Should I Call 911 After a Car Accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL?
Paul Brannon | January 20, 2022 | Car Accident
Have you been involved in a car accident in Fort Walton Beach, Florida? It’s important to take certain essential steps in the aftermath of a collision, including:
- Getting to safety
- Checking on the status of the other drivers involved in the accident
- Calling the police to report the accident
- Exchanging insurance and contact information with the other drivers
- Getting the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene
- Seeking immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe you have been injured
However, not all accidents are particularly serious. You might wonder if all of these steps are necessary when your accident wasn’t major.
For example, after a minor car accident in Fort Walton Beach, you might assume it isn’t necessary to report the incident to law enforcement. In some states, it’s not always legally required that you report car accidents. However, this guide will help you better understand why you should err on the side of caution by calling 911 after your accident, even if it was minor.
Why it’s Essential to Call 911 After a Car Accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL
Florida law requires that drivers involved in car accidents remain at the scene until they’ve fulfilled certain tasks. One of these tasks involves providing a police officer with information and documentation (such as a license) so they can file an accident report.
If a police officer arrives at the scene before a driver has a chance to call 911, the driver can meet the state’s legal requirements by simply cooperating with the officer until given permission to leave the scene. However, it’s rare for a police officer to be available right after an accident.
You must call law enforcement to report your car accident if it involves injury, death, or significant property damage. You can document the scene by taking pictures of any harm to both your vehicle and yourself. Behave calmly when interacting with the other drivers involved, and avoid making any statements that can indicate that you caused the accident.
How Reporting a Car Accident to the Police Can Help You Recover Compensation Later
A car accident can leave you facing a range of costly losses. For example, if you’re injured, you may struggle with unexpected medical bills. Your injuries could also restrict your ability to work and earn an income.
Florida is technically a no-fault state. In Florida, it doesn’t matter if another driver caused your accident. Your primary means of recovering compensation is to file a claim to collect from your own insurance.
However, insurance companies are still profit-driven businesses. Your insurer will likely try to limit their liability by seeking ways to offer less compensation than you deserve.
That’s why it’s important to provide a range of documentation and evidence illustrating the full nature of your accident when filing a claim. An objective police report may be one such form of documentation.
There are also exceptions to Florida’s no-fault policy. If your injuries are severe enough to meet a certain threshold, you can seek additional compensation. In this case, you can file a claim to collect from the insurance of a negligent driver who caused your accident. You can file a lawsuit if their insurer doesn’t offer a fair payout.
To recover compensation in these circumstances, you will need to show that the other driver was negligent. This is another reason it’s helpful to be able to reference an official police report.
Keep in mind that not all serious injuries caused by an accident are immediately noticeable. Even if an accident seems minor, you could develop injuries later that you weren’t aware of in the initial aftermath. Once more, this is why even a “minor” accident warrants filing a report right away.
You’ll hopefully never need to use this information. That said, a car accident can occur even when you’re a responsible motorist. If this does happen to you, call 911 immediately.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541