If you are injured in an auto accident in Florida that was the fault of another driver, you have a right to seek compensation from the responsible party’s insurance company. Be forewarned: the insurance company is going to compensate you for your injuries only if they have to. In only rare instances will an insurance company offer the total sum of your damages. They’re going to try and get away with paying as little as possible, even if their policy holder was at fault.
One of the tricks they use is to get you to say something that could shed doubt on your claim.
That’s why it so important to be careful of what you say after an accident. The insurance companies are going to look for any excuse to get out of paying you the compensation you are owed for your injuries. They are going to look for anything you’ve done or said since the accident to try and cast doubts on your injury claims.
Speak to a Lutz Personal Injury Attorney First
Never ever speak to an insurance company representative after an accident without speaking to a lawyer first. In fact, you shouldn’t discuss your case with anyone except your lawyer. That includes posting about your case on social media.
After a car accident, your only responsibilities are to see that the other persons involved in the accident are okay, file a police report, seek medical treatment and speak with a lawyer.
Why It’s Not Okay to Say “I’m Okay” after a Florida Auto Accident
In a personal injury case, much like a criminal defense case, what you say after an accident can be used against you. It’s important to be aware of what to say and what not to say after a car accident. Even a simple, human gesture like expressing sympathy for the other party involved in the accident can be used against you when you file a claim.
Here are five phrases that you should never say after an accident in Florida:
- “I’m okay.” How do you know you’re okay? Sometimes it takes days for back injuries to manifest themselves. Let a doctor decide if you’re “okay” or not.
- “I wasn’t paying attention.” Just because you weren’t paying attention doesn’t mean you were at fault in an accident, although an insurance company might use this statement to say that you were.
- “I’m sorry.” You probably feel bad for the other people injured in the accident. An insurance company may take that statement to mean that you accept responsibility for the accident.
- “I accept your offer.” Don’t agree to a settlement until you know the full extent of your injuries and what your future accident-related medical expenses will be.
- “I don’t have an attorney.” The insurance companies love this one. By telling them that you don’t have legal representation means they have free range to take advantage of you in any way they can.
There’s Nothing Wrong with Saying “I Don’t Know” ..
As in a criminal case, you have a right to remain silent after the accident. You aren’t legally obligated to answer anybody’s questions or make a statement. Don’t let someone from the insurance company pressure you into talking. If someone begins asking you questions about your role in an accident, don’t be rude, just tell them the truth: “I don’t know.”
You don’t know right after an accident what really happened and the extent of your injuries. Just because you think you were at fault and don’t have any apparent injuries doesn’t mean that you are.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Cases
After a Car Accident, What Information Should I Collect?
In the aftermath of a car accident, it is important to talk to the other parties and write down:
• The full names of those involved and how to contact them
• Insurance information
• The make, model, and license plate number of the cars involved
• Driver’s license information
You should also gather evidence at the accident scene. Some things to look for are:
• Photos of all of the cars involved, including your own
• Photos of the surrounding area
• Statements and contact information of anyone who might have witnessed the incident
• Photos of any injuries
What is the Cost of Hiring an Attorney for a Car Accident Claim?
Every accident case is different, so a lawyer can’t tell you exactly how much your case is worth until they assess its complexity and size.
The good news is that most Florida auto accident lawyers work on a contingency basis. Legal fees are not charged up-front and attorneys collect a percentage of the settlement once the case is resolved. This way an injured party can hire a lawyer without paying a retainer or other fees until after a settlement has been reached.
Is it Necessary to Give the Other Party’s Insurance Company a Recorded Statement?
You shouldn’t give an insurance company a recorded statement until you have spoken with a lawyer.
It is in the interest of insurance companies to pay out as little in settlements as possible. This will be accomplished by asking questions that aim to uncover weaknesses in your case. The answers you provide will be used against you.
There is no law in Florida that requires you to give an insurance company a statement, regardless of what the adjuster tells you.
… Or with Telling the Insurance Company to Talk to Your Lawyer
Please speak with an attorney before you speak to anyone else about your Florida auto accident. If you’ve been injured in an accident where someone else is at fault, you have a right to seek compensation for the damages resulting from your injuries.
Don’t let some careless words prevent you from collecting the full compensation you deserve after being injured in an accident. The best way to protect yourself after an accident is to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your case.
The personal injury attorneys at the Rivas Law Group have successfully helped injured clients in Lutz, Winter Haven, Lakeland and other Central Florida communities get the justice they deserve. The smartest way to deal with the insurance companies is to say “talk to my lawyer – Tania Rivas of the Rivas Law Group.”
Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Lutz personal attorneys to discuss the details in your case.