Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident in Florida
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. Even minor fender benders can leave you feeling shaken up. Major collisions often result in injuries and vehicle damage that lead to expensive medical bills, lost wages, and car repairs.
During this difficult time, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that could negatively impact your ability to recover compensation. As experienced South Florida car accident lawyers, we’ve seen these 7 mistakes happen far too often after crashes:
1. Failing to Call the Police
After an accident, your first instinct may be to quickly exchange insurance information and be on your way. But it’s essential to call the police so there is an official report of the crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, police reports provide independent and objective information that can help determine fault and liability. A police report supports your version of what happened.
2. Neglecting to Gather Information
When speaking with the other driver, be sure to collect their name, phone number, address, license plate, insurance information and driver’s license number. Also take pictures of the accident scene, damage to both vehicles, and injuries. Having this documentation will help when filing your claim.
3. Not Sticking to the Facts
In the heat of the moment, it’s natural to want to apologize or place blame about what happened. Don’t speculate about your car accident, just stick to the facts.
4. Failing to Get Medical Treatment
Some accident-related injuries like whiplash or concussions have delayed onset. Not seeking prompt medical care could make it hard to connect injuries to the crash down the road. Getting checked out quickly also documents your injuries, which will strengthen your car accident claim.
5. Not Reporting Your Accident
You only have a certain window of time to report your accident to insurance companies. In Florida, most auto policies require you to report within 24 hours. Not notifying your insurer promptly could void protections, so call them as soon as possible.
6. Settling With the Insurance Company Too Soon
You may receive a quick settlement offer from the at-fault driver’s insurer. But don’t accept it right away. Talk to a car accident attorney first to ensure the offer adequately covers your medical bills, lost income, property damage and other expenses.
7. Waiting Too Long to Get an Attorney
Handling your claim alone puts you at a disadvantage against experienced insurance company adjusters. Connect with a personal injury lawyer immediately after your crash. Having legal representation from the start will ensure your rights are protected each step of the way.
Why You Need a South Florida Car Accident Lawyer
Car accident claims are document and detail-intensive. An attorney familiar with Florida injury law will:
Thoroughly investigate your crash to build the strongest case
Deal with insurance adjusters so you can focus on recovery
Determine all available compensation for medical bills, lost wages, etc.
Assess the value of your injury claim and fight for maximum damages
Handle your lawsuit efficiently if a fair settlement can’t be reached
With an accomplished car accident lawyer in your corner, you can be confident you’ll get the maximum compensation the law provides. Don’t leave money on the table by trying to handle this alone.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Florida
Handling the aftermath of a car accident can be confusing. Here are answers to some common questions we receive:
1. What are the most common causes of car accidents in Florida?
Distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving, reckless driving, running red lights, changing lanes improperly, and driver fatigue. Florida roads see heavy congestion and tourism, increasing accident risks.
2. How long do I have to file an injury claim after a car accident in Florida?
Under Florida Statute 95.11, you normally have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit after a car accident. There may be exceptions, so contact an attorney.
3. Should I give a recorded statement to the insurance company after a car crash?
No. Anything you say can be used against you later. Politely decline to provide a recorded statement until you have legal counsel.
4. What damages can I recover after a Florida car accident?
Economic damages like medical bills, lost income, and property damage. Also non-economic damages for pain/suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. An attorney can pursue full compensation.
5. Who pays for my car accident injuries if I’m partly at fault?
Florida uses pure comparative negligence. You can recover damages reduced by your percentage of fault. So if you’re 20% responsible, your damages award is reduced by 20%.
Don’t Risk Your Case by Making These Mistakes
Being in a car accident is an enormous burden. Don’t go it alone – protect your rights by contacting our experienced South Florida car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We’ll fight to get you the maximum compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost income, and other accident-related costs.
If you’re suffered from a car accident, you don’t have to navigate the process alone. Our team has years of experience helping clients win cases throughout South Florida. For your free consultation, call Cernitz Law today at 305-370-3255.