What to Do After a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault in Florida

July 2, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What to Do After a Car Accident That Is Not Your Fault in Florida

Getting into a car accident can be a shocking and disorienting experience. Knowing what to do immediately afterward can significantly impact your ability to recover physically, emotionally, and financially.

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the steps following a car accident in Florida that is not your fault, emphasizing the importance of adhering to Florida-specific laws and procedures.

In Florida, certain legal requirements must be met after a car accident, such as staying at the scene, exchanging information, and reporting the accident to the authorities.

Knowing what to do after a car accident in Florida that is not your fault can help you avoid legal complications, ensure you are adequately protected, protect your rights, and obtain the compensation you deserve.

Immediate Steps at the Accident Scene

Ensure Safety and Call 911

Immediately after the accident, check yourself and others involved for injuries. If anyone is hurt, prioritize calling 911 for medical assistance. Quick medical attention is crucial for serious injuries and helps create a medical record for claims.

Moving Vehicles Out of Traffic if Possible

If your vehicle obstructs traffic, move it to the side of the road if it is safe. This prevents further accidents and allows traffic to flow. Turn on hazard lights to alert other drivers of the accident.

Assess Injuries and the Scene

Do not move seriously injured individuals unless there is an immediate danger, such as a fire. Provide first aid if you are trained to do so and wait for emergency services to arrive. Ensure that you and others are safe from further harm.

The Importance of Documenting Injuries and the Accident Scene

Documenting the scene and any injuries can be crucial for insurance and legal purposes. Take detailed notes about the injuries and the conditions of the accident scene. This information can be vital when filing claims or if legal action is necessary.

Gather and Exchange Information

Exchange the following information with the other driver:

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Driver’s license numbers.
  • Vehicle registration numbers.
  • Insurance company names and policy numbers.

Collecting Witness Statements and Contact Information

If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information and statements about what they saw. Witnesses can provide unbiased accounts of the accident, which can be helpful for insurance claims and any potential legal proceedings.

Document the Accident Scene

Use your phone or a camera to take photos of the accident scene from various angles. Include close-ups of the vehicle damage, visible injuries, and the overall scene, including traffic signals, road conditions, and relevant landmarks.

Thorough documentation of the damage and injuries helps create a clear and detailed record of the incident.

This can be critical for insurance purposes and in any legal actions that might follow. Make sure to capture all aspects of the scene to provide a comprehensive overview.

Following these steps, you can ensure safety, comply with legal requirements, and gather essential information to support future claims or legal actions.

This proactive approach can significantly help protect your rights and interests after an accident.

Florida Law on Leaving the Scene of an Accident

Florida law requires drivers involved in an accident resulting in vehicle or property damage to stop immediately at the scene or as close to it as possible.

They must then return and remain at the scene until they have fulfilled the requirements of exchanging information and rendering aid if necessary. This is necessary to ensure all parties receive the required information and assistance.

What Are the Penalties for Failing to Stop After an Accident in Florida?

Failing to stop at the scene of an accident in Florida can lead to severe consequences. If you leave the scene of an accident that only involves property damage, you could be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.

Penalties include fines, potential jail time, and a permanent criminal record. This underscores the importance of adhering to legal obligations immediately following an accident.

When and How to Report the Accident to the Police

In Florida, accidents must be reported to the police if they result in injury, death, or significant property damage.

To report an accident, call 911 immediately from the scene. The police will respond, provide necessary assistance, and document the accident.

You must remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives and you have provided all the necessary information.

The police will file an accident report detailing the circumstances, which is essential for any subsequent insurance claims or legal proceedings.

Should I Request a Police Report?

The police report is an official record of an accident when it is not your fault. It will include critical details such as the date, location, parties involved, witness statements, the time of the accident, and the officer’s observations.

Obtaining a copy of the police report is important for your insurance claim and any potential legal action. Request a copy from the responding officer or through the local police department's records office.

What are Florida Law Requirements for Exchanging Information?

Florida law mandates that drivers involved in an accident exchange specific information. This includes:

  • Full names and addresses.
  • Driver’s license numbers.
  • Vehicle registration numbers.
  • Insurance company names and policy numbers.

What Other Information Should You Collect When the Accident is Not Your Fault?

In addition to the legally required information, be sure to collect the following details:

  • Vehicle make, model, and registration number.
  • Information from witnesses such as:
  • Names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
  • Information from Law Enforcement such as:
  • The name and badge number of the responding officer.
  • The police report number and instructions on how to obtain a copy.

Additionally, keep receipts and invoices for all expenses incurred from the accident, such as vehicle repairs, rental car costs, and other related expenditures.

Detailed documentation supports your claims and helps ensure you are reimbursed for all out-of-pocket expenses.

When you gather information, you are only helping yourself and any passengers in your car. Moreover, you ensure that you meet all necessary legal standards following a car accident in Florida.

This not only helps in the immediate aftermath but also supports any future claims or legal actions that may arise.

Do You Need to Notify Your Insurance Company if the Accident is Not Your Fault?

Even if the accident was not your fault, you should notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.

Prompt reporting ensures that you comply with your policy's requirements and that your claim is processed efficiently. Delays in reporting can result in complications or even denial of your claim.

Speaking with a Florida car accident attorney before speaking with an adjuster or other auto insurance representative is advisable because you may inadvertently say something that could hurt your case.

What Details Should You Provide to Your Insurer?

