An auto accident is a stressful and often painful experience for everyone involved. Even the most minor accident brings with it a great deal of stress and inconvenience, and when accidents are more extreme, a lot of pain and feelings of fear and anger can lead to a very difficult situation for those in the accident. While it is understandable that it is sometimes difficult to use your best judgment in such a situation, there are several things to remember—and put into practice—if you should find yourself in a car accident.
First, do not talk to anyone other than the police about how the accident happened. Due to the stress and suddenness of any accident, it is difficult for anyone to really know what order events occurred in right away. You might also feel a certain amount of guilt—even if you aren’t responsible for the incident—and if you’re in pain, you will also be inclined to say things that may come up later when they will make problems for you in pursuing a claim. If you speak to the other party, you can set yourself up for greater difficulties; for example, they could argue that you agreed the accident was your fault, or that you said you would not be pursuing a claim. Particularly important in this is to not apologize or say anything that could be taken as an admission of fault. Even if you do wish the accident didn’t happen—a perfectly understandable wish—don’t mention it to the other driver.
Unless you are injured and unable to provide your information, do not leave the scene of the auto accident until all insurance, license, and registration information has been exchanged. In several states, including Florida, it is actually against the law outright to leave the scene of an accident without providing information—and it can upgrade any tickets or other penalties accordingly. Another important thing to remember is to seek medical attention if you feel even slightly injured. Because of the shock of the situation and the adrenaline in your system, you may not notice the extent of your injuries until much later; unfortunately, insurance companies can use this to their advantage in a case by arguing that your injuries were not that severe—or else you would have sought immediate medical attention.
On the topic of insurance companies, do not give a recorded or written statement to an insurance adjuster. Your statement may be used to minimize your injuries or to point out inconsistencies in other statements. While all insurance companies want to be seen as the “good guys,” it is part of their business model to do what they can to maintain their profits—and any claim that they can reject or fight is more profitable than one that they must pay. By the same token, do not try to settle your case on your own. There are some cases in which the extent of injuries or harm is not immediately apparent, and many post-injury issues, such as disc herniation or spine problems can take months to be diagnosed. If you settle early, you’re closing yourself out of the possibility of receiving compensation for the ongoing expense of long-term medical problems.
If you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a car accident, it is vitally important to seek the services of a personal injury attorney who can help you with your claim. If you follow the above precautions, your auto accident attorney can assist you by working with the car insurance company towards a settlement; they are also able to help you in the event that the case goes to trial. Auto accident attorneys often keep a wide range of specialist experts available to argue a case on your behalf. One law office to consider is Boca Raton accident attorneys Zimmerman & Frachtman. They have extensive experience in personal injury law as well as particular knowledge about auto accidents; they also provide free consultation, and they do not charge unless they win your case.