What To Do During a 3 Car Accident
Car accidents are called accidents for a few reasons.
First of all, most people do not intend to cause them. And second, we never see them coming.
Not only does an accident affect the people involved, but it can also impact other drivers on the roadway and give rise to a scenario like a 3-car accident.
In 3-car accidents, there is generally a front car, middle car, and end car. The front and middle vehicles are generally the ones who initiated the accident, as to where the end car is least responsible, since it is generally a hazard of the first impact.
No matter where you stand in terms of a 3-car accident, if you were injured, you can file a claim for compensation related to your physical and emotional damages where another’s negligence caused them.
However, it is vital to follow a few steps during a 3-car accident and then to perform your due diligence after.
If you have specific questions regarding your 3-car accident later, you should always reach out to a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer for more information.
8 Steps for Handling the Scene of a 3-Car Accident
The way that you handle a 3-car accident really depends on your level of injury.
It is kind of impossible to exchange information and clear the roadway if you are physically unable to do so.
If that is your situation, then there isn’t anything you can do except GET HELP! Call 9-1-1, if you can, above all else.
Otherwise, you should follow these 8 steps during a 3-car accident in Florida:
1. Do NOT Leave
Rule number one of dealing with any car accident is that you do not flee the scene, no matter what role you played in it.
Yes, emotions are running high after a 3-car accident, and you or another driver might fear that there are other factors, like driving “buzzed,” that will get you into trouble.
Here’s the deal: everyone has to stick around after an accident.
Leaving the scene of the accident in Florida is a misdemeanor or felony that carries criminal consequences of up to 30 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
Let’s just leave it at that.
2. Check Yourself for Car Accident Injuries
It almost seems too obvious to let someone know that he or she should check him or herself for injury following an accident. However, there is a lot that happens during a 3-car accident.
Before getting out of your car, check yourself for pain after accident injuries. Notice if you have any neck pain or back pain. Wiggle your toes.
The most important thing is that you are stable enough to move before trying to take any steps further.
Whether you notice immediate injuries or not, it is one of our state’s laws that you visit a physician within 14 days of the accident to exercise your rights to file a civil claim for compensation later on.
3. Call the Police
Calling the police may or may not be necessary for all car accidents in Florida.
The only time you have to call them after a car accident is if it results in injuries to you or others, death, or inoperable damage to one of the cars involved in the 3-car accident.
Otherwise, you have up to 10 days from the date of the accident to file a report.
And don’t fall prey to the trap of another driving asking that you don’t call the police. It’s a citable offense that can cost you insurance benefits or compensation later on, too.
4. Reasonably Clear the Road
Depending upon your car accident injuries, you may not have the capacity to secure the roadway. After all, a 3-car accident is fairly catastrophic and can cause other vehicles in the flow of traffic to add to an already frightening situation.
If you can safely move your car off to the side of the road in situations where it is blocking traffic, you should.
Then, check on the safety of the other 2 drivers involved.
Safety is the name of the game when it comes to the scene-of-the-accident.
If you can, try to take a picture of the accident scene before cars are moved if it is safe enough to do so. You can use this as evidence later on.
5. Exchange Information with the Other Drivers
Once everyone is stable, your next step is to exchange information with the other drivers after providing aid.
The State of Florida requires you to share, at a minimum:
- Your name
- Current address
- Vehicle registration number
- Proof of driver’s license
Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state. This is just a fancy legal term that means you call your own insurer when you are involved in a car accident.
You do not have to exchange car insurance or health insurance information with others.
6. Gather Witness and Contact Info
A multi-car accident is a pretty big spectacle.
The good Samaritans of the world tend to do things like pulling over to see if he or she can help. Other times, some people just happen to be in and around the accident scene at the time, like other drivers who weren’t involved, passengers, or pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Florida does not require witnesses to stay at the scene, but some people choose to do so. Approach these individuals and try to obtain their names and contact info so that you can find out more information from them later.
7. Take Photographs of the Accident Scene
Photographic or video evidence is fairly tough to dispute if you are making a car accident injury claim later on.
While it may be a little awkward to initiate this step, remember that you have to protect your rights.
You have every right to document your injuries, property damage, positioning of the cars, and other aspects that speak to the level of damage that a 3-car accident caused you.
Just like the witness information, you can use your photos and video recordings, later on, to refute any accusations or denials of coverage.
8. Do Not Admit Fault
NEVER EVER admit fault.
Even if you remotely think that you may have played a small role, do not make any self-incriminating statements.
For starters, it is your Fifth Amendment right to reserve speculating against yourself. Second, the events that follow a 3-car accident are pretty erratic.
You have no idea what the other side can prove happened. Instead of making “best guesses,” leave it up to the evidence to demonstrate what happened.
Remember: anything you say will be used against you. This concept is especially true when you are accusing someone of causing your car accident injuries or your loved one’s death.
What You Should Do Within Days After a 3-Car Accident
The steps you take after being discharged from the hospital are just as necessary as the ones you took at the scene of the accident.
Here are a few tips of what you should do within a few days of your 3-car accident.
Follow Your Doctors’ Orders
Your discharge and follow-up care plan must be followed correctly.
For example, if you decide not to ice your muscles after having back pain and the injury worsens over time, then the other party might try to claim that you caused your accident injuries to develop further.
Do not let this happen to you. Instead, do what your doctor says in case you need to file a claim for serious injuries in the future.
Avoid Posting to Social Media About It
As much as most of us appreciate receiving the support of family, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances online, resist the urge to do so on this one.
Most people don’t think of it, but social media posts, photos, and comments are admissible as evidence in court.
Even if you think the post makes you look good and the other drivers bad, you might be missing a small piece of the puzzle from the bigger picture perspective when it comes to how you are positioning it.
Also, avoid making the mistake of thinking that your posts are private just because your profile is. You never know who is watching what you post or if there is an informant in your circle of “friends” supplying information to the other side.
This is not a conspiracy theory. This is just real life folks. Make sure you are protecting yourself.
Discuss Your Potential Case with a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer
The aftermath of a 3-car accident is enough for you to deal with alongside your car accident injuries.
Instead of facing the other drivers, insurance companies, police, and lawyers alone, you can have reassurance by working with a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer.
He or she can negotiate or litigate every aspect of the claims process while acting as a communication buffer for you.
That way, you can concentrate on the essential things, like your physical and emotional recovery.
Reach Out to FLL Accident Lawyers for a Free Consultation
If you were injured after a 3-car accident or your loved one lost his or her life, contact FLL Accident Lawyers as soon as possible for a free consultation. You can request yours today by calling (954) 519-6353 or dropping our office a message via our online contact form.