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Vehicle accidents occur in a split second, changing lives forever. They can happen to anyone, any time, and no one is ever prepared. However, the attorneys at Gerardi Law are here to help you and your loved ones be as prepared as possible for those unanticipated moments. More importantly, since car accidents are never planned, the attorneys at Gerardi Law are more than willing to give you some tips on how you can plan ahead and prepare for the unexpected so that you can minimize the inevitable stress that accompanies an accident.
It is important to ALWAYS keep the following in your vehicle and/or on your person if a passenger in another’s vehicle: your driver's license; insurance card/information; and most current vehicle registration. It may also be helpful to keep some precautionary items on hand, such as: reflectors or flares; a first aid kit; a tool kit; jumper cables; a window punch; and a tire compressor or pump.
The first thing you should do after an accident is take a breath and remain calm and collected. Remember, an accident is just that - an accident. Think before you take any action and remain on the scene of the accident to discuss the matter with authorities. Before exiting the vehicle you should give yourself a quick examination in order to determine whether you are injured. Be cautious of any dizziness, altered or unclear vision, and significant head pain, and, if you experience any of these symptoms, stay immobile and call for help immediately.
Additionally, check for damage to your vehicle that could pose immediate danger, such as the smell of gasoline or oil. If you recognize the smell of gasoline, move as far away from the vehicle(s) as possible. As long as none of these smells are present, if you are on a busy roadway and your vehicle is still drivable, pull your car carefully to the shoulder or side of the road and out of the lanes of traffic. If you are unable to move your vehicle, or do not feel safe doing so, you should get yourself out of the lanes of travel and off the roadway. Additionally, you are required to get help or call a tow truck. Your vehicle should never block traffic UNLESS there are fatal or severe injuries; leaving your car in place will help Traffic Homicide Investigators determine who is at fault.
As soon as possible, dial 9-1-1 and report the accident. While you are awaiting arrival of police and emergency personnel, document all critical information relative to the accident, including, but not limited to, the name of the other driver(s); the address of the other driver(s); the make and model of the other vehicle(s); insurance and vehicle registration information for the other driver(s); and the details of the accident, such as, the location, directions of travel, and cause of accident if known. Additionally, you should use your cellphone to take pictures of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident, particularly capturing any damage.
When the police and emergency personnel arrive, follow their instructions to the best of your ability. Answer questions honestly and without the fear of repercussion. If medical or police personnel recommend that you seek medical treatment, comply. If you do not require medical treatment at the scene, call your physician after you return home and make an appointment to be examined. Sometimes severe and significant injuries do not manifest obvious symptoms. As of January 1, 2013, you MUST see a doctor, other than a chiropractor, within fourteen (14) days of the date of accident or else your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) may be denied by your own insurance company. There is, however, an exception known as an "Emergency Medical Condition," that, if necessary, will be discussed with the attorneys of Gerardi Law.
Do not forget to call your insurance company and report the accident. Provide your insurance company with all the information you were able to collect at the scene. Cooperate with your insurance company and provide all the information requested, but decline to provide a recorded statement without first retaining legal representation. If you are contacted by an insurance adjuster, ask for whom he or she works and who the company represents. Write down the adjuster’s name, telephone number, and the name of the party he or she claims to represent. If the adjuster has a claim number related to the incident about which he or she is calling, also request that information and write down same for your records. If the individual represents another driver’s insurance company, respectfully decline to provide a statement of any kind before consulting with legal representation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Florida caused by a careless driver and are seeking legal counsel, our attorneys can help. Gerardi Law can help to provide the legal advice and guidance that many injury victims require by assisting you through the entire process from inception of your matter through litigation, all the while maintaining a close working relationship with you and honoring our "open door" policy. Gerardi Law is a small firm with family mentality and we welcome you and yours to join our family.