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When you've been injured, whether in a car accident or in the workplace, the actions you take immediately following the incident can have huge consequences to your ability to receive compensation. There are several common mistakes people injured in Orlando make that should be avoided at all costs, including but not limited to:
Not Seeking Medical Care and Acting Quickly Enough
It is absolutely crucial to any personal injury claim that there be solid evidence that any injuries you have are documented as such, and are due to the accident that gave rise to the claim. Too many people assume that their injuries aren’t that bad, only to find out--sometimes several days later--that they are more serious than they initially realized. Waiting to seek medical care could make it more difficult to prove that the incident caused your injuries, in part because the negligent party could try to argue that you must not actually have been injured and/or that something else likely caused your injuries.
It is important to note that although Florida law does not bar you from bringing a claim and receiving compensation simply for delaying treatment, the state statute of limitations only allows you four years from the date of your accident to file any claims related to your injuries.
Not Filing a Police Report and Exchanging Insurance Information
This is crucial, even if you do not feel injured or that your car has been damaged. You need to obtain all of this information about the other driver in case you and/or your vehicle is damaged, and in addition, having an official police report can help lend credibility to your claim.
Not Taking Pictures
Similar to obtaining a police report, documenting what happened by taking pictures of anything that is relevant to what caused your injuries can help you establish credibility for any personal injury claims you may need to bring.
Not Speaking With an Experienced Attorney
Working with an attorney—even if you do not want to bring a claim in court, but need assistance simply working with the relevant insurance companies—helps to ensure that your claims are protected and any compensation you are due for your injuries is not compromised. Attorneys are also crucial in assisting with an investigation of the incident and noting where certain additional damages and claims should be pursued.
Proving a Recorded Statement or Other Public Statements
These statements can be used against you in order to reduce your claim or deem you responsible for the accident. This is especially of concern for those who are in shock after an accident and might have an automatic tendency to say “I am sorry,” even if they are in no way responsible for the accident.
Speaking and/or Negotiating with the Other Driver’s Insurance Agent
This is especially dangerous if you have not yet spoken with an experienced attorney because the job of the other driver’s insurance agent is to minimize the liability of the insurance company for which they work. Any interaction with you can be used to justify denying your claim or reducing any compensation you are due.
Signing Anything, Such As a Release or Settlement
Sometimes you will see insurance adjusters seeking to have those involved sign a settlement offer right after the accident. If this is the case, the chances are high that it is for less than the actual value of the claim. In addition, any release that you sign (especially if you sign without your attorney present) could be a document that legally waives any claims that you can bring in court.
Remember, should you ever suffer an injury, be sure to take the proper steps and avoid the mistakes listed above. A qualified attorney can help assist you in getting just compensation.