What should I do immediately after an automobile accident?
- KEEP CALM. Call 911 to report the accident and be sure to advise the 911 operator if anyone is injured. In Florida, you are required to have a Traffic Crash Report completed if the crash results in death, bodily injury, or at least $500 in property damage. Even if the other driver begs you not to call 911 to report the accident, you still need to.
- MOVE YOUR VEHICLE. If your vehicle is a hazard for other vehicles, move it out of the way if it is safe to do so.
- AVOID FURTHER INJURY. Turn off the missions of all vehicles involved. Do not move an injured person unless he or she is in immediate danger. Try to keep the injured person warm until paramedic assistance arrives. Stand away from the vehicles in case they are hit again.
- AVOID CONFRONTATION AT THE SCENE. The scene of an automobile crash is no place to get into an argument with the other driver over who is at fault. It is best not to discuss how the accident happened. Just wait for the police and cooperate fully with the police. Make sure the responding officer or traffic aide fully hears and understands your side of the story. Speak firmly and commonly without being belligerent or argumentative.
- EXCHANGE INFORMATION. Although you should not discuss responsibility for the accident with the other drivers, you should exchange contact information. In particular, you will need to exchange drivers license information, vehicle registration information, and insurance information.
- SECURE WITNESS INFORMATION. Even if the other driver admits fault, it is still important to obtain the names, home addresses, work addresses, and all the telephone numbers of as many witnesses as possible.
- SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION. Even if you experience what you consider to be minor pain, you should still seek medical attention. Sometimes what it might first appear to be a minor injury can develop into something more serious. If you wait to see you tension, your condition may worsen because you failed to obtain medical treatments sooner. Moreover, it is important that your injuries be documented by a healthcare provider. Without such proof, you may unwittingly hurt your own personally personal injury claim. Insurance companies always scrutinize the amount of time that you waited to obtain medical care after you were injured. If you wait too long, the insurance company almost certainly will seek to use that information against you.
- TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS. Take photographs of any injuries to your body. Also, before your vehicle is repaired be sure to take photographs of all areas of your vehicle that are damaged.
- PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS. Although you generally must provide reasonable cooperation with your own insurance company’s investigation, you do not have to provide the same walk ration to the insurance company for the at fault party. Before you talk to an insurance company representative on the telephone, make sure you fully understand what insurance Company it is, and who they ensure. Often, shortly after an automobile accident, and insurance company will contact you, ask you a number of questions on the telephone, and will ask your permission to record the conversation. You should understand that you are under no duty to give the other driver’s insurance Company any sort of statement concerning the automobile accident. You should call Andrea McMillan before giving a statement to anyone – – even your own insurance company.
- CALL US AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Andrea McMillan has extensive experience handling automobile accident cases. She cares, and will help you take all the appropriate steps to protect your rights and interests. Contact her now.
What is the difference between a “claim” and a “lawsuit”?
Filing a claim is usually the first step in trying to resolve a personal injury matter. Filing a claim means that your lawyer notifies the responsible the party or parties and the appropriate insurance companies for those parties, that you will be asserting a claim for damages for your injuries. The insurance company will assign a representative to monitor the care you are receiving and two evaluate your claim for damages. Your lawyer will gather and present the facts regarding why the party or parties is at fault for causing your injuries. Further, your lawyer will gather and present all evidence regarding the losses you have suffered, such as loss of income, damage to your vehicle, and evidence regarding your physical and emotional injuries. When you have reached the point of getting all of the medical care that you need, your lawyer will send a demand for compensation to the insurance company, and an attempt to settle the matter. If the insurance company is unwilling to settle the matter, were all not offer sufficient compensation, then you and your lawyer will decide together about taking the next step, which is filing a lawsuit.
A lawsuit is an official legal event where you soon the individual or corporation that is written responsible for your injuries. When a lawsuit is filed, the insurance company will hire a lawyer to represent the party or parties that caused your injuries. Typically, that lawyer will work to establish that you were not injured at all, or will attempt to minimize the effect of your injuries on your life. One way insurance company lawyers attempt to do that is by hiring doctors to examine you with the hope of establishing that you are not injured at all, or that you are not as injured as you actually are. Lawsuits involve giving and taking depositions, which is testimony that is taken under oath, and often involve court hearings so the judge can rule on certain issues pertaining to how the lawsuit is conducted. Sometimes during a lawsuit, both sides reach an agreement that resolves the entire case for a certain sum of money. However, if there is no such agreement, it may be necessary and appropriate to ask the judge to schedule a trial, where a jury decides the issues of fault, and an appropriate amount to compensate you for your injuries and other losses.
Andrea McMillan is very experienced at handling lawsuits and has successfully tried cases to jury verdict with stellar results. In addition Andrea McMillan is naturally comfortable guiding injured clients through their lawsuits, emotionally and otherwise. Contact our firm and let her help you.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit after my injury or loss?
