Being involved in any type of auto accident can make for a chaotic and frightening experience, especially if you or someone you love has been injured. While it can be difficult to remember all the steps you need to take, it bears reminding that what you do and say can have an impact on any personal injury case you choose to pursue against the at-fault party. As such, avoiding certain mistakes can help eliminate or mitigate problems that can complicate the process of recovering full compensation for your damages.
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, our West Palm Beach car accident lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of auto accidents across Florida. Because we know the importance of taking the right steps after any type of auto wreck, we want to provide some important information below about avoiding common mistakes:
- Not Calling Police – Contact with law enforcement may not be a welcomed experience for some, but it can be an important step after a car accident. By calling the police, a law enforcement officer can arrive on scene to ensure the safety of all involved, and gather information from drivers and witnesses about what happened and what potentially led to the crash. This information will become part of a formal police report, which can serve as a valuable piece of evidence in your personal injury case.
- Forgetting to Gather Relevant Information – Whether you call the police or not, you should still take steps to gather as much information as you can, if you are able to do so. This includes the name, contact information, driver’s license, and insurance information of any involved drivers, as well as the contact information of any witnesses who may have seen what happened. You can also take photographs of vehicles involved in the crash, their positioning on the roadway, surrounding accident scene (including any traffic signals or signs), license plates, and visible injuries. This information can help your attorney piece together what happened.
3. Discussing Fault or Apologizing – Discussions of who was at fault for causing a wreck, as well as any apologies you might be naturally inclined to make, should be avoided. Not only do you not have all the facts about what happened (especially regarding the other driver’s conduct), you do not want to risk your statements being taken out of context or misinterpreted. Anything that resembles an admission of fault – even something as simple as saying “sorry” – can be used against you.
- Trusting the Insurance Company – After an accident, the other driver’s insurance company is not on your side. Because they are corporations motivated by profits, you need to be aware that they want to pay you as little as possible. This may involve having you make a recorded statement (which you do not have to make, especially without first talking to a lawyer) to use your words against you, or offering you a lowball settlement in hopes you will accept less than you deserve. To put it simply, don’t trust the insurance company. Instead, work with attorneys who can act as your advocates and handle communications and negotiations with insurers on your behalf.
5.Not Seeking Timely Medical Attention – Your health and well-being should always be a top priority after an accident. Whether you were transported to a local hospital, treated at the crash scene and released, or did not have medical attention immediately following a crash, you will want to make an appointment or follow up with a doctor. This can ensure your injuries are accurately diagnosed (even injuries you weren’t aware of) and that you receive the medical treatment you need. When you wait to go to the doctor or try to tough it out, you risk suffering more serious problems or complications later on. Insurance companies will also be quick to use any gaps in medical attention to argue that you were not really injured in a wreck, even though you were in pain all along. You can visit our blog to learn what you should discuss with your doctor after an accident.
6.Not Listening to Your Doctor – When you do seek medical attention, it is important to listen to your doctor and follow their advice. Not only is listening to your doctor important to your health, recovery, and outcome, it is also important to avoid gaps in treatment. Just as insurance companies capitalize on delays in seeking an initial doctor’s appointment, they will also likely highlight your avoidance of treatment as a sign that you were not injured, or that you recovered from your initial injuries, even when that is not the case.
Remembering all the actions to take can be difficult in the aftermath of a wreck, or impossible if your injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention. No matter what happens following an accident, you can work with our firm’s experienced personal injury lawyers to ensure you take the right steps and have advocates on your side who can handle communication with insurers, conduct investigations, preserve evidence, and build a strong and effective case in pursuit of the compensation you deserve.Because time is an important element in auto accident cases, we encourage all victims and their families to reach out for the help they need as soon as possible. Call (561) 922-0258 to speak personally with a member of our team during a FREE and confidential case evaluation.