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What to Do After a Car Accident in Tampa, FL

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A car accident can happen anywhere in the Tampa area. You may have been hit on a highway such as I-275, I-4, I-75, or Veteran’s Expressway. You may have been rear-ended on County Line Road or broadsided on Westshore Boulevard. Many people aren’t sure what to do next. But there are some things you can control, and certain steps you can take to improve your situation – both now and in the future. 

Once you are safe and your injuries are being treated, call a lawyer to get legal advice. A Tampa car accident attorney can let you know where you stand and what to expect when you file a claim for compensation. 

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Should I call 911 or local law enforcement?

This is important, even if you think the accident seems minor. Officers from the state police or the Tampa Police Department will respond. They will secure the accident scene to help keep everyone involved safe. They will assess whether anyone needs emergency medical treatment and get help as needed. Another thing they will do is fill out a Florida Traffic Crash Report. This is a routine part of their job. But for you, it can make a big difference. This report will contain valuable information about your crash that can help you recover financial compensation. That’s why you should get a copy of your accident report as soon as you can.

What information should I get from the other driver?

This information includes name, address, phone number, the name of the insurance company, and the insurance police number. Also get the driver’s license number and the vehicle’s plate number. Share your information with the other driver, as well. It’s important to stay calm and avoid arguments. Don’t make any accusations or talk about who caused the crash – even if the other driver was clearly at fault. Your goal at this point is simply to collect information. Get the names and contact information of witnesses, too.

Do I need to take pictures?

Using your phone, take lots of pictures and even video of the accident scene. Be sure to capture the damage to both vehicles. Take photos of your visible injuries. Take wider shots of the accident scene, also. You can also take pictures of traffic lights, road signs such as speed limit signs or stop signs, skid marks on the road, any construction in progress, or nearby landmarks. When you get a moment, also write down your account of how the accident happened. Include everything you can remember. 

Should I have a medical professional examine me?

Injuries in a car accident aren’t always obvious. Minor pain you are feeling in your arm could be a fracture. Some injuries may not show symptoms for days, such as a mild concussion. That’s one reason you should get medical attention as soon as possible if you’ve been in a crash. EMTs can examine you, or you can make an appointment with your doctor. 

If you did suffer more serious injuries, you may be taken to a local hospital, such as HCA Florida South Tampa Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth Tampa, or St. Joseph’s Hospital. A lawyer can look over your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries when you are seeking financial compensation. 

Do I need to tell my insurance company I have been in an accident?

If you don’t, you could be jeopardizing your ability to recover financial compensation. Report your accident within a couple of days. But you are not required to go into detail. Do not agree to give a recorded statement or answer any questions. While that may sound harmless, insurance companies are trying to trick you into saying something they can interpret as accepting blame. Respectfully decline and explain that you would like to speak with a lawyer first. Definitely don’t agree to a settlement until you get legal advice.

Talk to an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer.

You may wonder if it’s worth talking to a lawyer or whether you even have a case. But you should at least learn what your rights and options are. A lawyer can review the details of your crash, explain your options and give you an idea of what to expect during the claims process. There’s no cost and no obligation.

Schedule a free consultation as soon as possible. The sooner a lawyer can get started on your case, the better. While Florida law gives you four years from the date of your crash to file a lawsuit, waiting too long can hurt your case. Evidence can be lost or destroyed. Witnesses can forget what they saw.

Call today to schedule a time to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer.

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