The first steps taken after an accident can dramatically impact the results of a future insurance claim or lawsuit. All Fort Lauderdale drivers should know what to expect in the first few days and weeks following an accident if they intend to file insurance claims or lawsuits against negligent drivers or other liable parties.
Check for Well-Being at the Scene of the Accident
The first priority immediately after a car accident should be the driver’s personal well-being. If it is too painful to move, the driver should park and wait for emergency responders. If the driver feels well enough to move around, he or she should move carefully to prevent aggravation of any injuries. The driver should check on others involved in the accident and call 911 unless another driver already has.
Report the Accident
Florida law requires drivers to report any car accident that results in injuries, death, or property damage over $500. If there is any doubt as to whether a driver needs to call 911, he or she should err on the side of caution and do so. Failure to report an accident when required by law can potentially result in a citation for a hit-and-run. While waiting for the police, a driver involved in an accident should take photos of the scene, his or her injuries, and damage to the vehicles. Once the police arrive, the driver should answer their questions honestly and concisely. Once the police allow the drivers to leave, police will clear the accident scene.
Secure Vital Documentation
The photos from the accident scene could become crucial evidence for a driver’s future insurance claim or lawsuit. The driver should also secure a copy of the police report from the accident and the contact details of any witnesses. After a driver receives medical treatment, his or her doctor should provide a medical report that includes the driver’s prognosis and total injuries. These are all examples of vital documents for an insurance claim and/or lawsuit; you can download a checklist of vital documents from our Auto Accident Victim’s Guide.
Keep a Record of Your Damages
A driver who sustains injuries and economic damages from a car accident should retain copies of any and all documents related to the incident, including hospital bills, ambulance invoices, and receipts for expenses like taxis or rental cars. The driver should also track lost income if his or her injuries prevent working for an extended time. Tracking symptoms and pain levels in a journal following an accident can also help prove the full extent of the driver’s damages.
Consult an Attorney
The attorneys at Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A. understand that a Fort Lauderdale car accident can entail a host of financial issues and legal complications. Our professional record is strong evidence of our commitment to helping our clients recover from serious accidents. Drivers in need of legal assistance after car accidents in the Fort Lauderdale area should contact Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.