After a car accident, there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights. Preserving your rights—especially if someone else caused the accident—is the only way to ensure that you can pursue financial compensation for your injuries and damages.
In the moments, hours, days, and weeks after a car crash, you will encounter numerous threats to your legal rights. Although you need to be aware of all of these potential threats, the most important points to remember are:
- Seek emergency medical treatment on the scene;
- Do not admit fault or provide a statement to anyone;
- Protect and preserve as much evidence as possible; and
- Talk to a car accident lawyer to learn your options.
In South Florida, the car accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can help preserve your legal rights after a crash. Call us today at 800-747-3733 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.
After a Car Accident, What Should I Do at the Scene to Protect My Rights?
In the minutes after a serious car crash, your focus should be on your safety and that of other victims of the crash. You may experience shock and serious injuries that may not be obvious—such as a concussion or internal injuries.
Start by getting to a safe place well off the roadway. Do not stand on the shoulder, especially of a highway, as this can be especially dangerous. Next, call 911 to report the accident and request emergency responders.
Do not move your vehicle unless you have to for safety. Switch on your emergency flashers and grab any important paperwork from your car—such as your registration and insurance information.
Once you and the other victims are safe, turn your attention to the steps you should take to protect your legal rights. The information you collect on the scene can help us prove what happened during your wreck.
Take as many photos of the vehicles and the accident scene as you can while you wait for the police and the ambulance to arrive—including photos of the license plates of the other vehicles.
Request contact and insurance information from the other drivers involved in the crash. If you notice witnesses, try to get their names and contact information, too. You should also ask them to share any photos or videos they may have captured. Do not make any statements to anyone regarding the events of the accident.
Get Medical Attention
When the emergency medical personnel arrive, ask them to examine you and triage any potential injuries—even if you feel fine. This is critical for your health and for the preservation of your legal rights in the event of a serious injury. If the EMTs recommend that you go to a hospital, take their advice.
Talk to the Police
Once the police arrive, they will take your statement. Relate the basic facts as you recall them, but do not make any statements that might indicate responsibility on your behalf. Accident victims are often disoriented and in shock after a crash. They often get important details wrong. Take down the names and badge numbers of the officers on-scene and request a copy of the police report.
Have Your Car Towed
Unless the accident was truly a fender bender, call a tow service and have your vehicle transported to a collision damage repair shop. Request that the repair shop not do any work on your car until you give them the go-ahead.
What Should I Do Next?
In the days after the accident, there are additional steps you should take to continue protecting your right to compensation.
Get Follow-Up Medical Care
If you did not go to the hospital, you should see a doctor the day after the accident for a full medical evaluation. Follow all of the doctor’s recommendations for additional evaluation, testing, or treatment.
Start an Accident Journal
Use a notebook to accumulate all of the important information about the accident. Make notes about any conversations you have with your insurance company and other involved parties, making sure to include the date, time, and the name and contact information of the person you spoke to. Use your notebook as a pain journal, keeping careful track of any medical symptoms you experience.
Call Your Insurance Company
You must notify your insurance company of the accident as soon as you can do so. Your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can help with your medical expenses and, if you have coverage, your insurance may pay for a rental car.
Call a Car Accident Lawyer
Before you get too far beyond the date of the accident, talk to one of our attorneys—especially if you have significant injuries or the cause of the accident is in dispute. If someone else’s negligence caused the accident, we can help you file a claim with their insurance company. However, you should never talk to the other driver’s insurance company without first talking to a lawyer, as this could compromise your legal rights.
How Can I Continue to Protect My Rights?
As we work on investigating your accident, documenting your losses, and building your claim, you can continue to protect your rights by:
- Continuing to seek medical treatment;
- Maintaining your pain journal;
- Saving all receipts for your accident-related expenses; and
- Obtaining a repair estimate for your vehicle.
Never give a statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company or sign any documents. If you have a claim for injuries, the insurance company will do whatever they can to minimize your payout—including offering you a token settlement in the days or weeks after the accident. If you accept that settlement and later discover that you sustained more serious injuries than you originally believed, you will have no recourse to pursue compensation.
Can a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Help Protect My Rights?
The car accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine can provide invaluable service after an accident. We will protect your legal rights, help you get the medical treatment you need for your injuries, and help you pursue a fair financial settlement.
Schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our lawyers to learn more about how to protect your legal rights. Call 800-747-3733 today to get started.