Here at Burnetti, P.A., we see a wide array of car accident cases near Lakeland, Florida, and clients who are seeking compensation for everything from damage to vehicles and personal property to serious injuries that they or their loved ones have suffered from after a car accident.
In the state of Florida, there are nearly 250,000 car accidents each year, usually attributed to carelessness or negligence on the part of one or more of the drivers involved. The period after a car accident in Lakeland, Florida, can be a very stressful time. If you have been involved in a car accident in Lakeland, FL, you are probably overwhelmed by the number of factors to consider after a car accident. Should you see a doctor? Should you talk to the insurance company? Do you need a car accident attorney in Lakeland Florida?
What to Do First After a Car Accident in Lakeland, FL
If you are in a car accident and you are not seriously injured yourself, the first thing to do is to take stock of the situation. Check to see if anyone else is hurt. Is the accident scene potentially dangerous? Can you move the vehicles out of the way safely? Once you have determined that the scene is as safe as it can reasonably be made, you should call 911 right away and report the accident along with any basic information you gathered from the scene, including any injuries.
If you are able to identify the scene to oncoming traffic by the use of hazard flashers, road flares, or other indicators of danger, it can help keep those at the accident scene stay safe. Once emergency responders are on the way, move the vehicles off the road if you are able, and if it is safe to do so.
Documenting the Scene After a Car Accident in Lakeland, FL
The next thing you should do after the car accident in Lakeland, Florida is to document the accident as much as you can. In the past, this has involved exchanging information with the other driver and any witnesses, and simply making notes, but in today’s modern era nearly everyone carries a smartphone with a camera built in. This is extremely useful for photographing the scene of the accident, damage to all vehicles involved, debris, other areas of physical damage, and other details of the accident such as skid marks on the highway.
You should, of course, still exchange information with the other drivers and get contact information from witnesses, if you are able. You should get names, insurance information, vehicle make and model, license plate number, and driver’s license number from the other driver, and provide the same information to them.
Once law enforcement arrives, they will investigate the scene as well and will question the drivers and witnesses involved. When speaking to law enforcement, explain the details as best you can to convey what happened during the accident without attempting to place blame. Do not apologize, as this may be used against you as an admission of responsibility. You will be able to obtain a copy of the police report after the car accident in Lakeland, FL, and you should ask the officer how to do so.
Finally, if you suspect at all that you may be injured, seek medical attention right away. Some injuries may not show symptoms for a few days and delaying medical care may give an insurance company reason to claim that you were not actually injured in the crash.
Things You Should Not Do After a Car Accident in Lakeland, FL
First and foremost, do not panic. Accidents are unexpected, stressful, and will certainly ruin anyone’s day. Breathe and try to remain calm. Even if you are certain that the accident was the fault of the other driver, do not argue or become belligerent with anyone. These actions will certainly complicate the situation and may result in fines or jail time for you, even if the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver. Remain calm, and let law enforcement do their jobs.
When you share insurance information with the other driver, do not share details such as the amount of coverage you have, deductibles, or lien holders on your vehicle. When you report the accident to your insurance company (which you should do as soon as possible), do not offer anything beyond the details of the accident. If the other driver’s insurance company reaches out to you, you do not need to speak to them. Any statements made to insurance companies, even your own, can be used to reduce any settlements paid to you. Make sure that you speak to an experienced car accident attorney before speaking to the insurance company.
Schedule a Consultation with a Lakeland Car Accident Attorney
Consult with an experienced car accident attorney in Lakeland, Florida, at Burnetti, P.A. as soon as possible after your accident. You should try to speak with a car accident attorney before discussing the accident in detail with any insurance adjuster to ensure your best interests are protected.