If you are in an accident on one of Florida’s streets or highways, you may have to think fast to avoid complicating your claim for compensation, whether through an insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit. Most drivers understand that they may be involved in a motor vehicle accident at some time in their lives, but few prepare for the possibility.
Understanding Florida laws related to accidents, injuries, insurance claims and other items can be complicated. The fact that these laws change frequently does not help. However, some basic information may improve your chances of emerging from an accident without making mistakes that could cost you dearly.
Prepare for the worst
One essential step to take before ever getting behind the wheel is to read and understand your insurance policy. Know what your policy covers, what exceptions it includes and how much your deductible is. Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, you must carry a certain amount of personal injury protection. However, this amount may not come close to covering your costs if you and your passengers suffer catastrophic injuries.
Since your accident may result in a personal injury claim, it is a good idea to know what you should and should not do to avoid damaging that claim or opening yourself to a lawsuit from the other driver, for example:
- It goes without saying that every driver should use care behind the wheel by refusing to drive while distracted or impaired and by using defensive driving tactics.
- If you are in an accident, it is imperative that you accept an examination by a medic on the scene and follow up with a visit to the emergency room or your doctor, even if you do not think you suffered any injuries.
- Contact police immediately after an accident to obtain a full, official report of the facts.
- Despite your instincts to be polite and cooperative, advisors warn that drivers should never apologize after an accident even if they believe the accident was their fault since the other driver or the insurer may accept this as an admission of fault without proof.
- As much as you can in light of your injuries, document the accident by obtaining information from the other driver, passengers and witnesses, and taking pictures of the scene.
Perhaps the most common mistake drivers make after an accident is failing to reach out for help from legal professionals. An attorney can handle any communication with the insurance company, obtain the appropriate medical reports and advise you on the best course of action to protect your rights and seek any compensation you may deserve.