Subsequent to a motor vehicle accident, many people are scared, nervous, angry and agitated. As a result, there are typical errors made in the aftermath of an auto accident. We outline these errors below.
1. Failure to immediately call the police
The police will investigate the accident and issue a report of some sort. If the accident is not your fault, the police will usually document this. Such a report will help you to recover for your damages, whether with an insurance company or by a lawsuit. Not surprisingly, when someone tries to avoid the police and promises to admit the truth to his or her insurance company that person may not follow through as promised.
2. Failure to photograph the scene
If you do not need immediate medical help (such as calling an ambulance to the scene) and are able to do so, taking photographs of the scene of the accident – including any applicable signs or traffic lights – can only help your cause later.
3. Not seeking immediate medical help
Simply put, a delay in seeking treatment can be used as proof that injuries are less serious. If you are injured, do not “tough it out.” Seek medical attention right away.
4. Not reporting ALL ailments to physicians immediately
Often times, injuries from an accident take days or even weeks to manifest themselves. Sometimes a more serious injury is less painful than a short term injury and not reported to doctors because an accident victim believes it is just soreness or is not serious. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will argue that a victim is faking injuries or trying to milk the system when the report of an injury is delayed.
5. Being treated by a physician with little experience handling auto accident victims
Often times, a primary care physician does not wish to treat car accident victims, as this is not their area of expertise. In addition, navigating the system to receive payment for this treatment can be difficult and involve a different set of rules and forms than these offices are used to handling.
6. Using your health insurance to cover the medical treatment rather than your automobile policy
Your auto insurance policy contains personal injury protection (PIP) benefits that are specifically meant to cover injuries suffered in a car accident. Use this coverage, as you pay for it.
7. Failing to review police reports
Police officers are not perfect and may make errors in the report that might harm your claim. It is important to review any police reports right away when the officer still remembers the incident so any such errors may be corrected.
8. Failing to take multiple photos of the damage to cars and the injured parties
In short, take many pictures. Do not limit these to your own car but include the other car and anything else pertinent to the accident. As the age-old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
9. Don’t Lose the photos
So you took the photos, that’s good. But you don’t need them for many months and your phone is harmed or you get a new phone and cannot find them. Obviously, even the best photos are no good to you if you cannot find them. Back up the photos in a way that is secure so this is not an issue should a need for them arise later on.
10. Do not give a statement to the insurance company of the other driver
It is human nature to hedge or, worse yet, to exaggerate or even bend the truth a bit to try to move the settlement of a claim along. If you do this, though, it can be used against you and harm your prospects of prevailing in a case or getting a fair settlement. That being said, a completely honest statement will not harm your cause.
11. Not understanding that insurance companies will fight hard to deny or minimize your claim
Insurance companies are businesses and every dollar they do not pay to you is a dollar of profit. The procedures and policies insurance companies have in place to adjudicate and settle claims are designed with this in mind. Without a lawyer and the threat of litigation, it is difficult to obtain a fair settlement.
12. Do not sign a release
You should speak to a lawyer before signing any document that waives your rights.
13. Make sure you purchase adequate insurance coverage
You should know how much insurance coverage you have and the type of coverage you are paying for. Make sure your collision coverage would allow you to replace your car should it be a total loss. You should also have adequate underinsured/uninsured coverage so if you are involved with an uninsured or underinsured motorist you will be eligible for a fair recovery. In Florida, roughly 24% of motorists are uninsured. Many other Florida drivers have only $10,000 of coverage for injuries. Your uninsured motorist insurance coverage will protect you if you are harmed in an accident caused by such an uninsured or underinsured driver.
14. Do not try to resolve your matter without a lawyer
Insurance company adjusters know they have a chance to save money by settling your case for a reduced amount when you are not represented by a lawyer. They will sometimes tell you that you are saving legal fees, but this is a hollow victory if the settlement is far below what it should be.
15. Failing to consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury law
Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, like at Lawlor, White & Murphey. It’s in your best interest to see what an experienced personal injury lawyer has to say about your accident and advocate for your legal rights so that you are compensated fairly.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Accident Case in Florida
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to an Uber accident, truck accident or motorcycle accident in Florida? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Lawlor, White & Murphey represent clients injured in motor vehicle accidents in Fort Lauderdale, Coconut Creek, Plantation and throughout Southern Florida. Call 855-347-5475 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2211 Davie Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33312.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.