Avoid These Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Car Accident Claim

All of the most common mistakes that can ruin your car accident claim are completely avoidable. Simple, small, and regrettable mistakes that clients make very soon after the accident can ruin yourinjury case.

Most of us want to know how to win a car accident lawsuit. And there are many ways to win a lawsuit, or at least come out with a favorable outcome. Far too many to name here. But there are a few guaranteed ways you can ruin your car accident lawsuit. Our car accident lawyers see clients make these simple mistakes far too often and it can negatively impact the outcome of your case. We want to mention a few of the steps you should take to avoid losing your case here.

How to Lose a Car Accident Case

checklistPlease remember, even if you have made some of these mistakes, your case is not over. Call and speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible. All attorneys can and will ensure that you get compensated for your accident claim. Don’t make the judgment yourself. Call and ask!


Keep in mind that though some of these mistakes may decrease your overall compensation, you will still receive some compensation. So call, speak to a lawyer! If you’ve been in a car accident, or experience an injury and you’re making a claim of some kind, we urge you to keep these mistakes in mind and to avoid them whenever possible.

cell phone with a stop signal in the middle of the screen.


Mistake 1: Not Calling The Police & Getting a Police Report

There’s a famous line that goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove”. In the case of your car accident claim, this quote is completely accurate. Having proof makes all the difference.

One of the first mistakes that can ruin your car accident claim is simply not calling the police and not filing a police report after the car accident.

If you leave the scene of the accident without a police report, your chances of a successful car accident claim and a high settlement amount are diminished. Though not always the case, the police report can and usually does play a major role in determining fault and ensuring that the injured parties have a case.

The police report contains important information related to the car accident including factual evidence, eyewitness accounts, injuries, written statements, arrests and citations, and calls for medical assistance. Having a police report created at the scene of the accident is one of the best things for your case.

If you receive a police report you disagree with, you can have the police report adjusted in rare cases. It’s better to have one than to not have one. Call the police!


Mistake 2: Waiting Too Long To Get Medical Attention

Clients who decide to ‘wait and see what happens’, or clients who ‘tough it out’, will usually always regret their decision. Waiting to see a doctor is the second most common mistake that can ruin your car accident claim.

Your case success rate increases the sooner you receive medical treatment after the car accident. Visit a doctor right away and you will earn a higher settlement. The statistical data proves that point in simple terms. Accident victims that receive medical evaluation and treatment immediately following the incident, have a stronger case.

The longer you wait to see a doctor, the more difficult it will be for your auto accident attorney to prove that your injuries are a result of the car accident and not something that may have happened after the accident.

The insurance company could also argue that you were injured after the accident, or that your injury was mild but you did not see a doctor, did not follow treatment and you made it worse! That means they could argue that now you are partially responsible for your injuries. And they will argue anything they can do to avoid paying you the money you deserve. Don’t give them a reason to pay you less.

Don’t make this common mistake after your car accident, go see a doctor right away. Even if you feel fine. Remember that adrenaline, swelling, and other factors may prevent you from really knowing how much damage was done. Let a medical professional diagnose you.


Mistake 3: Not Doing What Your Doctor Tells You to Do

So, what if you do go to the doctor’s office and they tell you that you need therapy, and you need to stop lifting heavy objects and you need to ice your shoulder every night… and you don’t follow those instructions? Then you will directly impact your settlement amount. Simple. If you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions, you will negatively affect your case.

The insurance company is looking for more reasons to pay you less. If they can prove you are less injured or that some of your injuries are due to your own actions, you will earn less. If you don’t do what the doctor asks, you will decrease the chances of success for your car accident case. This is such an easy mistake to avoid. Just follow the doctor’s orders!

You must follow all your doctor’s instructions and keep to your treatment plan no matter what. Go to your therapy sessions, do your exercises at home, and avoid any activities that your doctor has told you to avoid.

Don’t make the mistake of going out on a jet ski if you have a neck injury. You will regret that decision medically and legally.


Mistake 4: Spending Too Much Time on Social Media

Never assume anything you post on social media is private. Always post with the assumption that everyone, including the insurance company, can see it. All your pictures, posts, and messages can and will be found and used against you.

