Car accidents can be extremely traumatic. You may be shocked and overwhelmed. Most people aren’t entirely sure what to do after a car accident in Tampa, FL. However, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, our Tampa car accident attorneys have over 119 years of experience handling complex personal injury law matters. We know how important it is to remain calm and keep the big picture in mind.
Below, we provide some basic guidance that can make a world of difference in your car accident claim. For more information about your legal options, contact our law offices in Tampa, Florida, at (813) 223-6200 to schedule a free consultation.
How Can an Attorney at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers Help if I Was Injured in a Car Accident in Tampa?
Our lawyers at Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience handling car accident cases. We’ve earned a proven track record of successfully helping clients across the Tampa Bay area recover fair settlements and verdicts.
Here are just some of the ways that our Tampa personal injury lawyers can help when you hire us after an auto accident in Tampa:
- You may not know the exact cause of your accident–we have the resources to conduct a full investigation, review your medical records and gather evidence to prove your case
- Insurance companies often blame injured parties for their own injuries–our Tampa car accident lawyers know how to protect you
- Insurance companies often try to downplay victims’ injuries to pay less than they deserve–our lawyers will carefully assess your case value so you know you’re getting what’s fair
- It can be difficult to negotiate with insurance carriers while you recover from injuries–our lawyers will handle all insurance negotiations on your behalf
- We aren’t afraid to stand up for your rights at trial if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement
You only have a limited amount of time to take legal action after an accident. We know that an accident can be overwhelming and that you have a lot on your plate right now. Call our Tampa personal injury attorneys today to get the legal representation you deserve.
What To Do While at the Scene of the Car Accident in Tampa, FL
Car accidents happen every day in the State of Florida. 697,721 traffic accidents were reported statewide in 2022. Those accidents caused 15,940 serious injuries and 3,474 fatalities. About 45,000 crashes were reported in Hillsborough County alone. Knowing what to do after an accident can be extremely important to your future.
After a motor vehicle accident, it’s important for all parties to remain at the scene of the accident.
Florida law requires that parties to an accident stop at the scene of an accident. If you leave the scene, you could be charged with a hit-and-run. Punishment for a hit-and-run can be serious, especially if someone is injured.
Accidents happen every day. It’s important to remain calm. Take a moment to slow your breathing. That can make it easier to determine whether you have sustained any injuries–as extreme stress and trauma can mask the pain of an injury.
If you or anyone else was injured in the crash, you are required to call 911 to report the injury under Florida law. If necessary, the 911 operator will dispatch an ambulance to the accident scene.
If no one was injured, you can call either 911 or a non-emergency number to report the accident. It’s always important to ask to have a law enforcement officer dispatched to the scene.
You are required to call the police if the accident caused:
- An injury
- A fatality
- At least $500 in property damage
Even if the crash seems relatively minor, the police report can contain important information. Insurance companies may also require an accident report before they cover any damage sustained in the accident.
In minor accident cases, you can move the vehicles to the side of the road or a safe location to wait for the police to arrive. If someone was injured, however, you should leave the vehicles where they are and wait for help to arrive.
Document the Accident
Once everyone is in a safe place and the police are on the way, it’s important to take steps to document the accident. That documentation can be used to support your insurance claim or to establish liability for the accident.
If you are physically able to do so, you should:
- Exchange contact information with other drivers, including insurance information, driver’s licenses, phone numbers, etc. (you can use your smartphone to take photos of the other driver’s insurance card and license)
- Take photos of the accident scene
- Use your smartphone to take video footage of the area
- Look around and, if there were any witnesses, obtain their contact information
When there are multiple parties to a car crash, each party tends to have their own version of the event. The documentation you can gather at the accident scene can be extremely useful in strengthening your personal injury claim at a later date.
Speaking to the Police
When the police arrive at the scene, expect them to ask you what happened. You should not apologize or admit fault for the crash. You may not have all of the facts, and any admission of guilt could hurt you in a personal injury case.
You should cooperate with the investigation, but it’s important to make a clear and concise account of what you believe happened. Provide a simple explanation without trying to offer too many details.
When the police arrive at the scene, they will:
- Call for medical assistance if anyone needs help
- Investigate to determine what happened
- Determine whether to issue a traffic citation
- Clear the damaged vehicles if necessary
You should also ask the police officer where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Even if no one was injured, the insurance company will require a copy of the report when you file a claim.
What To Do in the Days After the Tampa Car Accident
The hours and days after a car accident can be extremely important. What you do can dramatically impact your chances of recovering fair compensation from the responsible party.
It’s important to speak with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney as soon as you can. At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we’re always available to discuss your case. Call for a free case review to learn more today.
Seek Medical Attention
If you were not seriously injured and rushed to the hospital, it’s important to seek medical care quickly after an accident. That’s true even if you don’t believe you have suffered a serious injury. Not all injuries are immediately obvious. Some injuries, including brain damage, may not produce symptoms for days or even weeks after an accident.
You should seek medical care even if the paramedics examined you at the accident scene and released you. Paramedics provide important emergency medical care. However, they are not trained doctors, and it is possible that they could have missed something.
When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Injuries can become worse if they are not treated promptly. If you later discover that you were injured, the at-fault party can use any delay in seeking medical treatment against you.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Florida follows no-fault insurance laws. Your first step after an accident will be to file a claim with your own insurance company.
Under Florida law, drivers must carry at least $10,000 in insurance coverage. Insurance may provide compensation for things like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages during your recovery
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
In cases involving serious injuries, your coverage probably won’t cover all of your damages. Instead, you’ll have to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. It’s also possible that you will be required to file a lawsuit to recover fair compensation from the responsible parties.
As with the police, when speaking with the insurance companies, you should not admit fault, apologize or speculate about what caused the accident. Remember that insurance companies want to pay as little as possible. It isn’t always easy to recover fair compensation, and the insurance company may twist your words to reduce your settlement later.
Remember that you are not legally required to answer questions from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Before answering questions or making a recorded statement, it’s important to speak with an experienced attorney.
At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we offer a free initial consultation so you can get the legal advice you deserve.
Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers for More Information About What To Do After a Car Accident in Tampa
You probably have many questions about what to do after a car accident in Tampa. At Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers, we have the resources to help you understand all of your legal rights and options. Contact our legal team to schedule your free case review to get started today.