What to do After an Accident – My Fault
If you suffered harm in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, you may have a legal right to seek compensation. However, what happens if you were at fault for the crash? Do you have any legal options in these situations? In the below guide, we will go over what you should do after an accident that was your fault and discuss how an experienced car accident lawyer can guide you through this challenging time.
Never Leave the Scene and Call the Cops
Following a car accident, you should never leave the scene. Instead, call 911 right away. This step is the quickest way to alert the police and medical personnel of the incident and to get them to the scene to provide those who need it with medical help. Failing to take these steps can further impact a challenging situation and make it that much worse, even resulting in criminal charges for what happened.
Exchange Information With the Others Involved
If possible, you should try to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident and get their driver’s license number, insurance information, and contact information. You may also want to write down their license plate number and the model and make of their car.
Document the Scene
Due to the complexities of a car accident, even if you believe you were at fault, you may not even realize that the other driver may have contributed to the accident. For these reasons, after a car crash, if you can, you should document the scene, taking photos and videos of the cars involved, their placement on the road, traffic lights and signs nearby, skid marks, road defects, the weather conditions, and anything else that can help show the full picture of what happened.
If individuals were at the scene and saw the accident, try to get their contact information as well. These individuals can help your lawyer better understand what happened and provide testimony that can help validate your legal claim.
Watch What You Say to Others After the Collision?
As you talk to others after the accident, watch what you say.
This means do not:
- Admit fault or apologize for what happened, even if you suspect you caused the accident
- Avoid discussing what you were doing before the accident
- Make any statements that indicate liability
- Ask the other driver questions to figure out what mistakes they made, and
- Talk about who you think is to blame
The other side can use these comments to make the situation worse for you or try to hold you completely liable for the accident, hurting your chances of securing the money you deserve.
Stay off Social Media
You should also stay off social media following the accident, making sure you do not post or make any comments about the accident online. The other side’s lawyers or insurance companies can find these posts and use them against you to further hurt your case.
Other Things Not to Do When You Were at Fault for an Accident
In addition to the above:
- Do not yell. Even if your emotions are high, getting mad and accusing others of anything can further impact your case.
- Do not negotiate with the other driver or make promises to pay for their damages.
- Do not sign anything from the insurance company or from any parties involved in the accident until you discuss the incident with an experienced car accident attorney.
- Do not leave until the police have made their report and others have departed.
- Do not move or touch anything after the accident or move anyone unless instructed by medical professionals or police officers.
Finally, one of the most important things you should not do is ignore your own injuries. Even if the harm appears to be minor after a car crash, you should still seek medical attention. There are instances where serious injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, can take some time for symptoms to manifest. Yet, the longer you wait to treat the condition, the more debilitating or deadly it can become. In addition, if you ignore these injuries and choose not to get medical help, it can affect your potential legal claim and reduce a future settlement offer.
Watch What You Say to the Insurance Company?
After a car accident, you likely will be talking to the insurance companies. But before you admit fault for the accident or take all the blame, remember that the insurance company is not there to be a friend or help you through this challenging ordeal. Rather, they are looking for anything that can increase their profits, which usually happens when these companies can deny an insurance claim or pay less than the individual deserve.
For these reasons, before you discuss anything with the insurer or their representatives, consider first discussing the accident with an experienced car accident attorney. These lawyers can not only handle these conversations with the insurance company on your behalf, but they can also make sure you do not say anything that can hurt your claim.
Reach out to an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
While you may believe you were responsible for a car crash, you may not have the whole picture. Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you figure out if the other driver was also partially responsible for the car crash. They can also review your legal options, determine if you can pursue financial damages, and help you fight for the monetary recovery you deserve.
