What to do in case of an accident.
In Florida, if you are injured due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to collect money for your injuries. If you have been injured in any type of accident, it is very important that you speak with an attorney immediately after the accident to obtain information regarding your legal rights.
One reason to speak with an attorney as soon as possible is so the attorney can begin to investigate the incident and obtain the necessary evidence to prove your case. Since you are the one making the claim, you have the burden of proving two (2) things. First, you must prove that the other person did something wrong (negligence) and then what that person did caused your injuries. (damages) If you cannot prove either of these, you may not have a case.
Another reason why it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible is because an attorney is trained and experienced in handling these types of claims. An attorney can advise you what to do and what to say when speaking with your insurance company. The insurance companies have attorneys advising and working for them so it is crucial to have the advice of an attorney just to level the playing field and keep you informed of your rights.
This is the most important part of your claim. The longer you wait to call an attorney, the greater the opportunity for any evidence of negligence to disappear. It could be in the form of a surveillance tape from a department store that taped your fall or a dangerous parking lot area with a cracked surface that caused you to trip. The more time that passes, the greater the opportunity for the negligent person or company to fix the danger.
For example, an investigation associated with an automobile accident involves several steps to gather important information. First, always get a police report. Many times the other driver will ask you not to call the police and offer to pay for your damages. Then days later when he or she does not agree on the amount, you are stuck with no proof of the accident.
In order to provide your case and maximize your recovery, photographs should be taken of the accident scene and all cars involved. You can usually do this with your cell phone. Take a few moments to memorialize the accident scene and the cars involved by taking pictures and e-mailing them to your attorney. They will be very valuable when your attorney is negotiating a settlement with the insurance company.
Lastly, try to get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. Give this information to your attorney immediately so he can try to get a sworn statement from the witness. Otherwise, as time passes, witnesses will relocate or forget all of the details of your accident. This information is very important in proving your claim.
After the initial investigation and liability or negligence is determined, all of your medical records will be requested to document your injuries. Hospital and doctor’s records are the most important part of your claim for damages and they play a huge role in determining the value of your claim. Make sure you tell your doctor everything that hurts you and how it affects your activities of daily living. If it is not in your medical chart, it is very difficult to prove that the injury ever existed.
You control what the doctor writes in your chart, so make sure you communicate with your doctor to obtain the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Also, make sure you describe in detail your injuries and complaints so the doctor can document them accurately.
If your claim cannot be amiably settled, then your attorney will advise you of the advantages and risks of filing a lawsuit and having your case decided by a judge or jury.