What You Need to Do At the Scene of a Tampa Bay Car Accident
It is importance to remain calm and in control of yourself, even though you may feel scared, confused, angry or panicked. This will allow you to better assess your situation. If you are able, call the police immediately (dial 911for help). The state of Florida requires a written report for every accident involving personal injuries or property damage in excess of $500.00.
See if anyone is injured, including you. Leave your car where it is and get a safe distance away from the accident scene. Before the police and ambulance arrive, immediately start gathering evidence while it is fresh and witnesses are still around. How do you start gathering your evidence? Keep a pad of paper, pen, and a disposable camera in the glove box of your car. Like an investigator you must see if there are any witnesses to the accident. If there are, get their names, phone numbers and addresses. Ask them what they saw or heard. Before all vehicles are moved, it would be best to take pictures of the property damage and vehicle positions at impact. Take photos of accident location, of the at-fault drive, of any viewable injuries to anyone involved, and of skid marks and street signs, etc.
Florida law requires you to provide the other driver in the accident with your name, address, and vehicle registration number, and to show your driver's license. Make sure you remember to write down the other driver's name, address, tag number, and driver's license number. Find out if the driver is the owner of the car, and if they are different people get his or her name and address as well, this information may come in handy to your lawyer later.
When the police arrive show them your driver's license, registration, and proof of insurance. Remain calm and explain how the accident happened. For example, that you had the green light, tell the officer if you think the other driver had been drinking, and show the officer the location of the vehicles at the time of impact if the vehicles have already been moved. Make sure you tell the police officer that you were wearing your seatbelt. Ask the police officer his name and badge number. Also, ask for the report number and when it will be available for pick up. Remember to be polite and courteous. The police are our friends.
Never admit fault or responsibility for the accident, and never provide anyone at the scene with more information than is reasonably required. Do not share your notes or opinion with anyone especially if it helps prove your fault. Never agree to pay for the other driver's property damage or physical injury, and never sign any paperwork or release, without consulting a lawyer. Remember, if you are issued a ticket signing it is fine. You will not be admitting responsibility for the accident; you would only be acknowledging the receipt of the ticket.
If the police or emergency medical people ask you if you need medical assistan, it would be wise to say yes. See a doctor immediately, as you may be seriously injured and not know it. Go in the ambulance, go to the hospital and have them document your injuries and give you a thorough check-up, just to be safe. The records that are created will help your lawyer build your case.
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