Do not talk about your case on social media and, if you can, avoid all social media until the case is over. Social media can be a great way to ruin your case accident claim for two very important reasons:

  1. Some clients post pictures of themselves engaging in activities that they have been asked to avoid by their doctor. The defense finds these pictures and argues they are not as injured as they claimed.
  2. Some clients speak about their case or say things that the insurance company or other lawyer then use against them in court.

You will be surprised how much a little admission here or there could change your case. Even if you didn’t mean to say it, or it was taken out of context. It can and will be used against you. So avoid social media at all costs.

Going into too much detail on social media is one of the most common mistakes that can ruin your car accident claim. We recommend avoiding all social media in general and turning all your settings to private.


Mistake 5: Accepting The First Settlement You Get

The first rule of any negotiation is to never accept the first offer. The insurance company is going to offer you a lower settlement because they want to pay you less, it’s that simple. They will do everything in their power to limit your claim and the first trick is to offer you a low settlement.

But after a serious car accident, the costs begin to rack up quickly. Many accident victims are saddled with medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You should be compensated fairly for the accident.

Insurance companies know that accident victims are stressed, in pain, and in need of money. Insurance adjuters use these factors against accident victims. They will intentionally try to settle for less than the accident may be worth. For some, this is an opportunity to save money on costs. Do not take the first settlement check you are offered before consulting with a car accident attorney. Because it is highly likely that you will be leaving lots of money on the table.


Mistake 6: Doing It All Without a Lawyer

Speaking of lawyers. Many people Google search: “Should I handle my own personal injury claim?” The answer is probably, no. Especially for major car accidents.  Negotiating an accident claim without a lawyer is almost always a bad idea.

Studies show that people who hire a car accident lawyer earn on average 3X more on their claims. Hiring a lawyer will increase your settlement offer. Remember that a lawyer will also ensure that you are compensated for pain and suffering.

Settlement amounts differ from case to case but you can click here to read about some injury case results and the settlement amounts for each:

$8.2 Million

For a truck driver injured on the job and unable to work his regular hours...

$5.5 Million

For a man injured in a shooting during a Halloween party that could have been...

$1.3 Million

For a group of men who were injured in a Chipotle Mexican Grille when the...

$1.1 Million

For the largest slip and fall verdict in Florida when a man broke his neck...

Read More

*Amounts before attorney and medical fees and costs. Each case is unique - clients may or may not obtain the same or similar results.

Collect Your Own Evidence

listKeep track of all of your own medical records, emails, pictures from the accidents, and even a journal that details your pain and suffering since the accidents.

Keep everything! All these documents could be very helpful later on. Be sure to let your lawyer know that you have everything and that you are keeping records as well. Your attorney may want to refer to some of the notes you’ve kept.


Remember, Ignorance is Not a Defense

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat is Latin and it means “ignorance of law excuses no one”. Lawyers love to dabble in Latin and this article is no exception. Just because you didn’t know you were making a mistake doesn’t mean you can’t be held accountable for the consequences of that mistake.

It means that just because you don’t understand the law doesn’t mean you are allowed to use your lack of understanding as an excuse for breaking the law.

The point of this phrase is to underscore the fact that many people ruin their car accident claims by making silly mistakes that are completely avoidable. They will often say “I had no idea!”… well, unfortunately, that is no excuse in the eyes of the law.

About The Author

Michael Feiner

Michael Feiner

The Florida BarFlorida Bar Young Lawyers DivisionMillion Dollar Advocates ForumMillion Dollar Advocates ForumBest Workers Compensation Attorneys in MiamiBest Car Accident Lawyers in MiamiLawyers of distinction

Michael A. Feiner is a partner in the Fort Lauderdale office of Steinger, Greene & Feiner. Since being admitted to the Florida Bar in 2001, Michael has devoted his practice to representing plaintiffs throughout Florida in various tort and strict liability cases and has successfully litigated cases against national insurance companies, large public companies, and governmental agencies, resulting in tens of millions of dollars for his clients. He has handled all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases on behalf of plaintiffs, including automobile negligence, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability, dog bites, and sexual harassment. Michael’s product liability case against Microsoft, as well as his representation of victims of sexual harassment and abuse by physicians, has garnered him important media attention at both the local and national levels. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and successfully argued an appeal to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. In the reported decision Ortlieb v. Butts, 849 So.2d 1165 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003), Michael persuaded the Fourth District Court of Appeal that a directed verdict on liability was appropriate where the defendant did not rebut the presumption of negligence of a rear driver in a rear-end collision.