To learn more about car accident cases, we interviewed Florida car accident Attorney Warren Todd of Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon:
How does a car accident case differ from other injury cases?
Actually, in Florida, there’s a big difference between car accident cases and all other types of injury cases. Florida is a no-fault state, and that only applies to car accident cases. This means that, as it relates to your injuries, your own insurance is supposed to pay for your medical care up to $10,000.
Some people have supplemental insurance that pays more, but essentially everybody has what’s called Florida PIP that pays for at least $10,000 of their medical bills. As a trade-off for that, you have to prove that you have a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability in order to recover for pain, suffering, and the loss of the enjoyment of life. That doesn’t happen in any other type of injury case, just in car crash cases in Florida.
What are some of the challenges of car accident cases?
To me, one of the biggest challenges right now is that we live in an age where we have the internet and social media, and everybody is so used to publishing daily information about their lives for everybody to see. Sometimes people think it’s confidential, that only their friends can see it, but that’s not true. It’s accessible by insurance companies and defense lawyers.
If somebody’s been injured in any type of personal injury case, I’d strongly encourage you not to be active on your social media because it’s a free opportunity for the insurance company or the defense lawyer to evaluate your case by what you’ve posted on social media.
What should I do if I’m injured in a car accident?
If you’re injured in a car wreck, one of the first things that you need to do is to call law enforcement. A lot of people don’t call law enforcement because they weren’t involved in what they consider to be a major wreck. Florida law requires you to do it, but if you don’t do it, there could easily be a dispute about who was at fault. Maybe you don’t get the person’s accurate information, they don’t give you their insurance, and then suddenly you’re out on your claim.
You also have to preserve the evidence at the scene. Take pictures of the vehicles. Take pictures of the damages. Any type of evidence that might be on the ground, such as gouge marks, skid marks, and the location of the vehicles. It’s really important to preserve the evidence of what the scene looked like right after the crash happened.
Why do I need an injury attorney?
A lot of people think they can do it by themselves, and by the time they get to me with their case, they’ve harmed their case because they didn’t have a lawyer. I would recommend that anyone who has an injury case get a lawyer right away. When the insurance company is calling you and you’re talking to them instead of your lawyer, you can hurt your case. Whatever I say to the insurance company, or whatever your lawyer says, that’s not binding on you.
But a lot of times they want to ask you questions right off the bat about your injuries and how you are feeling. Injuries in this type of setting change over time. You may have a neck injury today, but five days from now or a week from now, you may very well have not only a neck injury but pain down your arm and numbness or tingling in your fingers–which is a very significant finding of a more serious injury. But yet you gave a recorded statement to the insurance company right out of the gate saying, “Well it’s just my neck and it doesn’t hurt that bad.”
If you have been injured in an auto accident in Florida, don’t hesitate to call Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon today at 850-444-4878 for your free case evaluation.