It’s likely that you know someone who has been in an accident in the past, maybe you have been involved in one yourself. The upsetting reality is that car accidents happen so frequently. In fact, there are an average of 6 million car accidents within the US every single year.
Accidents can be unpredictable, and even the thought of one occurring can be stressful. If you find yourself in a situation like this, it can be very helpful to have knowledge on how to navigate things post accident. One example of this would be knowing when to call the police after an accident has taken place.
When To Report The Incident
In Florida, Statute of Limitations Section 316.065, states that you are required by law to report an accident you were involved in if you or the other party were injured, if there is a death, or if damages to either vehicle involved cost $500 or more to repair.
In most car accident cases, someone is usually injured, and more likely than not the damages exceed $500. It’s safe to assume that after any accident, you should report it. You run the risk of receiving a traffic citation if you fail to report your accident.
Benefits Of Calling The Police
Having a first responder, especially the police, appear on the scene after an accident can be intimidating. Even so, it can be beneficial to call them. Calling the police after an accident ensures you did your civic duty by reporting your accident, and if your situation takes a bad turn down the road, having the police report as evidence can be extremely helpful.
When police are called to the scene, the officers will take statements from all parties involved in the accident. In the chance that there were bystanders who witnessed the accident, they can also provide testimonials to the police which can be used later on in your case.
Police reports can help determine fault after an accident, which can be useful when it’s time to file your insurance claim. Your insurance may or not require you to provide a police report, but having the document can still assist in scoring a fairer settlement to cover the damages.
While You’re Waiting For Police To Arrive
After you’ve called the police, if you are not too badly injured, it would be beneficial to take photos of the scene. These photos can be used as evidence for insurance and lawsuit purposes. Be sure to take photos of the damage to your vehicle, any injuries that may have occurred, roadway obstructions, or anything else you deem necessary to document.
Another thing to do while you’re waiting for the police is to gather some information from the other party involved in the accident. Get things like their name, contact information, insurance information, and anything else that might be a help for insurance or legal requirements. If there are any witnesses, get their information as well. In the chance that your case makes it to court, a witness station that backs up your position could be crucial.
Get Medical Examinations
The next thing to do after you have completed all the prior steps is to seek medical attention. It’s probable that if the police were called, an ambulance will arrive as well.
Even if you feel completely fine and have no visible scratches or bruises, you should still be examined by a medical professional. It’s possible that you could have an internal injury that could cause complications later on, or you could unknowingly have a concussion.
These medical examinations could also serve as evidence. The medical reports obtained will prove that you’ve taken all the necessary steps in your case.
Speak To An Attorney Before Filing With Insurance
Once you’ve arrived home after calling the police, taking photos of the accident, and receiving medical attention, it’s time to file with insurance. Before doing this, it is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer. In some cases, people wait until their claim is denied by their insurance company to contact an attorney, but by reaching out to an attorney first you can optimize how much your claim is worth, and avoid roadblocks down the line.
Insurance companies don’t have your best interest in mind, your attorney does though. When working with an attorney, your needs come first, unlike an insurance company that is seeking to save money at any opportunity. From early on your claim and position in the case can be improved by the qualities your attorney possesses. Qualities like:
- Skills in negotiation
- Knowledge about legal positions
- Narrative storytelling
- High-quality investigator skills
Your attorney will help you gather all the necessary evidence, and will speak for you in court if your car accident meets the requirements to file a lawsuit. Be sure to do research and find a highly competent attorney who possesses a proven background in handling car accident cases, especially cases that are taken to court.
Car accidents can leave behind so much stress, both financially and mentally. The more knowledge you have on how to navigate certain events can make dealing with the aftermath that much easier, and having the right people behind you fighting your battle while you recover is the best thing you can ask for in those situations.