In our latest video, Florida personal injury attorney Andrew Iacobelli discusses important steps to take following an auto accident. You can read the transcript of the video here, or watch the video below or on our YouTube page to learn more. Of course, if you have more questions following an auto accident in Florida, contact our office to request a Free Consultation so that you can make informed decisions for your future.
What You Need to Do After An Auto Accident
In this episode, we're going to be talking about motor vehicle accidents and specifically the five most important things you can do for yourself following an accident. By doing these things, you can protect yourself in the event that you have to bring your claim later.
Hi, I'm Andrew Iacobelli. I'm a personal injury lawyer with Iacobelli Law Firm.
On this show, we're going to be talking about your rights after a serious accident or injury so that you can be informed to make better decisions for yourself and your family, for now and in the future.
Call emergency services
So the first thing you want to do following a motor vehicle accident is call emergency services. Dial 911 so the accident's reported immediately. If you need an ambulance, let them know if somebody is hurt.
Get a police report
The second thing to do after an accident is make sure you get a police report. Insurance companies will fight if the accident is not reported to the police and people can change their stories later. So you definitely want the police there and you want the accident reported at the time of the collision. The police officers will come out to the scene. They will observe the location of the vehicles, the property damage. They will have the opportunity to interview each of the involved parties, the other driver or drivers. And if there are any witnesses, the police will speak to the witnesses and record their versions of events. There are situations where someone gets in an accident and they might feel it's not necessary to call the police. The other driver comes out of the car very apologetic, sincere, saying, "I'm sorry for causing the accident. We don't need to call police. Let's just exchange information." That's a really common scenario. The problem with that is that this nice person later on, in the absence of a police report, has an opportunity to change their story. And we've seen that happen time and time again. If a claim happens later against their insurance company, suddenly these people will change their version of events. And without the benefit of the police report, it becomes your word against theirs, and it will really complicate your ability to recover and succeed in your claim. So it's vitally important to report the accident to the police as soon as possible, even if the other driver seems like a really nice person.
Number three, identify witnesses. So if people come to you after the accident and identify themselves as having seen the accident and tell you they saw it and they know you're not at fault, make sure you get their information. You obviously want to thank those people for sticking around. But get their contact information so their name, a telephone number, if possible, an address. Because although we want the police to interview all these people, sometimes they don't. Or sometimes the interview is not fulsome enough. So later on, if there's any dispute as to how the accident happened, these witnesses can have a really strong effect on the success of your claim.
Number four, if you're able to at the scene of the accident, stand back and take photographs of the cars or the vehicles involved so that the photographs capture the location of the vehicles relative to intersections and lane-ways and things like that. You want to photograph the property damage. If the impact was to the rear of your car, to the side of your car, to the front. You want to photograph your vehicle and the damage to the vehicle, as well as the damage to the other involved vehicles. Later on, if there's ever a claim and there's ever an argument or a dispute about who's at fault or how the events unfolded that resulted in this crash, the images of the accident scene are going to be vitally important. They can be utilized by engineers for accident reconstruction, and sometimes just seeing the photographs is enough to eliminate all doubt with respect to who is at fault. Again, going back to even if the other driver is really sincere at the scene about accepting responsibility, things change over time. Sadly, sometimes people's view and version of events change. And that could be because of memory, or it could be because they're just not being truthful. So having those photographs will protect you in the event you ever need to establish how the accident happened.
Seek medical attention
Number five, this is critically important after an accident. Seek medical attention as soon as you can. Do not delay. Now, this is important even if you might not feel that injured. You might be feeling that you're just going to get better. No matter how minor the injuries might appear at that time, go and seek medical attention. Injuries can sometimes worsen over time. Sometimes serious injuries aren't immediately noticeable. And so it's really important that if you're feeling any symptoms, go and get checked out. Go to a hospital or an urgent care clinic as soon as you can to get checked out. After an accident, people's adrenaline is high. Emotions are high. And sometimes even really serious injuries are not readily apparent. So, number one, it's for your health. That's priority. But also, if injuries emerge and symptoms emerge days or weeks following the accident, failure to seek medical attention will be used against you by the insurance company. The insurance company will look at this as proof that your injuries were either not significant or that they didn't exist at all because if you had injuries, they would expect you to have gone to see a doctor. Take stock of all of your symptoms and all of your injuries and make sure that those are all reported to your health care providers as soon as you can.
I would encourage you to follow these five steps because they're very important if you ever have to make any claims. So following a motor vehicle accident, you will have the right in most instances to make a claim. Sometimes those are with your own insurance, and sometimes it involves an insurance company for the at-fault party. But either way, these insurance companies, they'll use every opportunity to minimize and sometimes even defeat the claim entirely. So to wipe out the claim.
Don't put yourself in a situation where you're fighting with insurance companies unnecessarily. Take these steps and you'll have a much more straightforward, I'm not going to say necessarily easier, but a much more straightforward ability to advance your claims should you need to.
If you've been recently involved in a car accident, you probably have even more questions. Feel free to give us a call at any time.
We're available 24-7. We offer free consultations. We'll answer your questions. You can find our contact information in the show notes below.`
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Andrew Iacobelli is a Florida personal injury attorney. Andrew is also licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and the Province of Ontario and regularly represents victims in cross-border injury claims. Andrew restricts his practice to the representation of individuals that have been seriously injured.