10 Things to Do After an Auto Accident in Fort Lauderdale
Broward County roads saw 34,046 motor vehicle crashes in 2020 alone. As a result, 235 people lost their lives in 220 of them, and 19,016 people suffered injuries. Knowing what steps to take after a motor vehicle accident can help decrease the chances of death or severe injury and can also protect your legal rights and options. If you’ve been in an accident, make it a point to meet with a skilled auto accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible and adhere to these steps.
Even if you think the accident was minor, you should pull over and stop your vehicle. If there’s a collision and the potential for property damage or injuries, all involved parties must stop. Failing to do so is against the law and could lead to charges. Remain as calm as possible and turn your car’s flashers or hazard lights on if possible.
Secure Children, Pets, Elders, and Disabled Passengers
It’s easy after a car crash to get distracted and make mistakes you otherwise wouldn’t have made. If you are traveling with children, pets, or elderly or disabled passengers, keep their safety and security at the top of your mind. Don’t leave them in hot, locked, or unattended vehicles after the accident. When it is safe to do so, they should remain in the car where they are safe and secure. If you have children who are riding in child safety seats, do not remove them from their seats. It’s possible that they have invisible injuries that could be exacerbated if they are removed from them by someone other than a trained medical professional.
Call for Help
Suppose someone is injured, or there’s a potential for injury. In that case, you will want to summon an ambulance and emergency medical responders right away. Even if there aren’t apparent injuries, you still should request that police come to the scene of your accident so the facts can be properly documented.
Make a Police Report
When the police come to the scene, be sure to give them your account of the accident. Don’t guess or estimate details. If you don’t know, simply tell them you don’t know. They should talk to all involved parties, passengers, and any available witnesses. The officers should give you a police report number so that you can request a copy of the report from the responding agency at a later date. Your insurance company will likely request a copy of the report, and your car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale will also need one.
Obtain Medical Attention
Just because you don’t need to leave the accident scene in an ambulance doesn’t mean that you don’t need medical care. You should still be checked out by a doctor, even if you feel fine. Some injuries don’t have associated pain or other symptoms until hours or days after the accident. Getting medical care as soon as possible helps protect your well-being and your legal standing.
Get Photos and Videos
Photos and videos can be a form of invaluable evidence after a motor vehicle collision. If you are physically able, take pictures and videos of:
- Your injuries, if they are visible
- Damage to all vehicles from various angles, if possible
- Any other damaged property such as fences or poles
- Road or other conditions, such as construction or malfunctioning traffic lights
- Anything else that may have contributed or resulted from the accident
If you aren’t able to take photos or videos, see if someone with you can take them for you or take what you can at a later date or time. Remember that getting emergency medical care is of utmost importance.
You will need to exchange contact and insurance information with all other drivers involved. Typically, the responding police officer will put this information in their report. Still, it’s a good idea to get it, so you have it right away. Be sure to get their:
- Name and contact information
- Insurance company and policy number
- Driver’s license and license plate number
- Type, color, and model of vehicle
Sometimes taking a picture of their insurance card and driver’s license is the quickest way to get this information and ensure that it’s kept in a safe place.
Avoid Admitting Fault or Apologizing
Always be cordial with the other drivers and passengers involved. However, don’t admit fault or apologize. Anything you say could potentially come back to haunt you in your injury claim. Suppose you admit fault or say you’re sorry now. In that case, the insurance adjuster or auto accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale for the other party could say that it proves your fault.
Call Your Insurance Company
Beware of Insurance Company(ies) discussing settlement and wiring settlement money within days of the crash as “full settlement” or “bodily injury settlement”. Get an attorney to report the claim as soon as possible after the accident. In fact, many policies require reporting and your full cooperation and it is best to do so with an attorney. If you do not cooperate, an insurer may seek to cancel your policy. When you contact your insurance company, be prepared to give your account of the accident. Know what types of coverages you have before you speak with an insurer. You paid for the coverage. Remember the insurance company is not doing you any favors.
Call an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in Fort Lauderdale ASAP
Finally, you will want to contact a car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale as soon as possible. You have legal rights and options, but if you don’t know how to preserve them, you might possibly lose them. You need to secure representation from legal counsel before speaking to any claims adjusters for the insurance company. Often, the insurance company will attempt to get you to say things that harm your claim or get you to settle for much less than your claim is worth. When you hire an experienced car accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale at Iscoe Law, you can be assured that your interests will be protected. Call us today at 800 800-6500 to schedule your complimentary consultation. We are here 24/7, 365 days a year, to answer your call.