Fortunately accidents causing serious personal injury are not an everyday occurrence in Fort Lauderdale but when they do occur you most likely will look for a personal injury attorney for advice. Based on the years of experience that I and my colleagues at Martin, Lister & Alvarez have dealing with clients who have, or think they have, the makings for a personal injury lawsuit there are a number of things that you can do immediately after the accident that can be very helpful for your attorney.
Like all states, Florida has its own set of laws that address a person’s right to seek compensation when they are injured as the result of the negligence of another. However, in recent years those laws have tended to favor the defendant (read insurance company) over the plaintiff making successfully pursuing a case like a slip and fall more difficult.
However, if you know what to do immediately after an accident you can provide your personal injury lawyer the information that she or he can use to put together a solid argument.
What to do if You are Injured in an Accident
Let’s start with the exception and that’s injuries caused by an auto accident. Florida is one of a handful of states that has no-fault auto insurance. Basically this means that you have to file a claim with your own insurance carrier to recover your medical expenses and lost wages. Negligence doesn’t play a role in these cases unless:
- You are permanently disabled
- You suffer extreme scarring or disfigurement
- You lose a bodily function
- You or a passenger is killed
When those conditions exist you can pursue a personal liability suit. Otherwise you have to make a claim with your insurance company and you have to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident or you could be denied coverage.
The key here is to get checked by a medical provider immediately even if you feel ok. Protect what little benefit that you have under your PIP car insurance coverage.
For all injuries, including automobile accidents, you should try to follow these suggestions:
- Get an immediate medical evaluation even if you feel fine.
- Use your cell phone to capture pictures of the scene including the cause of the accident (wet floor, loose railing, etc.) any signage present and location of any security camera that may have recorded the accident.
- If you are in a store, report the accident to a responsible supervisor. Do not admit any fault. Obtain the name and position of the person you reported the incident to.
- Obtain the cell numbers of any witnesses.
- If the accident occurred outside, make sure you record the time and the weather conditions.
When clients provide us with these basics we can get a head start on evaluating the case and assigning resources in preparation of your claim.
If you have any questions regarding a personal injury accident, feel free to call one of the attorneys at Martin, Lister & Alvarez. We will be happy to assist.