Very few people can predict exactly when a car accident will happen. In many cases, it seems to happen in a flash, transforming an average day into an inconvenience at best and a tragedy at worst. In the immediate aftermath, many different thoughts may be racing through your mind: “What just happened?” becomes “How did this happen, and who was at fault?”
Knowing the details of an accident can be invaluable, especially if you are looking to get money back if you feel the other driver was at fault. However, as with many stressful moments, it can be surprisingly difficult to remember the exact order of events, even if it was only moments ago. Additionally, it can be difficult to prove liability at the scene if the other driver does not want to admit any responsibility.
These factors can all spell trouble for you in many ways, such as increased insurance premiums, undesired effects on your driving record, and damages or injuries that may be more difficult to cover. Your best defense is always to get a lawyer who can help you through the confusing legal process in the days following the accident, but read more to find out what you can do to protect yourself before and immediately after the accident.
What to Do Before the Accident
Benjamin Franklin once wrote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
This wisdom holds as true today as ever, and preparing for an accident before it happens can potentially save you hours of time, thousands of dollars, and a world of stress.
Use a Dashcam
A dashcam is a dashboard-mounted video camera which can be used to record the driver’s point of view, as well as possibly other angles around and inside the car. Video quality, cost, and security features vary broadly between many dashcam products, but some excellent recommendations are:
Mid to Higher Range
Keep Your Papers Organized
Be sure you have up-to-date records of your car insurance and vehicle registration. Keep the numbers of roadside assistance and your car insurance providers at hand and easily accessible.
Prepare for Emergencies
Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle can not only provide help in mundane situations, but could also save your life or the life of others in the event of a severe emergency.
First Aid Kit
It’s acceptable to buy a complete first aid kit rather than create one from scratch, but be sure you know what is inside your kit and what you may be missing.
While every car should keep a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit, other tools can be paramount in survival and emergency situations. If you have the room, it’s an excellent idea to keep:
- A spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Tool kit or multipurpose tool
- An easily accessible seatbelt cutter/window breaker
- Fire extinguisher
- Reflective tape
- Rain poncho or umbrella
- Emergency foil blanket
- Cell phone charger
- Drinking water and nonperishable foods
Proving Fault – Actions to Take After an Accident in Florida
Pictures are incredibly beneficial to help prove your case, especially right after the accident. Make sure you get photos of the entire scene, including any debris that might have fallen off and skid marks that may be on the road. If certain road markings or street signs were present, taking photos of those may help illustrate how the other driver disobeyed them.
File a Police Report
Even if an accident is minor, calling the police can give you the benefit of a police report which may help you down the line for proving liability. Police reports include records of an initial investigation, descriptions of the scene, and statements from witnesses. If police were never called, then going to a police station to file a report is an important next step.
Talk to Witnesses
If you are in a busy area, there is a great chance that somebody was there to see how everything happened. A witness can provide a powerful statement that corroborates your account of the accident. Another option for a witness could be a professional who can analyze the accident and give an opinion that carries weight on what transpired. The police would likely handle interviewing witnesses, but if no police are present, then you can collect statements yourself.
Seek Medical Attention
Seeking medical attention after the accident is important, not only to take care of any injuries you have, but also because a medical professional creating a record of your visit can help you prove liability. Even if you don’t immediately feel any physical issues after the accident, problems can still arise later down the line.
Hit-and-Runs in Tampa
Florida is the top state in the US for car accidents, and Tampa is no exception. While many accidents are severe enough that the cars involved can’t drive away, hit-and-runs have been on the rise since 2019. In that year there were more than 105,000 hit-and-runs, the deadliest of which occurred at night.
While it is illegal to leave the scene of the crime in Florida, and those who do could face hefty penalties such as a revocation of license and prison time, it remains a possibility. If you follow the recommendations above, you can better protect yourself from the consequences of other drivers’ unlawful decisions, legally or otherwise.
Franco Law Group
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident in Tampa or Pinellas County, then please contact us for legal assistance. We understand that car or truck accidents can be very stressful and emotionally draining no matter the circumstances. Franco Law Group is here to help you figure out your next steps and assist you in any way we can. If you need assistance proving fault in a recent Florida car accident, then please give us a call. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about a recent accident, then please contact us at (813) 873-0180.