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Protecting Your Legal Rights After a Car Accident

Orlando has a lot going on nowadays, especially if you’re a theme park enthusiast. Disney and Epcot are only a couple of the Florida city’s big attractions. While this is great for residents, shoot down the street, and you’re at your favorite park, it also means a lot of traffic. 

Along with traffic jams, there’s also the increased risk of being involved in a car accident. There were 18,592 motor vehicle accidents in 2023. Think this number is high? The statistics only cover part of the year, so just imagine the total number of vehicle wrecks in 2023.

With the high accident rate, there’s a good chance you’ll be involved in a car wreck, which means you need to know what steps to take to protect your legal rights after an accident in the Sunshine State.

What To Do After a Car Accident A Step-by-Step Guide

Never Say You’re Sorry

No, this isn’t a quote from the heart-touching movie Love Story, even though the 1970s movie is worth quoting every now and then. This means never apologizing to the other driver in an accident; don’t even apologize to the responding authorities. 

Your apology can be taken as an admission of guilt. Now, instead of trying to recover damages, you’re fighting to prove the accident isn’t your fault.  Florida is a comparative negligence state, and your simple apology can result in your compensation amount being decreased.

Always Seek Medical Attention

Pretty much every time the police respond to a car accident scene, an ambulance isn’t far behind. If you don’t need a quick ride to the emergency room, it’s okay to decline medical assistance. 

However, this doesn’t mean not seeking medical attention once you’re allowed to leave the accident scene. Not all injuries display immediate signs and symptoms. For example, soft tissue damage can take a few days to start exhibiting any symptoms.

Not only do you want to protect your health, but you’ll need your medical records if you decide to file a personal injury claim. Your medical records will be an integral part of your case.

Become an Amateur Photographer

Chances are you have your smartphone close by. You know that nifty camera feature; now’s a great time to use it. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. If you have visible injuries, go ahead and take some pictures. 

If possible, try to get a shot of the accident scene, especially the position of the vehicles. It can be instrumental in proving your percentage of fault, if any, in the accident.

You may need to call an expert to testify if your personal injury case goes to civil court since an expert can use your photos to help recreate the accident scene. If you’re assigned some of the blame, recreating the scene may also help prove you’re not the at-fault driver.

Get Everyone’s Contact Information

Sometimes, it’s best to leave the other driver involved in the accident alone. Tempers and emotions can flare, and there’s no reason to make a bad situation worse. However, if everyone is relatively calm, then go ahead and exchange contact and insurance information. This also applies to any witnesses since your attorney and the insurance adjuster will want to get their statements.

Remember, you’re only exchanging contact info; don’t discuss any details regarding the accident. Your words can be used against you if your case goes to court. Even if your case is settled, the insurance company may use your statements to reduce your compensation amount.

Get a Copy of the Accident Report

Florida law requires you to report most traffic accidents. The only exception is if there aren’t any injuries and property damage estimates are less than $500. 

If your accident is only a minor fender bender, you and the other involved driver can go your separate ways without any legal penalties. You still have ten days to file an accident report, and this is something you don’t want to put off.

You’ll need a copy of the accident report to file a personal injury claim. Your report will also contain crucial information that can help support your claim. You should be able to pick up a copy of your report online about ten days or so after alerting the authorities. There’s also a nominal fee, though it’s typically less than $10.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Before accepting a settlement offer from the insurance company, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help ensure you receive fair compensation for any damages you might have. 

If you’re found to be partially at fault for the accident, your attorney can help ensure you’re not shouldering more than your fair share of the blame. 

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