Know About Your Insurance Options
After a car crash, it is critical that you understand your insurance options. Depending on the state where you live, there are different rules when it comes to car insurance:
No-Fault Insurance State
In a no-fault insurance state, every driver has to have their own insurance. This means that no matter who was at fault for the accident, the drivers will have to make a claim with their own insurance company. This coverage provides benefits for medical bills and lost wages. However, to pursue other types of compensation, you would have to circumvent no-fault and file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Fault-Based Insurance State
In a fault-based insurance state, to obtain compensation for your injuries and losses, you will have to file an insurance claim with the insurance company that covers the at-fault motorist. This insurance company will usually provide benefits for medical costs and lost income. However, if the insurance company is not willing to provide the money that is needed to cover all of the damages, an attorney may decide to pursue a lawsuit to go after maximum financial damages.
Comparative Fault Rules: What It Can Mean for You Following a Car Accident
Contributory negligence is a rule that stops parties from collecting any damages after a car crash if they are partially to blame for an accident. In comparison, comparative negligence allows blame to be shared, and damages can be awarded to individuals, even if they were partially at fault for the accident. Under comparative negligence, a party can collect damages proportional to their percentage of fault.
This concept can quickly become confusing to speak with your lawyer about your options. An experienced car accident lawyer will know exactly how to proceed, so don’t wait to seek legal help, regardless of whether you think you are partially responsible.
Financial Damages You Can Pursue Following a Car Accident
Depending on the circumstances of your car accident, the insurance involved, and the amount you are to blame for the crash, you may be able to pursue certain types of damages after the car accident.
These damages include both non-economic and economic damages, which refer to payment for certain types of losses, such as:
- Medical bills resulting from the accident, including doctor bills, surgeries, medical devices, emergency care, prescription medications, and other types of medical treatments
- Lost income and reduced earning capacity
- Personal property losses
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium and companionship
- Humiliation and inconvenience
However, because these damages include hard-to-quantify and easily quantifiable losses, it may be a good idea to discuss the case with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can help you determine which damages you can pursue after an accident, even if you were partially at fault for the collision, and assist you in going after all the compensation you deserve.
Do Not Run Out of Time To File Your Case
If you can pursue a lawsuit after a car crash, you must ensure you do not delay with this filing. According to the statute of limitations rules, individuals will only have a certain amount of time to pursue a lawsuit after an alleged offense. If they fail to file within this time, the court can bar them from obtaining compensation for their losses and injuries. That is why after an accident, you should consider discussing your options with a legal professional as soon as possible.
These attorneys can help you understand not only what legal action you can take following an accident that you may have been partially at fault for, but they can also figure out how much time you have to file a suit and ensure your legal motions and documents are prepared and submitted before this deadline expires.
Contact an Experienced Car Crash Attorney and Learn About Your Legal Options Following a Car Crash That Was Your Fault
Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful ordeal. However, when you are involved in an accident that you believe was your fault, the whole situation can become overwhelming and unbearable. Worse yet, if you sustained injuries in this accident, you may worry that you will not be able to cover these costs and the medical treatments you will need going forward.
Yet, due to the complex nature of car crashes, even if you believe you were to blame for an accident, the other party may have contributed to the collision, which means you may be able to go after compensation for your own injuries and losses. However, because parties will usually not come out and say they were responsible for an accident or their actions contributed to the crash, determining fault after a car crash can be challenging.
Thankfully, when you work with an experienced car accident attorney, you will not have to figure out this liability alone. Rather, once hired, these lawyers can promptly get to work, reviewing the facts of your accident, figuring out if you have a viable claim, and determining the legal options you may pursue.
These lawyers can also:
- Thoroughly investigate the crash and look for evidence that can show the other party contributed to the accident and the extent of your own damages.
- Protect you against insurance companies that may try to deny your case or play games with the money you deserve.
- Hire an accident reconstructionist and other experts that can help show what happened, who was at fault, and other things that can help validate your case.
- Protect your interests, including your savings and other assets, if the insurance company is not willing to cover the other party’s injuries.
- Proceed to trial, if needed, and fight hard for your rights.
After a car crash, working with an experienced car accident attorney can minimize your liability and maximize the financial damages you can recover for your losses and injuries. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Florida today for a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options.
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Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.