The Dos and Don’ts Following a Car Accident

In the United States, there are over 16,000 car accidents per day, which adds up to over 6 million car accidents per year. Though nobody plans on getting in a wreck, it is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. No matter how cautious you are, accidents happen, and if you are involved in one, it’s a good idea to have some information to help navigate you through the aftermath of the wreck.

people exchanging information after a car accident

Being in a car accident can be a stressful, scary time, which is why it’s a good idea to be prepared. Having a list of dos and don’ts can help guide you and give you peace of mind after being involved in a traffic accident.

You should also remember that you can always refer to a Tampa car accident lawyer for specific advice following your collision. Your attorney can assist you with filing an injury claim against all at-fault parties in order to recover the money spent on medical bills and other damages.

The Dos

  • Do seek medical attention. If someone is seriously injured, this needs to happen immediately. Even if the accident is minor, it is still a good idea to see a doctor within 48 hours of the accident. Some injuries may not be immediately apparent, taking days to surface. Going to the doctor is the only way to have a legitimate record of these injuries. 
  • Do contact the police. Calling the authorities is a necessary step in almost all accidents. Though you may feel the accident was minor, calling the police and having them file a report is the only way to make sure that you are covered in the event that other damage, either to the vehicle or yourself, is discovered at a later time. Once you call the police, they will send out an officer to interview all parties involved.
  • Do file a crash report even if police declined to respond. In certain collisions where there is no obvious injury, police may not respond to file their report. This is especially true in “fender bender” accidents in parking lots and on private property. However, low-speed accidents can still lead to injuries like whiplash. In order to document the accident, you should file a report online or at the nearest precinct within the next 10 days.
  • Do exchange information with other drivers. After the police have arrived, you will want to exchange information with anyone involved with the wreck — even potential witnesses. You will want to collect license plate numbers, the make and model of vehicles involved, insurance information, and registration numbers, as well as contact information for all parties involved.
  • Do document the scene. Using either a disposable camera or your cell phone, begin taking pictures of the scene and damage to vehicles as soon as it is safe to. Try to include landmarks or road signs to help establish the positioning of the scene. Make sure to note any hazardous conditions that may have contributed to the wreck. You will want to make sure you have pictures of any injuries.
  • Do contact your insurance company. Though you need to notify your insurance company about your wreck as soon as possible, you will want to refrain from signing anything, admitting fault, or discussing the accident in detail until after you have spoken to an attorney. 
  • Do keep track of missed work. Make sure to document any time taken from work in order to attend doctor appointments or follow-ups, as well as any work missed or lost due to your mental, physical, and emotional state following the wreck.
  • Do get a second opinion. Once your insurance company has made you an offer for repairs of your car, you may want to take it to one or two independent body shops to obtain a quote or damage valuation.
  • Do contact an experienced car accident attorney. At Darrigo & Diaz, we have over 30 years of experience working with car accident victims. We will fight for you to ensure you have the best possible chance of receiving the outcome you deserve.

The Don’ts

  • Don’t panic. Remain calm and in control of your emotions as much as you can. Being in an accident is an upsetting experience, but try to keep your feelings in check and make sure that everyone receives the help that they need.
  • Don’t leave. If you’ve been in an accident, no matter how minor, it is important that you stay at the scene. The police will need to be called and the accident will likely need to be reported. The officers will need to get your statement in order to file the accident report. Additionally, if you leave, you may face legal repercussions, such as avoidable fines and possibly even jail time. The police will give you permission to leave the scene when they are finished gathering the information they need.
  • Don’t put yourself at risk of additional injury. If the accident was minor and you are able, you should (and maybe legally required) to move your accident to a nearby safe location, such as a wide shoulder or nearby parking lot. Even if you can’t move your vehicle, make sure to move yourself and other passengers in your car to a safe spot along the road or nearby before calling 911.
  • Don’t admit fault. Even if you think that you’re to blame for the accident, never admit fault. There may be circumstances at play that you aren’t aware of. You should avoid any conversations or accusations about fault or blame, instead of letting the evidence speak for itself. You should also avoid apologizing, as that may be mistaken for taking responsibility for the accident. 
  • Don’t settle. Don’t accept any settlement from your insurance company without contacting a lawyer first. In having an attorney reviewing your settlement offer, you are ensuring that you have the best chance possible at receiving the settlement you deserve.
  • Don’t wait. Contact an experienced car accident attorney as quickly as possible. At Darrigo & Diaz, we can help preserve your evidence and build your case

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Tampa

Although dealing with a serious car accident is probably a rare occurrence for you, it isn’t for the experienced attorneys at Darrigo & Diaz. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience fighting for their clients to get the best outcome possible. 

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious traffic accident, contact Darrigo & Diaz, where you will reach experienced attorneys who will provide a free no-risk consultation. Call (813) 774-3341 or contact us online to schedule your free, confidential appointment now!


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