What You Should and Should Not Do After a Car Accident in Tampa, FL
November 9, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
A Florida car crash can set a chain of events in motion, not all of which are easy to predict. Knowing in advance what to do and what not to do in the aftermath of a car accident can help you make the right decisions.
Context: Overview of Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance System
Unlike most states, Florida applies a “no-fault” auto insurance system. That means that in most accidents, you look to your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to pay your damages. The minimum policy limit is $10,000, and you can only claim economic damages.
You can file a lawsuit against the other party if and only if your injuries are “serious,” as Florida personal injury law defines that term. If that happens, you can seek non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, but you must prove fault.
The main problem with collecting compensation for a “serious” injury is that Florida does not require its drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. If the at-fault driver carries no such insurance, you might be out of luck when it comes to compensation.
What You Should Do After a Florida Car Accident
Take the following actions immediately after suffering a Florida car accident:
- Check for Injuries: Have you or anyone else involved been injured? Render first aid as necessary.
- Call 911: This will get you medical attention and a police report. The police report is important evidence even though it is inadmissible in court.
- Move the vehicles off the road, if possible, to avoid a second accident.
- Turn on hazard lights: This will also help avoid a second accident.
- Exchange contact and insurance information: Collect the names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information, license plate numbers, and driver’s license numbers from all involved drivers. This is a legal requirement for most accidents.
- Take photographs and videos of the scene of the accident as well as any injuries or property damage. Photograph road conditions as well as relevant road signs and traffic signals.
- Obtain eyewitness contact details. The best option might be to use your phone to photograph the witnesses’ ID cards.
- Cooperate with the police as they investigate the scene of the accident.
- Seek medical attention: Assume you were injured if your body suffered any impact or if you feel any pain at all. Some injuries take time to manifest symptoms.
- Report the accident to your insurance company. Inform them of the accident as soon as possible, but speak with a lawyer in advance about what information to reveal.
- Keep a record of medical treatment, pain and suffering, missed work, and other relevant information.
- Schedule an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer.
Do not delay medical treatment for the sake of performing any of the foregoing activities.
What You Should Not Do After a Florida Car Accident
Here is what not to do after a Florida car accident to protect your rights, health, and interests:
- Don’t leave the scene of the accident until the police or the ambulance arrives. Leaving the scene of an accident is the quickest way to turn a car wreck in Florida into a criminal prosecution.
- Don’t admit fault, and don’t apologize out of politeness.
- Don’t sign anything unless your lawyer is there to read it first.
- Don’t neglect your doctor’s orders. You could lose compensation that way.
- Don’t settle too quickly. It is unlikely that the insurance company will issue you a fair offer soon after the accident. Consult with your lawyer before you accept any settlement offer at any time.
- Don’t offer detailed statements about your claim, especially to the other driver’s insurance company.
- Don’t throw away anything that you might use as evidence.
- Don’t talk about your case on social media, and don’t upload any photos of you looking healthy. Anything you post can and will be used against you.
- Have your lawyer review your insurance policy: Ask your lawyer to explain it until you thoroughly understand it.
Your lawyer can provide you with further advice that will prevent you from damaging your claim with inappropriate behavior.
It’s Never Too Early To Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Tampa sees more than its share of car accidents. Given the stark realities of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system, the sooner you contact a Florida accident lawyer, the better your chances of a favorable outcome.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805