Many tourists come to Fort Lauderdale and South Florida every year to enjoy the beautiful beaches, sunlight, and great weather, but with so many drivers on the road – both local and out of state – car accidents are a real threat any time of the year. Drivers involved in an accident should follow an important set of steps to stay safe and within the law.
Following a car accident, no matter who is at fault, you must always stop on the side of the road to exchange information with the other motorist and assist the injured. Failing to do so constitutes a hit and run, which is a serious criminal charge. Punishments for a hit and run vary depending on the case, but they can involve fines, prison sentences, and loss of driving privileges.
Try to move your car as far away from the road as possible, if you can do so safely. At least move to the shoulder of the road out of traffic.
Once both motorists are safely off the road, meet with the other driver to determine the severity of the accident. If nobody is injured, exchange insurance and contact information. If possible, try to gather witness testimony to the incident as well.
If anyone has suffered an injury, call 911 immediately. Auto accidents are a leading cause of death, and unattended injuries may prove fatal. You can exchange important information while waiting for an ambulance, or the police will gather this if possible. Your number one priority in an accident is to stay safe and healthy, and everything else should take a backseat.
No matter how minor the accident may seem, it is important to contact the police. This is an important step in establishing a damages case and may be a legal requirement in cases with injury or property damage. The police will establish a report at the scene and should interview key witnesses to the accident, should any be available.
Your accident police report is a major document in understanding your case. Not only is it critical when pressing charges, but it may be necessary for insurance claims as well. Many companies prefer to have a police report drawn up at the scene to better understand the facts of the incident.
Some injuries are more obvious than others, which is why it is important to receive medical care after an accident. You do not need a life-threatening wound from an accident to be in danger. Head trauma and whiplash, for example, may not show symptoms immediately – and prompt medical attention is necessary to spot these issues.
If you and the other motorist are both conscious and not in immediate peril, you can go to the nearest hospital once you finish exchanging information and contacting the police. Otherwise, it is crucial to dial 911 and wait for an ambulance.
A medical report may also be necessary for processing insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Expert testimony is a common requirement to establish damages, and forgoing treatment may convince the court that your injuries were not severe.
Only after you have received medical care should you consider contacting a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney. Your health and safety are most important, and seeking litigation is not your first priority. Once you are safe, however, an experienced accident and injury attorney can advise you on your legal situation, and represent you should you decide to press charges. If you have been involved in a car or motorcycle accident in Fort Lauderdale, contact the Law Offices of David. I. Fuchs to schedule your free consultation.