Road accident: what now?

There’s not much you see on the roads that can be as frightening as a traffic accident. No one ever expects it, so that’s surprising in itself, but if the traffic accident is serious, looking at a total loss vehicle you were driving in can be quite sobering. That is why you often see so much sadness on the faces of those who have just experienced an accident. Even if the initial adrenaline created by the fear of injury diminishes, the sensory overload experienced by an accident victim does not end there. Then he or she must process the emotion brought on by the realization that the chaos has only just begun. This is when a little direction on what to do next can be invaluable.

First things first – make sure everyone in any of the vehicles involved isn’t injured. Obviously, if someone is hurt, 9-1-1 is called. Even if no one is injured, you should call the police to the scene of the accident. You must ensure that they are called even in the slightest of accidents to ensure that your insurance will cover your claim and that no one can accuse you of leaving the scene inappropriately.

As soon as they arrive, you can be sure that you will need to speak to one or more police officers, so before the police arrive, weigh your words very carefully. When checking the occupants of other vehicles, you want to make sure you are not making statements that could be construed as an admission that you are responsible for the accident. This is determined by the police officer upon arrival. That’s why you also want to keep a close eye on what you say to the police officer when he arrives, because you don’t want him to use everything you say to give you a traffic sign.

Florida is a debt-free state. That means any damage to either vehicle will be covered by the individual driver’s insurance company. While this is the case, the officer may still issue you a traffic ticket for any offense they believe you committed that led to the traffic accident. When you speak to the officer, less is more. Be brief and concise to ensure that your description of the accident does not overwhelm you. It’s also a good idea to try not to be blaming the other driver. Emotions run high when people are involved in a car accident and accusations can quickly escalate into a nasty situation.

After everyone has been checked and the police have been called, it is imperative that you move the affected vehicles to the side of the road. This prevents further accidents or injuries to yourself or others. Obviously, you don’t want to venture too far from the scene of the accident because you don’t want it to look like you’re trying to “leave the crime scene.”

Make sure you always have your insurance details with you and, if you are involved in a traffic accident, be prepared to exchange your personal and insurance details with the other driver. You should also make sure you get the other driver’s name, phone number, address, and insurance information, as well as an incident reporting number from the responding officer.

Then call your insurance company and give them the details of the traffic accident and the information you received from the other driver. The more information you can provide them, the faster they can resolve your claim. Failure to inform them within a reasonable time may result in them refusing to cover the damage. An important point about insurance companies: the other party’s insurance company may call you and ask you for an explanation of the events that occurred. They will take your statement hoping it will give them a reason not to pay the claim. It is a very bad idea to meet with the other person’s insurance company. That would be a good time to tell them that you are represented by a good traffic ticket attorney and then give them our number.

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Traffic accidents are usually expensive, even if the vehicles are covered by auto insurance. First of all, you will be faced with paying your deductible, which is usually $250 or $500, but could be $1,000 or more depending on which insurance company insures the car and what type of coverage is chosen by the driver when he or she selects his or her insurance. Of course, these costs go up once you get into a traffic accident, because most insurance companies quickly increase your insurance rates, usually by hundreds of dollars a year, if you file a claim for a car accident.

Besides the costs of rising insurance rates and having to pay a hefty deductible, there are other financial problems that can result from a traffic accident. If your car is so damaged that you can no longer drive it and you don’t have rental car coverage, you may miss time from work. This may not be a problem for someone who is salaried, but for hourly employees who have not accrued vacation time or comp time, it can have a serious impact on someone’s salary, and when you live from paycheck to paycheck, it can be devastating, especially for families.

The Florida Highway Patrol responding to accidents basically just act as reporters of the event and will in all likelihood give you a road sign no matter who is at fault. So then, of course, there are the costs associated with getting a traffic ticket itself. These charges can vary depending on what the driver is being cited for. For example, many traffic accidents are the result of not giving way, following too closely or, as is often the case, excessive speed. Any combination of these actions may be construed as “aggressive driving” and are considered moving violations and are punishable by fines and court costs.

If you’re one of those drivers who prides themselves on never having had an accident or haven’t had an accident in years, be careful. No matter how careful you are behind the wheel, sometimes all it takes is a momentary lack of judgment or attention to change all that. In addition, remember that you have no control over the other drivers around you. Someone else’s aggressive or careless driving tactics can quickly turn their problem into your problem.