A car crash is probably the last thing you want to spend time thinking about. However, it’s best to be prepared so that in the event one occurs, you know what to do and what NOT to do after an accident, particularly concerning the other driver. It is especially important that you familiarize yourself with Florida’s rules concerning the actions you must take after an accident.
Florida’s Accident Rules
Florida has strict rules in place that Floridians are required to follow after a car accident. Be forewarned that if you fail to follow these rules, you could find yourself with a revoked license, fines and penalties, or criminal charges. To comply with the Florida regulations and standards that apply after your car has been involved in a crash, follow these guidelines:
- Stop your vehicle immediately after an accident
- If possible, move your vehicle out of the flow of traffic
- Stay at the scene of the accident until information is exchanged or until the police arrive
- If someone is injured, call 911 and seek medical assistance immediately
- After an accident, anyone involved has the right to ask for and exchange information such as name, address, insurance information, and vehicle registration information
- File a crash report within 10 days if a police officer has not submitted a report of the car accident
What to Do Immediately After An Accident
If your car crashed into another vehicle or caused property damage, stay at the scene of the accident. It’s the law in Florida and a strict rule. If someone has been injured in the car crash, leaving the scene will brand you as a “hit-and-run” driver, resulting in serious criminal charges.
Exchange information with the other driver(s), including name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, license plate number and insurance information for the parties. If possible, obtain the names and phone numbers of all passengers in the other vehicle(s) and of all witnesses to the accident. Take photographs of all angles of each car involved in the crash.
Additional steps to follow immediately after an accident are:
- Check to make sure all persons involved in the accident are okay and do not hesitate to call 911
- Seek medical help for anyone who is injured
- Do not move injured people who are unconscious or complaining of severe neck or back pain
- If gas is leaking from a car, move all injured people away, regardless of their injuries
- Call the police and ask that a police report be filed
- Get the name and badge number of the officer who responds to the accident scene
- Inform your insurance company about the accident
- Take pictures- if your car crashed into an object, photograph all objects it impacted
- Talk to your personal injury attorney about damages
What Not to Do After An Accident
Adrenaline is pumping immediately after an accident, so remember to stay calm. Never apologize after an accident, when your nerves are at their worst. It’s easy to blurt out “I’m sorry” in chaotic situations, but that simple statement may be misconstrued as an admission of guilt in a lawsuit. Don’t give any recorded or non-recorded statements to any insurance company without first consulting with a personal injury attorney.
- Don’t leave the scene without assessing whether there is damage to any object that your car crashed into– we can’t stress that enough!
- Don’t leave without having your accident documented by the police! People often believe they don’t need to call 911 and can drive away if it appears that no one is injured. However, injuries often manifest later, so if there is property damage, you should ask the police to officially document your accident, so call 911.
- Don’t lose your temper! Stay cool and calm and assess the situation rationally.
- Don’t leave the scene without exchanging information with the other driver.
- Don’t assume that you are okay and that you are not injured. Immediately after an accident, your adrenaline is pumping, which may mask injuries. Visit a doctor immediately after the collision and no later than fourteen (14) days after an accident, or you may forfeit your personal injury protection benefits.
- Don’t hesitate to contact your personal injury attorney for advice and help.
We hope you never need any of this advice or information. However, after an accident, it is best to be prepared. After you call 911, contact the Law Offices of Carey Leisure & Neal for a free consultation with a personal injury attorney.