Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic experience, especially if you suffer injuries. Every 14 seconds, a vehicle accident results in an injured victim. While it’s not always possible to prevent an accident from occurring, there are some things you can do to make the aftermath progress more smoothly. If you’re ever involved in a car accident, do your best to avoid these common mistakes.
1. Failing to Contact the Police. In Florida, a car accident that involves property damage or injuries over $500 must be reported. However, regardless of the amount of damage, a car accident should always be reported at the time of the incident.
Failure to contact the police could possibly result in a lack of evidence, and if the other party doesn’t pay up, you could be left with damages that you have to cover completely on your own – even if the other driver caused the accident! Always call the police and file a report.
2. Not Getting Prompt Medical Care. After a car accident, your adrenaline is likely pumping and you may not notice any injuries right away. It’s important to remain calm and inspect your body for any injuries, and if you find any, seek medical care as soon as possible.
It’s important to note that Florida follows a no-fault system regarding most traffic accidents. You cannot hold the other driver liable unless the “serious injury” threshold is met. But you won’t know whether your injury is truly serious or not unless you get checked out by a medical professional. Moreover, you are required by law to seek out medical care within 14 days of the crash to file any kind of medical claim.
3. Accepting Accountability. When you’re involved in a collision, you do not want to openly admit fault. While saying the words “I’m sorry” may seem like the right thing to do, accepting accountability for the accident could be used against you later on if you attempt to collect for property damage or injuries suffered. Even if you think you were at fault, there is no way to know for sure until you take a closer look at the circumstances that surround the incident.
4. Failure to Get Personal Information. Without detailed information about the other driver, you may find difficulty making a claim after an accident. If possible, collect the other driver’s name, address, license plate number, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
It can also be helpful to get the name of the police officers on the scene, as well as their badge numbers. If you are not able to collect this information, have someone else on the scene do so.
5. Not Knowing the Law. Vehicle accident laws differ from state to state. This is particularly important to mention for our state because of the large number of tourists and people migrating from other places.
In Florida, your own insurance company has to pay for medical damages regardless of who was at fault. When you submit a car insurance claim to the insurance company, a claims adjuster will determine who is at fault in the accident, which can sometimes be difficult.
6. Failing to Obtain Legal Help. One of the most costly mistakes you can make after a crash is failing to obtain legal advice from an experienced Florida car accident attorney. We expect that insurance companies – especially our own – will be there for us when tragedy strikes, but far too often this is not the case. Just like other businesses, they have a bottom line to protect, and many will do this by working as hard as possible to avoid paying your claim – or by making your payout as small as possible.
A knowledgeable auto injury lawyer can fight for your rights and help you deal with insurers to minimize stress and speed up the process. And if you end up needing to file a claim against a negligent individual in court, their help will be invaluable.
About the Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 Avvo Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the last four consecutive years (2011-2014). Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.