What To Do After an Automobile Accident
If you've been involved in an automobile accident here are some tips to protect a potential claim:
- Call the Police. If there is no accident report, the insurance companies may either not believe you or think the accident was too minor to cause any injuries. Also, the other may give you false information and be hard to locate afterwards.
- Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved in the accident. Adjusters will usually make higher offers if there is visual evidence of significant damage to the vehicles. So get pictures before the vehicles are repaired.
- Don't make any admissions of fault to anyone. In Florida, statements made during the course of an accident investigation by the Police are usually privileged and can't be admitted at trial. But statements made to other people at the accident are not privileged and can be used against you in legal proceedings. Make a note of any statements the other driver makes to you or in your presence.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you have any injuries. The longer you wait to treat, the more the insurance company will argue your injuries are not accident related. If you wait more than 14 days to see a doctor, you may lose your PIP benefits with your insurance company. Make sure and tell the doctor about all of your symptoms so they are mentioned in their report.
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. The sooner they are notified, the sooner you can get your car repaired. If the accident was not your fault, you should have the other driver's insurance pay for the property damage, since going through your company will require you to pay a deductible.
- Take pictures of any visible injuries you sustain, like cuts or bruises. If the doctor applies a cast, brace or other device for your injuries, take a picture of that also.
- Get the name and phone number of any potential witnesses. Police do not always list those witnesses on the accident report and once the scene is cleared, they are gone forever.