Driving is a convenience we have grown accustomed to, but sometimes accidents happen and it’s important to know the appropriate steps to take. If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident that is not your fault, the information below can help.
Car Accident Facts
No matter how safe of a driver you are, you can’t control the actions of those around you out on the road. It’s impossible to predict every scenario and prevent some accidents from happening, especially when the accident is not your fault. A car could rear-end you or a car could swerve into oncoming traffic due to alcohol or fatigue. Neither of these situations would be your fault, but it’s still best to know how to go about handling the event.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 402,385 crashes in 2017 with 254,310 injuries as a result. This doesn’t include rental cars from visitors that visit the beautiful state of Florida.
If you are the unfortunate victim of a car accident and think, “The car accident was not my fault, what do I do?” then you need this information. Florida has its own set of rules for dealing with auto accidents, which is why we’ve detailed the appropriate course of action to take.
First Steps After an Accident
There are several steps you should follow immediately after an accident. Regardless of who is to blame for the accident, taking these steps can help protect you if you file a claim.
First, never leave the scene. It’s vital that you remain there until you have been cleared to go home. After you have made sure you are physically unharmed, check on other passengers and drivers before calling the police.
While you wait for emergency services to arrive, exchange information with the other drivers and document the scene. This is vital for insurance purposes and can take the form of photos, insurance information or police reports. It may clearly be the other driver’s fault, but filing a police report enables you to take further action if the car accident was not your fault.
While you’re there, talk to witnesses and get their information, such as names and phone numbers, so the insurance companies and police can contact them if necessary. If it’s possible, move the vehicles out of the way to avoid further accidents and to keep others on the road safe. Even if you know, “This car accident is not my fault,” you still need to be diligent about these steps. Only after you have completed the standard protocol and are released from the scene is it okay to continue on.
Next Steps To Take
After you have been cleared to leave, be sure to seek medical attention even if you feel fine. Sometimes injuries don’t show up until later, such as whiplash, and this is important to document in the event of a lawsuit. Then, contact your insurance company and have the damage inspected.
Finally, speak with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options about what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault. It may be that the insurance companies want to settle as quickly and as quietly as possible, but a deal may not cover everything it should. For example, if you are injured, the insurance company may think they can slide by offering only the bare minimum. However, an attorney can help you get the settlement you deserve.
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Irrespective of who is at fault, these steps should be followed. However, the most important thing to do throughout is to remain calm. This can be an incredibly stressful situation, so keeping a clear head and a composed demeanor can make the process easier to manage.
File a Claim
As a no-fault state, you can only file a claim against a fellow driver in certain situations in the state of Florida, such as when a car accident involves a serious injury. You have four years to file a personal injury claim, as regulated by the statute of limitations.
Your insurance company is responsible for covering some of the damage and medical costs, but it is important to speak with an attorney right away to discuss other recourse options. If you leave the accident and think, “The car accident was not my fault,” speaking with an attorney can ensure you follow the proper steps for compensation and settling a lawsuit.
Factors of the Claim Process
If you feel the accident warrants a lawsuit, you should file a claim. The amount of money you receive and the speed in which a settlement is reached largely depend on what evidence you can produce about the accident. This includes photographs, police reports, medical reports if you were injured, witness statements and any other documentation that may help you reach a settlement. Most of this evidence should have been collected at the scene of the accident if you followed the initial steps.
A claims process and lawsuit is not easy and can take several exchanges before it can be settled. For this, an attorney is the one person you want to rely on, as they can handle the process on your behalf to help you receive the best settlement. However, before a car accident settlement can be reached, several factors must be considered, including those listed here:
- Lost wages
- Seriousness of injuries
- Culpability of accident
- Cost of medical expenses
- Documentation and evidence of accident
- Insurance policies from all parties involved
- Your attorney’s argument for your case
Due to the intricate nature of the process, it’s not easy to do it by yourself. In fact, this is where a car accident attorney can help.
Reasons to Hire An Attorney
A car accident was not my fault, what do I do? One of the best things you can do in this situation is to contact an attorney who specializes in car accidents.
To begin with, it’s important to contact an attorney after you seek medical attention and speak with your insurance company. After that it’s a matter of informing your attorney of what happened, including handing over the documentation of the accident and any reports that may exist. It’s crucial that you do not accept any settlement from an insurance company without consulting with your attorney. In fact, it’s better to allow the attorney to act on your behalf throughout the entire process.
An attorney has your best interests at heart and can make the process go smoothly. Whether it’s putting together all the evidence and going the extra mile to interview witnesses or speaking to the insurance companies to make sure you are given what you deserve, an attorney is someone you can trust and rely on to resolve the situation.
Duties of a Car Accident Attorney
Car accident attorney Brian D. Guralnick, can be your most important ally during this stressful situation and help you figure out what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault. Brian D. Guralnick injury Lawyers can negotiate on your behalf to reach a settlement with the insurance companies that offer you the compensation you deserve. But in order for this to happen, you need to make sure you provide all the evidence from the accident, so the lawyer can argue and prove that you were not at fault and deserve recompense for what happened.
In a no-fault state like Florida, it can be difficult to reach a desirable car accident settlement, but the right attorney can make all the difference. A lawyer can help you in the following ways:
- Recoup lost wages if you had to take time off from work to recover
- Pay for hospital bills or medical treatment
- Facilitate payment for ongoing rehabilitation for serious injuries
- Put together a case and defend you in court if a settlement cannot be reached
Chances are the insurance companies would rather settle outside the courtroom and an attorney can help negotiate the best possible deal for you. That’s why a lawyer is a good resource and valuable ally to have on your side if the car accident was not your fault.
Get the Help You Need Today
Accidents are not always straightforward, but this guide should help you understand what to do after a car accident that is not your fault. Adhering to the steps above immediately following an accident and hiring an attorney who can help you through the process. Car accidents happen whether it’s your fault or not, but having the right people on your side can make a difference. Remember, the help you need is only a phone call away.
If you have been injured in a Palm Beach County car accident, I encourage you to contact me, Brian D. Guralnick, personally to discuss your legal rights. To learn how the injury team at Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers can help you Demand More® for your injuries, call 561-202-6673 now.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.