3 important steps to take if you’re involved in an accident
Accidents are scary -- know what to do with confidence
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Have you ever driven by an automobile accident and wondered, “What do I do if I’m ever in that situation?”
It’s a simple question, but definitely one that is vital to know the answer to.
Below are three important actions to perform if you ever find yourself in an automobile accident and are not seriously injured.
Get in a safe place
If you are on a busy highway or road, it’s imperative to be out of the way of oncoming traffic. Police officers and others often are struck on the side of roads by other drivers, so be sure to get you and your vehicle to an area away from traffic.
“The first thing is, you need to make sure you are safe,” said John Watson, an attorney at Bogin, Munns & Munns. “Your No. 1 priority should be to get to a safe place.”
This is important in two different ways. One, it’s important to take photos of both your car and others involved in the accident with a cellphone or camera. Take them from several different angles as well, Watson said.
“The more photos, the better,” he said. “That’s one of the more important things, is to preserve that evidence.”
Two, it’s vital to pay attention to what other people in the accident say, according to Watson.
“Whatever that person says, that will be admissible in the court of law,” he said. “You want to pay attention to what they say and how they say it. You may even want to write that down, if you can.”
Watson also said even if there are minor injuries, it’s a good idea to go into a walk-in clinic immediately to get treated.
If you are injured, seek medical care immediately and consult an experienced attorney
There are usually a lot of state laws and other legal technicalities people don’t know about following an accident.
Watson said there is a personal injury protection law in Florida for people in accidents that requires them to visit a doctor within 14 days after the accident in order to be eligible to receive compensation.
Watson also said you need to be careful what to say to insurance companies and others following a crash.
“There are maybe some legal issues you are not aware of,” he said. “Be very cautious about giving recorded statements to your insurance company. You really should have some legal advice on that before you do it.”