What should you do at the scene of a car accident in Florida?
Make a stop
If you have just witnessed an accident, you probably wish you were somewhere else. Don’t go away, however. You have a duty to help, and people out there probably need you badly. Just follow the following steps.
Assess the situation
Especially if you were involved in the crash and just had the shock of your life, staying calm and evaluating quickly what the situation is will probably be the most difficult thing to do. What are the priorities? A car on fire means evacuating the passengers, serious injuries mean calling 911. Do not hesitate to put others to work and to take charge. Help those you can within the limits of your qualifications. Don’t try to move people with head or back injuries; wait until the paramedics have arrived.
Protect the scene
Most of the time, a car crash obstructs the highway, and the oncoming traffic can represent additional risks. Move the cars if the crash caused limited material damage (and take a few pictures with your cell phone before doing so) but leave everything in place if there is considerable damage or if people are injured, even lightly. Bring everyone, especially the children, to a safe place on the roadside, signal the accident with flashing lights, headlights, triangles or flares, and have someone warn drivers and direct traffic.
Call the police
Unless there is only limited material damage, calling the police is the smart thing to do. They are trained, will call additional emergency medical services if necessary, will protect the scene and will investigate the cause of the accident and the traffic violations. Their report can be invaluable in protecting your rights.
Make your own report
Do not rely on your memory, even if it never fails you in normal circumstances. Accidents are traumatic events, and you should not be surprised if entire parts of the unfolding event have been wiped out of your memory later on. Describe the location, the vehicles’ positions and impact, take pictures, write down the names and coordinates of witnesses and of all the people involved in the collision, the injuries, the license plates, driver’s licenses, insurance policies, hospitals and the name and contact numbers of the police officers. Ask witnesses to make a declaration right away.
Don’t make any immediate declaration
Wait a few days until things have settled before agreeing to make or sign any declaration. Do not apologize (you can be polite and helpful without taking blame) even if you think you caused the crash. The other party might be under the influence, or without a driving license. Do not make any statement about the injuries or about the damage to your vehicle before having seen the experts.
In North and Central East Florida, the Daytona Beach car accident attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert PA offer you the help you need if you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car accident caused by someone else. Call us today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.