Steps to Take When Involved in a Car Accident in Miami
If you’re involved in a Miami car accident and you’re able to walk away from the scene with no serious injuries, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure everything works out as well as it can.
Right after the accident, injuries can be serious and emotions can be raging. There are still important things to take care of at the scene and shortly thereafter.
Stay On the Scene
The first step to take when involved in a car accident in Miami is to stay on the scene of the accident until it’s appropriate to leave. Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if someone was injured or killed, may make you liable for serious criminal charges as a “hit and run” driver.
The exception can be deserted and dangerous areas of South Florida, where you should exercise caution before you stop and get out of your vehicle. People have been robbed or killed after being bumped by another car and exiting their vehicle in an unsafe situation. If you sense a dangerous situation, instead of getting out of the car, call 911 and/or drive to your nearest Miami-Dade County police station.
Check on All Passengers and Drivers
Check to make sure everyone is OK before you start assessing property damage. Get medical attention if anyone might need it. Never move people that are unconscious or who complain of back or neck pain, leave it to a qualified fire rescue and medical professionals.
If you must move someone due to an immediate danger to their life or safety (e.g a potential explosion or fire hazard) move them steadily and slowly while supporting their back and neck. The less you move them, the better.
Call the Police
Particularly if death, serious injury, or significant property damage is involved, you will need to call the police. Ask for a police report, and get the names and badge numbers of all responding officers.
Exchange information with the other drivers involved in the Miami car accident. Be cordial and cooperative with the other drivers, but don’t apologize for anything regarding the accident. Anything you say that implies your guilt can contribute to your legal liability.
Furthermore, do not discuss the accident with anyone outside the scene except your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Never talk to another insurance company’s representative, send them to your lawyer or your insurance company instead.
Talk to Witnesses
Ask everyone who might have seen the accident what they saw. Get their names, phone numbers, and addresses if you can. For this purpose, always keep a pen and notepad in the car with you so you can write down both your immediate account of what happened and what nearby witnesses say happened.
Take pictures of everything you can. The more photographic evidence you have, the better your case will be.
Consider the Services of a Legal Professional
If the Miami car accident resulted in an injury, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer. A personal injury accident attorney can help maximize the amount of money you recover if you were injured, and they can help defend you if the accident turns out to be your fault.
Before long, you’ll also want to inform your insurance company of what happened. Ask them to provide a property damage valuation for your car, and if they provide an estimate that’s too low, be assertive and get two estimates for the repair or replacement on your own. If you need medical treatment, you should keep track of all expenses and document them in detail to ensure that you will be properly reimbursed.
Contact Attorney Marc Schwartz for experienced representation if you were involved in a Miami automobile accident