You’re stopped at a light, waiting patiently for the red to
turn green when BAM! you get rear-ended. A hundred things run through your
pounding head—what happened? Who is going to pick up the kids? How am I going
to get anything done today? What am I supposed to do now?
Even minor car accidents are scary, but they don’t need to
be as frightening if you know what to do. So, here is what you should do within
the first ten minutes after a car accident to better your claim and increase
your chances of compensation:
1. Stop and notify the police of the car accident. If you leave the scene of an accident that involves injuries without providing your information, your license may be revoked. Even if there are no injuries, it is necessary to call the police so that no fault can be pinned on you. By calling the police, you give the insurance company one less thing to attack.
2. Move your car. Contrary to popular belief, if you are in a car accident and you are blocking traffic, you must move your car. If you can’t move it yourself, you are required to get help or call a tow truck. Your car should never block traffic in any situation.
3. Get the license plate number of the person who hit you and then tell them to pull over. If you wait to get the license plate number until after you pull over, they may drive away before you can do so. This happened to my daughter. After being rear-ended, the at-fault driver motioned for my daughter to pull over into the bank parking lot. She did. He kept driving.
4. Take out your cell phone and start taking pictures. Take pictures of your vehicle. Take pictures from different angles. You can never have too many photos of the property damage. Also, take photos of your injuries (seat belt scrapes or bruising) and any changes inside your vehicle (rear view mirror knocked down, back seat mechanism collapsing).
5. Check for signs of aggression from the other driver. If the other driver is aggressive, stay near your car and call the police. If the other driver is not aggressive, you can get out of your car and discretely take pictures of the at-fault driver, their passengers and any witnesses on the scene. Take a picture of the at-fault driver’s license plate, driver’s license and insurance card.
6. Exchange names, addresses, insurance information and vehicle registration information with the other driver. You should have a pre-printed form and pen in your glove compartment with guidelines on the information you need to obtain after a car accident. Make sure that you get this information. (If you want a pre-printed form from me, simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
7. Talk to witnesses. Get their names, addresses and phone numbers. You would be amazed at how many times the police do not write down the witnesses’ information on the accident report.
8. Call your doctor to arrange a visit. In Florida, your automobile insurance is responsible to pay for medical treatment (at 80%) stemming from a car accident. Get checked out early so that your pain is documented for the insurance company. Florida law requires you to seek medical treatment within fourteen (14) days of your car accident or you get NONE of the Personal Injury Protection benefits you paid for.
9. Call your insurance company. You must report that you were involved in a car accident. However, do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company without first consulting an attorney.
10. Talk to an attorney experienced in car accidents and personal injury law. Almost all attorneys give a free case consultation. Take advantage of it. The insurance companies often want you to sign paperwork relating to your accident before you talk with an attorney. This is one of their tricks, don’t sign any paperwork until you have a free consultation. If you wish to have one with me, call me at 727-796- 8282 or click here to schedule a free case consultation.
Attorneys Matthew Noyes and Lorrie Robinson help families who are impacted by a Tampa Bay car accident. Attorney Matthew Noyes even wrote a book on it – Do You Really Need An Attorney After a Car Accident. If you have questions are a car accident, call Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-796-8282. or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.