Have you been injured in a car accident?
Sometimes it doesn't feel like it....
It's a little hard to see, but in the upper let corner of that video watch the van get T-boned at an intersection in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. The significance of this footage was the offender immediately started to back up and relocating his vehicle, which then created a difference of opinion on how the collision took place. Good thing we had video. This is an actual client's case. Not that bad, you think? No, not really, unless you consider, the driver and his wife (both in their 40s), about 6 months later, had neck fusion surgery.
Pro Tip: Don’t wait, lawyer up. We need to get whatever evidence we can. A lot of people just don't tell the truth anymore, especially when they've made a mistake. Like most cases, this case resolved without a lawsuit being filed.
Here are some legal generalities:
1) There are obviously varying degrees collision damage and human body damage. The delay in activating a legal team creates a problem where evidence fades. We never know the full extend of the human body injury damage until we are months down the road. By then, video evidence has evaporated. Eye witness testimony is forgetful. Security cameras overwrite themselves when the hard drive gets full, typically ranging from a week to 30 days.
2) I see people bounce between two ends of the emotional spectrum. Embrace the idea that there may be an “ebb & flow” to your emotional status following a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA). Some days they feel like "Oi. Live and let live”. And on the other end of the spectrum is the “hyper-aggressor”. This person’s pain and the experience is so bad, they just want it to stop and “someone’s got HELL to pay for what this car accident has done do to me!”.
3) Economic stressor don't help matters, especially if you begin to see medical bills arriving in the mail or bill collectors calling on the phone.
4) Pain is not funny or fun. It is incessant. Like the slow drip of Chinese water torture, before too long it can drive you insane, if not addressed. When we say “Pain & Suffering”, it is the suffering part that pain leads to that make you feel like life is eroding away. Well, it's NOT. We need to nip this in the bud. Things will tend to level out and the reality sets in that in this car accident/MVA: i) You did not have a target on your back; ii) You are not being singled out; and iii) You have to fight (or hire someone to fight for you) to avoid being taken advantage of by an industry rigged against you.
5) Insurance companies are set up to make money. They collect your premiums and put them into investments which yield returns. Those investments are things such as the stock market. The longer the investment, the better the returns. If you asked for a claim to be paid you’re asking them to sell their investment, and that is not something they are interested in doing. Truly, nearly all major auto insurance companies live and make a profit by holding onto your money. The premiums they collect are less than the amount of claims they paid. However the interest earned on the investments not only makes up the difference between premiums collected and claims paid, but earns the insurance company a tidy profit. In my career I have witnessed the behavior of the claims offices of insurance companies’ change, clearly dependent on how the economy and markets are doing. If the economy is bad and the stock market is weak and management sends down a notice to the claims office with a loud bullhorn saying “quit paying claims”.
6) It's only a matter of time. Before too long, sooner or later, most folks conclude that they need to lawyer up just to get the basic, fair and reasonable solution you and I know they deserve. And, it’s a FIGHT .Well why is that? In a word, adjusters.
7) Adjusters are those people who work in the claims office. They are “adjusting” a claim. These are people who wake up in the morning, brush their teeth, comb their hair, and go to the office where their job is NOT TO PAY YOU! They get pay raises and promotions based on how well they DON’T pay you. So here you are every month writing your faithful check (or Bill Pay) to the insurance company who, without hesitation or skipping a beat, accepts it without question, every single time. Yet the second you try to make a fair and reasonable claim you are met with resistance, accusations, and slanderous talk to make you feel like you are an advantageous sue happy piece of crap.
Of course most adjusters don’t start off this way. Most are going to be “professional” to you, accommodating and almost nearly pleasant. But make no mistake. Their effort here is to document their file with everything that they need to ensure they PAY YOU AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE. And once that task is complete this individual will have as little to do with you as possible, because they need to move on to the next file/claim.
Finally, a short note to my Christian brothers and sisters
8) For a Bible believing Christian, like me, we think of those Scriptural references teaching resolution and not suing your brother (See: 1 Corinthians 6:1 – 20 or Matthew 5:25). Read it in context and ask yourself, is State Farm your "brother"? What about Allsnake? These are corporate behemoths calling the shots and playing the odds, just like a Las Vegas bookie. Re-review 5, 6 & 7 above and ask if that is what the Scriptures are talking about. It's not. It just isn't.
It’s not all really that simple folks, but it is all truth. There's a lot more and I'm happy to provide some additional resources on this website to help you along.
Priority To-Do List
1. Focus on your healthcare.
2. Yes, lawyer up ASAP – we’ve got a case to build and evidence to develop. Police officers and accident reports are not admissible evidence in your case. As the plaintiff you have the burden of proving your case. Proving your case means developing evidence. Speaking to witnesses. Photographing scenes and documenting injuries.
3. Do not worry about the bills – we will seek a forbearance and negotiate any liens or outstanding balances.
4. Anticipate this process to take between 6 to 9 months from date of accident to an opportunity of settlement. Your healthcare drives the timeline. So calm down and go back to 1. above.
Additional Info & Downloads
One thing you have to understand, and it is critically important: an at-fault driver is NOT required to buy insurance to cover YOUR bodily injury resulting from the crash. This doesn’t mean that driver is illegal. This simply means they didn’t have enough money to buy insurance to cover the people they hurt. By my estimation one and four cars don’t have enough coverage for you or your family. So to me one of the most important coverage on your automobile policy is what’s called “UM coverage”. UM stands for “uninsured” or “under insured” motorist coverage. If this is not familiar to you then definitely check out the "How To Buy Insurance" taught to you by a lawyer who practices in this area and not a salesman trying to sell you something. This talks about the important coverages that I get for me and my family.
From soup to nuts, here's Florida Law if your really nerdy like me.
Check these out. Call me if you want to discuss.
Title XXXVII INSURANCE
Chapter 627 INSURANCE RATES AND CONTRACTS
The button to the right is an excel calculator that's easy to use, to get a good idea of how hard you were hit in your accident. Just enter the speed of the at-fault party's vehicle & it will calculate approximately how many stories fallen, would that crash would be equivalent to. It's a simple & quick way to give you a good estimate of how hard you were hit in your collision.