When you’re involved in a car accident, there are a lot of things you should do ─ and a lot of things you shouldn’t. At the law offices of Chiumento Selis Dwyer, P.L., we know how taking appropriate actions after a car accident can help you build a solid claim for compensation. We’ve also seen how making mistakes in the claims process can come back to bite you.
Things to Do After a Car Accident
Here are a few key things to do after a car accident that will help as you pursue full and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered:
- DO report your car accident to the police. You should always report the accident to the police, even if the accident is what you consider to be “minor.” Not only should you report the accident for claim purposes later on, but because failing to report your accident may be against the law. Florida law states that any driver who is involved in a crash resulting in any injury or death, or property damage valued at $500 or more, must report the incident.
- DO seek medical care. It is important to seek medical care in a timely manner and not assume that your injuries will heal on their own. Seeking medical care immediately can both improve your rate of healing and provide evidence of your injury to use in your claim. Insurance adjusters will be analyzing your claim to determine precisely when you sought medical care, as well as the extent of care you received, in order to decide how much your claim is worth. If you claim an injury and yet don’t seek treatment for it, the insurance adjuster may not believe that your injury is valid.
- DO report your accident to your insurance company. Because Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, you are required to file a claim with your own insurance company’s no-fault/personal injury protection (PIP) coverage after a wreck, even if the other driver caused the accident. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible about filing your claim because most policies have a time limit on how long you have to file. (Many companies will deny claims that are filed after a certain amount of time has elapsed.) You can read more about the state’s no-fault laws on the website of the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
- DO keep a thorough record of your injuries. The claims process may take longer than you were expecting. Throughout the process, you should keep a thorough record of the ongoing medical care you receive. You should also keep a journal of your injuries, including as much detail as possible, such as how you are recovering and how your injuries are affecting your day-to-day life.
Don’ts – Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Wreck
Just like there are plenty of things that you should do to help the claims process proceed as smoothly as possible, there are also a number of mistakes to avoid after a car wreck that could hurt your claim.
- DON’T give in to insurance company pressure to talk about your claim. When you initially report an accident, you need to tell the insurance company where and when it happened and who was involved. Do not give a recorded statement or discuss your injuries with the insurance adjuster. Insurance adjusters are trained to draw out any details that could be used to reduce your claim amount. Instead, leave further communication to your attorney.
- DON’T use social media, especially to discuss your car accident. We know that after a car wreck, letting friends and family know that you’re okay ─ or that you’re still suffering ─ is important. However, we urge you to do this privately rather than publicly. Insurance adjusters have the right to view any information that is posted publicly and then to use this information against you. If you tell everyone that you’re “OK” and “recovering nicely” and then post a photo of yourself smiling and seemingly enjoying yourself, your insurance adjuster can use this against you to devalue your claim of pain, suffering, and the need for future medical treatment.
- DON’T admit fault. Even though Florida is a no-fault system, in which you can receive compensation for your medical expenses even if you caused an accident, you should never make any admission of fault. If you do decide to step outside of the no-fault system (if you suffer serious injuries), that admission of fault could severely hurt your claim and diminish the amount of damages you could receive.
If You’ve Been Hurt, Let Us Help
If you want to learn more about what to do and what not to do after your car wreck, pick up the phone and call the law offices of Chiumento Selis Dwyer today. Since 1973, our experienced Florida car accident law firm has been helping injured clients fight for the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free case consultation.