Call your personal injury lawyer immediately! Seriously! Why should you do the work?
But if you decide not to, and want to brave it on your own, just remember the expression "He who represents himself has a fool for a client" and follow the instructions below:
- Call the police immediately and get an accident report completed. Do not simply exchange information with the at-fault driver. The other driver may provide you with false insurance information. If you are injured, you may not realize it right away, as some injuries take hours and sometimes days for the pain to develop. An accident report is essential to try to protect your rights in a car accident. Many times the version of how the accident occurred is changed by the other side after the accident occurred.
- Do not move your vehicle unless you are obstructing traffic or creating a hazard. However, if you feel that your life is in danger by remaining in your car, then you should absolutely attempt to safely exit your vehicle and get off of the road to safety.
- If the accident is minor and for some reason you decide not to phone the police, at least exchange information with the parties involved in the car accident. Document the license plate numbers, the make, model, and year of the vehicles involved in the car accident. Get the other drivers contact information such as name, address, and contact number telephone numbers. When asking for the insurance information, ask to see the other driver’s insurance card. Never take their word for it, you want to make sure you write down all of the info.
- DO NOT speak to insurance adjusters without attorney representation. Never provide written or spoken statements regarding the cause of the accident or your injuries to anyone other than your attorney and doctors. Remember: the insurance company is not your friend and does not have your best interest in mind.
- Preserve evidence. Take pictures of the accident scene with any camera you have, including an I-phone, and get the names and phone numbers of witnesses. Don’t assume the police will get names or phone numbers of witnesses. We have seen many cases where the police did not get proper contact information for all of the witnesses, or, got none at all, creating a huge hassle to try and resolve the case. Pictures should include the vehicles involved, vehicle damage (both exterior damage, and any damage to the interior—seat broken, airbags went off, etc.) and photos of your injuries (and passengers’ injuries).
- Get medical attention for your injuries. You must get medical treatment if you are injured in a car accident. In order to have evidence of your injuries, a doctor must evaluate and document your injuries. With the new PIP law changes, seeing a doctor within 14 days after a car accident is imperative and can affect the benefits you are entitled to. Don’t refuse transportation to the emergency room if recommended by paramedics at the scene.
- Always be honest about previous injuries and accidents. You must provide your doctor(s) with truthful information regarding any and all past injuries. Being dishonest about past injuries will damage your personal injury case.
- Ambulance chasers. The tow truck driver, and sometimes even police, paramedics, or other medical personnel at the scene or shortly thereafter may recommend a lawyer. Do your research before simply taking their recommendation. Virtually any lawyer recommended by a tow truck driver is an “ambulance chaser”. Check out the qualifications of your lawyer. See if the lawyer has an excellent track record. Make sure the lawyer is board certified. See what honors and accolades the lawyer has. Don't just take a recommendation. Any lawyer who does not have a website with extensive qualifications is one you should stay away from. People you haven't heard from for eons may contact you and recommend a lawyer. Many of these people “are on the take". Be suspect and vigilant to avoid being led to a lawyer who does not have the proper qualifications to get you the best possible settlement or result.
- Protect your legal rights. Call an experienced personal injury lawyer to discuss your accident and injuries immediately after your accident. Attorney Dan Cytryn at the Law Offices of Cytryn & Velazquez has over 40 years of experience handling Florida car accidents. He is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer who has tried nearly 100 jury trials.
Call us today toll-free at (954) 833-1440 for a free consultation.