What To Do at the Scene of a Car Accident

what to do at the scene of a car accidentEvery year, millions of car accidents take place. While most result in property damage, around one-third result in injury to the drivers or passengers of the vehicle. Although you might believe that you know what to do at the scene of a car accident, your emotions may take over during such a traumatic experience. 

These helpful tips will help you remain safe and guarantee that you have everything you need to file an accurate car insurance claim. You will also discover why it is beneficial to work with a West Palm Beach car accident attorney.

Seek Medical Treatment 

One-third of vehicular accidents lead to injuries and nearly one in five are fatal. If you or another party needs immediate medical attention, call 911 and request an ambulance. Although it is generally a best practice to stay at the scene so that you can document the events, this is not possible if you are seriously injured.

Make the Scene Safe

In addition to taking care of your injuries and those of your passengers, help protect other drivers. You can do this by setting up lights or flares around the accident. Next, you should turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights if they are still functioning. After that, put as much space as you can between yourself and traffic. You can do this by sitting in your vehicle if it is in a safe location. 

If your car is too damaged, then situate yourself at the side of the road. This will help you protect yourself and others from further accidents.

Document the Scene

Once you have done what is necessary to protect the health of those involved in the accident, investigate the crash. This includes getting the name, address, and driver’s license number of those involved, as well as:

  • Taking photos of the scene, including the resulting damage, injuries, and weather.
  • Asking for witness accounts of the accident and receiving their contact information.
  • Searching for cameras in the area that may have captured a video of the incident.
  • Making sure the police are called to the scene to begin developing a police report.

Documenting the scene is an important part of the process for making an insurance claim. These initial details will also help should you go to court for this accident. By documenting the scene, you will be ready to provide evidence to your insurance company or your attorney. You will also have a better understanding of the events that occurred and why.

Start the Claim Process with Your Insurance Company

After documenting the scene, it is time to contact your insurance company. Your insurance representative will want to know where the accident occurred. They will also ask for details about the other drivers and passengers in the vehicles. Starting a claim is the first step to getting back on the road. The insurance agents will also conduct their own investigation and communicate with the other driver’s insurance company.

One important detail to note is that the other person’s insurance company will likely contact you after an accident. They may request a statement or ask you to sign a release form. Neither of these actions are in your best interest. 

Before you speak to the other party’s insurance company, it is always best to consult your car accident attorney. This will help you from paying too much if you are found at fault and can also maximize the amount you receive in damages for the accident.

Discuss the Accident with An Attorney

There are several things you should do outside of the scene of your accident. This can include beginning an investigation with an attorney to take legal action. It can also involve settling or filing a lawsuit. Both steps require adequate legal counsel. 

Contact law firm Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990. Our experienced lawyers understand how to protect you after an accident and can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Distracted Driving in Florida: On the Rise and Unlikely to Change Any Time Soon

Distracted Driving in Florida:

In honor of Distracted Driving Month in April, recently released statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) showed that 2017 was the worst year on record for accidents involving distracted drivers in Florida.

In addition, even though more than 50,000 accidents occurred in 2017 that were attributed to driver inattention, the recent failure of proposed legislation in the Florida Senate that would have made texting a primary offense for which police officers could pull over and ticket drivers will mean this trend will not show any signs of slowing. Read more

Drowsy Driving Accidents and the Holidays

Fatigue presents a serious safety issue for motorist during any season.  But much like drunk driving, driving accidents caused by drowsy drivers tend to spike around the time of major holidays. This is partially attributed to the fact that during the holiday season, more people travel longer distances or spend more time on local roads. In fact, Christmas and New Year’s following the Thanksgiving holidays are the top travel times for Americans. The average trip miles during Christmas and New Year’s is estimated at 275 compared with a national average of 261 miles for trips taken during the rest of the year. Read more

dirt bike accident

Star Delray Beach Football Player Killed in Dirt Bike Accident

According to a recent Sun-Sentinel report, an Atlantic High School senior and star football player from Delray Beach was recently killed when his dirt bike crashed into an SUV in nearby Greenacres.  The accident occurred when the dirt bike, which did not have headlights, and a Chevrolet Equinox crashed on a dark stretch of road.  As the Chevrolet SUV was turning onto the road, the dirt bike slammed into its front passenger door. The dirt bike’s driver was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment, but was pronounced dead a week later from his injuries.  The dirt bike’s driver was a starter and star player on last year’s Atlantic High School football team, which finished as the Florida Class 8A state runners-up.  He had already received multiple scholarship offers from Division I football programs.  This was a tragedy of a young football career cut short by the decision to drive on an off-road vehicle.

Dirt Bikes, ATV’s, Off-Road Vehicles and the Dangers They Can Pose

Riding in or driving a dirt bike, an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or other type of off-road vehicle can be extremely dangerous.  Unfortunately, many people get behind the wheel of such vehicles and sometimes engage in reckless behavior by driving at breakneck speeds, taking sharp turns without braking, and other dangerous behaviors.  This coupled with the fact that many off-road vehicles lack even basic safety features like headlights or seat belts, can make the incidence of death or serious injury extremely high.  This can spell danger for motor vehicle drivers in the vicinity or even passengers in the ATV, who can be thrown from the vehicle and suffer serious injuries or even death.  In addition, if a dirt bike or ATV is driven in the vicinity of motor vehicles, accidents can often be fatal for off-road vehicle drivers and passengers, as many do not wear helmets or other protective gear despite the lack of safety features on such vehicles.

