According to the Florida DMV, there are more than 200,000 car crashes in Florida annually. That’s more than 500 accidents per day.
While I-4 is the shortest of the major highways in Florida, the East Central Florida Planning Council found that the section from Daytona to Orlando has the highest percentage of accidents occurring and resulting in a fatality.
These days, people seem to be doing everything in the car except actually driving. USA Today reports that 1 in 4 accidents result from phone usage. When traveling in Florida, especially on Interstate 4, driving is hectic at best and overwhelming at worst.
Due to I-4’s location and expansion, there is constantly a lot of traffic flowing in all directions. From all the construction to the many distractions in and outside of the car, sometimes a car accident is unavoidable.
There are major mistakes that drivers commonly make in the moments just after an accident occurs on I-4. Let’s explore what you can do in these moments in order to make the days and weeks after the car wreck less stressful.
1. Stay Calm
The most important thing to do immediately after an accident is to stay completely calm.
An accident can be scary, and there are a lot of things happening, but if you panic, it can worsen any injury or cause more issues with the wreck itself. The last thing that needs to happen after a fender bender is a small pile up in the many weaving lanes of Interstate 4.
When panicking, you can make the irrational decision to exit the vehicle without surveying the area beforehand or say things you might not normally say. This can backfire in the days after the wreck.
Take a few deep breaths to ease your adrenaline, calm your nerves, and have a clearer mind when speaking with the other drivers involved. Then, look around to make sure the area is clear and safe; exit the vehicle and move through these next steps.
2. Receive medical attention
If you are injured or even potentially injured, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Your adrenaline may be running, so it’s reasonable to understand that you might not be thinking clearly with the hustle and bustle of the traffic on I-4. It’s important to remember an injury isn’t always felt immediately after the accident.
If an injury is at all possible or you are unsure of whether you have an injury, it is best to at least be checked out by the paramedics at the scene. If you decide to deny medical care at the scene, then make sure to remain aware of the way you feel in the days after the wreck.
If this pain sets in beyond a little soreness from the impact, definitely see a doctor.
3. Document EVERYTHING
The more documentation the better!
Once out of the car, take photos of each vehicle, the insurance cards, and even the license of each of the other drivers. Including photos, make sure to write down or take note in your phone of the contact information for the other drivers.
There may be cars whizzing by as Interstate 4 is busy almost all hours of the day, and a very prominent highway, so remain aware of your surroundings.
If possible, it’s best to take photos of how the cars are positioned on I-4 and the direction the cars involved in the accident are facing in order to see how they impacted one another.
The most important, though, is to be safe. If you need to pull off to the shoulder before getting out or taking photos, that is important to acknowledge so as not to cause further the accident or any injuries.
4. NEVER Apologize
By apologizing,you are immediately admitting fault to the accident.
It’s important to remain aware of the words exchanged between you and the other drivers, as well as, with any officials for the I-4 area where the crash occurred, at the scene.
All of the words exchanged and stories reported to the officials are acknowledged and reported to the insurance company later. Car wrecks and the amount that each insurance covers is reflective of who is at fault and the percentage at which they are at fault. The percentage of at fault will also reflect the impact in how much a driver’s insurance will go up after a car wreck.
With that said, do NOT apologize.
5. Clarify What Happened
If possible, take a moment to write down your side of what happened with the accident while driving down Interstate 4. This will help you clarify the moments that led up to the accident and keep your story consistent when talking to the different parties involved.
Make sure to also record any statements from witnesses that have stopped to help with the accident.
Taking this time can help calm your nerves and keep your memory of how things unfolded.
Maintaining one story of how the incident happened will make it easier on communications between insurance companies and attorneys.
6. Talk with an attorney before talking to any insurance companies
Each driver in Florida and on I-4 has rights, whether you are from Florida or traveling from afar.
Laws can be hard to navigate for any civilian, but especially so when driving in a foreign state down unknown roadways.
Before making any calls or speaking with any insurance companies, it’s vital that you consult an experience Orlando car accident attorney. An auto accident attorney has years of experience helping navigate these situations and can guide you each step of the way and get you the help you need.
Since 1966, the team at Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. has represented the Orlando community and Central Florida residents — that’s almost half a century. Combined, the team has more than 100 years of combined courtroom experience handling personal injury cases.
If you or someone you know needs guidance on their recent auto accident, our team of attorneys can be reached at any time.