What to Do If You Are in an Auto Accident
General advice from a board-certified Tampa trial lawyer
A serious traffic accident, especially a high-speed crash on I-4, I-75, or U.S. 41, can be a harrowing experience. But as dangerous as the initial collision may be, what happens next can be even more consequential. To prevent matters from getting any worse, you must take decisive steps to ensure your safety. Additionally, you must take prudent measures to strengthen your position for litigation that is sure to follow. Sessums Law Group wants you to be safe in the moments after your accident, and we want you to be in a strong position later to claim the compensation you deserve.
Being prepared can make all the difference
Responsible drivers should equip their cars with a variety of safety accessories, such as traffic cones, warning triangles, emergency flares, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher. Pen and paper are also useful for jotting down important information.
Steps to take in the wake of a Tampa traffic accident
Immediately after a vehicle accident, you must do what you can to make yourself and your passengers safe. We recommend you:
- Remain calm and take a deep breath.
- Check for injuries to yourself and passengers.
- Call 911 to summon the police, and request an ambulance if there is any doubt about injuries.
- If your car can be moved, get it out of traffic to a safe place on the side of the road.
- Turn on your vehicle’s hazard lights and set out cones, warning triangles or flares to divert traffic.
- Never light flares if you are leaking fuel or oil.
The preceding steps are for your safety. But it is also important to preserve your legal rights in any future litigation. For this you must:
- Take cellphone photos of the vehicles, accident scene and injuries.
- Exchange identifying information with the other driver(s).
- Offer reasonable first aid if the other driver is injured.
- Get contact information from any witnesses to the accident.
- Ask police where you can get a copy of the accident report.
- Seek immediate treatment for any injuries.
- Notify your insurance agent immediately.
Getting immediate care for injuries not only helps ensure your future health; it also helps you prove causation should your case go to trial. If you wait days or weeks to see a doctor, the defendant can always claim an intervening event caused your personal injury and you are just trying to capitalize on the accident. So, even if you’re not sure whether you are hurt, it’s a good idea to go to an emergency room.
What you should never do immediately after a traffic accident
In the chaos after an accident, it’s easy to say or do something that could come back to haunt you. Under no circumstances should you:
- Apologize or express regret for the accident.
- Admit fault.
- Lash out in anger at the other driver.
- Sign any document related to the accident.
- Leave the scene of the accident before the police arrive.
Although your first concern must be safety, you must also safeguard your legal rights, especially in a case of serious injury. With a long track record of success in auto accident and wrongful death cases, Sessums Law Group is prepared to help.
Contact a reliable attorney in Tampa for your auto accident
The moments after an auto accident can be tumultuous and confusing. But without a capable attorney to help, the weeks and months that follow can also be filled with uncertainty. If you’ve been injured in a traffic accident in the Tampa Bay area, call Sessums Law Group today at 813-435-5058 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Tampa office.