Were you involved in a Tampa car accident that was caused by a negligent driver? If so, and you are now injured from the accident, you have the right to seek damage compensation.
However, it’s not always an obvious or clear-cut pathway to recovering the compensation, even if you’re entitled to it. Winning a Tampa car accident claim isn’t simply asking for money and then receiving it – it’s a process that requires strategic planning and negotiation.
It seems like a given that when another careless or reckless driver injures you, the insurance company will write you a check, but this isn’t always the case. Read on to find out how a Tampa personal injury lawyer can help you win your car accident case.
The First Step Is to Report the Accident
One of the worst things you can do after a car accident is fail to report it, or not call the police. The at-fault party may try to talk you out of calling the police and resolving the issue amongst yourselves without reporting it. However, this is not a good idea and it can really hurt your claim. For every accident case where you find yourself injured, it’s vital to call the police.
It may seem like a waste of time, especially if you have obligations or somewhere to be. But, it’s important to be patient and wait for the police to come and do their own investigation. Don’t fall into any traps or manipulation the at-fault party tries to pull you into. They obviously don’t want to get police or insurance companies involved if possible; after all, they might get fined, traffic violations, and higher insurance premiums after being deemed at fault for causing the accident. They pretty much have every reason to avoid calling the police.
However, what you may not realize is that when you don’t report the accident to the police, this is a huge red flag right off the bat when the insurance company sees your claim. If you didn’t think the accident was serious enough to call the police, why would they be inclined to compensate you for serious damages?
So, remember no matter how nice or seemingly cooperative the negligent driver you hit you is, call the police. In doing so, you’re protecting your legal rights and your chance to win any sort of financial recourse. If you don’t, the insurance company may use that as a reason to deny your claim or offer you a settlement way less than what you actually deserve. The other party might claim to write you a check but could easily disappear or later have a different story to tell when it comes time to file an official claim. To protect yourself and your right to compensation, make sure to call the police and file an official accident report. They should also interview all parties involved, witnesses, and issue tickets if necessary.
Gather as Much Evidence as You Can While You’re at the Accident Scene
Take pictures at the accident scene so you have evidence to show the damage. Don’t just take pictures of your own car, but get photos of all the cars involved, and any property damage that was done. You can also take videos and record eyewitness testimonies.
You should also take pictures of any injuries you sustained, such as seat belt trauma, burns, scratches, cuts, or bruises. All of this evidence will be crucial for your car accident claim when it comes time to seek compensation, so take it seriously, and gather as much as you can, as early as possible.
Don’t Delay Getting Medical Treatment
Insurance companies often use your mistakes to their advantage. One common mistake we often see clients make is waiting too long after the accident to get medical treatment. If you do that, the insurance company will definitely try to use this as a strategy to undercut your settlement and undermine your claim.
Don’t wait longer than a couple of days; if you can, get medical attention the same day. Even if it’s the weekend or you had to wait to get an appointment with your doctor, the insurance company will find a way to use it against you. So if getting prompt medical care means going to urgent care or some other clinic that sees you right away, do it. You might have to pay out of pocket initially but having this medical documentation will better your odds of winning a fair settlement later.
We cannot stress this part enough – getting medical attention sooner rather than later will help your claim. This is one of the primary factors insurance companies look at when assessing how much your settlement should be because it’s an indication of how seriously you took your injuries., if you waited a week to get medical attention after getting into a car accident, they’ll assume your injuries were not that serious. While it seems unfair, that’s simply the reality of how insurance companies operate.
Keep Your Discussions With Insurance Companies to the General Facts
The at-fault party’s insurance company will call you, but you are not legally obligated to share every detail with them. In fact you don’t have any obligation to talk to them at all if you chose not to (you can let your attorney handle communications with them).
If you do choose to speak to an insurance adjuster, you don’t need to get too detailed about your injuries. There’s a reason for this. If you share too much information, you could accidentally create discrepancies in your story that could hurt your credibility. It’s better to say less when speaking to an insurance adjuster so they don’t have any opportunities to use your own words against you.
Stay Off of Social Media During Your Claims Process if Possible
Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) can quickly become a slippery slope during a personal injury case. As a company who is trying to save themselves from paying you a huge settlement, believe that they are doing everything they can to find evidence to object or disagree with your claims. That includes keeping tabs on your social media account – they’ll look into what you’re sharing, including posts and pictures.
If you’re claiming to be severely injured from the accident yet out and about on a hiking trip, they’ve got a solid reason to deny your claim. Most attorneys will advise you to refrain completely from using social media until your claims process is finished, or at the very least limit your audience to friends only, rather than sharing public content.
Hire an Attorney
Car accidents happen every day in Tampa. If you’re one of the dozens of innocent victims who was simply going about your day before a negligent driver caused an accident and severely injured you, you probably just want justice.
Hiring a Tampa personal injury lawyer can help you win a larger payout. That’s because they have experience dealing with insurance companies and know their tactics and how to negotiate with them effectively. So if you were injured in a Tampa car accident, be aware that you have the right to pursue maximum compensation, rather than settling for the insurance company’s meager amount they offer to protect their own assets.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today
Don’t give insurance companies any easy reason to pay you less than what you truly deserve. Instead, follow these proven steps to help ensure you win your car accident claim with the best possible outcome.
If you or someone you loved has been injured in a Tampa car accident, take the proper precautions to make sure you get adequate compensation. We only get paid if we win your case, so you have nothing to lose by hiring an attorney.
Contact our Tampa car accident lawyers today for a free consultation.