deal with your damaged or totaled vehicle.
Gather information at the scene. When discussing the accident with other drivers and witnesses, make sure to remain calm and be polite. No matter what you do, do not admit fault. Any statements you make to others may be documented, and even innocent comments may be construed as admitting fault, so be careful not to apologize or insinuate that you may have been responsible for any part of the accident. The information you should collect includes:
*Safety Note* – Only give out your name, insurance company information, vehicle make, model, and VIN at the scene of the accident. Do not give your personal information (address, phone number), nor should you allow anyone to take a photo of your driver’s license or vehicle’s registration. Protect your privacy, and do not give out unnecessary information to people who you do not know!
Document the relevant facts. While at the scene, law enforcement may ask you to fill out an accident report. If they do not, make sure to record the basic-but-essential information including:
Make sure also to note any discussions you have with police officers and other emergency personnel at the scene of the accident and record all actions they take, including when and if individuals were transported to the hospital.
Obtain documents related to your accident. When the other drivers and police file their accident reports, make sure to get a copy for your records and give all associated documentation to your insurance agent and attorney if you have retained legal counsel. Other reports may have valuable information that is not included in your notes, so make sure to get your hands on all the documentation you can.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Orlando, you have probably seen a list of things you need to do, ranging from filing a police report to seeking medical care.
What you might hear less often, though, are the things that you shouldn’t do after a crash. The things you avoid doing after a crash could have a major effect on your case and the compensation you recover.
Consider this list of what not to do after a car accident in Orlando, and make sure that you consult our car accident attorneys for more information.
When speaking about your car accident after the fact with police officers who respond to the scene, witnesses, the other drivers, or your insurance company, be careful about admitting fault. Keep in mind that saying anything that sounds like a potential admission of fault – such as, “I’m sorry” or “I shouldn’t have” – could be used against you during the claims process. Even if you are sorry, keep such sentiments to yourself. Instead, just ask the other drivers if they’re OK, and stick to the facts of the crash.
While Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that drivers can recover compensation after a crash regardless of whether they caused it, if you file a lawsuit because of severe injuries, fault will play a role.
You have a duty to report your car accident to the police, as found in Florida Code 316.066, when the car accident results in an injury to any party, or when property damage appears to be in an amount of $500 or greater. If you plan to seek compensation from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurer, you must also act quickly. You have an obligation to inform your insurance company of the crash within a reasonable amount of time so that they have enough time to investigate the accident.
Further, if the accident caused you serious injuries and you are considering filing a lawsuit against the other driver, you must do so within four years from the date of accident. Waiting longer than four years to file a lawsuit would almost certainly result in your claim being barred under the state’s statute of limitations, as found in Florida Code 95.11.
Another thing that you shouldn’t do after a car accident is attempt to navigate the claims process and represent yourself during negotiations on your own. While there is no legal requirement to hire an attorney, working with an attorney is very likely to improve your chances of recovering a higher settlement amount. A car accident lawyer can investigate the accident, file a claim, negotiate with the insurance adjusters, and even take your case to court if necessary. If filing a lawsuit is appropriate, our car accident attorney will handle every detail for you.
To learn more about what you shouldn’t do after an accident – and what to do after an accident – in Orlando, call the offices of Jon Lambe Law today – our attorneys are here for you.