Laws Protect Drivers Involved in Accidents

Knowing your rights can make the difference between recovering your expenses and damages or covering them yourself

By Mitchell J. Panter

As you approach the intersection you slow down because the light is yellow. Behind you is a car full of teenagers, music blaring, screaming at one another, having a good time. They do not notice you, nor do they notice the yellow light. The results of his accident will change your life. It is imperative that you know your rights under the law and take fast action.

The first thing to be aware of is the need to document the accident and everything that happens afterward. The police need to be notified then cooperated with during the investigation. Get contact information for any witnesses.

If seatbelts were in use, bring this to the police officer’s attention. If you are injured, request emergency medical care and treatment. This documents any injuries.

Try to get a copy of any preliminary reports that are prepared by the police agency. Usually, the officer will have a Short Form Police Report or a business card that identifies the police agency and case number.

Immediately document your injuries and damages photograph any cuts, abrasions, bruises, casts or other injuries. Photograph both cars, if possible, and the accident scene including any marks. On the road (skidmarks, debris, etc). Keep copies of records, reports, bills and other papers, connected with the case.

Keep a diary or journal of any problems with injuries. If your case goes to court, it may take up to two years to get to the jury. By keeping a record of doctor visits and problems with injuries, your memory can. easily be refreshed. Make sure that you tell your doc-tors about your problems so that their charts are also well documented.

Regardless of who is at fault, notify your automobile insurance company immediately. Failure to do so may constitute forfeiture of certain rights. Florida is governed by no-fault insurance laws. This means that regardless of who is at fault, your car insurance company will pay for a percentage of your medical expenses incurred from the accident and a percentage of your lost wages.

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