Damages Recoverable in an Accident Involving an Off-Road Vehicle

In a dirt bike or other off-road vehicle accident like the recent incident in Greenacres, the same damages apply as in any other personal injury lawsuit in Florida.  These include the costs of any repairs to a vehicle or other property that is damaged as a result of someone else’s negligence, any medical treatment for injuries caused in the accident, as well as pain and suffering for any injuries associated with an accident caused by one party’s negligence.  Therefore, in the accident above, if the high school football player on the dirt bike was determined by a jury to be at fault in the accident, his estate could be sued for each of these damages by the driver and passengers in the Equinox.

The Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of Lytal Reiter Are Here to Assist Victims of Dirt Bike, ATV or Other Off-Road Vehicle Accidents in Florida

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrathour experienced personal injury attorneys have decades of combined legal experience representing victims of dirt bike and other ATV accidents.  We have successfully represented individuals who have been injured in accidents involving off-road vehicles in the past. Therefore, if you have been involved in an accident involving a dirt bike, all-terrain vehicle or other off-road vehicle in Florida and have been injured by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, please call us today for a free consultation at (561) 655-1990 for a free consultation regarding your situation today.

Protecting Your Rights When You Have Been in an Automobile Accident

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.  

Read more

Lax in Driving Safety Laws May Explain Spike in Traffic Fatalities

Recent studies indicate a possible and surprising reason for an increase in traffic fatalities.  According to a “2017 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws” report that rank effectiveness of roadway laws nationwide, unenforced or inadequate safety regulations may be directly related to the rising number of motor vehicular accidents and deaths.  In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 28,000 people died in traffic accidents in the first nine months of 2016. This represents an 8% increase from 2015 and the greatest surge in vehicular deaths in at least fifty years.   Read more

How to Be Compensated for Injuries Sustained in a “Low-Impact” Collision

Millions of people are injured every year in vehicles that sustain zero or minimal property damage. That means there is little or no “visible” damage to the vehicle. A common trend by insurance companies is to dispute or undermine injuries sustained in these low impact collisions.  As a result, most accident victims are usually marginally compensated or receive no reimbursement for medical bills, care services or lost wages resulting from these injuries. Read more

The Chiropractors Role in Auto Accident Personal Injury Litigation.

Unless electro-mechanical engineers design a “whiplash” proof vehicle soon, the role of the chiropractor in the personal injury litigation process may be static for some time.  Despite the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) focus on mitigating whiplash and related injuries, the number of cases continue to rise. In fact, studies have shown whiplash to be the most common injury sustained from an auto accident.  Residual pain associated with this type of injury also rank as the top reason people head to the chiropractor after being checked out at a hospital following a car wreck. Read more

What Happens if a Jury Awards Me More Than The Other Driver’s Policy Limits In a Car Accident Lawsuit?

Most motor vehicle accident victims do not know going into a lawsuit that often the most important factor in most motor vehicle accident lawsuits is the negligent motorist’s policy limits.  This is why a motorist injured in a motor vehicle accident may be forced to accept less than the full amount of his or her damages if the other driver is underinsured.  Therefore, it is imperative that Florida car accident victims hire an aggressive attorney who will not only pursue the negligent driver’s insurer, but also the negligent driver, for the victim’s injuries.  An aggressive attorney can recover something from the negligent driver, even if not the full amount awarded.

 

A Concrete Example of How Insurance Policy Limits Can Dictate a Lawsuit’s Outcome

 

Imagine a driver is driving home on the Florida Turnpike in Palm Beach County and is plowed into from behind by a driver who is texting and not paying attention.  If the negligent driver has an auto policy with a limit of $100,000, for instance, the insurer is on the hook for $100,000.  This is true if the case goes to a trial and the jury returns a verdict against the driver and his or her insurer for $1,000,000.  Of that $1,000,000, the the driver would be on the hook for the remaining $900,000.  Given that very few people have assets of that amount, many attorneys will not even bother to attempt to collect anything from the driver and will simply be content with pursuing the negligent driver’s insurer for whatever insurance money is available. Nonetheless, it often is possible (although sometimes difficult) to also obtain additional compensation from the negligent driver him or herself.

 

What Can My Lawyers Do if the Jury Awards Me More than the Other Driver’s Policy Limits in Damages?

 

A jury verdict, and the resulting judgment against the negligent driver, is just a piece of paper.  Although the injured person might have a judgment stating that the motorist owes you $900,000, it is up to your attorneys to collect dollar amount of that $900,000 they can from that driver.  This will usually be less than a dollar for dollar recovery because both Florida state law as well as federal law provide protections for certain assets from collection to satisfy a judgment obtained in a lawsuit, like a home jointly owned with a spouse, any retirement accounts, or a portion of the negligent motorist’s paycheck. However, it is a process that takes meticulous research in locating the negligent motorist’s assets and then using legal remedies to recover whatever money an attorney can for his or her injured client.

 

Contact Lytal Reiter if You Have Been Involved in a Motor Vehicle Accident in Florida

 

At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, our auto accident attorneys have extensive experience litigating on behalf of auto accident victims.  Since our firm was founded in 1985, a large percentage of the cases our firm handles involve auto accidents.  Although some attorneys will simply take whatever the negligent motorist’s insurance policy limits are, we will fight to get every cent for our clients that we can, including pursuing the negligent driver.  If you or your loved ones have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in Florida, contact the West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today.