May 20th is Bike to Work Day in the USA. Fresh air, great exercise ..fantastic idea..until you are sideswiped and wind up in the ER or out of work for a few weeks. Not surprisingly: according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department, there are an average of 650 crashes per day and this number goes up in the summer months.
If you’ve been in an accident, take a deep breath and remember these critical tips:
5 TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN YOU’VE BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT
Tip #1: DON’T TALK TO ANYONE.
Yes, you should call the police and then your insurance agent to give them the facts of the accident. DO NOT tell them how you are feeling or that you’re ‘ok’. Your insurance company is not your friend and you are certainly not in good hands. Their purpose is to raise your rates and payout as little as possible on your claims. Don’t give them information that they can use against you.
And PLEASE don’t share anything about your accident on social media! Why? Read how your Facebook post or Tik Tok video can cost you here.
Tip #2: GET AN ATTORNEY:
Why? The insurance company is offering you a quick and what seems to be a generous settlement. So why hire an attorney? From a national study of accident payouts:
After deducting the average 32% contingency fee, accident victims ended up with net payouts that were nearly three times higher, on average, than what those unrepresented received.
These results aren’t surprising. Lawyers know what it takes to build a solid personal injury claim, gather evidence, and deal with insurance adjusters.
And WHO? With billboard ads every 10 feet and TV ads running every 10 minutes, finding the right attorney for your case can be confusing. Every firm has Google reviews, pretty websites, and tons of client testimonials. So how is anyone supposed to find an attorney to represent them?
After representing thousands of claimants for over 35 years, our advice is to pay attention when you first call or come in for your free consultation.
- Did you speak with an attorney or a ‘client specialist’? (a cute name for an intake operator/salesperson)
- Did you find out the name of the attorney that will represent you? (Some firms assign an attorney only after you sign)
- How long did the attorney speak with you?
- Did you get the sense that he/she was rushing you to sign the retainer agreement without getting all the facts?
- Did the attorney listen to you, ask questions, gather information or did they seem to speak from a script?
- Did the attorney give you an honest assessment of your claims worth or were you made to feel as though you hit the jackpot?
Pay attention to your initial take on the firm. If you feel as though you were rushed, pushed through a system, or couldn’t even speak with an attorney, think twice.
And always call at least 3 attorneys before making a decision.
Tip #3: DON’T BE SWAYED by Attorneys Who Tell You ‘It’s Free’ or “You Only Pay If We Win’!
Accident attorneys never charge a fee in Florida. Your attorney gets paid only when and if you win your case. You will not pay for medical records, court costs or expert witnesses. It’s really that simple.
Tip #4: REFERRAL SERVICES ARE NOT LAWYERS AND THEY ARE NOT CHEAP:
Referral services make money by directing your case to a lawyer or clinic that pays them a lot of money for the referral. Take your time and do your research. (See tip #2)
Tip #5: DO NOT IGNORE YOUR INJURIES:
Injuries have a way of showing up hours, even days after an accident. Even if you don’t feel ‘all that bad’, you need to get medical help as soon as possible. Walk-in emergency clinics are a good option if the ER is too crowded or too far away. Pay attention to how you feel over time. Are you tired, dizzy, or confused? Head injuries are serious and can occur from a simple whiplash, even if you never hit your head. Don’t dismiss how you feel. Some of these injuries can impact your life or your livelihood. Let your attorney guide you on how to get the medical attention you need.
Before you decide which attorney to hire, call Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. Our firm has been handling accident cases for over 35 years throughout South Florida. Many of our clients have been with the firm for 5, 10, 15 even 20 years! We continue to expand due to our loyal clients and our reputation for results.