Being in a car accident, whether in Florida or anywhere else, can take a toll on you both emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, both can distract you from what you need to do at the accident scene right away to protect yourself legally. Some steps are also important to take after you leave the crash scene.
In some cases, car crashes are the result of the negligence of other people behind the wheel. For instance, perhaps another person was texting while driving or was driving too quickly for road conditions. In these situations, it is within your right to seek justice through the civil court system.
At the collision scene
Immediately after the crash has occurred, staying at the crash scene is critical, particularly when somebody was injured. If you try to leave — in order to seek medical help, for instance — then you may end up facing some severe criminal penalties because authorities would consider you a hit-and-run motorist.
If the accident caused considerable damage to other vehicles or property, or if someone was physically injured or killed, you also need to contact the police immediately. Asking that authorities file a police report for you is also important. Obtaining the police officers’ badge numbers and names may be helpful in the event you need to follow up on the report.
You would also benefit from getting the personal information of the other driver who caused the injury accident, including the driver’s name, license number and license plate number. When speaking with other people at the scene, it is best to avoid saying anything that makes it look as though you are admitting guilt: for instance, apologizing for turning in front of the car when the other motor vehicle legally had the right of way.
After you leave the collision scene
If you suffered an injury, you need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. When seeking medical attention after the accident, keeping a close track of the treatment you receive is imperative if you plan to file a civil suit. This includes the treatment you receive not only from general physicians but also physical therapists and chiropractors.
You can also keep a detailed record of how the injuries have affected your daily living, which may help you to more effectively prove pain and suffering. Competent proof of negligence is necessary to establish liability before the civil court hearing the case in Florida. Only then will claims for damages be determined, with a monetary award potentially being helpful for addressing pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical bills and other losses associated with motor vehicle accidents.