Car accidents are incredibly common. You might be surprised to learn, however, that almost 7,000 truck accidents occurred in 2020. In Clearwater, Florida, severe weather conditions, such as heavy rain or hurricanes, are primary reasons these accidents occur.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident in Clearwater, Florida as a driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian, here’s a general overview of what you need to know.
1. Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
After the initial accident occurs, make sure you check to ensure you’re no t injured and that everyone else in the vehicle is safe. Immediately exit the vehicle and check on the other people involved in the accident.
If someone is too injured to be moved and isn’t in immediate danger, wait until first responders arrive. Moving someone could potentially cause more harm if not done by a medical professional.
2. Call 911
All people involved in the accident are required to stay at the scene until the authorities arrive. Immediately call 911 to inform them of the accident so they can send the appropriate people to respond to the scene.
If it’s safe to do so, they may ask you to move your vehicle out of traffic. This is to alleviate any further accidents from occurring.
3. Exchange Information With The Other Parties Involved
While you’re waiting for the police and medical team to arrive, you’ll want to exchange contact and insurance information with the other parties involved. Make sure to obtain the following from other drivers:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Insurance company name and telephone number
- Insurance policy number
- Driver’s license number
4. Document The Scene
You must collect as much evidence as possible from the accident. The insurance company will need this information when processing your claim. If you need to hire a Clearwater truck accident lawyer like TragosLaw.com, they’ll also need this documentation as well.
Take photos and videos of the vehicles involved from multiple angles. Make sure to capture footage of any property damage that may have occurred, as well as personal injuries that might be visible.
Documenting the scene of the accident can also include taking written statements from any witnesses who are willing to share their testimonies. You’ll want to ensure that you get their full name and contact information as well when presenting these details to your lawyer.
5. Get A Copy Of The Police Report
Always make sure that you get a copy of the police report before the authorities leave. This will have the report number on it as well as the information of the responding officer. If there are any discrepancies in the report, your lawyer will need to know who to contact.
6. Don’t Sign Anything
When a truck is involved in an accident, the trucking company may ask you to sign something. This is the company’s way of alleviating itself from any long-term lawsuits that could be financially detrimental.
It’s strongly recommended that you don’t sign anything until you speak with a lawyer. Legal documents are binding and could potentially make it nearly impossible to receive appropriate compensation for the accident.
7. Have Your Vehicle Towed
If the truck accident has made it so that you’re unable to drive your vehicle to be repaired, you’ll need to have it towed. You may need to discuss the potential of getting a rental car, which may be a part of your insurance policy.
8. Seek Medical Attention
It’s always recommended that you seek medical attention following any type of vehicle accident. While there may be no visible injuries, there could be something serious happening below the surface.
Things like damage to internal organs, spinal injuries, or other soft tissue injuries don’t always make themselves apparent right away. The only way to know the full extent of any injuries you’ve sustained is through a medical diagnosis from a doctor.
9. Contact Your Insurance Company
In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for filing an insurance claim against an at-fault driver is four years. However, it’s recommended not to wait more than thirty days after the accident to file the claim.
If you don’t feel comfortable contacting your insurance company due to a complicated situation, make sure to get in touch with a lawyer first. They can be your best option for representation and can talk to the insurance company directly.
10. Don’t Try To Blame Someone Else
As easy as it might seem to want to point fingers and blame someone for the accident, it’s best to let the right people be in charge of this. Determining fault is a tricky situation that is different from state to state.
In Florida, fault is usually determined by a judge. This is why you’ll absolutely want to have legal representation. The judge collects all of the information including accident documentation, details from the insurance claim adjusters, and the authorities who responded to the accident.
Florida also follows the rule known as “pure comparative fault.” This is when both parties are at fault for the accident. The outcome of this again will be decided in court.
10. Hire A Lawyer
Truck accidents can result in substantial physical, emotional, and financial hardship. You may be out of work for a while, have extensive medical bills, or even have emotional damages such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
If you haven’t yet found yourself a lawyer, you’ll want to do so as soon as possible. Find someone who specializes in truck accident law who can assist with personal injury claims. They’re going to be your best bet in being able to receive the highest amount of compensation possible.
Plus, if you come into a circumstance where your insurance company refuses to pay, you’re going to need someone who knows your legal rights in this situation.
11. Play The Waiting Game
Unfortunately, the process of handling all of the pieces after a car accident takes time. You’ll have to wait while the insurance company and your lawyer handle the logistics of the accident.
This is an opportune time to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Make sure to follow any of the suggestions the doctor gave you in terms of any injuries you may have had. You also may want to seek additional help from a therapist or counselor.
Car accidents can have a dramatic impact on a person’s mental health. If you’re experiencing any type of distress, know that you don’t have to do it alone.