24 Jul 2015
10 Things You Should Do at the Scene of an Accident
Posted By Darrigo, Diaz & Jimenez
1. Do not leave the scene!
You might be in shock and emotionally distressed due to the impact, but leaving the scene should never be the answer. In Florida, you could be penalized with up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000 for leaving the scene of an auto accident; this is considered a felony offense.
2. Check for injuries.
Make sure you and others around you are ok. You have the duty to call an ambulance and to provide aid if someone is seriously injured. Do not attempt to move anyone who is badly injured unless there is a greater risk of leaving them unattended.
3. Leave your car in its final position until police arrive.
Unless the final position of your car is on a dangerous spot, you should wait for police officers to arrive to move it; this will be helpful to determine how the accident happened. Turn on your flashers and raise the hood of your car for others to know there has been an accident.
4. Call 911
By calling the emergency line, you will alert authorities an accident has occurred, and you will get emergency medical assistance if you need it. Police usually respond to car accidents promptly unless there are no injuries and no substantial damage to the vehicles involved. Get a copy of the police report, or file one yourself if the police do not arrive at the scene. You do so at a local police station or sheriff office and ask for a “Driver’s Report of Traffic Crash.”
5. Get witness and driver’s information
Once you have called the police, and emergency responders are on their way, you should look around and try to get the information of potential witnesses. Exchanging drivers’ information is not only an excellent idea, it also required by the law. Try to get as much information as possible regarding the driver’s insurance company and who owns the car. Taking a picture of their driver’s license, insurance card and license tag number could be a quick way to get all the necessary information at once.
6. Take photographs of the scene
Use your phone or a camera to take pictures of the cars in their final positions, the damage to each vehicle and even pictures of the injuries if visible, such as abrasions, bruises, etc. If you do not have a camera available, you should make a diagram of the scene with as much detail as possible. You will be surprised by how many details are forgotten that could be helpful later on.
7. Get medical attention
Serious injuries do not always appear immediately. Some symptoms might take longer to show. Therefore, it is better to get checked by a doctor as soon as possible. If you don’t go to the hospital from the scene of the accident, and later you don’t seek medical treatment for more than 15 days after the accident, you might lose your PIP benefits for the accident in question.
8. Comply with the police
Provide the responding officer with your driver’s license and insurance information as well as a description of the accident. Be cordial and concise with your explanation. Do not admit fault and make sure the officer takes note of the fact that you were wearing your seatbelt.
9. Do not sign any release or agreement for payment
The only document you should sign at the scene of an accident should a traffic ticket if one is given to you. You are admitting guilt by signing the ticket you simply recognize that you received it.
10. Contact your insurance company with the guidance of your attorney
Call our office at (813) 774-3341 for a free consultation with our car accident lawyers in Tampa to help you make a proper report to your insurance company within 24 hours of the accident. We will handle your claim and all of the overwhelming paperwork while you focus on feeling better and getting the appropriate medical care.