Do’s and Don’ts After an Injury
If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. You will want to seek compensation for your medical bills, income loss, pain and suffering, and other harms and losses you have suffered as a result of the accident that caused your injuries.
Your first question might be: “What should I do and not do if I sustain an injury in an accident?” It is a valid question to ask because there are do’s and don’ts you should know in order to preserve your personal injury claim.
At the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff, P.A., our team has the resources, experience, and knowledge to focus on your best interests while you recover. We proudly assist clients in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or in the surrounding area, including Davie, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Weston, Plantation, and Sunrise. Our team is here every step of the way – you do not have to face these challenges alone.
Florida Is a No-Fault State
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents, but that does not mean no one is at fault for causing one. Personal injury claims may be filed by victims against the liability insurance policy carried by the negligent party.
Initially, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other expenses you incur, as a result of your injuries. This is the indication of the no-fault system. However, if your injuries are serious, disfiguring, permanent, disabling, or you are left with significant scarring, you can file a third-party claim against the negligent party’s liability coverage as well.
You will have many questions after the crash. “Should I talk to the insurance adjuster?” “What if I’m injured but don’t have insurance?” “Should I take what the insurance company is offering me?” Your lawyer will have answers for you. In the meantime, remember that the success of your third-party claim may depend on what you do after the crash.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Injury Claims in Florida
There are many actions you should take, and many you should not. Here are 10 to consider. We will be happy to discuss more with you.
Do take notes. While the accident is still fresh in your mind, write down anything you can remember about events leading up to the crash and what happened afterward. Revisit and revise the list as you recall anything else.
Do consult with a personal injury attorney. Hiring an attorney who has successfully represented clients in similar claims is a wise move. Your attorney will guide you through the process, provide counsel, and negotiate with the insurance company. This is the best way to avoid mishaps.
Do keep track of your medical treatment and expenses. Maintain a calendar with all doctor’s appointments and other provider visits, such as physical therapists. Gather copies of all medical bills, even if your PIP coverage paid for them. Keep copies of all medical records related to your injuries.
Do maintain an impact journal. Write down regularly how the accident and your injuries are affecting your life. Injuries can affect more than your physical health. They can affect your emotional and mental health, your financial well-being, personal relationships, your employment, and more.
Do keep copies of all documents and information related to your claim. In addition to your medical records and medical bills, you should keep copies of virtually anything related to your claim. This would include documents from work reflecting time off due to your injuries, with or without pay, copies of income earned, and correspondence from your employer. Maintain copies of the crash report, witness statements you might have taken at the scene, insurance and contact information of the negligent party and others involved. You should also keep copies of all explanations of benefits (EOBs) and correspondence from your PIP insurer. If you have to hire someone to perform services you usually would do yourself, make and keep copies of payment receipts.
Don’t leave the scene of the accident too early. Of course, if you are injured severely enough, emergency personnel may take you from the scene of the crash quickly. However, if you are able to, exchange information with the others involved in the accident. You want to make sure you cannot be accused of fleeing the scene.
Don’t talk to the negligent party’s insurance adjuster. Talk to a personal injury attorney first, and let your attorney communicate with the adjuster. The adjuster will want to record a telephone interview with you. While they certainly have a right to some information, the adjuster will ask you questions designed to make you divulge additional information, accept blame, and contradict yourself.
Don’t talk about the accident to anyone except your lawyer. This includes friends and family. Only with your personal injury attorney do you have strict confidentiality protections. Avoid posting anything about the accident, your injuries, and your personal injury claim on social media as well. Until your claim is settled, you should avoid posting any information about it on social media.
Don’t neglect treatment as prescribed for your injuries. Even if you exhaust your PIP coverage and don’t have health insurance, follow your healthcare provider’s treatment plan to the letter. First, doing so gives you the best chance to recover from your injuries. Second, not complying with the treatment plan harms your personal injury claim. The insurance company will undervalue your claim due to both a lack of medical bills and to any ongoing issues with your injuries.
Don’t accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company. Insurance companies are notorious for offering as little compensation as possible out of the gate. They hope you will accept the offer before you even know the full extent of your injuries. They will bank on your financial desperation and settlement negotiation experience and try to close the claim after paying you far less than your claim is worth. Make sure you do not agree to or sign anything without first consulting a personal injury attorney.
Make Informed Decisions, Every Step of the Way
You are the only person who will make decisions regarding your personal injury claim. However, we are here to assist you in the right direction. We want our clients to benefit from our experience and expertise. Answering questions and offering guidance are what we are here to deliver.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else, call our team of attorneys at the Law Offices of McCullough & Leboff, P.A., in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We don’t charge for consultations, and you don’t pay us until you collect a settlement. Call now.