Daytona Beach Accident Lawyer - Accident Checklist
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE A CAR ACCIDENT
Automobile accidents are one of those events in life that happen to the other guy. We are taught from a young age to drive defensively so as to minimize the dangers associated with operating a motor vehicle. Sometimes, however, even our best effort is not good enough. The Orlando Sentinel recently covered the issue of what a motorist should do following an accident. The article offered some good tips that we, as a Daytona Beach Accident Lawyer, feel are worth sharing with you.
1. STOP! IT’S THE LAW.
You do not need to be a Daytona Beach Accident Lawyer to know that if you have been involved in a accident, stop immediately. It is a crime to leave the scene of an accident involving property damage or personal injury. Remain at the scene until the police arrive. If it is obvious that in spite of the impact there has been no injury and no damage to either vehicle, exchange basic information with the other driver before leaving the scene.
2. DO NOT MOVE YOUR CAR!
When possible, do not move your car until the police arrive and can determine how the accident occurred. Important information and evidence can be destroyed by moving the vehicles before a law enforcement officer arrives. Let the officer take a look at where the vehicles came to rest so that he can determine who was at fault. There are several obvious exceptions to this rule. When the vehicles are blocking traffic, it may be impossible to leave them in the roadway. Also, today, one should consider the possibility of a ‘car-jacking’ arising from a minor rear-end collision particularly at night. Play it safe!
3. DO NOT SAY TOO MUCH!
Following an accident everyone is upset. The adrenaline is pumping as you take stock of yourself and others in your car. After checking on the occupants of the other vehicle try to calm down and keep silent. Even if you think the accident was your fault, do not admit it. An innocent comment might be twisted and misinterpreted later. There may have been other factors at play in causing the accident which you are not aware of that could exonerate you. Leave the decision on who caused the accident to the experts and the courts. A Daytona Beach Accident Lawyer can help defend you in court.
4. PROVIDE THE REQUIRED INFORMATION.
You have an obligation to speak to the investigating officer. Answer the officer’s questions courteously, honestly and concisely. The good news is that what you tell the officer is “privileged” and cannot be used later against you. Unfortunately, the “accident report privilege” does not extend to the statements your passengers make to the officer. Warn them to be careful.
5. OBTAIN & PROVIDE THE REQUIRED INFORMATION.
You should provide the investigating officer and the other driver with your name, address and insurance information. The same information should also be provided to you. Do not discuss the amount of coverage afforded under your policy. Let your insurance company handle that for you. By the way, even if there is no apparent damage to either vehicle and no reported injuries, you should exchange this information with the other driver.
6. CALL THE POLICE.
Even if there is no apparent damage to either vehicle and no apparent injuries you should involve the police. It is not at all uncommon for the onset of an injury to occur hours or even days after an accident. If the other driver wants to “handle things” without involving the insurance company do not do it. Too often unforeseeable problems arise. If the other driver fails to report the accident to his insurance company until weeks or months later, the insurance company may deny coverage. The other driver is almost sure to report the accident to his insurance company if the police are involved. Finally, often you will need some proof of the accident for the insurance companies. The best written evidence of the event is the accident report.
7. IDENTIFY WITNESSES.
If at all possible, obtain the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. The police do not always gather this information as well as you might expect. Often an unbiased witness to the accident will make all the difference in the world in determining who was at fault.
8. HAVE YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITION CHECKED OUT.
Obviously if you feel fine after the accident there is no need to go to the hospital to be examined. However, if you experience pain or feel at all unusual you should seek medical help. Waiting to go to the hospital may jeopardize your health. In addition, if you do not obtain medical assistance it will be difficult to prove later that you were injured in the accident. When it comes to your health it is wise to play it safe.
A Daytona Beach Accident Lawyer from our law firm offers these tips in the event that the unforeseeable occurs. We certainly hope that you will not need to use this information.