If you have been injured in an auto accident, you need to be aware of the following Three Mistakes that I have seen hundreds of auto accident victims make, time and time again. These three mistakes can wreck your claim for your injuries and damages, before it even starts. Here they are.
Number 1 – When speaking with the police and emergency responders, don’t say you are all fine or that you are not injured,if you don’t know. When most folks get in an auto accident, they are a couple of things – stressed, mad, upset, usually everything but calm and composed and in fine tune with their body. Usually, adrenaline kicks in, and prevents your body and brain from fully comprehending everything that is going on with you physically. It is quite common for someone to have an accident, go about their day, and then when they get home and start to relax, and then start feeling horrible pain and tightness. Therefore, when you are at the scene of the accident and the officer asks you if you are hurt, if you feel any symptom or off whatsoever, I would say “yes.” Reason being, that officer is going to note whether or not you report an injury at the accident scene. Failure to tell him you have some issues going on will be used and relied upon by an insurance company later on in your case to deny your claims. I would live by this rule, if you feel any bit off, physically or mentally, tell the officer you do have pain and stiffness and you are going to get checked out.
Number 2 – A lot of folks immediately call their insurance company right after they call 911. Don’t do it. While I recommend you do call your insurance company and yours only, if you call any, I recommend that you call a qualified accident attorney first. Look, I know I am biased, but you would be amazed how many times, in a 2-3 minute conversation with my office, somebody learns something that saves them thousands. I cannot help you once you say something damaging to your case and/or claim. Your own insurance company has several potential important roles in your claims. They will determine if you are at fault, and whether or not you get your property damage claim gets paid. They might also start immediately assessing your injuries, in case you file a PIP or UM claim. Ask yourself, do you know everything you are entitled to from your insurance company and the other guy’s? Do you know all your rights if you are not at fault for the accident? Unless you are in the claims business or in a law firm, you probably don’t. The call is free, make it.
Number 3 – The last party you should speak with, after you speak with an attorney, is your own insurance company, NOT THE OTHER PARTY’S. Too often, we see liability insurers rushing to accident scenes. When the other party’s insurance company does that, or approaches you shortly following to “talk with you” or “sign some forms,” you should know they aren’t doing so to help you. They are trying to get a release, which is a document that bars you from brining a claim. I would not sign anything or even speak with them, especially until you have spoken with and thoroughly explained the accident to your own insurance company.
It is very important that your own insurance company understand all the facts and circumstances that support you not being at fault and responsible for this accident. Why? Because in Florida, even though we are a “No Fault” state for injuries, you are only entitled to reimbursement for property damage from the other party if you are not at fault. In a perfect world, people tell the truth and fess up to their mistakes. But it isn’t a perfect world, and people lie to their insurance carrier all the time. Protect yourself. Again, I highly recommend you call an accident attorney first and get some advice on what to tell your own insurance company. Doing the same leaves you protected, and gets your story out there early. If you are following the advice in this guide, you have already done the same.
Time is critical and things move very fast in accident claims. So if you haven’t already, take action now.
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And if you made any of these mistakes, we can always do our best to fix them. A lot do get fixed, some we simply can’t. To prevent any more mistakes, make sure your request our free Claims Guide and read it cover to cover. Then give us a call.