Victims of accidents, even minor ones, know their adrenaline starts to pump immediately afterward. Even when you try to stay calm, your hands and feet might shake and your mind might buzz. An inability to stay calm after an accident can lead to more serious injuries, such as when a confused driver steps on the gas instead of the brakes or forgets to put a car in park. That’s why it’s so important to stay calm and assess the scene after an accident, and learn your rights before a crash.
Most Common Types of Car Accidents
Most motorists will suffer at least one of the following common accidents:
Low-speed contact accidents – Accidents that take place when vehicles move at less than 10 miles per hour; typical examples include parking lot accidents where one vehicle is unoccupied or not moving.
Rear-end collisions – When one car hits the rear of another, either due to tailgating or because the car in front of it stopped short or suddenly decelerated.
Single-vehicle crashes – Many high-speed impact collisions only involve one car, such as a car that collides with a guardrail or hydroplanes off the road. This does not mean, however, that another driver’s negligence did not contribute to the accident. Speak with a qualified Florida car accident attorney to determine whether you have a negligence case.
Side-impact (T-bone) collisions – These collisions take place when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another, many times when a driver runs a red light or stop sign. Because one car strikes another in an area closest to the driver and passenger, these collisions put occupants in extreme danger. Furthermore, the potential for additional collisions after the initial accident makes intersections especially dangerous places for accidents.
The negligence of other drivers can cause many common accidents. Take all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident into consideration, including the nature and extent of your injuries, to determine whether you have a case against another driver in Florida.
No one gets in a car prepared for an accident on the way to work, so a serious car accident can leave you shocked. Accordingly, take the following steps immediately after a car accident:
- Get to safety if you can
- Check yourself, your passengers, and others for injuries
- Call 911 immediately if anyone was trapped or rendered unconscious, or is bleeding or complaining of pain
- Begin the information gathering process
If the scene is safe and nobody exhibits visible or serious injuries, take pictures of the following to preserve any future personal injury or property claims:
- The scene of the accident, including street signs
- The license plates of the vehicles involved
- Any vehicle damage
- Any debris located at the scene
- Any skid marks or road obstructions
Do not allow another driver to take pictures of your driver’s license or vehicle registration, because those items contain personal information. Do, however, politely demand to see identification that matches the description of the other drivers as well as their vehicle registration, inspection, and insurance documentation.
Your Rights After a Florida Car Accident
Because Florida is a no-fault state, if a car accident injured you or damaged your vehicle, you must first make a claim through your insurance company for benefits. Florida requires that vehicle owners carry a minimum of $10,000 in no-fault benefits, which helps to cover your medical bills and lost wages after a car accident. If these benefits do not cover all of the expenses from your injuries, you have a right to make a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. That company will work with yours, as well as your Florida personal injury attorney, to determine whether it should provide you with additional compensation. It will generally do so by determining whether your injuries fall into one of four injury categories (called the threshold standard):
- Significant and permanent loss of an important body function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scars or disfigurement
If the liable insurance company decides not to pay out because you do not meet the threshold standard or offers you insufficient funds to compensate you for your injuries, you have the right to bring your case before a Florida court. If the judge determines that you do meet the threshold, then you may bring your case before a jury.
Contact the Clearwater Accident Attorneys of the Dolman Law Group
If a negligent party injured you or a loved one in the greater Tampa Bay area, take advantage of your free, no-risk consultation with the Dolman Law Group. Their trained Florida personal injury lawyers will help you determine whether you have a case under Florida law, and if so, they will help you get the compensation you deserve. The Dolman Law Group will protect your rights under Florida law and insurance companies will not take advantage of them. Call them today at (727) 451-6900 or contact them online for your free consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756