Common Mistakes to Avoid
After a Car Accident
You’re out and about on a shopping spree heading to the local mall when another vehicle slams into the passenger side of your car. You feel a jolt to the back but feel no pain, so you get out, exchange information with the other driver, and go on your merry way. You figure you can just report everything to your insurance company and nothing more to it.
But not so fast. After reporting the accident to your insurer, suddenly your back and neck are suffering excruciating pain. Can you go back and amend your claim?
Maybe, probably, but you may face some skepticism. The problem began when you shrugged off the accident as another mere fender-bender and didn’t follow established procedures for handling accidents at the scene.
Of course, not all drivers are so nonchalant when it comes to auto accidents, but many drivers, if not most, fail to follow vital steps in documenting and then reporting a vehicular incident. Over the years as an auto accident attorney, I’ve observed common mistakes that most drivers make when involved in a collision. The list of what you must do is detailed below.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident in or around Altamonte Springs, Florida, contact me at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A., for the support you need. I will help you recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries and personal losses you suffered.
In addition to Altamonte Springs, I proudly serve clients throughout Central Florida, including Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Polk County, and Lake County, Florida.
Avoid These Mistakes
What you do – and don’t do – at the scene of the accident can go a long way in determining the outcome of your insurance claim or your personal injury lawsuit. Here are some mistakes to avoid:
NOT CALLING THE POLICE: Any accident with $500 in damages (just about everyone) or one that results in injury must be reported to the police. When the police come, they will investigate. Their report can help you establish who was at fault when it comes time for an insurance claim or lawsuit.
THINKING YOU’RE NOT INJURED: An adrenaline rush can mask any pain you feel from accident injuries. You may not feel anything for hours or days later. That’s why it’s essential to seek medical evaluation immediately after the accident. If there are known injuries at the scene – yours or your passengers’ – call 911.
NOT GATHERING EVIDENCE AND TAKING PICTURES: You should, of course, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, but in addition, you should document everything that happened. If you can, record your account of the accident on your cell phone, or jot down the details when you get home. If there are witnesses, see if you can get their statements and contact information. Use your cell phone to take videos or photographs at the scene, showing the condition of vehicles and people involved, as well as any roadside signs that were ignored.
ADMITTING GUILT: You may feel the urge to apologize for your part in the accident, but don’t. If you admit even partial guilt to the other driver, that can come back to haunt you later.
PERSONALLY DEALING WITH THE CLAIM ADJUSTER: Once you report your claim to your insurance company, a person with the title of claim adjuster will be on the phone with you post haste. They will want to record your conversation so they can use it against you later. Don’t agree to do so. In fact, the best bet is to hire a personal injury/auto accident attorney to deal with the claim adjuster from the beginning.
ACCEPTING THE FIRST SETTLEMENT: Likewise, if you deal with the claim adjuster, they’re going to try to get you to say something they can use to pin the fault on you, at least partially. Then, they’ll offer you a lowball settlement. Never accept the first offer. Better yet, have your attorney handle all the negotiations.
NOT HIRING A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY: As detailed above, the insurance company – yours or the other drivers – will do everything in its power to reduce or deny your claim. They have a nice arsenal of tactics and tricks they can use on the uninitiated, and before you know it, they have what they need to lowball your settlement. Get a personal injury attorney involved from the beginning.
Legal Guidance You Can Trust
When involved in an auto accident, make sure to avoid the mistakes above, which are all too common when people are involved in roadway incidents. Get me involved as soon as you can. I have 25 years of experience handling personal injury claims and lawsuits, and I will meet with you to discuss your situation and weigh your options. The initial consultation is always free. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident anywhere in Central Florida, reach out immediately and contact me at the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius, P.A. to get compassionate legal direction.