As policies vary by state, being involved in a car accident in Florida has specific consequences. It’s important that you take the following steps—whether you’re the at-fault driver or not—in order to mitigate problems and/or get the most out of the situation.
Stay At The Scene Of The Accident
It’s never a good idea to drive off after a car accident, especially if you’re the party at fault—hit and run crashes are taken very seriously and taking off will only amplify charges pressed against you.
Check For Injuries
This applies to everyone involved—you and any passengers in your vehicle as well as the people in the other vehicle. If you’ve been involved in a potentially fatal crash where someone is seriously injured, make this explicit when you call 911.
Report The Accident
Stay where you are and call 911 immediately. This is important for a number of reasons:
- You or someone else could be seriously hurt,
- The incident needs to be officially reported, and
- The accident scene needs to be blocked off and traffic rerouted.
You should inform the 911 operator where the crash occurred. They don’t need to know (and probably don’t care) who is responsible for the accident—that will be worked out later.
There is a lot of information you should gather at this point. You need to:
- Exchange information with the other driver,
- Talk to witnesses who may still be hanging around the scene of the accident and collect it—in the form of notes or possibly voice recordings—for later use if necessary, and
- Get the witness’s contact information—this may be crucial later on.
Take Pictures Of The Damage
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida, the more pictures you can gather of the accident and resulting damages, the better.
These images can be used as evidence later if the issue goes to court. Insurance companies will need them, along with witness testimonials.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Whether you’re the party at fault or not, your insurance company is going to need to be informed on what happened—and they will be, one way or another.
That said, it’s best not to make any formal statements until you’ve consulted with an attorney. Simply describe what happened honestly in as much detail as you can remember.
Florida car accidents can be difficult to fully recall, as most people go into some degree of shock during the event and adrenaline can warp your memories. There are also natural biases we all have and you’re likely to embellish some details while forgetting others, consciously or not. In the end, the court and insurance companies will determine who was at fault.
Seek Medical Attention
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Florida, you have to get medical treatment within 2 weeks of the event in order to receive the benefits of your mandatory Personal Injury Protection insurance.
However, that’s not the only reason to seek attention as soon as possible.
Car accident injuries can be latent—you may not notice symptoms until days or even weeks after an accident. Even with seemingly minor accidents like low-speed rear-end collisions or fender-benders, problems like whiplash and musculoskeletal strain/damage are normal.
What’s more, the sooner you get treatment for these issues, the sooner your recovery time will be.
Injury Centers Of Brevard has been helping people who have been injured in Florida car accidents for a long time. We offer a wide range of treatment options and can create an individualized recovery plan that works best for you.
File An Insurance Claim Under Your Florida Personal Injury Protection Policy
Florida is a no-fault state, meaning all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability and PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, according to Florida Statute 627.736
Those who have been involved in a Florida car accident, no matter how minor or severe or who was at fault, are able to get injury care and reimbursement for personal and economic damages.
More On Florida’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Policy
As Florida’s automobile insurance laws require vehicle owners to have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, combined with Florida being a no-fault state, those involved in a Florida car accident are able to receive compensation whether they caused the collision or not.
Keep in mind that you must get medical treatment for your injuries within 2 weeks of the accident in order to get these PIP benefits.
If you’ve suffered a car accident injury, Florida PIP no-fault insurance does have its limits, however. After any applicable deductibles, your benefits should include:
- 80% of medical bills (and that means everything—dental expenses, prescription costs, and rehabilitative services),
- 60% of lost wages,
- $5,000 worth of death benefits along with the disability and medical benefits provided under your policy,
- Reimbursement for mileage to and from your doctor.
For emergency medical conditions, PIP insurance coverage can be limiting:
- PIP does not cover medical costs if you don’t get treatment within 14 days of the accident.
- Emergency medical conditions are covered by PIP only in regards to follow-up services related to the diagnosed condition(s).
- Massage and acupuncture therapy are not covered by PIP.
Even with the $10,000 minimum protection, this is often not enough to cover all expenses. PIP does not cover the costs of an attorney in an attempt to recover lost damages.