Key Takeaways: Mistakes After Car Accidents
- Driving Away from the Accident Scene
- Accepting Cash
- Not Gathering Witness Information
- Speaking About the Accident to the Wrong People
- Not Calling Emergency Services
- Not Contacting Insurance Company
- Not Seeking Medical Treatment
- Not Hiring an Attorney For Assistance
- Being Vocal and Active on Social Media and in Public About Your Accident
A collision can have massive financial and medical ramifications. After a car accident, a person might have a lot of trouble paying their bills, getting to work, and managing their pain. At the same time, their insurance companies might not provide someone with the answers that they deserve, and they may be fearful of being at the wrong end of a lawsuit.
Following an accident, it’s important to play your cards right. The smallest misstep can derail your case, cause trouble with insurance companies, and lead to severe legal consequences. You don’t want to do something that will negatively impact your long-term financial health, so check out this guide on the most common mistakes to avoid after a car accident.
Table Of Contents
- Do Car Accidents Happen Often in Florida?
- Common Mistakes People Make After a Car Accident
- Driving Off
- Admitting Fault
- Accepting Cash
- Not Gathering Witnesses’ Contact Information
- Talking Freely About the Accident
- Forgetting To Call Emergency Services
- Not Properly Communicating With the Insurance Company
- Putting Off a Trip to the Hospital
- Not Suing
- Spending a Lot of Time in Public Before the Court Date
- Will I Receive Compensation After an Accident?
- How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
- Protect Your Legal Interests With a Car Accident Attorney
Do Car Accidents Happen Often in Florida?
In 2022, there were over 391,000 car crashes in Florida. Of these accidents, 3,248 were fatal, and over 3,491 people died in collisions. Around 161,000 collisions resulted in injury in 2022. Just over 23,070 of these injuries resulted from Florida’s 105,815 hit-and-run crashes in the same year.
Common Mistakes People Make After a Car Accident
In some cases, a person may panic and drive away after an accident. Alternatively, a person involved in a collision may believe that it’s so minor that they don’t need to pull over, call their insurer, or involve the police. In most cases, simply leaving the scene of an accident constitutes a hit-and-run, which is a crime.
A hit-and-run car accident is a misdemeanor and can stay on your criminal record forever. Even mild hit-and-run cases often result in several weeks of jail time and expensive fines. To make matters worse, although an accident may be someone else’s fault, you will likely lose any claim for compensation for damages in a civil court if you flee the scene of the collision.
Apologizing to the other driver or making any statement that may indicate regret may seem natural and polite. However, a simple sorry can severely undermine your case if you later get involved in a lawsuit with the driver. Civil courts primarily function to figure out who was at fault in a vehicle collision lawsuit.
Even the slightest apology will indicate to the court that you believed that your conduct played a part in the accident, and they will take that information into account when determining which driver was at fault. You might think that you can simply lie about your apology in court, but the legal system doesn’t work like that. While you can refuse to answer questions that could incriminate you or undermine a civil case, lying on the stand is perjury and has severe legal penalties.
Many times, the driver who knows they’re at fault will try to offer the other driver a cash payment right after the collision in order to avoid going to court. This may seem generous immediately after the accident, but accepting a cash payment can cause problems for you if you decide to sue. The court will likely see a cash payment as proof that you and the other party settled your dispute out of court.
In turn, they’ll be less willing to devote the court’s limited resources to delving any deeper into your case. Even if the other driver’s offer seems adequate at the time, you won’t have a clear estimate of your damages until you speak to your insurer and see a doctor, so you may miss out on a lot of value by taking a cash payment right after the accident.
Not Gathering Witnesses’ Contact Information
Witnesses’ testimonies will play a vital role in your case, but you won’t have much luck soliciting testimonies if you can’t find people who witnessed the crime. For this reason, it’s extremely important to gather witnesses’ contact information immediately after a collision. They can submit written testimonies or appear in court, and their recollection of the events leading up to your crash could mean the difference between winning and losing your lawsuit.
Talking Freely About the Accident
After any major event, people usually talk about their experiences and struggles related to the event with their friends, co-workers, and family members. This is ill-advised after a collision. The other driver’s legal team may twist anything you say to the people in your lives in a way that makes you look bad and weakens your legal standing.
