Protecting Your Rights

Most people do not spend much time thinking about what they would or should do if they are in an automobile accident.  But a little forethought about what actions you could take if you survive an automobile accident may help to…

  • Minimize injuries.
  • Preserve your legal rights to compensation.
  • Protect against fraudulent claims from others.
  • Make the claims process easier.  

The biggest mistake people make after an accident is underestimating the extent of their injuries. Often, the shock of the event can create confusion and cause victims to overlook the severity of their injuries immediately following the wreck. Many people also take for granted that the police report will provide the evidence of what happened to validate any future personal injury claims.  However, the police may not always show up at the scene of an accident unless there are complaints of injuries, one or more fatalities, the wreck present immediate danger to the public or it is blocking traffic. Even if the police come to the scene, it is always in the best interest of the people involved in the accident to report the incident and document the events as accurately as they can.

How to Protect Your Rights After an Accident

  1. Call the police to report the accident.  Even if it is a minor accident it is important to call 911 and notify the police as soon as possible.  The call will document the accident and send emergency medical service to assess injuries if necessary.  If the police come to the scene of the accident, they will protect the scene, investigate and document the cause of the accident.
  2. Whether or not the police come to the scene of the accident; exchange information with the other driver such as their license plate number, name, address, phone numbers, name of their insurance and policy number. If possible; ask to see their driver’s license and insurance verification card and copy it if you can.  If the other driver refuses to give you information or you are suspicious of the information they are giving, call the police and report your concerns.
  3. As soon as is feasible, document as accurately as possible your recollections of what led up to the accident and what happened during and immediately after the accident.
  4. Take photos of both vehicles and the surrounding area. Any pictures that depict property damage and physical evidence of injuries provide strong evidence for a personal injury claim. In addition to photographing the accident scene, take pictures of the driver and his passengers as well.
  5. Be aware that statements made by you, passengers and eye witnesses immediately following an accident are often admissible in court. These can prove or disprove claims for compensation. Claimant’s statements known as “re gestae” (spontaneous statements made at an accident scene) or “admissions against interest” (out-of-court statement that is against the person’s pecuniary, proprietary, or penal interest) can validate or disprove claims for compensation.
  6. Get a medical examination from a reputable physician or medical facility immediately after the car accident. In many instances people are unaware of soft tissue injuries such as whiplash and other conditions that may not become evident until days after the accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are broad categories of injuries caused by car accidents.
  7. Whether or not you are at fault, contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. Also, preferably at the scene of the accident, contact the other driver’s insurance company to verify the information. However, resist giving any accident details to their insurance company or putting any personal information relevant to the accident on social media sites.
  8. If you plan to seek compensation for your injuries or if the other driver files a claim against you, it is important that you have professional legal counsel. You should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney prior to making any statements about the accident or settling a claim.

If you find yourself in the midst of a legal battle after an automobile accident, a personal injury attorney can properly assess your case and help to protect you from losing compensation or assuming responsibility for damages that were not your fault. Keep in mind that the evidence and documentation that you gathered at the time of the accident will help to validate your case and expedite the litigation process.

To learn more about your rights after an automobile accident, call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.

Automobile Accident Attorneys, West Palm Beach

About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath                                                                                                    

Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer.

Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
(561) 655-1990

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