Florida law sets a specific amount of time in which you are required to file a lawsuit after an incident giving rise to a lawsuit. That amount of time is called a “statute of limitations.” The statute of limitations will vary according to the wrongful act that is at issue. Typically in Florida, and injured person must bring a lawsuit within four years from the date of injury or loss, or be forever barred from bringing such a lawsuit. However, that amount of time can vary, depending on the circumstances of the injury or loss. It is extremely important that you contact a lawyer immediately to preserve your rights after you or your loved one suffered injury. Andrea McMillan will analyze all factors affecting your statute of limitations. Don’t wait; contact her today.
Is it true that the insurance company on the other side might hire a doctor to examine me?
Florida law often gives an insurance company the right to hire a doctor of its choosing to examine and injured person and render an opinion regarding the nature and extent of that person’s injuries. The public is generally not aware that many of these doctors are paid enormous sums of money by the insurance company on an annual basis to conduct these examinations, in order to generate a medical opinion that favors the insurance company. Often times, the doctor will render an opinion that an injured person is truly not injured, or is not as severely injured as claimed, or that the injury was caused by something other than the accident or injury that is the subject of the claim or lawsuit.
Andrea McMillan has dealt with many such doctors who have rendered these types of opinions that are unfair to injured people. Andrea believes that it is important to fight fire with fire when it comes on to these doctors and their examinations. She has cross-examined many of these doctors in the courtroom and has exposed the truth behind their opinions. First, she will go to court to ask the judge to narrow the scope of any such examination, so that you do not have to undergo any unnecessary testing or answer any unnecessary questions that are asked by the insurance company doctor. Second, Andrea McMillan will actually go to the examination with each client to ensure that nothing improper occurs. She will also hire a videographer to videotape the entire examination, in an attempt to proceeding “honest.” If necessary down the road, the videotape can be shown to a jury deciding the issue of the value of the injuries. Third, Andrea will use the legal process to gather the necessary proof of the bias that these doctors have against injured people, including their financial motivation to render unfair opinions against injured people. These are some of the ways that Andrea
How much money is your claim or case worth?
How is the value for a personal injury case determined? Every injury claim must be considered on its own merits. In assessing the value of your claim or case, there are many factors that this law firm will investigate and consider. These factors include the following:
What is the extent and nature of your injuries?
Did the actions of someone else contribute to your accident or injuries?
Did you in some way contribute to the accident or injuries?
Is evidence available to prove your case?
Do medical reports state that your injuries are permanent?
Are there witnesses, or is the testimony of witnesses available?
Will you be permanently disfigured?
How severely will your injuries affect you for the rest of your life?
What is the probability of pain or discomfort in the near future and later in your life?
Do you have insurance that will cover this accident or your types of injuries?
Does the party that caused your injuries have insurance, and if so, how much and what kind?
What type of medical treatments do you need?
How much do the treatments cost?
How much income did you lose during treatment and rehabilitation?
Are you disabled? Can you still at work and earn an income?
If you cannot work, when will you be able to return to work, if at all?
Will you have long-term medical bills?
How would a jury most likely perceive you?
How would a jury most likely perceive the person or entity that caused your injuries?
Do I have to pay your firm a consultation fee?
You can discuss your case with us at an initial consultation that will last as long as it takes to fully discuss and analyze your case. Our law firm will never require you to pay us a consultation fee. We will represent you under the contingency fee contract approved by the Florida Supreme Court. Under that contract, you will only pay us attorneys fees if we recover compensation for you. No recovery, no fee, guaranteed.
If you have any further questions or if you or a loved one has suffered injury in an accident, contact us now.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
There is no set time for the duration of a case. Each case has its own set of circumstances and facts that will determine how long the case will take. The typical claim for injuries caused by negligence will resolve within 12 to 18 months from the time that we accept the case. However, If the insurance company refuses to pay you a fair settlement, then it may be necessary to file a lawsuit in order to obtain the compensation you deserve. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, your case will take longer.
The complexity of the facts of the case is one factor affecting the length of a case. Another factor affecting the duration of the case is how long it will take you to reach “Maximum Medical Improvement” (“MMI”). Your treating doctor will determine when you reach the point of maximum medical improvement, which is, essentially, when you have reached the point where you are as good as you’re going to get.
It would be unwise to attempt to resolve your case before you have reached maximum improvement, because you may still be healing, and we may lack a good understanding of what your medical condition will be like going forward. When you resolve your case, in exchange for the compensation you will receive, you will most likely be required to sign a release in which you will give up all future rights to make any claim for your injuries. You can never come back and demand more money. For that reason, it is prudent to wait and see how your injuries develop.
Our law firm is committed to bringing your case to a conclusion at the time that legally and ethically is in your best interest. If you have any further questions or if you or your loved one have suffered injury in an accident and would like to speak to us, please contact us now.