Dangerous roadways and natural disasters cause a handful of car crashes. But human error causes about 93 percent of the car wrecks in Florida. Many of these incidents involve excessive speed, improper lookout, and/or driver inattention. There’s often an underlying cause as well, such as alcohol impairment or fatigue.
Damages in car wreck cases often include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.
A personal injury attorney will fight for the compensation you deserve. You can make this process easier by following a few post-accident guidelines.
DON’T Say I’m Sorry
Especially if you believe you are at fault, it’s very natural to tell the other driver “I’m sorry.” However, a car crash is a legal episode and not a moral or ethical one. So, the words we say have legal effect.
Expressions of sorrow and remorse can be construed as admissions of liability. These statements are usually admissible in court, because of the excited utterance exception to the hearsay rule. As a result, your attorney must operate in damage control mode instead of aggressively fighting for you.
There’s nothing wrong with the sentiment which “I’m sorry” conveys. In fact, it’s a very good thing to express empathy. But instead of “I’m sorry,” try to say something like “I’m sorry this happened to you” or “How can I help you?”
DO Collect Evidence
First responders usually collect evidence to prepare their accident reports. But their priorities are elsewhere. First responders must secure the scene and attend to injured victims before they can even think about collecting evidence. Additionally, many responders view car crashes as civil disputes that are beyond law enforcement’s purview.
So, it’s often up to the victim to collect evidence. The more evidence the victim/plaintiff presents, the stronger the claim for damages becomes. Evidence in car crash cases includes things like:
- Photographs of physical damage to your vehicle,
- Contact information for witnesses, and
- Pictures of the scene.
Many times, the victim is in no shape to perform this investigation. So, inform your friends and loved ones about these things, so they can act if necessary.
DON’T Talk to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
You have no obligation to give a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. The phone operator on the other end of the line may seem nice. But that phone operator is also highly-trained in ways to extract damaging information from victims.
If your policy requires you to contact your own company immediately, then do so. Otherwise, let your lawyer do the talking.
DO Call a Lawyer
In Florida car crash cases, an attorney provides solid legal advice and aggressive representation. But an attorney can do even more than that.
Lawyers can connect injured victims with doctors. These physicians are not just general practitioners. They focus on diagnosing and treating car crash injuries. Typically, this medical assistance comes at no upfront cost. Most attorneys send letters of protection to medical providers that guarantee payment when the case is resolved.
It’s quite important to see a doctor within twenty-four hours. Otherwise, the insurance company may later claim that your injuries were not very severe.
Reach Out to Aggressive Attorneys
Car accident victims may be entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).