No matter how safely you drive or how careful you might be behind the wheel, there is no way to control what other drivers around you are going to do. While you can never prepare for the unexpected, knowing what to do if an accident occurs, what to do if someone hits you, and how you can protect your rights – you can make it a lot easier to deal with the aftermath of a car accident. Even when a car accident isn’t your fault, there are certain steps you should take after the accident to make sure everything is handled with ease.
Whether someone ran a red light, was distracted by a cell phone, or maybe they were driving too quickly to notice a stop sign without any regard for traffic laws, resulting in an accident that isn’t your fault, it will be essential to stay calm, make sure everyone involved is alright, and call 911 if necessary. After you have done this, you will need to gather information, document the accident, notify the right people, and decide how you want to handle the legal side of things.
While getting into an accident can be extremely stressful, startling, and confusing – there are measures you can take to educate yourself and protect your rights just in case.
If you or a loved one was injured in a recent car accident that wasn’t your fault, by taking the right steps afterward you can make sure you get the justice you deserve. By learning more about what to do if an accident occurs, you will not only be able to simplify the entire legal process but you will be able to make sure everything works out in your favor as well.
With car accidents happening more frequently in Florida, there has never been a better time to educate yourself on what you should do if you are involved in a wreck.
5 Steps You Should Take After A Car Accident That Isn’t Your Fault in Florida:
If you are involved in a car accident that isn’t your fault, take these steps to protect your rights, collect the correct information, and take legal action if it is in your best interest. No matter what the circumstances are, follow these steps and be prepared to take on what’s ahead as you seek justice.
1. Gather Any Important Information
When you are involved in an accident that isn’t your fault, it will be crucial that you gather any important information that you may need while at the scene. Even though it will be the driver who caused the accident’s responsibility to contact their insurer, you will want to make sure you contact them as well. Oftentimes, drivers will be reluctant to contact their insurance company, making it increasingly important to contact their insure yourself to make sure everything is handled properly.
What Information Should You Gather at the Scene?
- Other driver’s name and address
- Other driver’s insurance company name and their policy information
- Statements and contact information from any witnesses
What Information Should You Give Out?
- Your name
- Your vehicle’s make, model, year, color, and VIN
- The name of your insurance company along with your agent’s name, their phone number, and your policy number.
What to Keep in Mind While Gathering Information:
- Do not allow your license or registration to be photographed, no matter the circumstance
- Do not provide your address or contact information to other drivers, passengers, or witnesses on the scene.
- Don’t apologize or admit to no fault
- Keep any conversation at a minimum
- Don’t sign any documents unless for the police or your own insurance company
2. Document the Accident that Was Caused By Another Florida Driver
After you have taken the time to gather any important information from those involved in the accident, you will need to work on documenting the scene as a part of the next step. While it is understandable that you may be a little shaken up, this step is critical if you want to file a claim or take legal action regarding the injuries or damage that have occurred.
To document the scene accurately, you will need to take plenty of pictures and keep a written account of the details of the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. This will not only give you the evidence you need to back your case, but it will make it easier to get the justice you deserve.
What Should You Take Pictures Of?
- License plates of involved vehicles
- Any damage to your vehicle
- Any damage to other vehicles
- Damage to any property
- The entire scene of the accident, getting as many angles as possible
- Any injuries
- Street signs or any landmarks that will help identify the location of the accident
- Nearby businesses that may have surveillance camera footage
- Objects at the scene
- Any other factors that you think may have contributed to the accident
What Should You Document?
- Time and date of the accident
- Any contributing weather or traffic conditions
- Road quality, noting if it was wet, muddy, etc
- A summary of the accident
- A description of any injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians
- Any damage and where the damage is located on the vehicle
- Details of police or any emergency services that were involved
- If you have a dashcam, store the accident footage which could later help you leverage your case
- Also, remember to keep receipts of any transportation, repair, or parking expenditures, which might come in handy after taking legal action
3. Notify the Right People
After you have collected all of the information and documentation of the accident that you need, you will need to take the next step and notify the right people as soon as you can.
To begin, you will want to contact the other driver’s insurer. While explaining the nature of the events that occurred, make sure you are only relaying facts. Even if the other driver is at fault, you will need to provide adequate evidence to prove to the insurance company that they are liable for your damages.
