As a general rule, you should never admit fault for a car accident in Florida, regardless of whether you believe you are actually at fault for the collision. Admitting fault to either a police officer or an insurance company can result in you and your own insurance company being responsible for paying out damages to the other parties involved.
It is important that you seek assistance following a car accident and give an honest report of what happened to the police officer who attends the scene. However, you may not be aware of all of the details, and there may have been other contributing factors that caused the accident, as the cause of car accidents is not always straightforward.
Although we understand that accident victims may feel at fault in a car accident and may want to admit this out of honesty, we recommend that you should always avoid admitting fault and contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible following a car crash. Here at The Law Place, we can help determine fault in a car accident and ensure that you get the compensation you are owed.
Our law firm has over 75 years of combined experience in a range of practice areas, and we have a team of experienced car accident lawyers who are ready to help with your case. We offer a free consultation for you to speak with a car accident lawyer about your personal injury claim with no strings attached. We will help investigate your case to determine whether you or the other driver was at fault for the accident and ensure that you are still able to recover compensation.
Call us today at (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why Should I Not Admit Fault in a Car Accident?
There are several reasons why you should always avoid admitting fault in a car accident, including the following:
- You don’t have all the facts – Many accident victims feel an urge to admit fault as they believe they are partially responsible and because this is the right thing to do. However, there is no way of knowing for sure why your car crash happened prior to holding an investigation. It may transpire later that the car accident was actually caused by a manufacturing defect, negligence on behalf of the other driver, or poor road conditions.
- You can’t change your statement – Once you give a statement to law enforcement admitting fault for the car accident, you may be unable to change this if it turns out that you actually didn’t cause the accident. Even if you are successful in changing it, an insurance company or a member of the police may still question why you gave the initial statement admitting fault and use this as a way to devalue your claim.
- You may be emotional following the accident – Most car accidents are stressful and quite traumatic, so it is understandable for your emotions to be high following a collision. However, when our emotions are high, we sometimes lack clear judgment, and it is easy to misconstrue a situation or admit fault for the accident when you didn’t actually cause it. We recommend that you take some time to calm down following the car crash before speaking with law enforcement.
How to Avoid Admitting Fault in a Car Accident
Although you may seem under pressure to admit fault in a car accident or to divulge as much information as possible to the police, there are some things you can do to ensure that you don’t admit fault. Once you follow these steps, you will not get into trouble for not cooperating with police at the accident scene, and at the same time, you won’t be dragged into admitting fault for a crash that wasn’t your fault:
- Be honest with the police about what happened, but refrain from blaming the car accident on yourself or the other driver. Give objective details from your perspective and refrain from giving too much information.
- Don’t apologize for the accident.
- Never agree to make a recorded statement with the other party’s insurance company after the crash. You may accidentally admit fault or make a comment that the insurance adjuster will then use to devalue or throw out your claim. Always speak with a lawyer before making a recorded statement with insurance offices.
- Refrain from speaking with insurance companies or an insurance adjuster before speaking with a car accident attorney.
- Contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Once you contact an attorney, they can assess your case and speak with the police, your own insurance company, and the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf. Lawyers are experienced in handling personal injury claims, and they know how to speak with insurance companies objectively to ensure that the accident victim isn’t found liable for the crash.
How Is Fault Determined By an Insurance Company in Car Accident Claims?
As Florida is a no-fault state, all auto accident victims must seek compensation from their own insurance company first for any personal injury or property damage they have sustained. This law requires that all drivers take out personal injury protection (PIP) coverage of at least $10,000 in addition to property damage coverage of the same value.
As such, if you are involved in a car accident in Florida and are seeking compensation to cover your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, or pain and suffering, your first point of call will be to make a car accident claim with your own insurance company. They will compensate you for your harm regardless of whether you were at fault up to the extent of your own policy.
However, for some auto accident victims who have suffered serious injuries, the compensation they require to cover their medical bills exceeds what is covered under their own insurance policy. In this situation, an accident victim may be required to file a claim against the other driver’s auto insurer or the driver themselves. This is when Florida’s comparative negligence laws come into play.
Comparative Fault Laws
The State of Florida follows a system of comparative fault or comparative negligence. This means that more than one party can be found at fault for a car accident, and the percentage of fault will determine how much compensation you receive for your injuries. Comparative negligence laws are another reason why it is important not to admit fault for a crash.
