If you have recently been involved in an auto accident in Florida, you will likely have property damage and medical bills piling up as a result. Severe injuries from a car accident can result in an ambulance ride and an emergency room visit. Some accident victims may have to remain hospitalized for extended periods of time, requiring several types of scans, surgery, recovery time, and aftercare. This can be expensive, not to mention a highly stressful ordeal.
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should consult an attorney to attempt to claim a car accident settlement to compensate you for your injuries.
Florida Car Accident Statistics
Every year, approximately three million people in the United States are injured in a car accident. According to a recent report created by Esurance, 77% of licensed drivers have been involved in at least one car accident in the time they have been licensed. The average driver will file a claim with their insurance company for damages related to a car accident about once every 18 years. From this data, it is shown that most drivers may be involved in 3-4 accidents throughout their lifetime.
The most common causes of accidents in Florida include:
- Speeding; Is cited as a substantial factor in the majority of traffic-related fatalities for the State.
- Alcohol impairment; Results in over 10,000 fatal accidents a year, and causes many less severe accidents.
- Aggressive driving habits; Account for nearly half of all traffic accidents which occur in the State.
- Weather conditions; Can change rapidly and are severe enough in Florida to be a substantial factor in about 22% of accidents.
- Driver error; Is a factor in over 90% of crashes in this State.
If you have found yourself in an auto accident, read on for our recommendations to preserve your compensation claim.
What to Do Immediately After Your Accident
If you have found yourself in this situation, you may be wondering how to get the most compensation from a car accident in Florida. There are several things that you should do, beginning from the moment you get in the accident:
1. Notify the police and file a police report.
Wait at the scene of the accident and call the police. It is important to have a police report to document the accident details. This document can also help determine fault (although this may not necessarily be correct). Though you may need to wait for the police to arrive at the scene, you must remain near where the accident happened for thorough documentation. If your car is still functional and you are able, attempt to pull it off to the side of the road where it is safe.
2. Gather as much evidence as possible at the scene.
It is imperative to a personal injury case to establish liability, so the more evidence you can collect the better. If after the accident you are able, use your smartphone to collect the following information:
Use the note-taking function on your phone to write down exactly what happened, including the date and time, closest intersection to where your accident took place, make and model of the other party’s car, etc. Do not rely on your memory.
Collect contact information from the other driver(s) at the scene, including all involved parties’ names and phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, the license plate of the other vehicle(s), vehicle registration information, and insurance information for all drivers involved. Write down the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident to contact them about your case.
Be sure to document any statements that the other driver may make admitting fault, and note any witnesses to these statements.
Take as many pictures as possible from the scene from a variety of angles. You should begin with the vehicles involved in the collision, as they will be the first items removed from the scene. Focus on taking photos of the damage to your vehicle before it is repaired. Make sure to take pictures of the license plates of the other vehicles as well.
Take photos of the scene at large, including the surrounding area and the road around you. This will help establish that you were within the foreseeable zone of danger at the time of the accident. If the weather was a factor in your accident, be sure that the condition is well documented as well.
Take pictures of any injuries you sustain during the accident. It may take time for bruising to develop, so continue to monitor your injuries and document them over the week following the accident as well. If you need to visit a hospital or receive surgical treatment, take pictures throughout the process as well.
Find out if there were any cameras in the area that may have recorded the accident. Typically, red light cameras or security cameras from gas stations or other surrounding businesses are a good place to start. This must be done quickly, as many businesses re-record over their security tapes within one week.
3. Seek Medical Treatment
In Florida, to make a claim with your insurance for Personal Injury Protection (PIP), you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident. It is best to seek treatment immediately so that you are receiving the care you need while also preserving your PIP coverage. A medical provider will also keep detailed records of your injury diagnosis and treatment, which will help strengthen your case.
Call a Personal Injury Attorney Before You File a Claim with your Insurance Company
While you need to file a claim with your insurance company, it is important to complete the previous steps in advance of this to preserve your claim and maximize your car accident settlement.
Before filing your claim, it is important for you to consult a personal injury attorney about your accident. Insurance companies will try to mitigate damages after an accident by asking you to sign away liability for a menial sum that will ultimately not cover your damages.
A personal injury attorney will be able to help you organize your thoughts on the claim and gather all the information you will need for your case. They will also be able to offer advice on the settlement you are being offered and will likely suggest that you move forward with a case to maximize your car accident settlement.
How Carey Leisure & Neal Can Help
Our team of attorneys at Carey Leisure & Neal have 100+ years of experience representing personal injury clients and have ample experience with car accident cases.
If you find yourself in a position where you have been injured in an auto accident, call our office for a free consult today. We will make sure you speak with an attorney, who will be able to advise you on the best practices to ensure the maximum car accident settlement.
We understand that this is a stressful time, and are ready to guide you through the process to get your claim to return your life as close to normal as possible.