The Top Mistakes that Can Jeopardize Your Florida Auto Accident Case
Car accidents occur on a daily basis in South Florida, some being more serious than others. Miami is a fast-paced city with intense traffic and anxious drivers. While it is always a good idea to drive defensively, even the safest of drivers can be involved in an auto accident through no fault of their own. As soon as someone is involved in a car accident, it is extremely important that the driver and passengers involved take a number of important steps to protect their rights. The first few minutes following a Florida car crash can make the difference between winning or losing your case, even if the accident is not your fault.
Here are some of the top mistakes that can jeopardize your Florida auto accident case:
Not contacting the police.
The people involved in the car accident may not want to have the accident on their records, but calling the police should always been done, no matter how small the accident may have been. In Florida, it is the law. You must immediately report the crash to local law enforcement if someone is injured or there appears to be at least $500 in damage. Even if the other driver tries his or her best to talk you out of calling the police, it is important that they be called. There are many misconceptions about how much damage must be done for the police to be involved, but even a basic police report is required to make a claim for insurance. More importantly, it will help corroborate your case if the police officer gives his or her input on what happened in the accident should a lawsuit result. Injuries do not always manifest right away. Emotions are high following an auto accident, and people’s bodies are in fight or flight mode. Even if it appears that everything is okay, always get the police report in the event that a later injury manifests. When it comes to receiving compensation in your auto accident case, the details matter.
Not exchanging information with the other driver and witnesses at the accident scene.
It may not be the first thing that runs through most people’s minds after being involved in a car accident, but exchanging information with the other driver should be the first thing done after ensuring that everyone involved in the crash is safe. Drivers need to obtain the following information:
- Full name of the other driver;
- The other driver’s license number;
- The other driver’s telephone number and physical address;
- The other driver’s insurance information;
- The other car’s make and model, as well as license plate number.
- Names and contact information of witnesses who may have seen what occurred.
Forgetting to take photos at the accident scene.
We have all heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” This is especially important in your auto accident case. Photographing important evidence immediately after the accident can greatly help when filing your auto accident claim. These photos should include: injuries you sustained, damage to the vehicles, the positioning of the vehicles following the crash, debris on the road, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, street signs showing exactly where the accident occurred, etc.
Not being seen by a doctor after the accident.
The parties involved may not believe that they are truly injured, especially if the injuries are not physically obvious. However, if someone has been in a car accident, it is always recommended that they see a doctor to be checked for any injuries. In fact, many insurance companies will use the fact that a driver did not see a doctor immediately afterwards as evidence that the person was not really hurt. The insurance company also may try to use the fact that a doctor was not seen as a way to argue that the injury that is complained of later was actually caused by a different, unrelated accident. Florida drivers have only 14 days to receive initial medical treatment to receive insurance benefits following a car accident.
Talking too much.
After a car accident, emotions run high, and the parties involved are not always thinking clearly. Think of one of the first things that could be said after an accident occurs. Many people will rush to say, “I am sorry” or “It is my fault,” when it is not actually that person’s fault. However, making that statement could very well be used as an indication of fault. Speak with an attorney before discussing the details of the accident with your insurance company – or worse, the other driver’s insurance company.
Not hiring an attorney.
Following an accident, an insurance adjustor will want to meet with the individual who is hurt. Many times, they will try and come across as an advocate on your behalf, but this could not be further from the truth. Always be aware that the insurance company (even your own insurance company) is looking out for its bottom line first and foremost. Insurance companies are trained to handle accident victims who are unrepresented. Oftentimes, they will try and get you to settle for less than you are entitled to, in the hopes that you will be intimidated and desperate for a quick settlement. Never accept an initial settlement offer from your insurance company that does not fairly compensate you for your injuries and future losses.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MIAMI AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Florida it is very important to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney. Spencer Aronfeld is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer, and he and the lawyers at Aronfeld Trial Lawyers understand Florida’s complex personal injury laws and since 1991 we have fought hard to protect the legal rights of the injured and their families- and hold auto insurers like State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, GEICO and others accountable for the pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages and other damages suffered by our clients.
Contact us today and speak with an experienced Miami auto accident attorney toll free 1-866-597-4529, local 305-441-0440, or by email. We offer a free initial consultation at your home, office, hotel or hospital. Call us today, we are ready to help.