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What to Do During and After an Auto Accident

April 29, 2011

Have you been involved in an auto accident but didn't know what to do? You might think that you always need to call the police; If you don't there will not be a record of the crash, and the insurance company could deny the crash ever occurred.

In an article recently published in the Orlando Sentinel, Sgt. Kim Montes stated:

What many don't realize, is instead of waiting for troopers to arrive on scene, drivers can report the crash to 911, exchange information between those involved in the collision (drivers license, insurance card and contact information) and later fill out an electronic driver's crash report. This way, the crash is still on record.

"Get as much info as possible and always demand to see the driver's license,” Ryan Joyce, managing partner of Insurance Affiliates in Orlando, said. "If they don't have it, call the police no matter what.”

Montes said it's not imperative to wait for law enforcement unless someone is injured or vehicles obviously have more than $500 worth of damage.

You should always dial 911 when involved in a crash – whether you wait on a deputy or report the crash electronically depends on the severity of the accident.

If someone is injured, it's the driver's responsibility to make every effort to help that person by calling 911 or getting help, Montes said.

She also mentioned that it's required by law to move wrecked vehicles from the right-of-way, if possible. If the car is unable to be moved due to damage, if a death is involved or is someone is severely injured, the vehicle should not be moved. In a hit-and-run or a crash involving an intoxicated driver, the driver must wait on-scene until law enforcement arrives, she said.

A hit-and-run crash is one in which the driver fees the scene. If someone flees the scene of a death or injuries, he/she can be punished with up to 30 years in prison.

Like Gloria Seidule, Treasure Coast personal injury attorney, Joyce recommends drivers always call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive. He said this ensures the party at fault is held accountable.

On the other hand, if you hit a parked car, it's always your responsibility to contact the owner of the vehicle in which you hit, Montes said. If you can't find the owner, you're required by law to leave your insurance, registration, driver's license and contact information in a visible area on the damaged car.

Involved in a car crash and need legal advice? Call the Law Office of Gloria Seidule to set up a free and confidential consultation: 772-287-1220.

Sources: Orlando sentinel