In the aftermath of a car accident, drivers tend to feel flustered, anxious, and overwhelmed. Not only are they potentially coping with minor or severe injuries, but they may also have to deal with uncooperative perpetrators and stingy insurance companies. It’s important in these situations to keep a cool head and proceed tactically. A strategic misstep could lead to a less-than-fair car accident claim.
Despite crashes being so common in the state of Florida, many drivers have no sense of what to do—and more significantly, what not to do—just after a car accident. Here are a few tips and tricks that will help you get the full and just compensation you deserve.
Never Admit Fault After a Car Accident
Perhaps the worst blunder a driver could make in moments after a car accident is admitting fault. You may feel distraught and nervous in the moment, but try to avoid saying something you don’t mean. Even if you think you may be partially at fault, don’t state that outright. It’s a jury’s job to determine who is liable, not yours.
Even saying “I’m sorry” to the other driver can be interpreted as admitting fault. It’s such an easy and common error to make, but it could risk your right to seek compensation for damages. Car insurance companies will go to great lengths to waive your right to compensation, and if they find anything that would indicate that the crash was your responsibility—even if it’s a seemingly innocuous comment or polite apology—they’ll bring it up in court.
Avoid Leaving the Scene After a Car Crash
It may seem obvious, but don’t leave the scene without exchanging information with the other driver, especially if there was property damage or injury. Even with the best of intentions, this could result in a hit-and-run violation, which is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 in Florida.
Always Call the Police After You’ve Been in a Car Accident
No matter how minor the accident may seem—or how remorseful the other driver may appear to be—it’s always important to call the police. They’ll be able to keep a record of the scene and the events that led up to the crash. In a personal injury claim, if there is ever a dispute with the other driver regarding who is at fault, the disagreement can boil down to your word versus theirs. Without official documentation, there is no authorized record substantiating the actual events of the crash.
Even with official police documentation, it can still sometimes be difficult to prove your case. Law enforcement may have shown up long after the crash occurred or they may not be able to determine fault. In this case, it’s never a bad idea to find a third-party witness who can testify on your behalf. Just after your accident, keep an eye out for bystanders, onlookers, or anyone else who may have seen the full events of the crash as it occurred in real-time.
Seek Immediate Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
In the aftermath of a car accident, you may feel a little shaken up. Even if you don’t think you suffered any serious injuries, it’s important to go to the hospital and seek medical treatment. A doctor will be able to determine if you have any delayed symptoms and will authoritatively document your visit.
Similar to the justification for always calling the police after a car accident, you’ll want to have an official record of seeking medical treatment to prove that you did sustain an injury. Avoiding the hospital will look to an insurance company like your injuries were minimal or non-existent.
Always Document Everything After a Car Accident
Personal injury claims can take a long time to resolve. Because your memory tends to fade, it’s important to physically record everything along the way that may be important when it’s time to seek compensation. For instance, in the moments after your car crash, take notes and snap photos of the scene. By tracking your side of the story just after it occurred, you won’t have to rely on your memory.
Likewise, photos of the scene will be important in terms of physical evidence that will help prove your case. Moreover, always document your expenses to ensure that the full value of your injuries will be considered and keep receipts as physical proof. Remember, it’s always better to over-document than under-document. An experienced personal injury law firm will be able to help you sort out what is useful in your case.
Consult with a Trusted Florida Car Accident Attorney
It can be stressful to deal with a negligent driver or a stringy car insurance company. If you’ve been in a car accident and fear that you’ve made a mistake that will devalue your car accident claim, contact Baker Legal Team.
As a Board-Certified personal injury lawyer with experience handling complex claims and tricky insurance companies, Robert B. Baker has represented South Florida residents for more than 30 years. Robert has dealt with personal injury car accident claims and knows the ins and outs of Florida law. Let Attorney Robert help fight for the compensation you deserve. Give Baker Legal Team a call at (561) 320-0000 or complete a contact form today!