If you or someone you know has been hurt because of being involved in a serious car, motorcycle, truck or pedestrian crash, there are certain things that you should do. There are also so things you shouldn't do that may very well hurt your chances of obtaining a reasonable financial settlement for your injuries, property damage and lost wages.
When you retain the personal injury law firm of Goldberg Noone Abraham, we counsel all of our clients on things to avoid while in the middle of a motor vehicle accident case.
1). Putting Off Seeking Medical Care
The first and foremost aspect of dealing with the aftermath of being involved in a serious crash is quickly going to a doctor. Putting off seeking appropriate medical care can come back to haunt you, as the opposing insurance company may use that to show your injuries must not have been all that serious. Your physical pain and well-being are the highest priority, and getting properly diagnosed and treated for your injuries needs to happen fast. In fact, NOT seeing a qualified medical provider within a 14-day period immediately after a crash will mean you will lose any of the Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, insurance benefits to which you are legally entitled. (You can read more about that here). Don't ever miss a scheduled doctor's appointment, and it's also a good idea to keep written notes regarding your day-to-day level of pain and other after-effects of your injuries – these can prove vital going forward.
2). Agreeing to Sign Any Releases or Insurance Paperwork
Insurance companies, whether your own or that of the person that hit you, are known for their high-pressure tactics when it comes to getting you to quickly sign some papers. Frankly, they want you to go away, and fast. They do not want to pay their fair share of an accident claim, so you may be asked to sign some sort of release or other forms that could be very harmful to your case. Signing certain insurance paperwork may result in the release of all of your private medical records, and other releases may result in your giving up your rights to any future settlement or the ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. NEVER sign any insurance paperwork before consulting with an experienced and qualified personal injury attorney at the Goldberg Law Firm.
3). Talk About What Happened
It's never a good idea to talk to anyone except your personal injury attorney about your case. This includes not only the insurance adjustors, but also the lawyer for the other driver, any witnesses to the crash, or the driver of any other vehicles involved in the crash. When you're hurt in an accident, your problems become our problems. We're here to take care of all of the hassles involved following being hurt, and we'll handle talking to all of the entities involved to make sure you're properly and aggressively represented, and your legal rights are thoroughly represented.
4). Take the Fist Offer of Settlement
In many accident scenarios, the other guy's insurance company may offer you a check to get you to go away. This will be a minimal amount of money – not nearly enough to take care of your medical costs, repair or replace your car or motorcycle and handle any future medical care you may need. If an insurance company offers you a fast financial settlement, that's a pretty good indication that they feel you may actually have legal standing to sue them for what your case is worth. Don't accept or cash any checks or sign any release forms without having it reviewed by one our attorneys. Doing so means you will not be allowed to seek any further financial compensation.
5). Post ANYTHING on Social Media About Your Accident
We cannot stress this one enough! Today, almost everyone is posting about their lives on so many social media platforms. It can be tempting to go on an online rant about the “idiot that hit you”, or the “incompetency of the insurance company” involved. DON'T DO IT. No photos of your injuries, no photos of your wrecked car or bike, NOTHING. In this high-tech world, even deleted social media posts can be recovered and used against you to hurt your case. And if you've been seriously injured, the last thing you want to do is post photos of you playing beach volleyball, or some other strenuous activity. The last thing you want is to give the impression that you're not as seriously hurt as you are claiming.
6). Not Hiring the Right Personal Injury Attorney
Just because you've been bombarded with endless TV ads for law firms does not mean they'll be a good fit for your specific set of circumstances. Big marketing budgets do not make a lawyer more successful – in fact, some of the more obnoxious advertising you may see every single day is likely that of an out-of-town law firm trying to capitalize on the large number of crashes in Southwest Florida. You would be well advised to consult with a local attorney who knows the Southwest Florida judicial system and the people who will be involved in settling your case. Goldberg Noone Abraham, has offices in Fort Myers, Punta Gorda and LaBelle, Florida. We pride ourselves on our local roots, having opened our doors here 17 years ago. Don't be fooled by slick TV ads.
It Never Costs a Dime to Speak to Us First
Candidly, not every motor vehicle accident requires the need for a personal injury attorney. If you're hurt in a crash, all you have to do is pick up the phone and call us at 239-461-5508 to personally speak to one of our experienced attorneys. We'll listen to your details about what happened to you, and offer real-world advice about what you should do next. In some cases, we may advise that you do not have a legal case for obtaining a financial settlement – and it never costs you a thing to find out.