Accidents are a part of traveling around the United States. People travel for vacation, to go to work, to visit friends and family, to lay off steam, among many other reasons. The freedom of the road is something that’s a part of the American dream. However, this dream can turn into a nightmare as an estimated 2.3 million people were injured in crashes in 2014. Injuries that were fatal cost 32,675 people their lives. It’s an unfortunate consequence of constant travel.
However, accidents aren’t always fatal or even injury-causing. Sometimes people get into quick fender benders or are hit in parking lots when they are inside a building. Other examples could be more detrimental to the car but because of sophisticated technology, the car kept the driver safe. In fact because of innovative driving equipment and techniques, fatalities have decreased 24 percent from 2005 to 2014 and the number of people who have been injured has also decreased 13 percent from 2005 to 2014. The statistics for 2015 have not been released yet, however, the number, whether it is a few percentages bigger than 2014 or not, is still going to be drastically lower than the early 2000s .
With all of these statistics in mind, it’s still understandable to be scared of an auto accident because, the fact of the matter is, these numbers are representative of actual people in serious situations. While it’s really important to look over the numbers to be better prepared on the road, along with keeping up with current road laws and signs, it’s also equally important to know what to do after a car accident transpires. Having a strategy of knowing what to do after an accident, can be the difference between getting the compensation an accident victim deserves and getting inadequate funds.
Here at the Dolman Law Group, we’ve come up with a list of things to do after an accident happens. Please review the following before you travel to your next destination:
- Stop & Stay Composed: Getting into a car accident is extremely flustering and terrifying because of the instant sense of being thrown out of self-control. Depending on how severe the accident is, it is absolutely essential to first give yourself a chance to breathe and take it all in. Look around at your surroundings and try to assess what happened initially. Be sure that you stay at the scene because of the severe consequences of leaving. A hit and run in Florida is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years, with respect to cases involving DUI and death, by increasing the penalty for leaving the scene to a 2nd degree felony.
As you are checking your surroundings, check to see if you sustained any injuries. If you are able to get out of your car, it is suggested that you do so to check and see if anyone else is injured. If so, try and assist them to ensure their safety (such as if they were in the way of traffic). However, if the person is complaining about their neck or back, it’s safer to remain calm and to repeatedly check vitals, rather than risk further permanent injury. As all of this is happening, make sure to stay calm. Try not to fight and start playing the blame game; it’s more effective to remain cool to make sure all accounts are safe.
- Call the Authorities: If you’re not injured or have limited injuries that would prevent you from calling the authorities, it’s best at this point to call 911 to alert the police, fire department and EMTs about your exact situation. Even if its minimal damage, you may need to file a police report claim with your insurance company. Try not to perform any maneuvers or acts that are expected of the authorities, such as putting out a fire or conducting health procedures. It could make matters worse.
- Make An Accurate Record: It’s very important for the next step to be as accurate as possible when recording exactly what happened. Document everything to the best of your knowledge, including important pieces of information such as the other party’s information, the license plate of the care, the location and time of the accident, the names of any witnesses, insurance information and anything else that would pertain to the incident. Usually, the police will obtain most of this information, however if they don’t respond to the accident, it’s up to you.
It’s also important to note that if a police officer does come to the accident scene, it’s vital to explain the situation exactly as it happened, to the best of your ability. If you do not know certain aspects, tell that to the investigating officer. Do not guess or misstate any of the facts. If you are asked whether or not you were injured, say that you aren’t sure, rather than a no. Sometimes, injuries aren’t known until hours after the accident.
- Take Pictures: While it may be obvious that documenting the accident should include pictures, the emphasis must be made to ensure that everything its accounted for. If you have your cellphone on you or have a camera in your vehicle, you should be taking pictures of everything possible. Visible damages, injuries and wear on the environment should be photographed. If there’s an officer there, do not get in the way. If by chance you are not able to take these pictures, make sure you do as soon as you can.
- Keep Medical Records Of Your Injury: After a crash, you may require medical assistance, either immediately or after a day or two following the accident. Unless you are absolutely sure that you are not injured, you need to seek medical attention at your local emergency room or by seeing a family physician. This is done so that you have records of all the medical procedures necessary and what medications are prescribed. Keep records of all expenses paid and talk to your doctors about the specifics when it comes to your injury. Recovery fees and compensation is based on the extent of the injury and the financial burdens you have to endure. Keeping medical records acts as proof.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: If you are a victim of a car crash or cause the accident yourself, it’s important to contact your insurance company. They will be able to help with certain expenses. Check if you are eligible to receive compensation through personal injury protection or PIP. Currently, there’s only 12 states who provide PIP insurance such as Florida. Make sure that you conduct some online research to understand what PIP insurance is. Insurance companies may not be straight forward or may avoid your attempts to contact them. They may give you faulty justifications as to why you aren’t covered. Make sure that every conversation is documented for proof later down line.
- Protect Your Rights & Contact An Attorney: Conceivably the most important thing you should do after an accident is to consult your attorney. Make sure that you conduct research on the best attorney for your accident. Many firms handle cases of all kinds and some are better in areas that others are not. Here at Dolman Law, we can protect your rights and make sure that valuable evidence is not destroyed. Consulting with one of our attorneys can ensure that you are receiving proper advice before talking to insurance companies and that the medical care given is necessary.
Dolman Law Group
Following an accident, fault may not be obvious and the nerve-wracking process of knowing what to do is unsettling. Thankfully, this list should help to alleviate any stress about understanding what to do after an accident. An experienced auto accident attorney from the Dolman Law Group can evaluate your claim, conduct investigation and help you determine whether you have the right to financial recovery from the other driver or a third party. Even if you may be at fault, you could still be able to recover. Please call us today at (727) 451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652