Automobile accidents are an unfortunate reality of living in South Florida. It is important to have some basic knowledge of what to do if you are involved in a car accident to make sure you protect your rights.

First of all, pull over! If you caused the accident, you do not want to be charged with being a “hit and run” driver, and if you are hit, you are going to want to get the person’s information. If there is serious damage to the vehicles or if someone is hurt, the police need to be called. Do not rely on just getting the person’s insurance information or driver’s license if it was a heavy collision. Make sure a police report is filed. If anyone witnessed the accident and they were kind enough to pull over, make sure the police officer talks to them or you get their contact information.

You must report the accident to your insurance company soon after it happens. If you are injured, I recommend that you call an attorney first because the attorney can take care of providing the insurance company all necessary information. Additionally, the insurance company will likely want a statement from you as to what happened. Any attorney that you go to would want to be present when you give this statement to make sure that you are treated fairly by the company.

Additionally, if you are injured, make sure you are checked out by a hospital or a doctor. It is mandatory to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits to drive in the state of Florida, and as long as the coverage is available for your use, take advantage of this valuable coverage.

Once you establish a relationship with an attorney, do not talk to anyone without your attorney’s approval and/or presence. If someone calls you, give them your attorney’s name and phone number. Also, get their name and number so your lawyer can tell them that they are not to contact you again.

If you are injured, trying to handle an insurance company on your own in this situation has the makings for catastrophic results. Most personal injury lawyers will not charge you anything unless they are able to obtain a monetary result and it is foolish to try to do this on your own if you plan on obtaining the services of an attorney in the future. Knowledge of what to do if this situation ever presents itself will assist you greatly in protecting you and your family from being taken advantage of during an already stressful situation.

This article is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a personal legal consultation.

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