There are over 400,000 car accidents in Florida every year. On average, more than 250,000 people per year are injured in those crashes.
With as common as accidents are, it may come as a surprise that many drivers don’t know what to if they are involved in an accident. Other drivers take the correct steps but in the wrong order.
In both cases, the results are often the same. Drivers don’t get the protections, reimbursements, or supports to which they are legally entitled. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to happen to you. Keep reading now to learn why calling a car accident lawyer is one of the first steps you need to take when you are in an accident.
Step 1. Get Emergency Medical Help If You Need It
The first and most important thing to do if you are in a car accident in the Brandon, FL area is to get emergency medical help if you need it. If you or your passengers have been injured, call 911. Nothing is more important than your health and safety.
Step 2: Get to Safety
The second step is to ensure that you are not in immediate danger or putting anyone else in danger. To this end, as soon as you have verified that everyone is unharmed or called for emergency assistance, you should:
- Maneuver your vehicle to the side of the road or otherwise out of traffic
- Turn off the engine of your vehicle
- Turn on your hazard lights
- Set up flares or other emergency devices if you have them to make your vehicle visible and alert other drivers of your presence.
In the event that there is another danger, such as fire, smoke, or the possibility of an explosion, move away from the vehicle.
3. Call a Car Accident Lawyer
If you are like many drivers, you may assume that once you are safe you should take photos of the crash, call your insurance provider, or exchange information with the other driver. In reality, however, once you are safe the most important thing to do is call a Brandon car accident claim lawyer.
Why You Should Call a Lawyer Before Your Insurance Agent
Many drivers mistakenly believe that their insurance agent’s job is to assist them in the aftermath of a car crash. They assume that because they have paid for an insurance policy, their agent will assist them in:
- Accurately documenting the scene
- Protecting themselves from potential negative consequences
- Getting the money they need to address injuries they received, fix their vehicle, and otherwise restore their lives in the wake of an accident
Unfortunately, in most cases, this simply isn’t true. In reality, your insurance agent does not work for you.
They work for your insurance company. Their priorities, then, are to close your case quickly and avoid paying out any more money than necessary for your claim. To this end, they may advise you to take actions or phrase your statements in ways that benefit them but that will hurt you in the long run.
Car crash lawyers, on the other hand, will look out for you. They can provide desperately needed calm, experience, and guidance in the aftermath of an accident.
How Your Lawyer Can Help
Your car accident personal injury lawyer can help you in more ways than you likely expect.
First, they can help you identify what pictures you need to take on the scene for your own protection. This includes photos that show:
- The full damage to your vehicle
- Road or environmental conditions
- The other vehicle(s) involved
- Possible vehicle defects that contributed to the crash
Your lawyer can also help you report your accident to authorities and your insurance agent in ways that do not accidentally and inappropriately acknowledge fault or hurt your chances of proper compensation.
Second, your lawyer can provide important reminders and advice about seeking medical care. Often, accident victims do not feel their injuries right away and therefore do not seek care. This can create problems later when they recognize and report their injuries.
Delayed identification of injuries can make it difficult to get your care compensated, particularly if you have already accepted an insurance payout. Your lawyer will be able to help you avoid that problem.
Third, having your lawyer handle the legal aspects of your case frees you to focus on getting your life back in order. After an accident, you may need:
- Medical treatment
- To get your vehicle repaired or replaced
- To make alternative living, working, or transportation arrangements for a period of time
Attempting to handle legal concerns yourself on top of those things increases the likelihood that you will settle for less than you deserve.
Other Steps to Take
After getting car accident legal advice from your lawyer, it will be time to do all the other steps that people typically think of. These include:
- Contacting your insurance agent and possibly the authorities to report your accident
- Taking photos and other documentation of the scene
- Finding an appropriate auto shop in which to have your car assessed and repaired
Through all of that, your lawyer will negotiate with your insurance company, the other person’s insurance company, and any other appropriate parties to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
If you find yourself dealing with traffic citations, your lawyer can assist you with those as well. Properly handling tickets can mean the difference between keeping and losing your license, so it is important to get quality advice upfront.
Don’t wait until you are in an accident to think about getting a car accident lawyer. Copy our contact information into your phone or write it on a card and store it in your vehicle with your license and registration. Let us be there for you when you need us the most.