How to Get the Most Money from a Car Accident

An injured victim on his way to get the most money from his car accident case

Auto accidents are undeniably one of the most frightening experiences we can encounter in our lives. In the case of a severe accident, you may be left with extensive medical bills, enormous vehicle repairs, and, possibly, the inability to work. This only adds to the stress and anxiety in the aftermath. While your first thoughts are for your safety and that of others involved, inevitably you must think of the bottom line: How do you get the most money for your car accident case?

In Florida, every driver must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. As a “no-fault” state, if you are in an accident, your PIP coverage pays for your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who is at fault. This does limit the avenues available when it comes to pursuing legal options – but it does not eliminate them. You can file a car accident or personal injury lawsuit if the medical costs related to your injury exceed $10,000.

Florida is also a “comparative negligence” state. That is, if you are in any way responsible for the accident, it reduces the compensation you are owed. Say the court decides you are 20% at fault, but you win a $20,000 decision. This will be reduced by 20%, or $4000.

10 Ways to Get the Most Money from a Car Accident

To get the most money and cover your medical and other expenses after a car accident in Florida:

1. Report the accident immediately.

In Florida, you must report any car accident which results in injury and/or death and $500 or more in property damage. (Also call 911 if the accident involved an impaired driver or was a hit and run.) In nearly every case, it is essential that you call 911, the Florida Highway Patrol, or the appropriate law enforcement department.

The responding officers will provide you with a confirmation number that you can use to obtain a copy of the accident report. Make sure to get one and keep it with your records; this will help you build a strong car accident case.

2. Document the scene.

If you can do so safely, take photos or videos of the accident scene to include any vehicles involved, visible injuries, road conditions, debris, and any other item that may be important. If you’re not sure, snap a picture anyway. You never know what will matter until you speak with an attorney.

Exchange contact information with the other driver (limiting your interaction to a simple exchange of insurance cards), and if there are any witnesses, respectfully ask for their contact information as well.

3. Seek medical attention.

See a doctor or go to the emergency room as soon as you can. This is important even if you feel “ok.” After an accident, your body is pumping adrenaline through your system, and this can mask injuries. Other symptoms may take hours or days to make themselves known. That does not mean they are not serious; concussion, soft tissue injuries, and internal bleeding, for example, may not be apparent at the same. Do yourself a favor: get a thorough exam.

4. Speak to a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Florida car accident laws can be complex, and navigating them by yourself – especially as you’re dealing with injuries – can seem overwhelming. Don’t go it alone. Consult with a lawyer immediately to get a realistic sense of the strength of your car accident case and how much compensation you can expect.

5. Notify your insurance company.

Many insurance companies require you to notify them of your accident within 72 hours; others require you to do so “immediately.” Whatever the case, the clock is obviously ticking. So why contact a lawyer first? Because insurance companies are profit-generating entities: if there is a way they can reduce or deny your claim, they will. Get guidance before you speak to your insurance company and certainly before you make any sort of formal statement.

6. Follow doctors’ orders – to the letter.

If your doctor prescribes medications or therapies, make sure that you keep every appointment and follow every instruction. This is important for your health and wellbeing, to be sure. But it is also important for your car accident case. If your injury is not temporary and/or is severe, you stand to get the most money from a settlement or court decision.

7. Keep a written record of all of your injuries and symptoms.

Record everything. Even if the symptoms seem minor, write them down. You may notice, for example, that you have more frequent headaches or that you are unable to complete tasks that were once easy. Document it all, and save all records from your doctor and any other healthcare providers you see as a result of your accident.

8. If you can, continue to work.

If you are able to return to work, do so, even if your injuries do not allow you to resume a full schedule. It reflects more favorably upon your case if you are working. If you are not, it can send the message that you are just out for money that you don’t really deserve. It’s not always fair, but these types of appearances do play a role in judge, jury, and settlement decisions.

If you are unable to work, do not push it to risk worsening your injuries. Do, however, make sure you have documentation from your medical provider that indicates you are unable to continue your previous employment at this time (and, perhaps, into the future).

9. Do not post about your accident.

Do not vent, post pictures, apologize, or engage in negative talk about the other driver on social media. This will almost certainly backfire on you. In today’s world, anything you say on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another platform can and will be used against you. It will also negatively impact your car accident case.

10. Focus on your recovery.

Do what you need to do to recover from the accident, which, of course, includes following your doctors’ instructions carefully. Focus on your physical recovery, and let us focus on monetary recovery.

How to Protect Your Rights, Build a Strong Car Accident Case, and Get the Most Money

Clayton Trial Lawyers is here to help you navigate the complexity of the legal system and the insurance industry. We will help protect your rights, build a compelling car accident case, and get the most money to which you are entitled. Give us a call today at 833-938-2300 to get started.