What to Do After a Car Accident in Tampa

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If you have been involved in a an SUV or car accident in the Tampa Bay area call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813-229-5353.
Car getting towed after an accident in Tampa

You just had a crash and you don’t know what to do. You are nervous, overwhelmed and don’t know what to do. Your Tampa car accident lawyers came up with some things to do to keep you safe physically and legally. It is a long list but we tried to break it down to simple steps. If you hire an attorney, we can do many of these steps for you:

  1. Stop your car and don’t block traffic.  TAKE PICTURES (this is often the best evidence) and then get off of the roadway (if your vehicle is operable) and move to a safe place. Do not stay in the middle of the road in order to preserve evidence of a crash. Just take pictures and then move out of the way. Again, if you are blocking traffic, you have to move your car immediately. Take more pictures once you out of the way.
  2. Call the police. Report the accident and get help from first responders like police and, if necessary, fire rescue.
  3. If someone is hurt, get them medical help right away. Do so for yourself too – but not the emergency room unless you are bleeding, struck your head or if you have a broken bone. Quite often Urgent Care is cheaper, faster and better service.
  4. Listen to the 911 dispatcher. If they say not to move someone or give them water, do not do it. They tell you things for reasons. You don’t want to find out why they told you not to do something because you did it.
  5. Give your name, address, car information, and insurance to anyone in the accident who asks for it. When the first responders get there be polite and respectful. If there was an injury or damage over $500, the police will do a report which is helpful.
  6. Investigate and take more pictures and get names and numbers if you can. The best place to get photos is usually the scene of the crash. See if you or someone with you can get pictures of the resting points of the cars, the damage to the other cars. Sometimes in a rear-end crash your car will not have a lot of damage but the other car will have a lot. Get pictures of that.
  7. Also, sometimes the police will not put everyone on the accident report. So a witness who would be helpful to you will not be there to help if you do not get his or her name at the scene. If they offer it, don’t lose it. At Fernandez and Hernandez, LLC we see witnesses all the time who were not listed on the crash reports. Tampa-Hillsborough roads are busy but try to get the information we need. It can only help your car accident lawyer do his job.
  8. Don’t say sorry. Lots of times, people say ‘I’m sorry’ even though they don’t even mean to say they caused the situation. The words come out to be nice and feel empathy. But don’t do it. Because the other person will remember. And, under the Florida Rules of Evidence 90.803(18), a comment like that is admissible in court as an exception to the hearsay rule. So be nice and ask them if they are ok. But do not apologize.
  9. Be open with the police officer investigating the accident. Believe it or note, statements to the police officer are inadmissible in a personal injury trial. Talk to them if you were in the right and are not worried about any actions of your own. The statements cannot come into trial in a personal injury case. This is commonly known as the ‘Accident Report Privilege’ described in Florida Statute 316.066(4).
  10. Don’t leave the scene without exchanging information. In Florida, you could be arrested for leaving the scene of a crash with injuries or damage EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT AT-FAULT.
  11. Call your car insurance company. Under your car accident insurance policy, you have to report this crash. It is part of the policy that you cooperate and tell them about it. You have benefits under your own policy called personal injury protection (PIP) benefits that will pay for your health care from the crash. You need to report the crash to the company to get the benefits. If you don’t they won’t pay.

Don’t worry if the other driver doesn’t have insurance. Lots of people driving around Tampa do not have insurance. Don’t worry – take care of your body first. Your lawyer may be able to find insurance. Or, you may have uninsured motorist coverage which a lawyer can help you with. Either way, don’t do anything about your crash just because you hear the driver has no insurance. There may be a solution.

What else can you do?

Choose the right doctors. It is important to do good research on your medical doctors. Just like what you are doing right now, reading up on your Tampa car accident lawyer, you should investigate the background of your medical doctor. Their credentials and results are important in your treatment. It is important to get the right care for the right condition. And, in settlement negotiations or at trial, your doctor’s credentials will be placed at issue by the defendant. You want a doctor who comes off as believable. Sometimes, your own doctors (like a primary care physician) may refuse to treat you because you were in an accident and they do not want to be bothered with what comes with treating an accident victim. Others may just want to write your prescriptions and not to physical therapy to get you better – instead of masking the pain by doping you up. Your lawyer may be able to help you find a doctor who can treat you. Ask us and we will recommend you a doctor within 3 to 5 miles of your home or work.

Get your car out of the tow yard. If your car was towed, get it out of the yard. Use your own insurance, the insurance from the person who hit you, or pay for it. But do not leave it at the yard because they will charge you storage daily and most times will not cut the bill when you get over there to get the car. And, if you leave your car there long enough, they can take it by following the process in Florida Statute § 713.78.

