Florida car crash victims should be aware of many car accident myths. Believing these myths can hurt your accident case. Many people you think are on your side really are not.
Some of the common car accident myths you probably believe are true – but aren’t:
You don’t need to call the police. Wrong. If there is any physical harm, you should call the police. When your car has any damage, you should phone the police. If you did not cause the accident, then your insurance rates should not go up. If you did cause the accident, then you likely have a duty, under Florida law, to call the police. The law requires that drivers call the local police department:
- If there was injury or death
- If the apparent damage was at least $500
The police will obtain contact and insurance information for all drivers, passengers, and witnesses. They will control traffic so nobody else is in danger. They will make a preliminary review of the facts surrounding the accident.
The police report determines fault. No. They may issue citations such as speeding or going through a stop sign. But the police do not have the final say. They do not and should not assign fault. They determine the facts – not the law. A judge and jury decide who was at fault. Victims should work with their lawyers to:
- Conduct their own examination of the accident site
- Speak with all relevant witnesses
- Conduct formal discovery of everyone involved
- Argue the relevant Florida laws
It’s a good idea to refuse medical treatment. No. You do not get points for living with your pain. Accident victims have the right to see all medical doctors who can help them get better. Victims have the right to aim for the same level of health they had before the accident.
It's a myth that insurance companies have your best interests at heart
First, it is important to understand that, in Florida, there are different insurance companies.
- Your own insurance company. Your own carriers pay some of your medical bills and lost wages – up to the policy limits. It is a common car accident myth, you probably believe, that this means your company will pay any bill you present. No. Your own carrier wants to pay as little as possible. They will only consider paying bills and wage loss claims that are fully documented. They need to see that a doctor says your treatments were necessary. Your own insurance company needs to see the details that support your wage claim. They will only pay up to $2,500 unless you have an emergency medical condition.
- The insurance companies for the defendants. These companies represent their clients, typically the other drivers. They are not your friend. They will do everything they can to show:
- Their client did not cause the accident
- The victim caused the accident
- The victim’s injuries aren’t serious
- That the victim can work
- That the victim is a malingerer
Florida accident victims should also not believe these common car accident myths
- Delay doesn’t matter. It does. Delaying treatment means you are putting your health in jeopardy. Delaying seeing a lawyer means you may hurt your ability to win your case. Delay can even mean that you lose the right to file a claim for damages.
- Hiring an attorney isn’t worth the cost. First, attorneys take car accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means they don’t receive any money unless the case settles or there is a verdict in your favor. Winning a case means filing the claim against the right defendants. It means properly preparing your case. Winning means making the right legal arguments. It often means employing investigators and others to help prove the other party was at fault. In general, hiring a lawyer is a wise financial idea.