What to do in Event of an Accident
It could happen to you. That’s the message our trial attorneys in Fort Myers and Cape Coral want you to remember. Nearly 100 people a day are killed in car accidents in this country – or four motorists every hour.
Millions more are injured each year. Florida car accidents claim more than 2,000 lives each year – more than anywhere in the nation except California and Texas. What you do in the immediate aftermath of a serious accident can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, encourages you to print this out and put it in your glove compartment. We also suggest you store a disposable camera in your glove box if you don’t have a cell phone that takes pictures.STOP
Florida law requires that you stop if you are involved in an accident with another person or vehicle, or if you have caused property damage. All accidents on Florida roads must be reported to law enforcement. If you are involved in an accident with another person, you are advised to call 911, report the location and severity of the crash, and wait for assistance. Failure to report a crash may subject you to criminal prosecution and may also impact your ability to file a claim against your insurance company.STAY SAFE
A significant number of serious and fatal injuries are caused by secondary accidents at the scene of a crash. You should move well away from disabled vehicles; waiting in a nearby parking lot away from the road is frequently your best option. Utilize flares or other warning devices if available, but your primary concern should be staying safe while waiting for professional help to arrive.ACCEPT MEDICAL TREATMENT
Accept offered medical help. Adrenaline in the immediate aftermath of an accident can mask signs or symptoms of injury. And some serious injuries, including concussions, herniations, and traumatic brain injuries, may not result in immediate symptoms. Allow trained medical professionals to examine you and follow their advice – which may include going to the emergency room.COOPERATE WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
The law enforcement report of the accident will be among the most important sources of information should you need to file an accident or injury claim. Be cooperative, but also be mindful of what you say. A driver should never admit fault. In fact, a driver is not qualified to determine whether he or she was at fault. In general, law enforcement is there to help you. Be polite. But don’t volunteer information. Those who believe they may have committed a criminal offense should decline to answer any questions and should contact a criminal defense lawyer for advice.CREATE YOUR OWN RECORD
Listen carefully and make note of any statements made by other parties at the scene. Make your own record of what occurred while it is still fresh in your mind. An accident claim can take months or even years to resolve. Your memory will be freshest and most reliable immediately after an accident. Write down the names, addresses and contact information of any witnesses. Take pictures and make a sketch of the scene. Do your best to record and make note of any obstructions, such as overgrown foliage or inoperable traffic lights. Potholes, missing street signs, and loose or defective guardrails are other examples of circumstances that should be noted and photographed.DEALING WITH INSURANCE COMPANIES
In most cases, you are required to notify your insurance company that you have been involved in an accident. Failure to do so may result in denial of your claim. You may also be required to provide your insurance company with a statement. However, under no circumstances should you provide a statement to other insurance companies or to attorneys for insurance companies or the at-fault driver.ONGOING RECORDS
You should continue to keep records even after the accident. These will include all correspondence from law enforcement, attorneys, insurance companies or other parties. Also keep a log of the date, time, and topic of phone conversations with involved parties.CONTACTING AN ATTORNEY
It is a good idea to speak to an attorney after a serious accident. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney in Fort Myers can assist in ensuring that your rights are protected. In many cases, an experienced attorney can assist in spotting potential legal problems or medical complications that may arise from your accident. And he or she can help ensure you are being treated fairly by insurance companies, which have their own attorneys who are hired to minimize costs and maximize profits.PAYING AN ATTORNEY
Many personal injury law firms in Fort Myers and elsewhere in Southwest Florida, including Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, offer free and confidential consultations to discuss your rights. We also charge no set fee but take cases on a contingency fee basis – which means clients owe nothing unless we are successful in making a recovery on their behalf. In the event of a recovery, the fee for such services is usually one-third to 40 percent, as regulated by the Florida Supreme Court.
Other law firms will charge costs, regardless of whether or not there is a recovery. At Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, our promise to you is simple: There are no costs and no fees without a recovery.
In other words, you’ll pay us nothing unless we win.
1-800-283-2900 – Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner – Focused on Justice