Get an estimate for your car. If you do not have insurance to fix your car but the other person was at fault, you have to rely on the other person’s insurance. It is important to remember if you are relying on the other person’s insurance, they only have to pay if you can show the other person was at fault. And, if the other person says the crash was not their fault, then the insurance can delay and say they are taking their insured’s side. If you do not have insurance and the other person is saying they are not at fault, then you will almost certainly have to sue the other person to get your car fixed and for your injuries. This may be frustrating because the crash seemed simple. But under these circumstances, your car will not get fixed and you will not get paid until the case is done in court.

Keep track of your ‘out of pocket’ expenses. They include co-pays, wrecker bills, medicines, bills for devices like a boot or brace, rental cars, pillows for your neck, a new chair at work, crutches, the housekeeper’s extra day because you can’t clean, a gardener if you can’t do it anymore, or even a nanny if you need help with the kids. When your car accident lawyer does demand to the insurance company, he or she will need these. Or, if your case goes to court, your accident attorney will need these expenses to produce to the other side to get you money for them. You want recovery, right? So keep track of what you spend. Tampa is expensive. If you keep track of what you spend, your lawyer can help you get it back.

Make a PIP claim for your lost earnings if you missed work. Your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) policy will pay 60% of your lost earnings up to $10,000 or the remaining limits after medical bills have been paid out. Use this if you did not waive it when you got your insurance. Your insurance company will have forms to fill out to get the benefits.

If you got a ticket, that does not mean the other party is not partially or substantially at fault for this accident. The fact you got a ticket and what the judge did with the ticket is inadmissible in a personal injury case. That means that if you got a ticket, the insurance company’s defense lawyer is not allowed to talk about the ticket at trial.

Do not plead guilty if you got the ticket. If you plead guilty to the ticket, it will be admissible and they can use it against you in any personal injury trial. This all assumes that the crash was not really your fault and you want to hire a car accident attorney to try to get you compensation.

Get regular treatment. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself. And consistently. If you do not go steadily, the defense lawyers and insurance companies will say you must not have been that hurt since you didn’t feel the need to go often. And, if you do not do the therapy your doctor prescribes, they will say you did not do everything you could to get better. Tampa is a busy place, but you have to find the time for treatment.

Don’t jump at offers from the insurance company. The insurance companies like to get in there early and settle cases before you get a car accident lawyer.

Call a car accident lawyer. Experience and results matter. Our Tampa Car Accident Lawyers try cases. We get results.

If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, call Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez at 813-229-5353.

