Car accidents happen every day in Florida, and if you’ve been hit in an accident, you will have many questions and concerns. If you were responsible for causing the crash, you would have even more pressing issues. It is crucial to understand the implications and next steps if you were at fault in a car accident in Florida. The outcome could affect your personal, legal, and financial realities. 

Even if you didn’t intend to do it, you could have caused a car crash for any number of reasons: looking at your phone, speeding, failing to yield, or having your vision obstructed. Regardless of the reason, you need to know what your legal options are and how to minimize the damage. An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer can help. Understanding the steps involved and what you can do to help yourself after an at-fault accident is crucial. 

If you were in a crash and think you might have caused it, try to stay calm. Whether or not you were actually at fault, you have important steps to follow. You want to make sure you remain focused and avoid mistakes. 

Don’t Leave the Scene

You should not leave the scene of an accident under any circumstances. Florida law requires drivers to remain at the scene of an accident and imposes misdemeanor criminal charges on those who do not. 

It can be tempting to flee if you think you are at fault. However, leaving the scene can lead to even worse consequences and harsher penalties. You could even be charged with hit and run, a felony in some circumstances. 

Contact Law Enforcement

If the other driver has not already called, you should call the police to report the accident. While waiting for them to arrive, keep to yourself and don’t engage with the other driver. They might be upset or even irate. However, do your best to remain calm and don’t admit fault or wrongdoing to other individuals at the scene. Admitting fault or getting into details can create problems – including legal issues – later on. 

Some things to avoid include: 

  • Mentioning what you were doing immediately before the crash;
  • Discussing who you think is to blame or accepting blame; 
  • Apologizing or making statements that show guilt;
  • Asking other drivers or passengers questions about the accident. 

You want to be polite but keep conversations to a minimum. Of course, you can share basic information, but otherwise, avoid sharing too much information. 

When police arrive, be courteous and provide basic statements about the accident’s origin. Their job is to make a report of the accident, inspect the damage, and get information about the drivers and witnesses. You could say, for example, that you struck the other vehicle, but avoid saying why you hit the other car or issues that could have led to you causing the accident. 

Get Evidence from the Accident Scene 

If you are able, try to collect evidence and take photos of the accident scene. 

Some things you can do in this regard include: 

  • Gathering names and contact information from those at the scene; 
  • Getting witness information and asking if anyone captured video of the crash on their phones. 
  • Take note of any surveillance cameras, traffic light cameras, or doorbell cameras in the vicinity of the wreck. 
  • Use your smartphone to capture pictures and video of the accident scene, road conditions, weather conditions, and other factors. 

Gathering evidence can help clear up the accident description or even give you a defense to allegations that you caused the crash. 

Seek Medical Attention 

If you have any pain or injuries, get prompt medical help. Even if your injuries do not seem serious at first, complications can arise later. Also, medical records can serve as useful evidence in an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. 

Notify Your Insurance Company

Soon after the accident, you should contact your insurance company to let them know what happened. Avoid making official statements about your role in the accident, but at least let them know an accident happened. 

Call a Lawyer

An experienced Florida car accident lawyer can evaluate the accident and any possible defenses you might have. They can also work with the insurance companies on your behalf and help if you face a potential lawsuit. It always helps to have expert legal guidance if you were involved in an accident, no matter who was at fault. 

What To Do If You Were Only Partially At Fault? 

If both drivers shared responsibility for the crash, and you were only partially at fault, that is where things can get tricky. Florida follows a modified comparative negligence rule for car accidents, meaning that the other driver can collect from you only if your fault was more than 50% for the accident. 

A car accident lawyer can review your case and build an argument that, even if you were partly to blame, your fault was less than 51%. All car accidents depend on the facts involved and evidence that can point one way or another. You might not truly know your percentage of fault until after you meet with an attorney. 

What Does The Accident Mean For Insurance Purposes? 

Insurance policies vary depending on the state in which you live. Florida is a “no-fault” state for car insurance, meaning that if you were in an accident, you first file a claim with your own insurance company. 

Your insurer might provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) to cover your medical expenses and other costs, even if you were partially at fault in a car accident. For this reason alone, you want to report the accident to your insurance company and seek out financial assistance where it could be available. Your car accident lawyer can explain the process in more detail to you and negotiate with your insurer if they deny or minimize your claim. 

Call a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Today if You May Be At Fault for the Collision 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Orlando, Florida, and need legal help, contact our experienced car accident lawyer at Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Orange County and its surrounding areas:

Payer Law Personal Injury Lawyers
6735 Conroy Rd STE 332,
Orlando, FL 32835
Phone: (407) 648-1510