Car accidents are already frightening, but they can become even more overwhelming if you make mistakes at the scene of the crash or in the days following the collisions. Sometimes, the mistakes injured people make come back to haunt them in the form of rejected claims or small benefits.
If you’ve been involved in a traffic crash anywhere in South Florida, you’ll want to avoid these five common errors:
1) Speaking automatically.
All of us respond automatically to certain questions, but after a car accident these types of automatic responses can have big consequences. Let’s say you’re in an intersection accident in Hollywood, and you jump out of the car and say “I’m sorry.” The other driver berates you for something you did wrong. When the insurance company looks into the crash, they may conclude that you were at fault in the accident – even if you weren’t.
Another similar scenario happens when the other driver, police emergency responders, or insurance agents ask “Are you okay? “ or “Are you injured?” You may assume that you’re okay or you may want to offer assurance automatically, but the reality is that you don’t know until you get a proper medical evaluation.
If you have been in an accident, your best option is to say little and to carefully consider your words before making any statement. Stick to factual statements and avoid apologies or automatic responses.
2) Not keeping excellent records and gathering information.
If you are at all able to, take photos immediately after the accident. Get contact information for any witnesses, exchange information with the driver, and write down any details you can. If you’re taken to the hospital and can’t do that, at least jot down all that you remember about what happened and what the weather was like. Return to the scene when you can to take more photos. At home, keep every document and every piece of paper connected with your accident and injuries; you never know when this information will be useful.
After an accident, contact the police, see a medical professional, contact your insurance company, and get legal advice as soon as possible. Delays could cause you further injuries and damage your legal claim.
Seek medical attention first for a medical evaluation. Even if you have no symptoms, getting checked for head injuries and other injuries is a good idea. Contact the police, even in a minor crash, to get a copy of the police report and report the collision to your insurance company. Delays can mean the insurance company may claim you weren’t very injured. Finally, get legal advice as soon as possible so you understand what you need to do to protect your rights.
4) Signing any papers.
Your insurance company or other parties may want you to sign a waiver. This sort of form can later prevent you from filing a legal claim. Never sign any documentation after your crash until a legal professional looks the paperwork over for you.
5) Trying to do it all yourself.
Yes, your insurance company may try to convince you that you can handle the insurance claim yourself. No, this is not a good idea. The reality is that the insurance carrier is looking out for themselves and their shareholders. You need to get legal advice to get a second opinion about the value of your case and the options you have.
If you would like to speak to an attorney in South Florida because you have suffered an injury, contact Flaxman Law Group. Our phone lines are always staffed, so you can always get through to a live person when you call. We respond quickly and take your situation seriously. We’d be happy to offer a free consultation so that you can get advice about your potential case.