Car accidents are already stressful enough without adding the additional complications of fault, blame, and eventually personal injury liability into the mix. Nevertheless, it is important when dealing with emergency services at the scene to understand your rights, responsibilities, and strategic options if you want to recover damages later. That is why this article discusses:
Police officers are often the first official people you will speak to after an accident. You will still be at the scene and your nerves may be shot and your temper high, nevertheless it is important to try and remember a few facts.
First, anything you say cannot be used in court later. Florida law prevents the police report and any admissions from individuals at the scene from being used except in extremely rare circumstances.
However, despite this, the police report and any statements that were made to the police can be used by the insurance companies and their adjusters during the assessment period of your claim or case. They could very well decide you do not have a valid claim and throw it out based on what you said to the police at the scene.
It is clearly not the smartest choice to admit fault or make any assumptions about fault when speaking to the police officer about the claim.
Injuries, unlike fault, are a matter of fact, and you should absolutely share information about them with police officers at the scene. If you are experiencing pain immediately after the accident, it definitely behooves you to let the police officer know where you are feeling hurt.
If you do not, the officer will place, at the bottom of their report, in the narrative, no injuries reported at the scene. Although that cannot be admitted into court in Florida, the insurance adjusters who get a copy of that can and will use it as part of the determination of whether or not your case has any value as it relates to your injuries.
Sometimes you may not feel that hurt but you still have some pain. It can take days or even weeks for the pain to really start rolling in, so it is still important to mention every little bit of pain that you may be feeling to the reporting police officer.
If you have been cited for a car wreck or if you have been cited at fault after a car wreck, it will absolutely slow down your personal injury recovery process and it will require much more work for the attorney you have hired.
Nevertheless, police officers are not accident experts and it could boil down to a “one-said/the other-said” argument. If there are no witnesses, then you can fight any assumptions made by the officer at the scene. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you may still be able to recover damages.
Florida recently changed its comparative negligence laws. Before, if you found the defendant 1% at fault, you could recover 1% of the damages. But now, as of March 2023, Florida changed the law to require the other person to be at least 51% responsible in order to recover damages.
Being cited as the responsible party is an uphill battle. The same goes for the other side, however. If the defendant driver is cited as responsible, it will absolutely help your case. But you could still have some of the fault for the accident attributed to you, which could affect your eventual settlement or recovery.
Personal injury considerations should not determine whether you seek medical attention after a car accident, as your health should always be your first and most immediate concern. The good news is that doing so is also good for you and your case.
While seeking medical attention may not directly strengthen your case, it absolutely helps indicate that you were hurt from the accident directly as a result of the car crash. In addition, doing so helps make sure that you are entitled to your personal injury protection benefits. These help cover your initial medical bills regardless of who is at fault, but you have to seek them within 14 days.
Seeking medical attention can also help your case by having your injuries documented by trained medical professionals.
It is always vital that you keep track of your medical treatments and medications after an accident as well as any out-of-pocket expenses.
Your attorney will be able to request your medical records from the doctors that you have been seeing as it relates to the accident, but keeping good personal track will help speed up the process. Any lost wages or out-of-pocket expenses that the attorney does not know about cannot be submitted to the other side to help get you reimbursed for it.
That is one of the reasons we created the Tell Robert phone app. The app has all that built into it. From who the other party was in the accident, to helping you keep track of your car repairs and your medical bills, it even includes a daily journal that is worked into the app so you can monitor your daily progress. All of which can be essential in proving both the amount of damages you can claim and who is at fault for the accident in terms of liability.
That phone app really can be a great instrument for ensuring you get the maximum recovery after an accident, and may be worth downloading even if you hope never to have to use it. Even if you do not already have it, though, when you get into an accident you can download it immediately at the scene, taking only a moment and saving you tons of time and effort. You can use it to start taking notes right away, which can later be easily submitted to your attorney and law firm.
Whether or not you take an ambulance could certainly impact your personal injury claim, but the decision to do so should depend more on your medical condition than anything else.
If you don’t believe that you need to take one and the EMTs at the scene also do not believe you need to take one, you certainly do not have to. You should take an ambulance, however, if you believe it is necessary or the EMTs at the scene recommend that you do, especially if you hit your head.
If you do, the cost will be included in the recovery you get compensation for in your personal injury claim.
Overall, you should make these decisions based on your needs at the moment, but document and track everything to keep in mind the possibility of a personal injury claim later.
For more information on Liability In An Auto Accident Injury Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Fenstersheib Law Group, 24/7 at (800) 835-5762 today.