Your car is now damaged; you may be injured and are left in a confused state. Emotions may be running high, but you need to remain calm and avoid panic.
- The first thing you need to do is stop your vehicle in a safe place and make sure the other driver is also stopping. Make sure to also read our section on drivers that flee the scene of an accident. The other driver may be incredibly apologetic, downplay the accident and then suggest you simply exchange information instead of calling the police. By doing this, you give the driver the ability to call their insurance company and make up any story they want – including blaming you for the accident.
- Make sure you call the police. When they get there, have them fill out a report. This documentation of the accident is incredibly important for your case. Make sure you explain to the officers what happened and also see to it that they do issue a citation to the driver for the accident. A citation can be a large factor in the insurance company’s decision on if to pay out and how much.
- Another thing you want to do is take pictures – lots of them! Make sure you take pictures of the car(s), damage, separated pieces, skid marks on road, damaged paint, road conditions, weather conditions, etc.
- Your next step is to collect information from anyone who saw the accident. Get names, phone numbers and their side of the story.
- It is also incredibly important for you to seek medical attention if you have been injured. Even if it does not seem too bad now, the severity of auto accident injuries can sometimes take days, weeks or even months to surface. Seeking medical attention will not just give you the peace of mind knowing you really are ok, it also gives you medical documentation if you are not. Without this, an insurance company can argue that the injuries you suffered were not from the accident.
- Most importantly, you need to write everything down. What happened, what you saw and what the other driver said to you before the police arrived at the scene. You need to also write down anything the witnesses said to you when they were describing what they saw. People forget. Document it.
An insurance company will be quick in wanting to offer you an early settlement. Their goal is to pay out as little as possible. You should consult with an attorney before speaking to the other insurance company and agreeing to an amount that you may regret later when you realize how much you could have been entitled to.
The car accident attorneys at MADALON LAW offer free consultations and if we take your case, we will take care of all the expenses and not bill you unless we win your case. Contact our Fort Lauderdale office today and let us help you by answering your questions with a free consultation.