It’s all very natural and human after a traumatic event like a car crash to feel relieved that the injuries do not seem to be serious or to apologize profusely if you think you are at fault.
But when you look at what can happen if you make declarations or agree to a settlement on the spot, because all you want is to get over it and head home, it is certainly wiser to stop all discussions and tell the other party that you will contact them at a later date.
Why is it better to discuss the accident at a later date?
Let’s consider three important elements of an auto accident in Florida: fault, injuries and material damage.
Fault: Oftentimes, there are several causes leading to the accident and injuries. For instance, your vision was obstructed by an illegally parked car, the other driver was speeding, or didn’t use the turn signal, or didn’t have the headlights on, or was driving under the influence. Maybe the other driver didn’t have the minimum insurance, or drove without a license, or his car wasn’t registered.
Injuries: Your body has been submitted to the shock and stress of a car crash, and produces endorphins (hormones) that will temporarily alleviate the pain. At a later point, you may start feeling pain, and medical tests could reveal more serious injuries than you would have thought of at the scene of the accident. This can be true for brain injuries (concussions) or neck and back injuries, for instance. Even some broken bones are not immediately apparent.
Material damage: With a superficial look at your car showing no apparent damage, you could be tempted to say, “It’s nothing; the car is fine.” After a few days, however, your car may show a tendency to steer to the left, or you hear a rattling noise when you brake. What if your mechanic diagnoses some major repairs to be done urgently? It will be difficult to reverse course and prove that the damage was caused by the accident.
Even if insurance companies require policy holders to report a car accident as soon as possible, take the necessary time to check everything thoroughly before agreeing to and signing anything.
If you need help, and the support of an experienced and determined attorney focused on car and motorcycle accidents in North and Central East Florida, call the Daytona Beach attorneys of Johnson & Gilbert today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412 or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.