Why You Should Call an Attorney If You Are at Fault in a Car Accident
Should you call an attorney even if you are at fault in a car accident?
Car accidents can be shocking, frightening, and confusing, especially given that they’re often unexpected. After the collision, it may seem obvious to you what happened, and you may even believe that you were at fault. And with emotions running high at that moment, the other part may place blame on you.
Either way, you should never apologize, admit responsibility, or make statements that the police or the other party might interpret as an admission of fault. Instead, you should call an attorney right after a car accident. An attorney can assess your case, determine fault, go over your legal options, and present your case in the best possible light.
Why You Should Never Admit Fault
There’s no law mandating you to discuss fault in the accident with the responding officer or the other party. Even if the accident seems to be your fault, you should never admit fault after a car crash. Admitting fault puts you at risk of losing the compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and damage to your car.
Also, admitting fault puts you at risk of a personal injury claim or lawsuit from the other party to pay for their injuries or property damage.
Should I Call an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Simple answer: yes. Here’s how a car accident attorney can help:
An Attorney Can Make a More Accurate Assessment of the Facts
How your car accident occurred may not be as obvious as it seems. Even if you believe you’re entirely to blame for the accident, there may be various underlying and unknown factors that contributed to the mishap. You could be missing important information about other aspects that contributed to the crash.
For instance, the other party could have been texting while driving or the brakes on a car were defective, which may be unknown to you at the accident scene. There could have been another driver who left the scene, or the police might have misunderstood a witness. With many possible contributing factors, an investigation into the matter may be necessary to determine what actually caused the accident.
When an attorney experienced in car accident cases evaluates a case, they can often tell if their potential client is the liable party or the victim. A free case review can help you understand your rights and your options based on the facts of your case.
An Attorney Will Investigate Your Case and Collect Evidence
Some car accident evidence, like skid marks caused by tires, will naturally fade over time. Vehicle parts or totaled cars may be cleaned up or even taken by the other party. This could make it more difficult for you to prove guilt.
Eyewitness testimony also plays a crucial role in a personal injury claim. Over time, however, memories can fade. Witnesses may not remember important details, such as the road conditions at the time of the accident or whether the other party was speeding.
When it comes to personal injury cases, evidence is most effective when collected and preserved soon after an accident. Your lawyer can get to work gathering evidence right away. They can interview witnesses and record crucial facts about the crash.
An Attorney Will Handle Communication with an Insurance Company
After you’re involved in a car accident, you’re required to notify your insurance company. In minor cases with no injuries sustained, you can contact your insurer and notify them yourself. But if any of the parties involved is injured, it is best to speak to a car accident lawyer first.
Depending on the extent of injuries sustained, the plaintiff may file a claim for compensation from the at-fault party. You may not be prepared to speak with the other party or their insurance company.
If you admit fault for a car accident in Florida early on and then discover the other party is liable, changing your statement will be difficult. Once your statement is documented, you may have a difficult time convincing others that you’re not at fault. Any changes could cause suspicion and hurt your credibility.
Your attorney will handle all the communications between you and the other parties. This will help reduce or eliminate the possibility of any statements you make being used to compromise your case.
And if you did not cause the accident or were partially at fault, a personal injury attorney will help determine a value for your case and negotiate with the other party or their insurance company to get you fair compensation for your losses.
Florida is a No-Fault State
Florida uses a “no-fault” car insurance system. In this case, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of at least $10,000. If injured in an accident, the driver’s insurance company will cover related losses, whether they’re at fault or not.
PIP provides coverage for a partial loss of income and out-of-pocket medical expenses. PIP covers the owner of the policy, members of their household, and passengers in the vehicle who are injured.
In a no-fault state, injured individuals are not allowed to sue the other driver, unless medical expenses exceed the limit or the injury is considered significant or permanent.
If the other party was fully at fault in the car accident, however, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for damages not covered by the PIP.
If you were partly at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to recover damages under Florida’s comparative fault law. In this case, however, your reimbursement amount will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
A St. Pete Car Accident Attorney at Yanchuck Berman Can Help
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, contact the St. Petersburg car accident attorneys at Yanchuck Berman. We can help you understand your role in causing the crash, identify all potentially liable parties, and determine if you can file a claim. We will protect your rights and guide you through this process.