Most people will be involved in some accident or fender bender in their lifetime. In Florida, the risks are even higher. According to data, Florida is the third state with the greatest number of fatal motor vehicle accidents and the second most dangerous state for drivers.
Data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) states that there were 341,289 car crashes in 2020, with a car crash defined as the operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage, complaint of bodily injury, or death to any person. If you live in the Tampa, St. Petersburg Clearwater area, you’re in one of the top ten areas for pedestrian fatalities.
Motor vehicle accidents are a reality, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family. The best thing you can do is be prepared and know what to do (and not to do) if you’re ever involved in an accident.
The car accident attorneys at the Fran Haasch Law Group are experts at investigating all the evidence that may prove you’ve been the victim of a negligent driver. In addition, they’re highly experienced at building a case to hold the responsible parties liable for the damage they’ve caused. Contact one of our car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
10 Things to Avoid Doing After a Car Accident
If you are in a car accident, staying calm and taking action is important. There are certain things that you should avoid doing, as they could make the situation worse.
1. Leaving the Accident Scene
Never leave the scene after an auto accident. In Florida, leaving the scene can lead to criminal charges, and you could be charged with a hit and run. You should stay at the scene, exchange information with the other drivers involved, and assist anyone who may be in danger.
2. Failing to Call the Police
Even if the car accident does not seem serious, it is important to call the police. The police will create an accident report which can be used as evidence in your case. In addition, calling the police may help ensure that the other driver does not leave the scene of the accident.
3. Underestimating Your Injuries
We cannot stress enough how important it is to see a medical professional after your accident. One of the most common mistakes we see car accident victims make is not seeking medical treatment after the accident. Most people assume they are in the clear if there are no immediate signs or symptoms of injuries.
However, it is always important to get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible after the accident. Many injuries do not present themselves until days or weeks after the accident. A complete medical evaluation can ensure that any injuries are properly diagnosed and treated.
Additionally, going to the hospital or seeing a physician ensures that there is evidence of your injuries. This will be important if you need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
4. Admitting Fault
Car accidents can be extremely stressful, leading to a hike in adrenaline and emotions. Sometimes it can be hard to gain your bearings, and in your stress, you may slip and say something that may implicate you in the accident.
In the aftermath of the accident, it is important to avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of fault. Even if you think you may have caused the accident, do not say so at the scene or to the insurance companies. Once you admit fault, it will be difficult to later prove that another driver was actually at fault.
5. Neglecting To Report The Accident To Your Own Insurance Company
After a car accident, you should always notify your insurance company as soon as possible. Many people assume that they do not need to report the accident if they were not at fault.
However, even if you were not at fault for the accident, it is important to contact your insurance company and let them know about it. You may jeopardize your coverage or risk having your claim denied by failing to do so.
6. Failing To Gather Evidence At The Scene
If you are able, it is important to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. This evidence can be extremely helpful if you need to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Some of the evidence that you should try to collect includes:
- The names and contact information of any witnesses
- Photographs or videos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, and your injuries
- A copy of the police report (if one was filed)
7. Speaking to the Insurance Company Without an Attorney
After a car accident, you will likely be contacted by the insurance company for the other driver. It is important to avoid speaking to the insurance company without first consulting with an attorney.
The insurance adjuster may try to get you to say something that could damage your case, or they may offer you a low settlement that does not cover all of your damages.
A car accident attorney will know how to deal with the insurance company and protect your rights. They can handle all communication with the insurance company so that you can focus on your recovery.
8. Trying To Handle Your Case Without an Attorney
Car accident cases can be extremely complex, particularly if serious injuries occur. If you try to handle your case without an attorney, you may miss important deadlines, fail to gather evidence, or make other mistakes that could damage your case.
An experienced car accident lawyer will know how to build a strong case and get you a fair settlement. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact an attorney as soon as possible.
9. Waiting Too Long to File a Claim
You may be barred from recovering compensation if you wait too long to file a personal injury lawsuit. Each state has a statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit. In Florida, the statute of limitations to file or settle a claim is four years from the date of the accident. If you wait longer than four years to file a claim or lawsuit, you will likely be barred from doing so.
You must file a personal injury protection claim within 14 days. Once that period is over, you will be ineligible for PIP if you did not receive medical treatment. To file your claim, you will need to gather your medical bills and proof of lost wages.
10. Talking About Your Case on Social Media
After a car accident, a blind spot that most people have is talking about their accident case on social media. After the accident, insurance companies will use an insurance adjuster to investigate your claim. They’ll look for what they can to deny or minimize your claim.
If you are a car accident victim, it is important to avoid discussing your case on social media. Anything you post on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, can be used against you by the insurance company.
If you are posting about your accident on social media, even if your privacy settings are set to private, the insurance company can and will use anything you post against you in your case.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Florida Today
After being in a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call a car accident lawyer. With their guidance, you will have a better understanding of your rights and remedies. Your lawyer will be able to help you figure out the best next step.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, We are experienced and capable lawyers who have successfully negotiated multi-million-dollar settlements and jury-awarded compensation in personal injury cases. We stand up to insurance companies, and we have the testimonials to back up our record of tenaciousness and dedication to getting justice for our clients, no matter how complicated the case. Learn more about it through a free case review from an experienced attorney at our law office.