When an accident happens suddenly and unexpectedly, the victim is often unprepared for what comes next. Most people don’t know what to do when they’re in a car accident. This can lead victims to make innocent mistakes after a car accident that hurt them in the long run.
Even though you’re the victim, common mistakes after a car accident can prevent you from getting a fair recovery. It’s essential to have an understanding of these errors to ensure your rights to recover compensation for your injuries are protected. Here are 10 common mistakes after a car accident in Sarasota, Florida.
1. Assuming No-Fault Laws Mean That You Can’t Bring a Case
Florida uses a no-fault system to resolve most car accident cases. However, in very serious cases with permanent, lifelong injuries or scarring, you may still be able to bring a case against the responsible party for full compensation.
Additionally, you may also need to bring a claim against your own insurance company if they refuse to pay you fairly for your claim. It’s important not to assume that Florida’s no-fault system means that you can’t recover. Florida laws exist to help accident victims recover fairly and efficiently for their losses.
2. Failing to Call the Police
The police are in the best position to thoroughly investigate the accident scene. They are there to look at the vehicles on the road. They’re able to talk to witnesses before witnesses change their stories or forget what they have seen and heard. When you’re in an accident, summoning the police to the scene is your first step in documenting how the accident occurred in your case.
3. Forgetting to Take Photos
Photos are often some of the most powerful pieces of evidence in a car accident case. They can show the jury the aftermath of an accident. They can allow an accident reconstructionist to examine the evidence and determine how the crash must have occurred.
Taking photos after an accident doesn’t have to be stressful or complicated. The camera feature on a typical smartphone is usually sufficient. Take pictures of the vehicles from all angles. Also be sure to take photos of damage and glass that you see on the road. If you have physical injuries, take pictures of your injuries. It’s best to take too many photos because you might not know until later what information you need the most.
4. Admitting Guilt
What you say to someone else is admissible in court even if you’re not in court when you say it. If you say that you’re sorry, the other side and the jury might take that to mean that you know you did something wrong. It’s important not to admit guilt to anyone. As soon as you have a car accident lawyer on your side, they can handle any conversations with the police or the insurance company on your behalf.
5. Skipping Medical Treatment
Medical treatment is the foundation of your claim. It’s important to know precisely what your injuries are to determine the best way to go about building and bringing your case. You may even have injuries that you’re not aware of, and it’s essential to identify them and begin a plan of treatment. You should go to the doctor as soon as you’re in a car accident.
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6. Not Reviewing a Copy of the Police Report
A police report often contains valuable clues about how to build your case. Although a police report is the investigating officer’s opinion, it can be a launching pad to gather more information about the case and build your own evidence.
The police report may contain names of witnesses that you’re unaware of. The officer may have asked questions of the other party and done other things in their investigation that may be extremely helpful. The investigating officer is also a witness. Reviewing their investigation can help you uncover clues that can help you build your case.
7. Waiting to Report the Matter to the Insurance Company
Insurance companies often impose strict timelines for processing claims. It’s important to notify them of the accident as soon as you can. If the insurance company accuses you of refusing to cooperate, they may try to justify denying to pay you fairly for your claim.
8. Counting Only Medical Bills as Damages
Medical bills are often the most apparent loss after a car accident, but you may be able to recover for many types of damages. You may have the right to compensation if you’re unable to work for a short period or indefinitely.
You may be able to claim compensation for pain and suffering as well as for the loss of the things that you were able to do before the accident. A car accident attorney can make sure that you explore all types of damages you may be able to claim in your case.
9. Saying Too Much to the Insurance Company
The insurance company makes money when they undervalue claims. The more information that you offer, the more likely they are to be able to twist your words and justify an unfair payment.
It’s important to work with the insurance company, but it’s also important to identify when they’re looking for reasons to avoid paying your claim. Your attorney can help you fulfill your obligations with the insurance company without giving them any grounds to skirt their responsibilities.
10. Settling Too Quickly
An insurance company may want to resolve the case quickly. However, the first offer is often a lowball. They just want to see if they’re going to get away with it. A careful evaluation of your claim with the watchful eye of an experienced lawyer for car accident claims can help you determine whether you should accept or reject a settlement offer.
How a Lawyer Can Help
At each stage in the case, your Sarasota car accident attorney can help you avoid the mistakes that can derail your case. They can help you take steps to build a strong case and move it forward.
If you have been in a car accident, it’s never too early or late to contact an experienced lawyer and have the confidence that you’re taking the correct steps towards a fair recovery.
Call Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys Today
The experts at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys have over three decades of experience handing Sarasota car accident cases. We have helped our clients receive the favorable settlements they need to begin recovery and get their lives back. Don’t make mistakes after an accident that can hurt your ability to recover, contact us today.