When notifying your car insurance company, be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Date, time, and location of the accident.
  • Names, addresses, and contact information of all involved parties.
  • Driver’s license numbers and vehicle registration details.
  • Insurance information of the other driver.
  • A brief description of how the accident occurred.
  • Any police report number or contact information for the responding officers.

Should You Go to the Doctor After a Car Crash in Florida?

After a car accident, seeking medical attention immediately is extremely important, even if you feel fine and are not in much body pain.

Some injuries, such as whiplash, concussions, or internal injuries, may not be immediately apparent and can manifest hours or days later.

A prompt medical checkup ensures that hidden injuries are diagnosed and treated early, preventing complications.

How to Document Medical Visits and Treatments

Every medical visit and treatment related to the accident should be thoroughly documented. This includes initial checkups, follow-up appointments, prescriptions, and recommended therapies or procedures.

Detailed medical records are essential for your insurance claim and any legal proceedings, providing evidence of the extent and impact of your injuries.

Keep records of all medical treatments, including:

  • Medical bills for emergency room visits, hospital stays, and doctor consultations.
  • Costs of diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and blood tests.
  • Receipts for medications, medical supplies, and assistive devices.
  • Invoices for physical therapy, chiropractic care, and other rehabilitation services.

Keeping detailed records helps you claim all eligible expenses from your insurance company and seek full compensation for your financial losses.

Importance of Follow-Up Care

Following your doctor’s recommendations and attending all scheduled follow-up appointments is critical for your recovery.

This ongoing care helps manage your injuries effectively and demonstrates your commitment to recovering fully.

Adhering to prescribed treatment plans also strengthens your case when filing insurance claims or pursuing legal action.

Keeping your doctor’s and therapy appointments shows that you are taking your health seriously and following medical advice, which can support your claims for compensation for ongoing medical expenses and the potential long-term impacts of your injuries.

You protect your health and legal rights by prioritizing medical attention and meticulous documentation.

Thorough records and adherence to medical advice ensure that you receive appropriate care and fair compensation for any injuries sustained in the accident.

When to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for an Accident That Is Not Your Fault

If the accident resulted in significant injuries, substantial property damage, or disputes about fault, you should consider hiring a Florida car accident lawyer.

If the insurance company offers a low settlement or you face long-term medical care and lost income and wages, a lawyer can be invaluable in ensuring you receive fair compensation.

Additionally, professional legal assistance is highly recommended if the accident involves multiple parties or if there are legal complexities.

What Are the Benefits of Having a Lawyer Handle Your Case?

An experienced Florida car accident lawyer can explain Florida’s personal injury, car accident, and insurance laws.  

A skilled auto accident lawyer can handle all communications with the insurance companies, further protecting your rights.  

Lawyers are skilled at negotiating higher settlements and can advocate on your behalf in court if necessary. Florida car accident attorneys, with successful results, help maximize an injured victim's compensation, covering medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help When You Are Not at Fault

A lawyer will collect all necessary evidence to build a strong case, including police reports, medical records, witness statements, and accident scene photographs.

They will also handle the timely filing of all claims and legal documents, ensuring compliance with all procedural requirements.

This thorough approach helps establish liability and demonstrate the full extent of your damages.

Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts. A car crash lawyer in Florida can effectively counter these tactics, negotiating with the insurance adjusters to achieve a fair settlement.

Injury attorneys understand the tactics used by insurers and can present a compelling case for full compensation.

If the insurance company fails to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can take the case to court and represent your interests before a judge and jury.

A Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Avoid Common Pitfalls

Unfortunately, after a car crash caused by someone else, people try to handle their insurance claims on their own.

An accident attorney can help you from potentially ruining your case in the following ways:

  • Providing Recorded Statements. Avoid giving recorded statements to the other driver’s insurance company without consulting your lawyer. These statements can be used against you to reduce your claim.
  • Correcting Errors in the Police Report. Your attorney will obtain a copy of the police report from your accident and review it thoroughly for any inaccuracies or omissions. If there are errors, your lawyer will help to amend the report.
  • Signing Documents. Do not sign any documents from the other driver’s insurance company without your lawyer's review. This includes settlement offers, which may be lower than you are entitled to.
  • Delaying Medical Treatment. Prompt medical treatment is essential not only for your health but also for your claim. Delays can be interpreted as a sign that your injuries are not severe. A car accident lawyer can help you find doctors who will treat you without having to pay upfront.  
  • Accepting Initial Settlement Offers. Insurance company's initial offers are often low. Consult your lawyer to evaluate the offer and negotiate for a better settlement.

With a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in Florida, your case will be handled professionally so you can recover and receive the compensation you deserve.

Having the right lawyer with legal experience can significantly affect the outcome of your case, providing peace of mind and financial security for the future as you recover from the accident.

A serious injury affects daily life. A Florida car accident lawyer will be invaluable when proving the extent of your injuries and their impact on your quality of life, helping to secure appropriate compensation.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Today

Car Accident Attorney, Matt Dolman

Dealing with the pain and suffering of a car accident that wasn’t your fault can turn your life upside down.

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our experienced car accident lawyers are committed to helping you get better and maximizing your compensation.

We take the time to understand your situation and the impact the accident has had on your life. Our tailored legal advice addresses your needs and helps you explore all available options, whether settling your accident claim or filing a lawsuit and going to trial.

Contact us for a free consultation with a Florida car accident attorney. We will discuss your case in detail, helping you understand the potential value of your claim and the steps involved in pursuing it. There is no obligation to proceed, and we will never pressure you to decide to hire us.

Call 833-552-7274 and find out if we are the right law firm for you.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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