In 2018, there were more than 400,000 traffic accidents in Florida resulting in nearly 255,000 injuries. Unfortunately, victims sometimes make mistakes when it comes to dealing with their accident – whether that’s at the accident site, before they seek legal help or during the claim process. Below, we’ve detailed some of the more common types of personal injury claim mistakes accident victims can make across Miami, Naples and the rest of Florida.
Not Seeking Immediate Medical Attention
There are several reasons why you should seek immediate medical attention following an accident. First and foremost, the sooner you go to the emergency room or see a doctor, the quicker you put yourself back on the path to a full recovery. Also, any delay in seeking immediate medical help will often be used against you in a personal injury claim. The insurance carriers and their attorneys will argue that the delay in medical treatment was because your injuries not as severe as claimed. Insurance adjusters will often examine your medical records and adjust their compensation recommendations based on your course of treatment and timing.
Not Taking Photographs at the Accident Site
Preserving evidence can help you prove that the other driver was at fault and can help document your injuries. Clients are often lulled into a false sense of security by the other driver getting the ticket or even admitting at the scene that the crash was their fault. Later, after these same drivers meet with their insurance company representative, they deny any fault for the crash. If you are involved in a car accident and you are physically able, you’ll want to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, damage to the other vehicle and the location of the vehicles where they came to rest after the crash. If time allows, or if you can have a relative come to the scene to help, photographs of the lanes of travel, signs, obstructions and other extenuating factors can help determine accident responsibility. Likewise, if you slip and fall on a spilled substance or trip over an uneven sidewalk, photographs can prove that the condition existed and caused your fall.
Not Taking Your Case One Step at a Time
Accident cases are often considered a marathon and not a sprint. It’s easy as a victim to immediately think about a jury trial or a settlement, but the claim and litigation process often takes time. A typical case follows the below timeline, which can sometimes conclude in months or even years, depending on the complexities of the case.
• Your attorney gathers information such as available insurance limits
• You treat with medical providers as your attorney gathers treatment records
• At the right time, a settlement demand is made with all available information
• If the claim cannot be settled, a lawsuit is prepared and filed
• The other side responds to the lawsuit
• Both the claimant and the defendant ask written questions and request documents, a process called written discovery
• Depositions of the parties and key witnesses are taken, depositions are sworn statements under oath to uncover information
• The case is assigned a trial date
• A court ordered settlement conference, called a mediation, takes place prior to the trial date
• If the case does not settle at mediation, the parties proceed to trial
Testifying at a Deposition or Before a Jury
Remember to only answer the question that is asked. Do not volunteer more information than is necessary. Our experienced Miami accident lawyers will know what questions are likely to be asked, and we will help prepare you so you can provide truthful, accurate answers that help your claim.
Not Asking Questions of your Attorney
The cliché remains true among accident cases as well – there is no such thing as a stupid question. As an accident victim, you need to understand that your Miami or Naples personal injury attorney is working for you. If you have questions or concerns, make sure you raise them with your lawyer.
Settling a Case Before a Complete Medical Diagnosis
Obtaining the right treatment can require time, diagnostic tests and extensive examinations. Often, accident victims are eager to settle quickly because of financial constraints or other extenuating circumstances. Unfortunately, doctors often need time to determine your long-term prognosis. An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to work with your doctor to ensure settlement demands are made at the appropriate time.
Our experienced Miami and Naples accident attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen will put your priorities first. If you or someone you care about has been injured or involved in an accident across South Florida or Southwest Florida, contact the accident lawyers and Miami and Naples personal injury attorneys at Weinstein & Cohen at 305-374-1011 or 239-793-3331, or visit fairnessforall.com for an absolutely free legal consultation to learn more about your options.