Personal Injury Claim Mistakes
You’ve been in an accident. You’re injured. The steps you take next (or don’t take!) will have a significant impact on the outcome of your personal injury claim.It could mean the difference between getting the money you need to fully recover and being forced to empty your bank accounts to pay for someone else’s mistake. Here are 5 Mistakes you should avoid increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome.
1. Not calling the police.
Were you injured by another person? Did you have to seek immediate medical attention in the form of EMT, police, or fire services? Did you file a police report to create a clear, detailed record of what happened? Do you have official paperwork and evidence to prove that the event actually occurred? It’s hard to remember in the heat of the moment that you need documentation proving that something the accident happened and getting the details in writing, but it’s necessary.
2. Waiting to see a doctor.
Did you know that, in Florida, you have to seek medical attention within two weeks of getting injured in an accident? Make sure to schedule a doctor’s visit within this time frame or you will lose your right to file a personal injury claim and receive compensation.If you have been in any type of accident, it is important to properly document your injuries. Visit a doctor or go to the emergency room. Even if the injuries do not appear to be serious, they can later escalate into something worse down the road. If you do have a serious injury that requires medical care and have any significant damages to your car or property, you can be sure that hiring a personal injury lawyer will help.
3. Waiting to file your claim.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years – three years if it’s against a city or state government. That may seem like a lot of time, but with doctor’s visits, recovery, and an attempt to get your life back on track, time can pass quickly. If it has been over four years, your claim will most likely be dismissed immediately, so keep that in mind. Don’t wait!.And please, do not accept the first insurance settlement without question: Make sure your Miami personal injury lawyer looks over your insurance settlement. It is not unusual for many insurances claims to be underpaid or even denied. Accident victims are under no obligation to accept insurance compensation outright.
4. Assuming the other party is at completely at-fault.
You can bet that the lawyers for the other party will do everything possible to highlight your actions and hold you at least partially responsible. This matters even outside of car accidents. The insurance adjuster or jury will take into account how much you were at fault in the situation (such as running on wet concrete by a pool in a slip and fall) and deduct your percentage of fault from your total compensation. You and your lawyer have to work hard both to show the other party’s responsibility and why your own actions contributed minimally (or not at all) to the accident that caused your injury.
5. You don’t hire an attorney for a personal injury claim.
While a personal injury claim may seem fairly clear cut, without proper representation you’re essentially denying yourself the best tool in your arsenal. An attorney will be able to verify that the criteria for a personal injury claim are met and that you actually have a case. You will have an expert on your side who will help you gather the evidence you need, deal with legal processes and the insurance company, and generally alleviate the stress of a court proceeding. Without an attorney, it all falls on you – on top of being injured and/or unable to work.When a person has been in an accident, it can be difficult to make smart decisions. Whether you have been in a car accident or suffered a severe injury due to a slip and fall, it can be an extremely stressful situation. But when that injury is the result of negligence, it is important to file a personal injury claim to recover the proper amount of compensation to pay for your medical bills, damages, lost wages along with your pain and suffering. The truth is most people often neglect several details when it comes time to file a personal injury claim. Miami is a great place to live for great year-round weather. But it also has a reputation for bad drivers.
Bonus Car Accident Mistakes to Avoid
Accidents never announce when they are going to happen. When they do, most people do not have the presence of mind to make the right choices. Before you file a personal injury claim in Miami, here are some important mistakes to avoid.
- Avoid speaking to the wrong people: Many people who get into car accidents in Miami spend far too much time talking to the other driver. The only time you should ever communicate with that person is to exchange phone numbers and insurance information. In addition to talking to the wrong people, many accident victims make the mistake of admitting guilt for causing the accident. Even if you did cause the accident, any perceived admission of guilt can be damaging to your personal injury claim.
- Failure to document all injuries and damages: You could be the most trustworthy person in the world. But it does not mean you will be automatically awarded compensation for your personal injury claim. Make sure every piece of damage or injury is properly documented. Make sure your documentation explains where the accident happened, who was involved along with how and where each injury was treated. Also, make sure you have photos or video to provide visual evidence of your accident.
Are Witness Statements Really that Important After a Car Accident?
Many people who have been involved in car crashes ask themselves (and their lawyers) this question: “How important are witness statements and are they really the juggernaut behind your car accident claim?”In short, yes. We brought our Hollywood car accident attorney from the Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, P.A., to spell out the importance of witness statements when it comes to handling a personal injury or property damage claim in Florida, where nearly 400,000 motorists are involved in motor vehicle collisions every year.
How to get witness statements after a car accident?
While Florida laws do not oblige you to speak to witnesses or write down their contact information, it is highly advised that you do get a written statement from each and every witness at the scene of a car accident, get their contact information, and, ideally, convince them to testify in court.Our best car accident attorneys in Hollywood explain that witness accounts usually make a huge difference when juries and judges are reviewing car accidents, trucking accidents, Uber & Lyft accidents and other motor vehicle accidents in Florida.When approaching a witness, write down their name, address and contact information, and either write down what they saw and/or heard or record their statements using your phone or recording device. If a witness believes that the other motorist was at-fault, make sure they indicate it clearly in their statement and provide their reasoning.While it is not necessarily guaranteed that juries and judges will look at the car accident from the perspective of that witness, they will most likely no longer question the credibility of your side of the story (given that it is identical to that of the witness).It is advised to have the witnesses sign and date every page of their written statement. Do not forget to write down their phone number (you may need them during the trial).
Why witness statements are essential for your personal injury claim
Witness statements (the more, the better, as long as they are perfectly in line with your side of the story) are an essential part of your car accident claim as they can:
- Support your claims of innocence (their testimony can either reduce or completely eliminate doubts that you were even partially responsible for causing the accident. This is vital because many at-fault motorists in Hollywood and elsewhere in Florida usually attempt to argue that the other driver, the victim, was somewhat at fault for the crash);
- Support your claims of the other driver’s fault (whether the other motorist was partially or fully responsible for the car accident, witnesses can be invaluable to help the court establish liability);
- Support your claims of injury (you may persuade the court about the scope and extent of your injuries, pain and suffering through witness statements, which can detail your actions and behavior at the scene of the car crash);
- Discredit the other driver’s injury (similarity, witness statements can be vital to disprove the other driver’s claims of a bodily injury. If the at-fault driver is lying that he/she was injured as a result of the collision, too – and maybe even wearing a fake plaster cast – witnesses can discredit his/her injuries by saying that he/she was walking or even running around the scene of the accident).
If used properly by an experienced Hollywood car accident attorney, witness accounts can drive your personal injury claim toward success. Here at the Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, P.A., our lawyers know how to obtain effective witness accounts and use them in a way that will maximize the monetary value of your claim.Call our offices at 305-931-6666 or complete this contact form to get a free consultation.If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of others, it is crucial to recovering the maximum amount of settlement to account for your health expenses along with lost and damaged property.The legal team at Neufeld Kleinberg & Pinkiert, P.A. have successfully represented countless men and women recovered the proper compensation they deserve.To learn more, schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options.