When you have an accident in Florida you must act responsibly in accordance with the state law. There are instructions and guides which every Florida resident should follow if they want to file a proper claim. Whether you’re the driver or the passenger you shouldn’t leave the accident scene, leaving the accident scene without a genuine reason may result in the suspension or revoking of your driving privileges, your insurance coverage may be turned down, and worst of all can lead you to be charged with a 3rd or 2nd degree Felony.
As the car driver, you should stop the car and park close to the accident scene in a way that you’re not obstructing the traffic. Don’t panic or try to start arguing with the party involved, just remain calm even if it’s not your fault, at this point, you should take note of the traffic and any potential danger that can arise like a fire outbreak.
If there are passengers in your car who are injured severely you should do what you can to give them immediate assistance, the best way to deal with it if there are multiple casualties is to call 911 for medical assistance. If there are not any serious injuries you should call local Florida police. As the driver if you’re severely injured and can’t move, you shouldn’t try to do so, just make sure that you’re not in danger and you’re not interrupting the traffic.
The next thing to do now is exchange contact information with the other party, this is required by law to do so, any person involved in the accident should share their contact details, this includes the passengers, fellow motorists and pedestrians, get the contact details of all possible witnesses. Here are the important details you should exchange with all the parties that are involved; Name, Address, Phone number, License, Plate number, and Insurance coverage of all the vehicles involved.
Take photos of the accident scene; take a picture of the entire accident scene in one single frame, and then the different parts of the car that were damaged. If the accident also resulted in damaging other people’s property when they are not around, you should leave your information on their car or home in a noticeable place so that they can contact you later.
Report To The Florida High Way Patrol
It’s required by law to report accident scenes to the Florida highway patrol. The following cases should be reported immediately;
- Injury or death.
- The accident was caused by an intoxicated driver.
- If there is property damage that is worth $500 or more.
There is no need to file a crash report if the investigating officer has already done so. If however, they’ve overlooked the situation you can file the crash report within 10 days. You can also inform your insurance company, but don’t try to make any claim; your personal injury lawyer will deal with that. Don’t answer any questions that they might ask, you’ll get trapped, let your attorney deal with them.
Before you proceed with anything else, you should get yourself a professional personal injury attorney to deal with your case, especially the insurance company. Most of the time if you try to resolve the situation with your insurance company they may reject your claim. They may try to trap you with complex questions that can be used to deny your claim. Refer the claims adjuster to your lawyer to answer any questions they may have.
When the police arrive at the scene, you should request some information from them as well;
- Ask for their names.
- Their badge numbers.
- How to get a police report.
You should cooperate with any investigating officer that arrives at the accident scene, describe fully to them what happened, and tell the truth even if it’s your fault. Your job is to describe what happened and not to admit fault.
If you’re not at fault make sure that you have all the necessary evidence that can be used to defend your case. The best way to do that is by taking pictures, taking photos isn’t difficult since almost everyone carries a smartphone with them. You should also take note if there are traffic cameras around, this will even provide more evidence on the accident scene since everything will be seen live and things are going to be easier in the court to prove yourself innocent.
Document everything and get a good lawyer that will handle your case. If you have an auto accident in Florida, contact Massey & Duffy for proper guidance on how to deal with your claims.