Being part of a car accident can be a harrowing experience. Not only is the experience traumatic itself, but it can leave you with significant property damage and health issues that can affect your quality of life.
You may be entitled to receive compensation for property damage and injuries from your insurance provider or that of the other party involved in the accident, provided it was their fault. However, you need to take the right steps right after an accident occurs to ensure that your rights to full compensation are protected.
It is also equally important to avoid making critical mistakes following a Florida car accident so that you can seek the compensation you need to cover all the damages you have incurred due to the accident. This post will highlight the mistakes you should avoid after being involved in a car accident in Florida so that you can seek an adequate settlement from the relevant insurer.
10 Critical Mistakes to Avoid After a Florida Car Accident
Here are some of the most critical mistakes that can affect your chances of winning a fair settlement to cover your costs for property damage, medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses due to the car accident.
1. Failing to call 911
Most accidents occur when you least expect them, and that could leave you in a state of shock. While you are not necessarily required to call the police after every accident, contacting emergency services is definitely a good idea. Even if you have not incurred any injuries but you expect the property damage to be significant, you should call 911 and give them details of the accident, as well as the location.
Once you contact the emergency services, they may send the police to the location or simply tell you to exchange information with the other driver (if the accident is not severe). Calling the police can be essential in ensuring that you have the ability to seek a fair settlement because they can collect important evidence to determine the cause of the accident – This can be very useful for you when you file your insurance claim.
2. Not documenting the accident site
After you contact emergency services, it is critical to take photos and videos of the accident site, assuming that you did not suffer serious injuries. Depending on the severity of the accident and where it occurred, it might be necessary to remove the vehicles (for instance, if the cars are blocking traffic). Moving the vehicles without having documentation of the scene of the accident can be detrimental to your insurance claim, however.
Taking photos and videos of the accident scene from different angles can preserve the evidence necessary to determine who was at fault and capture important details about the scene that you might have missed or won’t remember later on. The evidence can be vital for your insurance claim, the police, and your personal injury attorney.
3. Not obtaining witness information and statements
Another critical mistake to avoid after a Florida car accident is not asking for witness statements and information. If the accident occurred in a busy area, there might have been people who saw what happened. Talking to any of these witnesses that are willing to cooperate could make a world of difference for your claim.
Most people involved in car accidents avoid admitting their fault due to legal and insurance-related reasons. Eyewitness accounts can be important for the police and your insurance company. Writing down their contact information is just as important so that the police, your insurance company, and your attorney can contact them whenever it is necessary.
4. Not receiving the other driver’s information
Taking down the other driver’s information should be a no-brainer after a car accident. You should have their phone number, license plate, insurance company’s name, and policy number. This information will be crucial when you file your insurance claim, especially if the other driver is the one at fault for the accident.
Some people try to flee the scene of the accident to avoid the legal ramifications, especially when they know it was their fault. Be sure to have your phone handy in case they try to flee so that you can take a photo of their license plate and details of their car.
5. Admitting fault
When you are involved in an accident, it does not matter how bad you feel about it, you should never admit fault. Many people who believe that the accident was their fault might feel inclined to admit their fault. However, doing this could compromise your right to full compensation for the damages you have incurred. What if you are not entirely aware of all the facts about what caused the accident?
Suppose that you were at fault because you were using your phone. If the other driver ran a red light or stop sign, this also means that he or she would be partly to blame for the accident. Although it would not “let you off the hook,” it does mean that you may not have to bear all of the consequences. Even apologizing at the scene of an accident can be considered an admission of fault and we recommend that you avoid doing so, even if you feel very inclined to.
6. Failing to file a claim with your insurer
Nobody wants to have to pay more for their insurance than they absolutely have to. Unfortunately, this means that many people choose not to file an insurance claim, especially if the accident is their fault. However, filing an insurance claim can be vital to keep you from suffering significant financial losses when the injuries caused by the accident and the property damage incur high costs. It doesn’t matter who was at fault, you should immediately file a claim.
7. Leaving the scene
There is no situation that justifies leaving the scene of a car accident. Even if the damage is nonexistent, leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging information with the other driver is considered illegal and can land you in serious trouble with the law.
Suppose the accident resulted in serious damage and injuries. In that case, leaving the scene of the accident could lead to severe penalties.
8. Not seeking medical treatment
Even if you do not feel as though you suffered significant injuries, it is always better to err on the side of safety and seek medical treatment to make sure that you are alright. Sometimes, injuries caused by car accidents do not start showing signs well after the accident itself. Failing to obtain medical treatment could result in the insurance provider for the other driver claiming that your injuries are not serious, depriving you of your rightful compensation.
9. Accepting an inadequate settlement offer
Suppose that you were in an accident and it is clear that the other driver owes you compensation. In that case, you should be wary about accepting the first settlement that their insurance provider offers to you. Depending on the severity of the accident, you could be entitled to a much larger settlement amount.
Gathering all the necessary evidence, witness accounts, police reports, and hiring the necessary legal help can help you build a strong case for a more significant and fair settlement. Insurance companies almost always begin with the lowest settlement they can offer. However, they may be willing to pay a fair amount if you show them that you are serious about pursuing it and have a strong case.
10. Not hiring a lawyer
Filing a claim for a car accident in Florida can be a pretty straightforward affair since Florida is a no-fault state. Many people do not consider that it is necessary to hire a lawyer because the case should be simple enough to deal with, especially if the other party’s insurance company is willing to pay up. Unfortunately, it does not mean that you will not have to contend with unfair settlement offers from the insurance providers.
Working with the right personal injury attorney can be instrumental to ensure that you protect your right to full and fair compensation for the damages that you have incurred due to the accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida, especially due to the negligence of the other driver, and you seek a fair settlement for the injuries you have suffered, consider asking the professionals at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers to have the help you seek.
The attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers have years of experience working with clients to help them pursue the compensation they deserve in their personal injury claims, including Florida car accident cases. The experienced lawyers from the firm have an excellent track record, work on a contingency fee basis, and will go to court to fight for their clients, if needed.
If you’re looking for an experienced and qualified Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer who will go the distance to help you seek fair compensation for your personal injury case, working with Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can be ideal for you (by appointment only).