In the moments immediately following a car wreck, most people are not thinking about a potential legal case. Naturally, our first concern is for the health and safety of ourselves, our passengers, and the people in the other car.
Render Aid – If You Can
Once you have checked on yourself and the other people involved in the crash, your first move should be to help anyone that is injured in the crash. Florida law allows but does not require anyone to render aid at the scene themselves—however, if you do not feel comfortable rendering aid to injured persons yourself, you must do everything in your power to procure an ambulance or other medical help to the best of your ability.
To that point, you should call 911 immediately after checking the other passengers and drivers for injuries. Florida law requires any person involved in a wreck to report the crash if it results in property damage or injury. 911 dispatchers can send law enforcement to the scene to investigate the crash as well as send an ambulance if necessary.
Have Your Identification Available
When you talk to law enforcement at the scene, be sure to have your license, registration, and vehicle identification number (VIN) handy. Your VIN will often be found in or around the bottom left-hand portion of the windshield, in the driver’s side door jamb, or the front of the engine hood.
Provide a Statement to the Officer at the Scene
Be aware that law enforcement will be asking how the accident occurred. Every driver is required to provide information about the crashes they are involved in. To facilitate truthfulness, the statements made during law enforcement’s crash investigation are privileged and cannot be used to prove liability at trial. The only exception to the duty to provide a statement is that a person is not required to waive their Fifth Amendment privilege during the crash investigation. However, this scenario is rare and does not apply to most personal injury claimants.
Document the Scene
The next step is to take photographs of the scene and the injuries. Photos of the property damage are frequently used in pre-suit and litigation to convey the severity of the crash. Photos of injuries before anyone treats them are also useful to show the traumatic nature in the most favorable light. Photos of the scene can show any dangerous conditions in the roadway as well as help an accident reconstructionist if liability is disputed.
Move the Vehicle from the Scene
The second to last thing to do is do everything you can (within reason) to move the vehicles from the scene of the crash to allow traffic to flow. If the crash is severe enough that the vehicles cannot be moved, your vehicles will be towed after law enforcement arrives.
Consult and Follow the CAR WRECK CHECKLIST
If you’ve been the victim of a car wreck, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Instead, follow the car wreck checklist and put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. > CARWRECKCHECKLIST.COM
Hire an Experienced Attorney
Finally, the last thing to do if you or your passengers are injured in a car wreck that is not your fault is to call an experienced personal injury lawyer. While there are many personal injury lawyers, not all of them have equal training and qualifications. The Florida Bar does not typically allow lawyers to call themselves “experts” in a particular field. However, the Bar does allow some lawyers who have extensive experience in personal injury to take a test to become Board Certified Civil Trial Specialists. Although only 1% of Florida lawyers are board-certified in a civil trial, two out of the three lawyers at Zarzaur Law hold this certification.
Since all personal injury lawyers have the same “no cost no fee unless you win” payout structure, there is no reason not to hire someone who is not a specialist.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe for a free legal consultation or visit www.zarzaurlaw.com.