In the moments right after an accident, you may be overwhelmed, upset, and even a little dazed.
But what you do, and don’t do at that time could be critical to building a personal injury claim later. After years of representing accident victims, we know what common mistakes can hurt an injury case, and how to avoid them.
Here are ten major mistakes to look out for:
1. Not Calling The Police
Police called to the scene of an accident typically work to find out how and why the incident occurred. They often create a record of facts by speaking with drivers and witnesses, issuing tickets, and writing an accident report.
This kind of evidence could be essential to an injury case. Regardless of what other drivers say, it might be in your best interest to call the police.
2. Saying ‘Sorry’ Or ‘It’s My Fault’
Apologizing after an accident may seem like the right thing to do, but it could work against you. Comments that you make about the accident at the scene could be used later as evidence–so be cautious about your words.
3. Not Gathering Evidence
Anyone needing medical attention after an accident should be a priority. After that, try to document on-site details of the accident, using your smartphone or camera.
Some helpful evidence that you can collect yourself includes:
- the visual damage
- the scene and time of day
- other drivers’ insurance and license information
- witness information
- visible injuries
4. Waiting Too Long For Medical Care
In Florida, victims who are injured in a car accident have a 14-day window to seek medical attention to secure PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage. Waiting until after the 14 days to see the doctor could cause your insurance claim to be denied.
5. Being Naive About Insurance Providers
No matter how friendly the other drivers’ insurance company is, their interests likely do not include helping you with your claim. To avoid issues, it may be best to leave it to your lawyer to speak with them.
6. Waiting Too Long To File A Claim
Florida has a Statute of Limitations, which puts a time limit on your right to file suit for personal injury. Once that limit has expired, you can no longer file a claim for that accident.
Generally speaking, it’s best to get your accident case moving as soon as possible to stay ahead of this deadline. Every case is different, so if you have questions about hiring a lawyer, an experienced personal injury attorney should be able to help.
7. Leaving The Scene Of An Accident
8. Posting Or Sharing About An Accident
In today’s world, it may be tempting to post details or pictures of an accident or your injuries. But the information that you post or share on the internet could be considered later in an investigation. Try to resist posting anything accident-related until you’ve spoken with a lawyer.
9. Assuming A Lawyer Cannot Help
Working alone to get compensated for accident-related injuries can be overwhelming for anyone. A personal injury lawyer could help you through the legal process, even for the smallest of accidents.
10. Not Asking Questions
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help in many ways, including addressing your questions in the time after an auto accident. As a client, don’t be afraid to mention if there is something you are confused about or would like to understand better.
Finding a lawyer that you trust in the time after an accident could greatly affect the outcome of your case. If you are the victim of a traffic accident and not sure about what to do next, you are not alone. Contact our office (813.755.9500) and get connected with our legal team.