Car accidents can shake up even the most composed motorists. Since collisions are a shock to the system, you may feel disjointed and out of it at the scene. Yet, it is crucial that you still follow post-accident protocol. Remembering these five tips can protect you from legal and financial pain after a crash.
Remain on the scene
You cannot leave the scene of an accident, no matter its severity. Fleeing turns a collision into a hit and run incident. Even if the crash was a fender bender, you could still face misdemeanor charges for running off. In Florida, these are punishable by up to 60 days in jail, as well as a fine of up to $500. If the crash involved injuries, you could face felony charges instead. These are punishable by up to five years in jail. And you could face a fine of up to $5,000 as well
Check for injuries and damages
Before surveying the damage to your vehicle, you must make sure that the other motorists and passengers involved are OK. You must not apologize for your role in the accident, though. Doing so is tantamount to admitting guilt. Once you’ve checked on all others involved, you will need to document the collision. By taking pictures of the accident on your phone, you can provide an accurate record of the scene and damages.
Report the accident
In Florida, you must call the police after you’re involved in an accident totaling over $500 in property damage. Even if your collision was minor, you will still want to do so as a precaution. You will also need to file an accident report through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. You must complete this within 10 days of your accident.
Contact your insurance company
Florida follows no-fault auto insurance laws. After a collision, you will pursue all claims through your own insurance policy. To receive proper coverage, you will need to provide complete medical records regarding your injuries. You will also need to document your vehicle’s damage. And you must make sure, too, that you present a factual account of the accident to your provider. You could potentially lose coverage if they find you have made false statements.
Consult an attorney
Whether your accident was major or minor, you do not need to go through its aftermath alone. Fighting your insurance company is one of the last things you will want to do while recovering. Yet, many insurers will try to avoid providing fair compensation for accident claims. Yours may do so no matter the damages or injuries the collision caused. In this case, working with an attorney can help you achieve the coverage you need.