What to Do After a Car Accident

Motor Vehicle Collision Attorneys Assisting Miami Residents

When you have just been in a car accident, you may be understandably rattled and in significant pain, making it hard to think and act rationally. However, certain steps need to be followed to make sure your injuries are properly treated as well as making sure your future interests are protected. Although it is not the first step, contacting an experienced car accident lawyer may be necessary when you have been struck by a careless driver in the Miami area or elsewhere in Florida. At the Law Offices of Robert Dixon, we are dedicated to making sure that are properly informed about your situation and guiding you through any legal claim that may be appropriate.

What to Do After an Accident

The first step after an accident is to remain at the scene. Leaving the scene is against the law, and a hit-and-run driver can be held criminally liable if someone has been injured or killed in the collision. Secondly, all passengers and drivers involved should be attended to, and medical attention should be sought for anyone who has been hurt. If an accident involves physical injuries, significant property damage, or a fatality, the police should be called immediately, and a detailed police report should be filed. Next, those involved in the accident should exchange all necessary information, including names, addresses, phone numbers, basic insurance information, and drivers’ license numbers and license plate information. Passengers’ information should also be exchanged, as well as the information of witnesses. In case a legal dispute arises, those involved in a crash should be careful of statements they make regarding fault, since it is not always clear immediately following an accident, who is responsible. It is also important to take pictures of the scene, including any car or other property damage.

It is important to also contact your insurance company right away to give it an account of the accident and file the necessary claims for recovery. Seek medical treatment for any injuries that are immediate, or may develop shortly following an accident, since some injuries are not instantly apparent in the moment. Keeping detailed records of any doctors, physical therapists, or other medical treatment you receive is also important for insurance claims as well as legal action if it is found to be necessary. Getting the proper value estimates of damage to your vehicle or other property is also important for these reasons.

Bringing a Claim for Damages

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, you may need long-term medical assistance or treatment. Many times, insurance coverage may not be enough to pay for the costs that can be accumulated from such treatment. Although Florida law requires all drivers to maintain a minimum amount of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, not all motorists are required to obtain bodily insurance coverage to provide additional monetary help with medical costs. In cases where an underinsured or uninsured motorist has caused an accident, legal action may be necessary to compensate an injured individual.

To recover damages in a personal injury claim stemming from a car accident, the victim usually must show that the defendant, typically another driver, was negligent. This requires establishing that the defendant breached his or her duty of reasonable care owed to other motorists, causing injuries and damages. Determining liability for negligence can require extensive evidence in the form of accident reconstruction, witness testimony, and medical records to show the scope of the harm and quantify damages. In these instances, the records retained at the scene of an accident can be vital to ensuring your legal rights are protected.

It is important to take action soon after an accident happens, since the Florida statute of limitations restricts the time within which a victim can file a negligence claim. If this rule is not followed, an injured person likely will find that his or her right to compensation is barred.

In some cases, more than one person may be responsible for an accident. A defendant may argue that the victim was partly at fault. Even if this is true, Florida uses the rule of pure comparative negligence. Under this system, someone who has been harmed in an accident may be able to recover compensation from another party who also was partly responsible for it, in proportion to that party’s degree of fault.

Explore Your Options After a Car Accident with a Fort Lauderdale Lawyer

After you have been hurt in a car accident, your first priority should be making sure you receive proper medical treatment. However, with catastrophic injuries may come substantial costs that are not covered by insurance. If you are unsure about your legal options, you should consider contacting the vehicle collision attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon to find out what rights you may have following an accident near Fort Lauderdale or beyond. Our firm represents accident victims in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as throughout South Florida. Call (877) 499-4878 or contact us online to set up a free, no-obligation consultation.