10 Things to Do After an Auto Accident in West Palm Beach
In 2020, 341,331 motor vehicle accidents occurred on Florida roads. As a result, 3,347 people lost their lives, and another 212,535 sustained injuries. If you are involved in such an accident, there are crucial steps you need to take to protect yourself and your interests. Although one of the most pressing things you can do is to call an experienced auto accident attorney in West Palm Beach, there are other actions to take as well.
Always stop if you have been involved in an accident. Don’t ever drive away from the scene of an accident, even a minor one. You could be charged with leaving the scene of an accident or for a hit-and-run accident.
Protect the Scene
You want to prevent any further accidents and protect yourself and others at the scene. You can do this by setting up flares or turning your vehicle’s flashers or hazard lights on. If it’s dark and your car’s lights won’t work, a flashlight can help you remain safe. It’s a good idea to keep one in your glove box at all times.
Call the Local Law Enforcement Agency
Even if it seems like there aren’t any serious injuries, it’s always a good idea to call the police. Even if there are no physical injuries and only property damage, your insurance company may require a police report when you make your claim. Before law enforcement arrives to make a report, the vehicles involved in the accident should stay where they are unless they cause a safety hazard or interfere with traffic.
Create an Accurate Account
When the police arrive at the scene, tell the investigating officer(s) precisely what occurred to the best of your ability. If you are unsure of specific facts, tell that to the officer. Refrain from speculating, guessing, or misstating any of the facts. You should also ensure that statements made by other persons involved in the accident are accurate as well. Suppose you are asked if you are injured, and you aren’t sure. In that case, say you aren’t sure, instead of no. Sometimes the pain and injuries from car accidents don’t become evident until hours after the collision.
These days most people have cell phones with good quality cameras. This comes in handy if you are in an accident. You should take photos of the vehicles involved if there is visible damage. If you have visible injuries, photograph them as well. However, don’t interfere in any way with the ongoing police investigation. If you can’t take pictures at the scene, take them as soon as possible. If someone is with you and you must leave to seek medical care, you can ask them to get pictures on your behalf.
Exchange Info with Other Drivers
Typically, the investigating police officer gets information from all the involved drivers. However, if law enforcement doesn’t respond to the accident, be sure you get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all individuals involved in the accident, including drivers and passengers. You will also need to obtain insurance information from all involved drivers. If there are any witnesses, get their contact information as well so that you or your car accident attorney in West Palm Beach can reach out to them in the future.
If police come to the scene, the investigating officer will typically give all drivers a police report number. You will need that number later to obtain the police report from their department at a later date.
Tell 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.
Seek Medical Care
Sometimes injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents are not apparent right away. Most individuals report feeling the most pain a day or two after their vehicle accident. It’s always best to seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing your own healthcare provider as soon as possible after involvement in an accident. Even minor impact accidents can cause severe and permanent injuries to the spinal cord. Suppose you experienced a loss of consciousness or were dazed for even a short period of time after the crash. In that case, you may have sustained a concussion or a closed head injury. If left undiagnosed and untreated, cognitive and behavioral changes can result.
Maintain a Car Accident File
After your accident, you may have many documents and information to keep track of. It’s helpful to keep all your accident-related information and documents together. Be sure to have the:
- Claim number
- Name and contact info for claim adjuster who is handling the claim
- Names and phone numbers of all other contacts
- Receipts for a car rental and other expenses incurred as a result of the crash
- Contact info for your car accident attorney in West Palm Beach
- Legal paperwork from your attorney
Protect Your Rights
Finally, be sure to protect your rights. Consulting with a seasoned auto accident attorney in West Palm Beach should also be one of your top priorities after being involved in a motor vehicle accident. Your lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that valuable evidence is not lost or destroyed.
It’s common for insurance companies to want to take statements immediately after an accident. However, it’s essential that you receive legal advice before giving such a statement. Your attorney can advise you on issues ranging from making sure you are fully compensated for your vehicle to documenting your injuries and damages. Keep in mind that most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. As such, there’s no legal fee unless the attorney recovers compensation for your injuries. If they do, their fee is taken out of that compensation.
Call an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney in West Palm Beach at Iscoe Law Today
Speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in West Palm Beach as soon as possible after your accident can help protect your rights and ensure that everything else is handled as it should be. At Iscoe Law, we know what steps need to be taken next and how to pursue maximum financial recovery on your behalf. Call us today at 800 800-6500. We’re available 24/7, 365 days a year.