How to Protect Yourself and Your Rights After a Truck Accident in Florida
If you have been involved in a Florida truck accident, then your world has likely been turned upside down. It is understandable that you likely do not know what steps to take next. To make matters worse, you are likely to be contacted immediately by the defendant’s insurance adjusters. Understanding how to protect your rights is key to making sure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.
This article will address four key ways in which you can protect your rights after a trucking accident. These four steps include:
- Seeking immediate medical care
- Not dealing with insurance adjusters directly
- Understanding that the process of gaining compensation can take time
- Only discussing your situation with your lawyer
We will discuss each of these topics in turn.
Seek Medical Care Immediately Following a Trucking Accident
If you have been hit by a semi-truck, then it will likely be necessary for an ambulance to arrive and take you to the hospital. It is vital that you not decline care even if you believe that you are not seriously injured. If the accident was minor enough that an ambulance does not have to be called, then it is important that you go straight to the hospital on your own. Failing to seek immediate care can result in the defense claiming that your injuries stemmed from some other event that occurred in between the accident and the time at which you went to the hospital. By going straight to the hospital, you can establish a fact pattern that shows that the truck accident is what caused your injuries.
One reason why some may not seek immediate medical care is a belief that they are “fine” following a wreck. Many injuries, however, can worsen over time or even have delayed symptoms. A common example of this can be a victim who has suffered a blow to the head. They may initially believe they are fine. As time goes on, however, they begin to experience worsening headaches, blurred vision, etc. Even if you believe that you have not been seriously injured, a trip to the hospital is vital to gain a better understanding of your actual health situation.
A second reason why some decline care is a fear of expense. While it is true that healthcare is becoming increasingly expensive, injury victims will typically not pay the expenses upfront. If you have been in an accident then medical providers will often be willing to place a lien on any eventual settlement in lieu of being paid immediately. This, in other words, means that you can seek care without having to pay the costs up front.
Do Not Attempt to Deal With Insurance Directly
Insurance adjusters for the defendants will typically contact you as soon as possible following an accident. These adjusters will attempt to settle with you directly and will claim that you should not retain an attorney. You must remember that these adjusters are employees of the insurance company. Their role is to get you to settle the case for as little as possible in order to preserve the insurance company’s bottom line. An attorney, by contrast, is charged with protecting your interests, and their goal will be to gain you the largest possible settlement.
The insurance adjusters may attempt to claim that having an attorney will not increase the amount of any settlement which you will receive. The truth, however, is that it is common for these adjusters to attempt to deny liability, only to change course once an attorney becomes involved. By retaining counsel you help to ensure that your rights remain protected.
Understand That it Can Take Substantial Time to Reach a Settlement
No settlement should be reached until your long-term prognosis is reasonably known. Given that truck accidents can involve serious injuries, this means that substantial time may pass before your case settles. If you settle before reasonably knowing whether or not you will fully recover then you run the risk of accepting a settlement that is less than what you will need to cover future lost wages, future medical care, etc.
Consider the following example. Joe is hit by a semi-truck and suffers spinal damage which will require multiple surgeries. Joe accepts an early settlement out of the belief that he will fully recover. After repeated surgeries, however, the doctors declare that Joe will not regain full mobility. He will be partially disabled for life and is unable to return to his former career. Joe’s lost earnings and medical bills will be substantially higher than what was foreseen in his original settlement. Unfortunately, these losses are now out of pocket for Joe as he cannot go back for more money after having settled. He could have prevented this problem by waiting to settle until his prognosis was better known.
Only Discuss Your Situation With Your Lawyer
Only discussing your situation with your lawyer can help to ensure that your interests remain protected. Unfortunately, many accident victims unnecessarily talk about their case to friends, relatives, and they also share information on social media. Comments to others or posts made online, can often be taken out of context. Unnecessary disclosures to others may create a situation where the defense now has evidence to claim that the accident was your fault or that you are not as injured as you claim. It is important to remember that the defense may likely hire investigators and that they are capable of looking at your social media posts. By only discussing your situation with your attorney, you help to avoid potential problems.
Contact Us To Speak With a Florida Truck Accident Attorney
If you have been hit by a semi-truck, then you will likely be dealing with multiple defendants in a very complex case. You need an experienced lawyer at your side. Our firm is devoted to protecting the rights of individuals and we look forward to being of assistance. Contact us online or by telephone at 800-780-8607 to speak with a Florida truck accident attorney.