According to the Center for Disease Control, accidents are the 3rd leading cause of death in the country. Car accidents can be life-changing events. You could spend a lot of time, money, and effort trying to recover. But it doesn’t have to be so. A top car accident law firm in Florida, the Soffer Firm, explains the best things to do after a car accident.
1. Calm yourself down:
You might see your life flash before you in seconds or experience shock. Even in minor accidents, you might feel shaky or teary. Take a few minutes to calm and reassure yourself that everything will be fine. Deep breaths help to manage your shaken state. Besides, you need to be calm for the next steps.
2. Check on others:
Once you are fit to get out of your seat, do so. Take more of any pain or difficulties you have, as this information will be helpful when filing a report. If you have passengers or pets in the car, check to see how they are doing. Was another vehicle involved in the car accident? Check how to know the driver is doing too.
Try to calm toddlers down and inspect them for injuries. Do not allow other passengers to stray off from the scene, at least until the police arrive. Arrest any bleeding and assess how much collateral damage there is.
3. Collect evidence:
Evidence collection is a very crucial step if you want your accident claim to go quickly. After applying first aid:
· Start photographing the accident scene.
· Whip out your smartphone and take as many pictures as you can.
· Vary angles as you photograph and ensure photographs are as clear as possible.
If your phone is dead, you can borrow from a passerby or a passenger. The court of law expects you to provide enough evidence to support your accident claim. Even your insurer might not believe you had an accident if there is no tangible evidence to back up your claim.
4. Call 911 and the police:
Now, everyone knows you should call 911 in an emergency. But how about the police? Numerous clients make this mistake, especially when they believe they caused the accident. The police have to know about the car accident. Telling the cops about it gives you a legal edge and prevents unnecessary questions about people and items involved in the accident.
5. Discuss with the other driver(s):
This discussion is essential, and it could be tricky. Here’s why: when discussing details of the accident, it’s tempting to play the blame game. Everyone would love to establish the guilty party quickly. Never engage in such a conversation, even if the other driver or drivers insist you are at fault. If you accept blame for the accident, it could make a massive difference in your compensation claim. Stick to light talk while waiting for the police.
6. Exchange insurance information:
You and the other driver (if any) can exchange insurance information. You would need the other party’s insurance information too. You will need to file two types of claims after an accident: a first-party claim and a third-party claim. The claim you would make with your own company is a first-party claim. On the other hand, a third-party claim is a claim you make with the other driver’s company.
7. File your claims:
In the pandemonium, you might forget this critical step. Contact your insurance company and the third-party insurance company as soon as you can. Let them know you suffered an accident with one of their clients. You must do this as quickly as possible, as many insurance companies expect you to report an accident within 48 hours.
Your insurance company may even have an app or website where you can fill in the necessary information on the accident. Fill forms accurately and upload any media they might require to start an investigation. Also, please do not leave the accident scene until law enforcement agencies allow you to.
8. Contact an attorney:
For car accidents, the best claims are made with an attorney by your side. You need to get not just any attorney but the kind that specializes in accident cases. An accident attorney can significantly help you navigate all legal hurdles and land you decent compensation. In Florida, Soffer Firm is one outstanding law firm that has helped many people claim compensation in millions of dollars for car accidents.¹
For example, in Florida, a driver is typically at no-fault. No-fault, means that the other driver cannot be held guilty for the damage done to your car unless proven otherwise. If you didn’t know this, you might be trying to pin the other driver to no avail. This kind of knowledge is why a lawyer is doubly essential for your claim.
9. Phone a tow truck:
In severe cases, you need to call a tow truck to move your car out of the scene. If that is the case, check if your car manufacturer offers something similar. It would be best to verify the authenticity of any tow truck you are finally able to contact. Some tow truck companies can seem legitimate, even though they are not. Ensure you get the necessary information like where your car would be and how much you must pay for towing.
10. See a doctor:
You might not feel injured or sick, but you still need to see a doctor. A doctor would conduct checks on you to ascertain any internal damage or if you’re fit to start driving again. During a medical check-up, explain your symptoms to the doctor to administer appropriate treatment.
Keep your medical bills intact, as this will further strengthen your compensation claims. According to Florida law, your insurer might foot up to 80% of the bills, which is still a substantial amount. Update your lawyer about any medical visits as well.
11. See a therapist:
PTSD is one typical result of car accidents. If you feel shaken days or weeks after an accident, consider seeing a therapist. Your mental health is as important as your physical health. Tell the therapist exactly how you feel and how your life changed since the accident happened.
If it’s causing a strain in your marriage or relationship with others, also say so. Don’t worry about the cost of seeing a therapist. Your car accident lawyer can include the fees in your compensation.
12. Rest and exercise:
It’s important to rest . Depending on the level of injuries you sustained, you might take a few days or weeks to recover fully. Light exercise like yoga can help you relax and boost your energy levels. If your doctor recommends that you take bed rest or avoid any particular activity, avoid it. However, avoid heavy workout routines until your doctor clears you to engage in one.
A car accident lawyer can definitely help you out, whether you were involved in a minor accident or a life-threatening one.² Taking the steps highlighted in this article will make your transition to everyday life much easier. A car accident should never leave you devastated, disappointed, and hopeless.