You want a large settlement, and you don’t want the court to find you liable for damages, so you should stay quiet about the case until any court actions have concluded.
Forgetting To Call Emergency Services
Usually, you have to call 911 after an accident and stay at the scene until emergency personnel assess the situation. Calling emergency services will help you avoid a hit-and-run charge. On top of that, it will allow the police to file a report, which you can use as evidence and need to receive an insurance payout. When you speak to the police, you must keep your answers as short and factual as possible. They will record anything that you do or say in their report, and any messy wording or excessive divulgence of information can affect your prospects in a civil case.
Not Properly Communicating With the Insurance Company
If you’re feeling okay immediately following your accident, then you should call your insurer. They’ll let you know what information you need for them to process your claim, and this information is usually easily accessible at the site of the accident. They should ask you for the other driver’s license plate number, name, insurance number, and other important details.
Failure to quickly contact your insurance company may result in a denied claim. While you may have grounds to sue for denied benefits, a lawsuit is a long process, so you should take reasonable steps to secure your benefits without having to go through civil courts.
Putting Off a Trip to the Hospital
You might feel fine after your accident, or you might think that a good night’s sleep and some ibuprofen will fix you up without any problems. You may be right, but you might be seriously wrong due to delayed injuries after a car accident. Collisions often result in head trauma, which isn’t always easy to detect. An accident can also result in subtle internal bleeding, fractures, and other problems that you may not notice for hours or days.
When you see a doctor as soon as possible, you can detect any medical issues before they spiral out of control. You’ll also be able to assess and record any injuries from the car accident so that you can sue for damages to cover your medical costs later. Waiting to see a doctor may make it harder for them to attribute any injuries to your accident, meaning that you may not be able to recover damages for medical problems resulting from the collision.
If you believe that the other driver’s negligence led to the accident, then you need to sue. You may end up needing physical rehab, time off from work, and extensive vehicle repairs after an accident, and these things are very costly. Suing someone may seem like an ugly prospect, but you can’t put your financial wellbeing and long-term health on the line to protect someone else. Their insurance company will likely cover any damages that they have to pay anyway, so you shouldn’t feel like you’re ruining the other driver’s life.
Spending a Lot of Time in Public Before the Court Date
Soon after your collision, the other driver’s legal team will try to make a case against you. This may involve following you in public to see if you engage in behaviors that would call your character into question. They may also take pictures of you performing various physical activities to show the court that you’re not as injured as you claim to be. You don’t want to lose out on tens of thousands of dollars in damages, so you should stay inside as much as possible until your court date so that the other side’s legal team can’t create an unflattering narrative about you.
Will I Receive Compensation After an Accident?
The court must assess damages and determine who is liable before awarding any compensation. The liable party will be the one whom the court considers to have been more negligent in the circumstances surrounding the accident. Once the court determines that the other party was negligent, they will assess the extent of your economic and non-economic damages. The court may award punitive damages if the other driver acted with gross negligence or used drugs or alcohol prior to the accident.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
Filing Court Paperwork and Adhering to Deadlines
Figuring out which party to sue, what court to file a lawsuit with, and how to fill out all of the relevant forms can be very confusing for someone who has never done it before. On top of that, courts have a ton of deadlines, which aren’t always clear. Car accident attorneys understand how their local court works, and they’ll help you properly file all relevant paperwork on time so that you can proceed with your lawsuit without any problems.
Crafting an Effective Legal Strategy
The other driver is going to have skilled lawyers on their side, and you simply can’t compete with them on your own. To make a good case for yourself, you need someone who has a deep understanding of car accident law. The right car accident attorney has worked on plenty of cases, and they’ll craft a strategy that makes the most out of the facts and appeals to the judge or jury with references to legal precedent.
Answering Your Questions in Detail
The legal process can be very intimidating. It’s all very complicated, so it’s easy to feel lost at any point in your lawsuit. A reputable lawyer will gladly answer any of your questions in a way that you can understand so that you don’t have to worry or make uninformed decisions as you go through the legal process.
Protect Your Legal Interests With a Car Accident Attorney
The right attorney can significantly affect your financial prospects after an accident. Without a skilled car accident attorney on your side, you may not receive the compensation that you deserve for everything that has happened to you. You can’t afford to lose a lawsuit, so you need to reach out to Shiner Law Group today to start putting together an effective legal strategy.