Picture this: after a Florida car accident where you were clearly not at fault, you’re waiting for the settlement money to roll in after your claim. You know the average settlement can be anywhere from $5,000-$60,000, and you need every last cent of it for your medical expenses.
All of a sudden, you get the news: no payout is coming. All that crucial cash has slipped from your hands. What happened?
Florida drivers don’t always realize that a single mistake can mean the difference between fair compensation and no compensation at all. Unfortunately, a few common errors can sabotage your auto injury claim and make it hard or even impossible for you to get the settlement you deserve.
If you’re currently dealing with a car accident claim, here are a few ways you might sabotage your case if you aren’t careful:
1. Saying the Wrong Thing at the Scene
This is an easy mistake to make, especially while emotions are running high at the scene of an accident.
In a state of shock or out of concern for the other driver, you may apologize for any perceived role in the accident, whether or not you were actually to blame. You may mention that you missed a small detail, were driving while stressed, or stopped too slowly. Common phrases include:
- I’m sorry
- I didn’t see you there
- I didn’t notice the sign
- I’m not sure if the light was red or green
- My bad
- I may have been going a little too fast
As any lawyer will tell you, these polite statements can be used against you and sabotage your auto injury claim. Even if it’s clear that you weren’t fully at fault, you may struggle to win any compensation if the other party can claim you played a role in the accident, no matter how small. Don’t say phrases like these at all, whether to the other driver or the police officer on the scene.
Another common mistake is talking about any injuries or the lack thereof. Even if you feel fine, shock and adrenaline can numb your sensation. Never claim that you’re unhurt: it may not be true, and it can make your case more difficult to prove down the line.
2. Wait Too Long to File
Depending on your insurance policy, your insurer will likely recommend filing a claim within 24 hours of the accident.
Under Florida law, however, you have four years from the day of a car accident to file a personal injury or property damage claim.
Waiting too long to make a claim or file a lawsuit means missing your chance at compensation.
This is true even if you wait a short time. Don’t forget: you’ll need crucial evidence like photos, medical records, witness statements, and pay stubs when filing your claim. The longer you delay your case, the more likely you are to have a hard time finding this evidence.
Hiring an auto accident lawyer right away gives you the best chance at compensation.
3. Ignore Medical Advice
The second you file an auto injury claim, you’ll want to head to a doctor for a full examination. Even if you think your injuries were minor, this documentation can become crucial to your case. Failing to seek immediate medical attention is always a mistake in itself.
After the exam, your doctor will have specific advice on handling your injuries. This often includes things like avoiding strenuous exercise, attending follow-up appointments, or seeking physical therapy.
Ignore this advice at your own peril! Not only can doing so put your health at risk, but it can also make it harder to get fair compensation. If your insurance provider can claim that you worsened your own injuries by ignoring medical advice, it may become difficult or impossible to disprove their claim.
4. Posting Online
While your personal injury case is pending, be careful about what you post on social media or anywhere online. The wrong post could give the other driver’s legal team all the ammunition they need.
Even innocuous posts can cause trouble and sabotage your auto injury claim. If you’ve been injured, for example, posts that reference having fun at a party or on vacation can be used against you, even if you were still injured and in pain during that event. Anything that can call the fact or severity of your injuries into doubt can become a problem.
Keep in mind that the same holds true for your friends and family members. Make sure no one is tagging you or mentioning you in their social media posts while your case is active.
5. Letting Your Insurer Record You
While you’re working with your insurance company, it’s likely that your agent will ask to record your version of events. They may claim that this helps document your side of the story.
There is never a good reason to allow them to record you. No matter how friendly the agent is, they are not on your side: their goal is to reduce how much their company has to pay you. This is why we recommend negotiating everything with them, including payouts for property damage alone.
If your insurance company insists on recording your statement, tell them that the statement will have to go through your lawyer. They will either need to communicate with you via your attorney or let you have your attorney on the line while you give your statement.
Avoid Florida Car Accident Mistakes With Us
During and after a Florida car accident, it can be hard to keep track of the moving parts of your claim. Emotions run high, you may be in pain or discomfort, and the stress of missed work or your injuries can take a serious toll on you. Despite this, it’s crucial to avoid common mistakes that could cost you thousands in compensation.
That’s where the experienced team at RHINO Lawyers comes in. We take the stress and guesswork out of your car accident claim, allowing you to get your life back in order and focus on your recovery.
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.