Q: I was just in a car accident. What do I do now?
It is critical that you obtain medical attention as soon as possible. Initially, this should be your main focus. Failure to obtain treatment within 14 days of the accident will extinguish your entitlement to Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) benefits. The longer you delay seeing a doctor, the more difficult it is to prove that you were genuinely injured in this particular accident.
Photographs and/or videos can be extremely helpful. Once you are safe and your injuries are being properly addressed, try and take pictures of the damage to all the vehicles involved. Take photos of other things damaged in the crash (e.g. roadside signs; barriers; private property).
Consider using cell phone video for things like “skid marks” or “water puddles” that may help explain why the accident happened or what evasive steps were taken to avoid the collision. Take extensive photos of any and all injuries (e.g. bruising; cuts; abrasions; marks left by your
Contact your own auto insurance carrier as soon as you can. Florida is a “No-Fault” jurisdiction and it is “your own” insurance company that will likely be paying most of your initial medical bills and/or lost wages. Cooperate with your carrier and immediately set up a formal “claim”
Do not agree to a “recorded statement” without first consulting an attorney. Request a copy of the “Police Report” online or in-person. The investigating police will usually just give you a “short-form” driver exchange information document at the scene. However, usually within a few days, a “long-form,” full report will be available to you. The “long-form” report includes substantial information that will be very helpful to you and any attorney you may later hire.