Five Things To Do After a Florida Car Accident
Anyone can get into an auto accident. In fact, statistics show that most of us will be involved in a car wreck at some point in our lives. How we recover from the financial and physical injuries of a car wreck may be determined by our actions immediately following the crash.
It is important to take the proper steps after a car accident to ensure that your legal rights are fully protected, including taking steps that comply with changes in Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) laws that took effect at the start of 2013. The most important of these steps are:
1. Get medical help if needed.
Check yourself and your passengers for injuries. Inquire about people in the other car. In Florida, if anyone is hurt, you are required to get help. Cooperate with emergency medical personnel when they arrive.
The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law was revised as of 2013 to require those who would claim PIP benefits under the law to obtain initial medical care and services from a legitimate health care professional (licensed physician, chiropractor or dentist, or hospital, etc.) or hospital within 14 days after the motor vehicle accident, or else you may not be reimbursed for your medical expenses.
Additionally, any follow-up services and care require a referral from such a provider, and it must be consistent with the underlying medical diagnosis that was rendered when you received your initial services and medical care.
Your insurer may also ask for an independent medical examination. You must appear for this examination. If you refuse or unreasonably fail to appear for it, your insurer could be relieved of having to pay benefits to you.
2. Get the other driver’s information.
Florida drivers are required to provide their name, address and vehicle registration number to others involved in a car accident. You should also check to see if there are any witnesses who saw and / or heard the accident. Get their names and contact information as well.
3. Take photographs.
If you have a cell phone or another camera, get photos that show the cars, their damage, skid marks, broken glass, injuries, etc. Gather any visual information that is available to explain the accident.
4. Answer the police officer’s questions.
Any Florida car accident that involves injuries or property damage over $500 must be reported. In these situations, you should call the local police department, sheriff, or the Florida Highway Patrol. Cooperate with the responding law enforcement personnel but do not volunteer information. Never claim responsibility for an accident and do not accuse others. Answer questions honestly and succinctly.
The PIP law changes require police to complete a long-form crash report when there is an indication of pain or discomfort by any party to a crash. Ask how you can obtain a copy of the accident report and get one. If your crash does not require a law enforcement report, you must submit a report on the crash to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident.
5. Talk to a lawyer, not the insurance company.
If you hear from an insurance adjuster, do not provide a statement and do not sign anything he or she offers. Contact an attorney experienced with Florida car accidents.
However, keep in mind that, under the new Florida PIP laws, your insurer can require you to submit to an examination under oath. If you fail to comply, the insurer can deny your benefits.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Today
Since 1975, the car accident lawyers of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney have investigated thousands of auto accidents on behalf of clients throughout South Florida and have offices in Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, Okeechobee, Palm Beach Gardens and West Palm Beach. If you’ve been hurt, Philip DeBerard is on your side.
At Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, we help victims of car accidents in Florida to recover money for their injuries and losses. When a driver’s carelessness or recklessness causes injury, death or property damage in a car wreck, those who have suffered should be made whole financially.
If you or a loved one has been injured or you have lost a loved one in a car accident, contact us right away by calling our toll-free number or using our online form. We can schedule a free consultation and get started on your case immediately.
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