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Martin J. Hernandez, Esq.
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Benjamin Blevins
Benjamin Blevins
17:19 21 Feb 20
This is the best auto accident lawyer in Tampa. I was involved in a car accident and did not know what to do, who to... call, who to see, find a doctor that could help me, or even what to say. I called Martin Hernandez and he sat down with me and explained everything from beginning to end. He quickly resolved me my case and got me the most amount of money possible. When people ask me who is the best lawyer in Tampa? I always Martin Hernandez is the best auto accident attorney in Tampa..read more
dylan harper
dylan harper
17:09 20 Feb 20
Martin was able to explain my case to me very well. I got good advice on what my particular options were and an honest... assessment of what I should expect going forward. When the world is falling around you its best to ask the smartest, hardest working person you can find what to do, and then do it.read more
Carmina Wilson
Carmina Wilson
16:39 19 Feb 20
I had an absolutely amazing experience with Martin’s firm. I had incurred personal injuries as a result of a bad auto... accident. His team not only treated me with respect, but they also made me feel like I was their only client. They handled my case with an astounding amount of expertise. Martin and his team is a lifesaver.read more
cedrick wilson
cedrick wilson
15:17 05 Feb 20
I was in an accident lately and he was suggested by a friend. He met with me in person and was very punctual. He was... very calm and determined throughout my entire situation. Overall, I was extremely satisfied and impressed with Martin in reaching very positive results. I would recommend him and his office to anyone for solid advice and bottom-line results. Thank you again!read more
Tamika Jones
Tamika Jones
22:29 06 Jan 20
My experience with Martin Hernandez has been stressful not on his part. Martin has been very patient with me when I... wanted to pull every strand of hair from my head. From day one he took time to explain the process of how this was going to be but he would be there to hold my hand all the way and he did just that. His paralegal Angela walked with and held both my hands as well during all of this. When I couldn't get ahold of Martin she would make sure he got everyone of my messages. I would use his services again and recommend him to anyone. Thanks so much for all you have done and I'm forever grateful.read more
Russell Craig
Russell Craig
20:51 19 Dec 19
Very pleased with how the case was handled. I hope to never be in this position again as it was a stupid mistake but... with the help of Martin Hernandez I didn’t even have to appear in court on my own. I highly recommend using him and his team, you wont be disappointed.read more
Nicholas Nagowski
Nicholas Nagowski
22:34 14 Nov 19
Worked with Martin in Tampa, Florida. He executed on everything he promised. A well run organization. He called me... back very quickly whenever I reached out, if not answering right away. Definitely would recommend Martin to my friends and family. Thanks again for everything.read more
Mark Lenox
Mark Lenox
16:55 14 Nov 19
I was arrested for my 2nd DUI and I've reached out to Mr. Hernandez explaining my situation. He made me feel safe... through out the whole process. He helped me and extremely happy with the result. Martin knows clearly what are the best steps to take that's why I highly recommend him to anyone.read more
Kimberly McLendon
Kimberly McLendon
02:06 14 Nov 19
Martin Hernandez and his entire staff are extremely friendly,caring,knowledgeable, and treat you like apart of the... family. I hired Martin approximately 2 years ago. My case was a complicated one. But Martin Hernandez did an absolute amazing job. I was always kept current of what was going on with my case. Anytime I called, if Martin was unavailable his hard working staff got the answers I needed. I would recommend Martin Hernandez to everyone. He's dedicated to each case. If you're looking for a lawyer who doesn't just represent you,but welcomes you like family to his firm, Here's your answer. If I could give 50 stars I would. Thank you Martin& staff for all you did. Kimberly Mclendonread more
Chuck Hermanes
Chuck Hermanes
22:21 07 Nov 19
My medical bills had been piling up long before I decided to contact an attorney, and by that time the statute of... limitations was close to ending. My friend recommended Martin Hernandez who is very knowledgeable and who saved me in my situation. My medical bills are finally taken care of because of the work of Martin and his team. From the very beginning, I have no doubt that’s why he had so many great reviews from others. And I am 100% satisfied client who definitely recommend him to anyone.read more
Kymii Plur
Kymii Plur
14:49 01 Nov 19
Martin is the absolute sweetest most understanding lawyer I have ever met. He is very knowledgeable of every situation... and will get you the money that you are deserved. His staff is amazing I love everyone there I couldn't speak more highly of all of them. I would recommend Martin and his staff to my family and anyone who is in need of an attorney don't waste your time with others go see Martin he will take care of you !read more
Gabbie Bell
Gabbie Bell
09:32 26 Oct 19
Martin is very professional, marvelous , and meet all expectations far as handling my family law case.I strongly... suggest him to anyone who is in need of the best lawyer in Florida. Finest lawyer I've ever meet and i thank him for winning my case . He'll be hired by me anytime needed.read more
Johanna Gonzalez
Johanna Gonzalez
21:17 24 Oct 19
Great service. They took my case and guided me throughout the entire process with care and kindness. Thank you!
Parker Darlan
Parker Darlan
17:27 21 Oct 19
Martin and his office were very quick to respond to our inquiry and very professional. Extremely helpful and willing to... listen to the issue and address it in a timely manner. I would certainly use him in the future.read more
Stetson Madison
Stetson Madison
21:02 27 Sep 19
He has been very helpful as my attorney and made himself available whenever I needed. There has been multiple times I... wanted to just take a deal to get it over with but he has continued to work for me to get me in the best situation possible. He is very easy to work with and passionate about helping. He is not just a great lawyer but also a great human being!read more
Louie Serg
Louie Serg
15:51 13 Sep 19
My needs were met and the firm was invested in my case and me as a person. They were easily accessible, return phone... calls and emails promptly. Aggressive, when it was require and got the job done. Martin and his staff all produced the quality of an attorney and firm that anyone would want to hire.read more
Ted Esposito
Ted Esposito
16:49 07 Sep 19
I was involved in a car accident and the first person I called was Martin. He was very understanding and made it very... easy to get the insurance claims process underway. After a year of physical therapy, my case was settled and closed. Thank you so very much!read more
Arica Schmied
Arica Schmied
18:04 20 Aug 19
Amazing attorney!! Martin Hernandez and his firm are the best you'll find. I have known Martin for years and he has... helped my sister and friends in their car accident cases. I can't say enough good things. He is very knowledgeable, kind, and will treat you like family!read more
Noah Chase
Noah Chase
08:48 19 Aug 19
Mr. Hernandez is clearly very experienced - based on my interactions with him. I look for an attorney based on... integrity and experience. I found the integrity that I was looking for with Mr. Hernandez. I would recommend his services to anyone.read more
Fabian Prentice
Fabian Prentice
18:49 13 Aug 19
Martin is an amazing attorney and was able to get all 3 charges off my record. I knew I could count on him from the... moment I retained him as my attorney. He was quick to answer any questions I had and was very reliable. My case lasted over a year and he was always keeping contact with me the whole time. I would highly recommend him if you need a criminal defense attorney.read more
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