When you are in a car accident, you probably know that you should look after your own safety. It is critical to move your car to a safe location, check for injuries, and call 911.
However, most people are unaware of the other steps they should take when making auto claims. Tallahassee car accident lawyers can help you understand what you should do after an accident to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
In Florida, you must call the police after an accident where there is an injury or death, or if the damages appear to amount to over $500. Additionally, it is important that you take pictures of the accident scene to document everything.
Speaking to witnesses on the scene and getting their contact information is crucial, as is exchanging insurance information with any other drivers involved. Above all, personal injury attorneys always advise that you never admit fault for the accident. Even if you were partially at fault, this could be used against you and impact your auto claim.
In addition to these steps, you must contact your auto insurance carrier. You will need to provide a statement to them, though in the chaotic aftermath of any accident, you may not know what to say. You do not have to call them right from the side of the road, but you will need to report the accident to your insurance company.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney makes this step much easier. Your attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf. This will relieve some of your stress following this experience.
After reporting your accident to the insurance company, they will call you to ask for a recorded statement. This is something you must provide to them and is a legal stipulation in the fine print of the insurance contract.
If you do not give them this statement, then they will construe this as a lack of cooperation. They may void your policy and forbid you from collecting on your claim. As such, it is advised to let your attorney handle these matters. When the insurance company calls for the recorded statement, you can have them speak to your lawyer instead. They must comply with this request.
It’s also important to remember that auto insurance companies will likely offer the lowest possible payout in most circumstances. Usually, this is far less than you need to make up for your medical bills, lost wages, and repair expenses.
If you try to handle the insurance company on your own, they may try to convince you to settle. This may sound like a win-win since you’ll get money from your claim and the case will end. However, negotiating a more adequate settlement is a better idea. An attorney experienced in auto accidents is an asset because they will know how to calculate your damages and fight for a fair amount. Unfortunately, it is common for people to underestimate their financial losses due to an auto accident. As such, they receive too little and then end up in debt because they do not have enough to cover the resulting expenses from the accident. By hiring a car accident lawyer, you can avoid this pitfall and successfully make your auto claim for a fair amount.