What NOT to do After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident

On average, there are more than 380,000 Florida car accidents reported annually. If you’re involved in one of them, preserving the possibility of a Fort Lauderdale personal injury claim means knowing not only what to do in the aftermath, but what NOT to do. Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer

As a longtime Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer, I’ve sadly seen viable damage claims undermined because the person involved made some missteps early on. And it’s understandable – you’re traumatized, maybe disoriented, and possibly overwhelmed.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, particularly one that involves serious injuries. We’ll help walk you through every aspect and fight for you to receive full and fair compensation.

Note that while Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accidents, that does not mean you’ll only be dealing with your own insurance. If your injuries are serious and the other party was at-fault, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to step outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer.

Top 4 “Don’ts” After a South Florida Car Accident

  1. Don’t drive away. If you panic and leave the scene of an accident, you could be failing to collect key evidence for a future claim. Not only that, it could be a serious crime. F.S. 316.027 makes leaving the scene of a crash involving death or injuries a third-degree felony (at minimum), which carries a 5-year prison sentence. Now this provision is geared toward the at-fault driver in a crash, but the statute does not specify that – in large part because it may be impossible for the parties on scene to ascertain “fault” in the immediate aftermath. Therefore everyone needs to stay on scene. Leaving could substantially undermine if not eliminate your chances at filing a claim, it could open you to criminal consequences.
  2. Don’t discuss the crash with others involved. Don’t talk about the crash on the scene with anyone except law enforcement. Statements you make to police after a crash are likely privileged, meaning they can’t be used against you later. (That doesn’t apply to all statements, nor factual findings by the officer.) However, if you talk to someone else about what happened, that person could testify against you. This includes statements like, “I’m so sorry,” or “I just didn’t see you.” It’s a natural inclination of many to apologize to another if they see they are hurt, even if they aren’t the one responsible for that pain. But in the context of a crash, such statements could be used against you later if you try to pursue a claim for damages.
  3. Don’t forget to collect information. You may be reeling in the aftermath of a crash, but if you’re able, don’t forget to collect basics from the other driver. These include: Name, address, cell phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, the name of their auto insurance company and their auto insurance policy numbers. You’re going to need this information for your own insurance company, even if all you do is file a no-fault claim for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It’s also a good idea to take some pictures and/or video and get contact information from any witnesses or bystanders.
  4. Don’t underestimate how badly you’re hurt. In the aftermath of a crash, you may be running on adrenaline, and therefore “feel fine.” But you could be more seriously hurt than you realize. This is especially true of head injuries and soft tissue injuries. Even if you think you’re Ok, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible afterward just to be sure. The longer you wait between the time of the crash and seeing a medical provider, the lower your chances of proving your injuries were connected to the crash.

DO contact an experienced Broward injury lawyer as soon as possible after a crash, particularly if you’ve suffered serious injuries. The Florida statute of limitation for filing such claims was recently shortened by lawmakers, so it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Even if you aren’t sure whether you have a claim, we can help you determine if you do and what your next steps should be.

Call Fort Lauderdale Injury Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Additional Resources:

Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics, Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

More Blog Entries:

Why Broward Car Accident Lawyers Are Reluctant to Represent Both a Driver & Passenger, Jan. 8, 2024, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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