If you have been involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. After ensuring that your injuries have been attended to, your next step should be to file a car accident claim so you can recover your medical expenses and receive compensation for your vehicle damage, lost wages, and non-economic losses.
However, the laws of damage recovery do not always protect victims completely; some of the things you do (or fail to do) following the accident can affect your claim. Here are a few of them:
- Filing the claim yourself
Legal representation is often underrated, as many people don’t know what they are up against. Insurance adjusters are not your friends; they are the defendant’s confederates and will do anything to reduce the amount of money their employer pays out in the settlement. Facing them with a lawyer reduces the risk of being lulled into accepting less than you deserve or, worse, admitting fault. Your Florida car accident lawyer should be someone who has handled a similar case to yours before and shows they care for your interests from the word go.
- Accepting the first settlement offer
If the at-fault party’s insurance company approaches you before you do them, it means two things; they admit fault, and they want to get it over with as soon as possible. If they give you time, you might learn the true value of your case and set them back further. This isn’t always the case, but you can’t afford to take chances.
- Failing to seek treatment
As stated above, seeking medical attention should be at the top of your priorities. Your lawyer will use those medical records to estimate your claim’s value and convince the insurance adjusters that you were injured. Taking too long can hurt your case as the liable party may argue that your injuries weren’t as bad as you claim if you didn’t see the need to seek medical attention immediately.
- Admitting fault
During the chaos and confusion immediately after the accident, you may feel the need to apologize for what happened, especially if there are victims more hurt than you are. However, this can be seen as admitting fault and may be used against you during negotiations and in court. There is nothing wrong with offering a helping hand to fellow victims; just don’t do it at the expense of your case.
- Leaving the scene of the accident
Leaving the scene of an accident before performing the statutory duties may portray you as a perpetrator of a hit-and-run even if you are not liable for the accident. This may invite criminal charges and deny you the chance to seek compensation. No matter the magnitude of the accident or the urgency of your journey, never leave the scene of an accident until police officers arrive.
These are some of the mistakes you should steer clear of if you want your case to retain its merits. Make sure to involve legal counsel if you are planning a move that you suspect may have an impact on your claim.