There are multiple reasons for a car accident happening, and it may not be solely one party’s fault. For example, if you were texting or driving distracted when the accident happened, but the other party failed to obey traffic signals and crashed into you, you can both be held partially responsible for the accident. If a court or an insurance adjuster determines that you were 30% responsible for the accident and the other driver was 70% at fault, then your compensation will be reduced by 30%, accordingly.
However, if you admitted fault to either an adjuster or in a police report, this could be used against you when determining your level of fault in a personal injury claim. Schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced accident lawyer from our law firm today to better understand Florida’s comparative negligence laws and to be guided on what to say to insurance companies.
Determining Fault in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
In some car accident cases, you may have to file a claim against the other driver for compensation, particularly if you suffered severe injuries or if a loved one was tragically killed as a result of the crash. Once you file a lawsuit, you have to navigate the personal injury law system, which is different from dealing with insurance companies.
To get a fair settlement in a lawsuit, you have to demonstrate that the other driver owed you a duty of care, that they breached this duty of care through negligence, which could include running a stop sign or driving under the influence (DUI), that this breach of duty caused you to suffer an injury, and that you are entitled to damages as a result.
If the other party claims that you are at fault, a judge or jury will determine fault based on the evidence and documentation required and decide whether you or the other driver caused the collision. Even if you admit blame for the accident, the other party may not have enough evidence to prove this in a court of law, as they have to demonstrate that your traffic violation or negligence directly caused their injuries.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident when you have admitted fault, you should speak with one of our car accident attorneys. They can help build a strong case on your behalf to ensure that you are not found liable for the other driver’s injuries.
What Should I Do Following a Car Accident?
There are certain steps you should always take following a car accident to ensure, firstly, that you and all other parties are safe and, secondly, to ensure that you get the maximum compensation you are owed for your injuries.
- Seek medical treatment – Regardless of whether you have suffered severe injuries in a car accident, you should always seek medical treatment immediately. The responding medical officer or your doctor will write up medical records, which will be of huge importance to your accident claim.
- Contact law enforcement – The police officers who attend to the scene will write up police reports detailing the events of the accident, including testimonies from you and the other parties involved. Again, it is extremely important that you don’t admit fault or make polite apologies for the accident as this may affect your ability to recover compensation.
- Collect evidence – It is recommended that you gather as much evidence from the accident scene as possible, including photos and videos of your own vehicle and the other drivers, witness testimonies, and the vehicle and insurance information of the other party involved.
- Contact your insurance company – You are required by law to contact your own insurance office immediately following a road accident. It is important to remember that the priority of insurance adjusters is to make a profit, and they will use the information you give them to try and devalue your claim or not pay you out. Give them as little information as possible and never admit fault.
- Contact an attorney – We recommend that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible following a collision, especially if you were partially at fault. They can take over your case from the get-go and speak with insurance adjusters, lawyers, and law enforcement on your behalf to ensure that you are not found liable for the accident.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for Me?
Speaking with an insurance company or a member of the police after a car accident is stressful, and often victims are in shock about what has happened and, as a result, end up taking a portion of the blame for the collision. Further, if the other driver claims that you are at fault after the accident occurred, you may be more likely to admit blame and politely apologize.
Once you admit fault, it is difficult to go back and retract this statement, as police may have written it on the accident report, which will then be used as evidence against your claim. If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida, you should always seek legal representation as soon as possible before speaking with any insurance office.
Lawyers are experienced in dealing with car accidents, and they can guide you on what to say to ensure that you are not blamed for the collision. Once they take on your case, they will investigate it thoroughly to find out exactly why the collision occurred and whether the other party can be held liable. They will take into account all the factors that caused the accident and build up a strong case on your behalf to ensure that you receive a fair settlement.
Additionally, they can speak with lawyers and insurance offices on your behalf to ensure that the information you have given at the scene of the accident is not used against you to devalue your claim. Having a lawyer is extremely important for car accident cases, particularly if you are partially responsible, and having legal representation increases your chances of receiving compensation substantially.
Contact The Law Place Today
If you have been involved in a car accident in Florida and you are wondering whether you should admit fault for the collision, you should seek legal advice immediately. Admitting fault in these cases is never a good idea, as this will be used against you when you are trying to seek compensation for your injuries.
Here at The Law Place, we have over 75 years of experience in dealing with car accident cases, and we have built up a strong attorney-client relationship through these years of practice. We offer a free legal consultation for you to speak with one of our lawyers with no strings attached. Our firm’s priority is to ensure that you get fair compensation for the harm you have suffered in a car accident.
Call us today to schedule a free case evaluation at (941) 444-4444. Our phone lines are always open.