While the police will decide who is at fault for ticketing purposes, the insurer will make their own decision based on documentation and evidence regarding who they believe is at fault for the accident.
Remember, even if you know that the accident was not your fault, it is still in your best interest to contact your insurance provider. This will establish a good-faith accident reporting effort which will be helpful if you end up deciding to file a claim.
In a perfect world, you should be able to contact the other driver’s insurer, notify them about your damages or injuries, get your car repaired, visit a doctor if needed, and allow the insurer to pay your bills, but, it is not always that simple. Sometimes insurance companies will demand you obtain their authorization before getting any vehicle repairs or injury treatment, making the entire process a bit more tricky.
To make sure everything goes smoothly, take the proper measures to make sure the entire legal process works out in your favor, starting by contacting the right people who will help you make it out of this situation with ease.
Who Should You Notify?
- Other driver’s insurer
- Your insurance company
- Your attorney
4. Talk to Any Witnesses
If it is possible, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to any witnesses who were near the crash or active on the scene who may have observed the entire accident. Witness statements can support your side of the story, allowing you to develop a stronger, more stable claim that proves you are not at fault for anything that happened.
Since a witness statement is typically non-bais and neutral, it can be beneficial to speak with a witness and take note of their name, contact information, and what they observed at the scene.
5. Choose Your Battles, Wisely When Handling a No-Fault Accident in Florida
In some cases, the at-fault driver’s insurer may tell you to seek payment from your insurer, due to a lack of evidence that leads them to believe their policyholder was not responsible. While most states have made it illegal for an insurer to deny claims without reasonably investigating the facts first, you may still run into a situation that isn’t necessarily in your favor.
If you choose to make a claim with your insurance provider, keep in mind that they will most likely decide to fight the other insurance for compensation on your behalf, if it is found that the other driver is at fault.
But, other outcomes may not work out quite as easily. While there may be plenty of evidence and information to back your argument, the other driver’s insurer may continue to back them and refuse compensation.
If you are faced with this unfortunate situation, there are a few extra steps you can take to make sure you get everything worked out. When dealing with a small claim you can take the driver to small claims court, but if it is more than that then you may need to hire an attorney to take on your case.
While this is a big decision, if you believe the outcome is worth it for financial compensation and your own peace of mind, then by all means hire a lawyer and get the justice that you seek.
Tips for Making a Claim to Your Insurance Provider:
- You will need to provide your policy number, details of the accident, the registration number of the cars involved, the driver’s name, and their contact information, along with the driver’s insurance details.
- Even if you are unsure about filing a claim, you still need to report the accident to your provider within a reasonable time. If you don’t, there is a chance that you could violate the terms and conditions of your insurance policy unknowingly.
How Can a Florida Attorney Help You with Your Auto Accident Case?
By working with an experienced and attentive attorney, it will be easier to file your claim and take legal action with ease. An attorney will be there to help you better understand legal documents, pursue damages, and get the compensation you deserve to cover the costs you owe.
If you suspect that the other driver’s insurer will not help you or it has taken way too long to get things settled, it may be the right time to hire an attorney to help your case. Even if you have all of the evidence, documentation, and proof that the accident was not your fault – the legal side of things can still be tricky.
To make sure your case is taken seriously and you receive the justice you deserve, hire an attorney and take the next step towards getting your life back to normal.
Taking the Proper Steps After an Accident that Someone Else Caused in Florida
While you may strive to be the safest, most attentive driver on the road, you can never predict what other drivers around you are doing and how it may affect you in the future.
Whether you are involved in an accident the involves another driver running a red light, completely disregarding a stop sign, or simply making a wrong turn that resulted in injury or damage to you – it will be important to gather information, take pictures, keep written statements, contact the right people, and choose your legal battles wisely.
By taking these steps after an accident, you will be able to make sure that you are not held accountable for the accident or the aftermath. Whether you make a settlement with the insurance company, handle the issue in small claims court, or hire an attorney to help you out, there are numerous ways you can defend your rights especially if you are not at fault for the accident.
To receive justice for your claim and get the peace of mind that you deserve after the accident, take these steps to make sure everything gets resolved and settled in no time. Our team at The Lopez Law Group has experienced auto accident attorneys that would be happy to help you get the settlement you deserve. Call 866-235-9480 for a case evaluation on your case.