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Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in New Port Richey?

Should I Hire a Lawyer After a Minor Car Accident in New Port Richey?

The decision of whether to hire a lawyer after a New Port Richey car accident depends on several factors, including the severity and the complexity of your accident. Another important factor is the actions you may have taken to diminish the value of your claim.

What To Do After an Accident

What you say and do immediately after a car accident can have a significant impact on any claims for compensation you make down the line. Here is some advice to follow:

  1. Don’t leave the scene of the accident. This is hit and run. Florida can charge this offense as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.
  2. Gather evidence at the scene: Take photographs, get contact details for witnesses, and get the other driver’s contact and insurance details.
  3. Never admit fault, and don’t even say “sorry” just to be polite. The odds are good that both parties share some of the fault. 
  4. Seek immediate medical attention. Nothing is more important from both a medical and a legal perspective.
  5. File a claim with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
  6. Remember that the insurance company is not your friend. Insurance companies are in business to make money, and they don’t make money paying claims.
  7. Obtain the police report and review it carefully. Voice any objections to its contents.
  8. Don’t take the insurance company’s first settlement offer. It will almost certainly be ridiculously low.
  9. Hire a car accident lawyer as soon as you can. Act quickly, but choose wisely.

If you’re not sure whether you need a lawyer, schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Due to the contingency fee pay structure, a personal injury lawyer has no incentive to exaggerate the value of your claim or your chances of winning.

When To Report an Accident to the Police

Florida requires you to report a car accident to the Florida State Highway Patrol (FHP) or the police under any of the following circumstances:

  • The accident resulted in death or injury,
  • The driver left the scene of the accident (hit-and-run),
  • A DUI accident, or
  • An accident with property damage over $500. 

The best practice is to err on the side of caution and alert the police after just about any car accident. Once you call the police, they will fill out a police report. This will help a lawyer negotiate a settlement for your claim. 

Latent Injuries

You need to be careful about leaving the scene of a minor car accident just because you don’t believe anyone suffered an injury. Someone could be hurt and not know it yet. Certain kinds of injuries generate delayed symptoms that might not show up until hours or even days later. Head injuries and damage to soft tissue in the neck and back are notorious for generating delayed-onset injuries.

If you fail to seek prompt medical treatment due to a delayed-onset injury, the opposing party might claim that:

  • Your injuries must not have been serious since you didn’t even bother going to the hospital after the accident; or
  • Your injuries resulted from something that happened after the accident (and therefore, the accident did not cause them).

When in doubt, always seek prompt medical treatment.

False Accusations

Another reason to call the police and the ambulance after an accident is to guard yourself against the possibility of a false accusation by the other driver. The presence of EMT medical personnel and the police will render it more difficult for the other driver to make a false accusation stick. If the other driver does falsely accuse you, you have all the more reason to hire a lawyer. 

Settlement or Lawsuit?

A skilled car accident attorney can often win you a fair settlement in a few weeks. If your injuries and property damage were minor, filing a lawsuit might not be worth it unless you want to stand on principle alone.  

If You Need a New Port Richey Car Accident Lawyer…

You may be asking yourself if you need an attorney after a minor car accident in New Port Richey, FL. There are many reasons to hire a car accident lawyer, not all of which apply to everyone. Schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with a reputable car accident lawyer to help clear your mind on this issue.

Contact the New Port Richey Car Accident Law Firm of Winters & Yonker, P.A. for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in New Port Richey today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #203, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker, P.A. – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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