What To Do If You’re A Car Accident Victim In St Petersburg

Florida is one of the sunniest and warmest states in the country, so it’s no surprise that motor vehicles like cars and motorcycles are on Florida roads all year round. The combination of friendly weather and mild winters means everyone can enjoy the streets without worrying about seasonal limitations.

Unfortunately, this also means that with more vehicles on the road, the possibility of an auto accident is also higher. This is especially true if people let their guard down and drive carelessly, such as during holidays or after celebrations. If you’re caught in a car accident, injured, and the damage is serious, it can be a life-altering experience. Here’s what you should do.

Do A Safety Check

The first thing you should do right after an accident is to check yourself and any passengers for injuries. Above all else, driver and passenger health and safety are the priorities. This is important in knowing who is still able-bodied enough to move and who will need assistance or special consideration for moving if the injuries are severe. Trying to pull someone out with a broken leg, for example, may cause even more damage to that leg if you’re not aware of the injury.

If the vehicle still operates after the accident, move it to a safer location. This is both for your safety and for the flow of traffic that still needs to move. Of course, if the vehicle no longer operates, this isn’t an option, but this is also a good way to check the vehicle’s state.

If the accident is serious and there are injuries, calling for emergency services should be done at this time. If you have no medical training and the wounds are clearly beyond minor first aid procedures, it is better to let professionals handle the situation.

Remain At The Scene

Once safety and injury assessments have occurred, it's important to remain at the scene of the accident. For one thing, injured people shouldn’t be moved too much, so even if your vehicle is still operable, it’s not advised to drive down to a hospital yourself to seek medical treatment.

The other issue, and perhaps far more important, is legality. As a participant in an accident, even if it’s not your fault—which has not yet been determined—you must remain there to sort things out. Fleeing the scene of an accident can easily be interpreted as trying to evade fault and hoping no one can identify you or your vehicle and hold you accountable.

Take Down Details

While remaining on the scene, it’s also important, if you are able, to make a note of accident details. The level of damage to a car, for example, can be quickly noted and preserved with photos from a smartphone if your phone is still functioning. If you or any other people on the scene have dashboard cams on their vehicles that recorded any of the accident, this will also be crucial.

It’s also important to talk to other participants in the accident and exchange contact information since the respective insurance companies will need to reach out to each other to navigate the process of issuing claims. Even though Florida is a “No-Fault” state for insurance, this still means your insurance company must have the details of who you were involved in an accident. If the accident is serious with injuries that surpass No-Fault limits, which accident participants are, and how to contact them becomes crucial if a lawsuit is required.

Cooperate With EMS

Whether you call for the police, an ambulance, or both, it is important to be present when they arrive, which is why remaining at the scene is crucial. Paramedics may need to ask questions, especially about pre-existing conditions for any accident victims, while police will require details from all participants in an accident.

Not being present to answer police questioning is against the law and immediately makes you suspicious if the other accident participants claim they were not at fault. Cooperate with emergency response teams as they treat the injured, or if the police are present, answer any questions, and comply with requests.

Talk To A Professional

In the event of an accident, a clock is ticking. The statute of limitations on medical attention for car accidents in Florida is very short, at just two weeks or 14 days. The statute for the accident itself is four years, but if an injury is involved, and you want to associate that injury with a car accident, you must get a medical diagnosis that confirms this within 14 days of that accident.

This is why it’s crucial to take the time to seek out professional legal counsel. If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident and No-Fault limits are unlikely to meet the costs of medical treatment, talk to an auto accident lawyer to find out what you should be doing next..