In 2016, 27,660 car accidents occurred in Hillsborough county alone, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. These accidents resulted in 21,380 injuries and 228 fatalities. Shockingly, all of these statistics represent an increase from the previous year. Car accidents rose 6.52% from 25,967. Car accident fatalities rose 20% from 190, and the number of injuries due to car crashes increased by 7.5% from 19,889 in 2015.

One thing is overwhelmingly apparent from reviewing these figures. Tampa is a dangerous place to drive, and the city is becoming more dangerous every year. So, if you are involved in a car accident in the Bay Area, there are a few things you should always do.

1. Call the Police

Always contact the police when you are involved in a car accident, even a minor one. The police report will give you valuable information about the other driver such as their insurance information, name, etc. Moreover, contacting the police allows you to document how the accident occurred from your point of view and the viewpoint of any witnesses.

2. Take Pictures of the Accident Scene

Once you leave the scene of an accident, you can never get certain information back such as road conditions, the amount of traffic, etc. Therefore, you should photograph your surroundings, your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and any other factors that are relevant to the accident.

3. Get Evaluated by a Doctor

Herniated disks, whiplash, and back injuries incurred as a result of being involved in a car accident can all share a common characteristic. These ailments and others can have “delayed symptoms,” which simply means that you may not immediately know or feel the full extent of your injuries immediately after the accident. Due to this fact, you should always get evaluated by a doctor after being involved in a car accident.

4. Contact an Attorney

Adjusters employed by insurance carriers are tasked with evaluating claims in the most cost effective manner possible. To accomplish this task, their goal is to minimize the amount of money this insurance carrier will have to pay in connection with any accident by any means possible, even if it is at your expense.

As such, you should always contact a car accident lawyer in Tampa, FL, prior to speaking with either your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company, because every statement you make will be analyzed, screwtinized, and can be used as evidence against you, which is why you need to have a thorough understanding of your legal rights and responsibilities, prior to speaking with an insurance adjuster.

5. Call Your Insurance Company

Once you have consulted with a lawyer, you can contact your insurance carrier to report the claim, but ideally, you want to have this conversation with your attorney on the phone or in the room. Moreover, you should not speak with the other driver’s insurance carrier without an attorney present who will ensure that your legal interests are protected.