Thou shall never admit fault at the scene of an accident.
Auto accidents happen at a rapid pace and determining liability should be left to a legal or law enforcement professional. You may truly believe you were at fault, but the other driver may have been the true cause of the accident. You didn't see the accident from all angles; don't give up your rights. Later on you may learn all of the facts and learn that you were the guilty party. At that time you should contact you insurance company to explain the relevant facts.
Thou shall never accept any form of payment at the scene.
Never accept cash or a check from a negligent driver that has crashed into you or your vehicle. You may be giving up valuable rights to compensation for your injuries and damages.
Thou shall never forget to call an ambulance and the police to the scene of the accident.
You need an ambulance and emergency responders to determine whether you have been substantially injured by the crash. The police or other officer will complete an accident report that you will need to process your claim later.
Thou shall always get the name and contact information for all witnesses.
Always get the name and contact information for all witnesses to the accident. This is an important point if there is any question about the liability for the accident, especially when the other driver's account of the accident conflicts with your account.
Thou shall always take pictures of the accident scene, your vehicle, and your injuries after the crash.
This evidence may be important in determining the extent of your losses and for determining liability. Insurance adjusters will be able to see with their own eyes the consequences of the negligent driver's behavior.
Thou shall always go to the hospital after an accident.
Although you may feel that you are perfectly fine, keep in mind that many bodily injuries lay beneath the surface. You may be suffering from a concussion or far worse and not even realize it.
Thou shall never trust anyone who visits your home or calls you on the phone saying they can get you money for your accident.
These people are not attorneys and are not concerned with your well-being. If they are attorneys or working for one, then you should report them to the ethics committee of your local bar association for violating ethical rules. If the fact that you were solicited to pursue an accident claim should ever be discovered it may discredit the basis of your claim, even if you are actually injured.
Thou shall never speak to an insurance company representative until you have spoken with an attorney.
The insurance company is not trying to help you; rather they are trying to limit their liability. They may sound concerned when they ask you how you feel, but they may be really recording your conversation. If you choose to hire an attorney to represent you, they will handle all communications with insurance companies and preserve your right to the maximum compensation.
Thou shall always focus on your health after the accident.
Any person that suggests you call them from the accident scene may not have your best interest at heart. After the accident you will need to recover physically and psychologically. Focus on healing, not litigating while you are at the scene of the accident. Once you are physically stable you should contact an attorney for a free consultation and begin your claim.
Thou shall always seek treatment within 14 days of your accident.
The new Personal Injury laws in Florida prohibit payment of Personal Injury Protection benefits if you wait longer than 14 days to seek treatment for your injuries. If you begin treatment within the 14 days after the accident you are allowed up to $10,000.00 worth of medical treatment and therapy, as well as, lost wages in compensation.