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Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Car Accident Case - Jones Law Group

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Common Mistakes to Avoid in a Car Accident Case

Knowing the common mistakes to avoid in a car accident case can save you from accidentally damaging your car accident case, saving you time and money. 

Summary:

  • Mistakes to avoid in a car accident case can include not immediately reporting the accident, neglecting medical attention, admitting fault, and failing to collect evidence. 
  • These mistakes can lead to early damage of your car accident case, and it may be more difficult to receive full and fair compensation. 
  • With help from a qualified, experienced lawyer, you can prevent early damage to your case and ensure that the compensation you receive is fair. 

In 2023, there were 394,255 car crashes in Florida. That’s a lot of car accidents. While many of these were minor and caused no injuries, there were plenty of others (251,855 to be exact) that caused injuries. This is to say, car accidents are more common than you might think, and it’s likely that you’ll end up involved in one at some point in your life. 

In fact, insurance companies report that the average driver files an accident claim every 18 years or so, meaning that the typical driver may get into 3 to 4 accidents in their life. For that reason, it’s vital to know how to handle the aftermath of a car accident to keep your potential lawsuit free from damage. 

Not Immediately Reporting the Accident 

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s always in your best interest to contact the local police department as soon as possible. After checking to ensure that no one has been seriously injured, you should call your local non-emergency police line to report the accident. They’ll send out an investigating officer to file a police report and ensure that the accident doesn’t cause any further danger for those around you. 

Not only will filing a police report create vital evidence for your case, but it’s also a legal obligation. If anyone is injured or there’s an estimated $500 of damage to either vehicle, you are legally required to file a report. Because $500 worth of damage can be difficult to estimate, you should always file a report no matter what. 

There may be damage to your vehicle that you can’t see. You may also have sustained injuries that haven’t revealed themselves yet. No matter what, it’s always good to have the basic information of your accident, the when, where, and even how, documented as early as possible. 

Neglecting Medical Attention 

If you’re seriously injured, 911 should be called at the scene of the accident. The EMTs will evaluate you and determine whether or not you need to go directly to the hospital. If 911 isn’t called, you should still go immediately to the emergency room or hospital for an evaluation. Some injuries, like internal injuries or soft tissue injuries, don’t appear right away. The adrenaline you’re feeling could mask even serious, life-threatening issues. 

Initial care is of the utmost importance. If you don’t go immediately, insurance companies will argue that your injury must not have been that serious. They’ll use this as an excuse to downplay your injuries and ultimately settle your case for less. 

Following your medical plan and receiving ongoing care from your full care team is also vital. If you neglect your care, insurance companies may also use this as an excuse to settle for less. So, to keep your case from being damaged and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation, seek immediate medical attention and don’t neglect your care plan in the weeks or even months after the accident. 

Admitting Fault at the Scene (or Anywhere) 

No matter where you are, you shouldn’t speak about fault. Whether you’re talking to the other involved parties or your doctor after the accident, involve broaching the subject of fault. This includes apologizing to the other parties or implicating yourself in any way. 

When talking about the accident with doctors, friends, and family, still avoid the subject of fault and stick to the facts of the case. You never know who could testify against you. 

Forgetting to Document Any Evidence

Documenting evidence from the very beginning can help you greatly down the line. By collecting photo and video evidence from the scene of the accident, you can develop a file that showcases exactly what happened in the minutes before the collision. For example, a photo could show burnout marks behind the at-fault vehicle, signaling that they were speeding and came to an abrupt stop. 

However, while documenting this type of evidence can greatly help your case, it won’t exactly damage it if you forget or aren’t able to take pictures/videos. An experienced lawyer will be able to pull footage from local security cameras, collect pictures from witnesses, and develop a folder of extensive evidence either way. Though, this initial evidence can be helpful, and may even show something that was missed on other footage. 

Talking to Insurance Companies Before Speaking with a Lawyer

If there’s one thing that you take away from this blog post, it should be this. If you’re involved in a car accident (or a motor vehicle accident of any kind), you should always speak with a car accident attorney before talking to the insurance companies

Insurance companies will take advantage of you at any opportunity. They will try to get you to settle quickly by offering you cash in exchange for your signature. This will prevent you from receiving further compensation in the future. Save yourself the headache and speak to an attorney first. 

Accepting an Early Settlement Offer 

Insurance companies don’t like to negotiate. They want to settle quickly and for as little money as possible. This is why it’s so vital to work with an attorney. Attorneys are persistent and will continue to negotiate with insurance companies until they get an appropriate settlement offer. 

Contact Jones Law Group to Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney ASAP

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s time to speak with an experienced car accident attorney. Our team has years and years of experience and is ready to help you get the compensation that you deserve for your damages. To learn more about our team and how we can help you, contact us online or at (727) 571-1333.

FAQs About Mistakes to Avoid in a Car Accident Case

What should I do immediately following a car accident?

Immediately following a car accident, you should take the following steps:

  1. Contact 911 if anyone is seriously injured. 
  2. Call the local police line to begin filing a police report. 
  3. Exchange information with the other involved parties, and don’t apologize or admit fault. 
  4. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene. 
  5. Gather witness information if possible. 
  6. Seek immediate medical attention after leaving the scene. 
  7. Contact a lawyer before speaking with the insurance company. 

How soon should I contact a lawyer after a car accident?

You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after a car accident. The earlier you contact a lawyer, the easier the process will be for you. If possible, you can even contact them from the hospital or emergency room after leaving the scene. However, the most important thing to remember is that you speak with an attorney before speaking with the insurance companies. 

Can I still receive compensation if I am partially at fault?

Florida operates on a no-fault system, so even if you’re completely at fault for the accident, you can still recover your damages through your personal injury protection insurance coverage. 

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio