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What to Do After a Car Accident in Florida

December 2, 2023 Legal Team
man driving car with hand on steering wheel with the caption "What to do after your Florida car accident"

Every day Florida residents climb into their vehicles to go to work, school, or out for the errands and activities that make up our daily lives. No one ever expects an accident, yet nearly 60,000 car accidents occurred in Florida in 2023 with 229,644 injuries and 3,007 fatalities.

The aftermath of a car accident in Florida is traumatic and confusing, especially if you’ve experienced painful or frightening injuries. If you’re too seriously injured to move safely, you may be able to do little other than wait in place for help to arrive. However, if you can move about safely or hand your phone to someone else to use for you, it only takes minutes to document critical evidence that can help you recover financially from the accident as well as physically.

What to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident in Florida

There’s nothing worse than the sound of breaking glass and crunching metal. The trauma of a car accident stays with victims for a very long time, and some car accident injuries may be life-altering. After an accident, it could be dangerous to move and risk causing further injury. Never leave the scene of an accident, but if you’re in a dangerous location and can move safely, move out of the flow of traffic and remain on the shoulder of the road away from traffic. Then, do the following:

  • First, call 911 to report the accident
  • Then, use your phone—or ask an uninjured person with you to use it for you—and take photos to document the scene
  • Photograph the damage to all involved vehicles
  • Take photos of the accident scene
  • Photograph anything relevant to the accident like an intersection, traffic signs, signal lights, construction debris in the road, potholes, and skidmarks
  • Take photos of any visible injuries
  • Add the contact information of any other involved driver
  • Record a statement about what you remember of the accident while it’s fresh in your mind—accident trauma can quickly blur memories
  • Add the contact information of eyewitnesses

Most accident victims don’t realize how critical it can be to take down the contact information of eyewitnesses to an accident. Often, those at the scene of an accident lend a hand and then disappear. Some eyewitness names never make it onto the police report. Eyewitnesses to a car accident in Florida can be the most reliable evidence of the at-fault driver’s liability in places where there are no traffic cameras.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately After the Accident

During the rush of adrenaline after an accident, victims may not realize they are injured, or they may notice obvious injuries and overlook other injuries with minor symptoms that may worsen during the hours or days after the accident. Common injuries in Florida car accidents include:

  • Back injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Traumatic head injuries
  • Fractures
  • Burns
  • Sprains and torn ligaments
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage

After an accident, it’s best to accept emergency transportation to a hospital or to make arrangements for transportation to an emergency room. At the hospital, be sure to tell the doctor about every symptom, even if it seems minor. Ask your doctor for a detailed medical report of your injuries, the doctor’s recommendation for treatment, and your prognosis for recovery. Then, obtain a copy of the medical report for your records.

What to Do in the Early Days After an Accident in Florida

The days after an accident are often painful and filled with sleepless nights and days of medical treatments. You could be facing temporary or permanent disability depending on the severity of your injuries. It’s important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions. Make it to every appointment and fill every prescription. Keep all of your doctor bills and receipts for related expenses. Be sure to take the following important steps:

  • Report the accident to your insurance company
  • Avoid posting on social media until after your claim for compensation is complete
  • Obtain a copy of the police report of your accident
  • Call an experienced Florida car accident attorney to represent you before talking to the insurance adjuster assigned to your case and then direct all communication with the attorneys to your lawyer

Insurance companies are rarely on the victim’s side after a car accident no matter how compassionate they sound on the phone. Instead, they prioritize their profits over paying out on damages like medical expenses and property damage. By knowing what to do after a car accident in Florida, you can maximize the compensation available to you later.

Understanding Florida Car Accident Insurance Laws

Florida drivers must carry at least the minimum required car insurance which includes $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability coverage. After a Florida car accident, drivers must file a claim for damages against their own insurance policy in accordance with the state’s no-fault insurance laws. Only in cases of severe or catastrophic injuries can accident victims file lawsuits against a negligent driver or other liable party in a car accident. A successful lawsuit against an at-fault driver can bring compensation for damages including the following:

  • Medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Future income loss
  • Lowered earning capacity due to disability
  • Pain and suffering compensation
  • Other economic damages like disfigurement compensation, emotional trauma, or PTSD

When a victim’s damages far exceed the $10,000 limit of their PIP car accident coverage in Florida a personal injury lawsuit can help car accident victims recover compensation for their damages.

Common Insurance Company Pitfalls to Avoid After a Florida Car Accident

Insurance companies often use specific tactics to avoid paying out on large claims. After your car accident in Florida, avoid the following common insurance company tactics that benefit their profits rather than your payout:

  • Calling very soon after an accident with a low settlement offer in exchange for the signing away of your rights to file a lawsuit—often this is before you know the true extent of your damages
  • Asking for medical authorization to examine your injury record and then combing through your medical history to find a condition or previous injury they can blame for your symptoms
  • Recording your phone calls and taking your remarks out of context
  • Claiming your doctor’s treatment recommendations aren’t necessary for your injuries
  • Scouring your social media accounts to catch you appearing fit and healthy even if you were smiling through your pain

It’s always best to direct all communication with insurance adjusters to your Florida car accident attorney. The car accident attorneys at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann won’t hesitate to handle all communication with the insurance companies for you. Our car accident lawyers are located in Sarasota and Bradenton. Contact them today for a free case evaluation!