Auto Accident Settlement
What Should I Do if I Caused a Car Accident? Do I Admit Fault?
When you are involved in a car accident, you may believe that something you did contributed to the wreck. As the dust settles and people begin moving about, you may have the urge to accept blame or to apologize. At Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd, & Lloyd, we have been representing people involved in car accidents for decades, and we strongly urge you to not admit fault.
It is our experience that wrecks are not always as straightforward as they seem. Despite what you may initially believe, you may not actually be found at fault for the collision at the conclusion of an investigation. However, admitting fault on the scene can severely damage your chance of securing compensation in the future. Here is what to do following an accident in the Treasure Coast area.
Evaluate Injuries Of All Involved
If you have been seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Stay still if it is safe to do so, and wait for first responders to arrive and evaluate your situation. If you are not obviously injured and are able to move around, check on the wellbeing of anyone else involved in the crash.
Keep in mind that you should never decline medical attention following a vehicle collision if EMTs are called to the scene. Doing so can, again, harm your chances of receiving compensation at a later date. You are not a trained medical professional — let one assess your injuries and provide a proper diagnosis.
Call For Help
After you have assessed injuries and if it has not already been done, call 911 for help. Advise the dispatchers of the accident and its location. Let them know if anyone is injured and whether they may need an ambulance. The dispatcher will give you instructions to follow. You may be asked to leave the cars in place or move them to the side of the road. The dispatcher will also advise you to remain on the scene if you do not need to be transported to the hospital immediately.
Speak With the Police
The first responders to the scene will speak to everyone involved in the accident and any witnesses who chose to stop and offer assistance. They will take evidence, write down information for the report, and make notes of contact information for people involved.
When the police are speaking with you, they will undoubtedly ask for your version of events. This is where you want to be very careful. Anything you say can be included in the incident report — if you admit fault, even partially, you can expect this to come back and haunt you.
Provide only the facts you are able to. This includes your name, address, make and model of your vehicle, and insurance information. However, don’t speculate, especially when it comes to fault. If you are asked what caused the collision, saying “I’m not sure” is not going to get you into any trouble. You don’t want to lie, nor do you want to blame the other person, and you don’t want to admit fault of your own. Let the evidence do the talking.
Provide Information To Insurance Agents
Look over your auto insurance policy documents when you get home. It is typical that you have a specific amount of time to report an accident to your insurance company. Chances are high that the other driver will be speaking to their own agent. The insurance companies will then begin conducting their own investigations into the wreck to determine pay-outs.
Do not provide anything other than facts when speaking with your insurance agent. Consider this process much the same as talking to the police. Provide the location of the accident, the number and type of cars involved, and any other factual information. Do not tell your insurance agent you are uninjured unless a physician has given you the all-clear. Do not tell your agent that you think the accident was your fault.
Plan on potentially being contacted by the other driver’s insurance company. It’s important to understand that you are not required to provide them with any information other than what is factually known: your name, address, and the name of your insurance agent. You do not have to provide anyone other than the police with your version of the accident.
What Happens If I am Accused of Fault?
When you are accused of being at fault for a collision, do not do the job of the police or the insurance investigator for them by freely admitting fault. It is possible that there are other factors involved that you were not aware of, including facts that can mean the other driver was negligent.
In the event an investigation begins, provide only the basic facts that are listed on the accident report. Evidence from the scene, eyewitnesses, and police-gathered information should ultimately speak for itself.
Should the other file a claim on your insurance and your insurance company doesn’t believe you were at fault, then they will launch their own investigation to get to the root of the matter. In cases where someone files a lawsuit against your insurer based on the fact that you’re allegedly at fault, your insurance company will mount its own defense.
You can seek out your own counsel, too, during this time. It is especially important to work with a Treasure Coast car accident lawyer when you have been hurt and are in need of compensation to pay for your medical bills and other losses.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
It’s true that not every accident requires that you contact an attorney. Some accidents, like minor fender benders, may not call for legal assistance, provided there are no latent injuries. If your accident involves property damage and injury, however, the expert legal advice of an experienced Florida car accident lawyer can be invaluable.
Not only can a personal injury attorney help you in court, but they can assist you before. An attorney can review the evidence of your case and assess if you were indeed at fault. You can then be presented with your best options going forward. Likewise, an attorney can advise whether you were only partially at fault or share no responsibility at all.
Your Advocate On The Treasure Coast
If you have been involved in an accident on the Treasure Coast, call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We can be reached at 866-460-1990 or contact us online at your convenience. We will fight fiercely for your rights and work to secure the damages you are entitled to under Florida law.
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