8 Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Car Accident

Steps to Take After Being Injured in a Car Accident

Obtaining compensation to cover your medical expenses can depend on whether you know what steps to take after being injured in a car accident. The proper steps help you get the medical attention you need and protect your legal rights as you file a claim with insurance companies or a personal injury lawsuit.

An experienced St. Petersburg attorney with Emerson Straw Injury Law can help you navigate what to do after a car accident and get you the financial compensation you deserve.

What Steps Should I Take After Being Injured in a Car Crash?

As you determine what to do after a minor car accident, your first step should be to evaluate your injuries and call for emergency assistance. You can take the following actions to protect your rights and gather evidence for your lawyer to use when negotiating a settlement or to prove damages in court.

1. Stay at the Accident Scene

Florida law requires people to stay at the scene of an accident and call 911 in the following situations:

  • Crash involving injuries
  • Accidents resulting in fatalities
  • Hit-and-run accidents
  • DUI collisions
  • Accident requiring a wrecker to remove a vehicle
  • Collisions involving a commercial vehicle
  • Crashes with apparent property damage of at least $500

You must pull away from traffic and turn on your hazard lights when you sustain injuries in a car accident. This can help ensure your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road. Once you are in a safe place, assess your injuries and call the police and request medical assistance.

2. Seek Medical Attention

When paramedics arrive at the accident scene, they will assess and treat your injuries. Severe injuries like broken bones or head injuries may require immediate medical treatment, including surgery.

Even if you do not need urgent medical treatment, scheduling an appointment with your doctor is one of the most critical steps to take after being injured in a car accident. For example, symptoms of whiplash, such as neck pain, headaches, and tingling in the arms, don’t appear until hours or days after a car accident.

Your doctor will evaluate your injuries, symptoms, and medical history during your initial visit. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, your doctor’s treatment plan may include:

  • Rest and ice or heat packs
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Appointments with a therapist
  • Referrals to other medical specialists

Keeping a well-organized record of medical bills, diagnoses, treatments, and other medical documents is crucial when pursuing a claim. If you received medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance must cover 80% of expenses incurred during your treatment period.

3. File a Police Report

During an accident investigation, law enforcement officers collect as much information about the incident as possible from everyone involved, including drivers. Each party must provide details to the officer, such as the exact location of the accident and the events that led up to it.

When you speak to the police about the accident, focus on the facts rather than expressing emotions or admitting fault. Only share details about your actions leading up to the accident and how it occurred. Get the responding officers’ badge numbers and contact information so your attorney can contact them later for your case.

Crash reports are available after 10 days after the accident. You or your attorney can visit the Florida Crash portal to obtain your crash report for $10.00 plus a $2.00 transaction fee. To get the crash report in person, you must complete a signed statement and visit your local Florida Highway Patrol station.

4. Exchange Information With Other Drivers and Passengers

Collect the contact and insurance information from all drivers involved in the accident. The information must include their names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, insurance details, and license numbers.

If you find yourself in a situation where a driver involved in an accident is uncooperative and refuses to share their information, stay calm and notify the police. They can interview the driver to obtain their details or investigate if the other party drives away from the scene.

5. Ask Witnesses for Their Contact Information

After exchanging contact information with the drivers, speak to witnesses who may have observed the crash. These individuals could be pedestrians, passengers, and passing drivers not involved in the accident.

During your conversations with the witnesses, take notes or record their statements with their permission. Some witnesses may be willing to validate your notes by signing them. If a witness feels uncomfortable giving their account, ask for their contact information for your attorney to interview them later.

Take Pictures and Videos of the Accident Scene

6. Take Pictures and Videos of the Accident Scene

If you take photos or videos at the accident scene, step back to capture all relevant details. Photograph the accident site from different angles, including any visible hazards, license plate numbers, and injuries. Also, photograph skid marks on the road; your attorney can use them to work with an accident reconstructionist expert to determine the cause of the accident.

7. Notify Your Insurance Company

After an accident, you must notify your insurance company to ensure you receive PIP benefits and maintain coverage. While your insurer may have a specific timeline, you should report the accident as soon as possible following a collision.

After you report your accident, the company will send an insurance adjuster to review your damages. To protect your rights during this process, your attorney from Emerson Straw Injury Lawyers can handle all communication with the insurance adjuster and ensure they follow good-faith practices so you receive the benefits you need to recover from your injuries.

8. Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney

After a car accident, seeking the advice of an experienced car accident attorney can help you know what steps to take after being injured in a car accident and get the compensation you are owed.

A St. Augustine car accident lawyer from Emerson Straw Injury Law can work with you to notify your insurer of the incident and help you receive appropriate PIP benefits to pay for immediate medical treatment. If your injuries meet the state’s severe injury threshold, your attorney will help you file a claim against a negligent driver’s insurer seeking compensation.

Your attorney can also help you understand what to do after an accident that is your fault, including informing you of your rights and looking for evidence to minimize your liability under Florida’s pure contributory fault statute.

Consult with Emerson Straw Injury Law After a Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, having an experienced attorney on your side can help you navigate your case and get the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys at Emerson Straw Injury Law have years of experience handling car crash claims for injured Florida drivers and won millions for car accident victims.

Our lawyers are accessible and can provide personalized representation and communication throughout the claim process. We have a track record of success with car accident cases and are willing to go to trial if necessary to pursue a fair settlement.

Call us today to book a free consultation and discover how knowing the proper steps to take after being injured in a car accident help your case.


When should I see a doctor after a car accident?

You should see a doctor within 14 days of a car accident, even if you feel fine. Prompt medical treatment ensures you receive compensation from your PIP insurance and protects your rights to compensation if you file a third-party claim against a negligent driver.

Who will pay for my medical bills related to the accident?

If you carry state-required PIP insurance, it will pay for 80% of medical expenses incurred within 14 days of an accident. If you suffered severe and permanent scarring and injuries from the accident, you could seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company for your damages.

How long do I have to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident?

In Florida, you have four years from the car accident date to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Working with an Emerson Straw Injury Law attorney can help you collect all necessary evidence and file your lawsuit within the statute of limitations.