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Fall 2015
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  • What to Do If You Are in a Car Accident
  • By: Daniel McBreen

    You have likely heard numerous radio and television advertisements telling you who to call if you have been in an automobile accident. Many of those “800” numbers that are asking you to call them are not attorneys and do not know any more than you about what you should do if you are injured in a car accident. The following tips may be helpful to you in the unfortunate event that you are involved in a car accident. Taking these steps can help protect you if you need to bring a claim against the other driver or if a claim is brought against you.

    1. If you, anyone in your vehicle, or anyone in another vehicle involved is or may be seriously injured, you should call 9-1-1 right away.
    2. If there is any significant damage to any vehicle involved, if one of the vehicles involved is disabled or there is any doubt about who was at fault you should call the appropriate law enforcement agency (city police, county sheriff or highway patrol). Usually, an officer will come to the scene and fill out a crash report. During that process, the officer will obtain information from each driver including their insurance information. The officer will usually provide you with a copy of the “exchange of information” form at the scene. Later, the officer will complete the traffic crash report that you can obtain from the law enforcement agency. Traffic crash reports are also available online through a third party provider, which usually charges a fee for the report that is less than $20.
    3. If a law enforcement officer does not come to the scene, you should exchange insurance information with the other driver. The convenience of cameras on smart phones makes it easy to take pictures of the other driver’s driver license and insurance card. During this exchange with the other driver you should not admit fault for the collision even if you think you may be at fault. Admission of fault to the other driver can be used against you. Moreover, immediately after the accident, all of the facts are not usually known and it is not always clear who was at fault. Rather than discussing fault, you should ask the other drivers and passengers involved in the accident whether they were injured and if they need you to call for assistance.
    4. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved at the scene. If you need to move the vehicles off of the roadway before law enforcement arrives, take pictures of the vehicles before they are moved, if possible.
    5. If you were injured, you should be evaluated as soon as practical by a medical provider. Pursuant to recent changes in Florida law, if you do not receive initial medical services and care within 14 days after the accident, you will not be eligible for personal injury protection benefits (also known as “PIP” benefits or “no fault” benefits). To learn more about PIP/no fault benefits, you can read Section 627.736, Florida Statutes, or contact us.
    6. Read your insurance policy so you are familiar with your obligations under the policy. Failure to timely notify your insurance carrier of a collision may result in a denial of coverage by your insurance carrier.
    Please remember these are just tips. If you are injured or have any questions about your rights, your obligations, liability, insurance coverage, medical coverage or what you should do in the event you are in an accident, you should contact Dan McBreen at or 813-229-2775. Mr. McBreen or one of the other personal injury attorneys at the law office of de la Parte & Gilbert will be happy to answer any questions you have concerning your collision, and we offer free consultations.
    101 E. Kennedy Blvd., Suite 2000 | Tampa, FL 33602 | 813-229-2775 Fax: 813-229-2712
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