Jack: We’re doing great today.
Interviewer: How would you tell someone who’s been involved in an accident for the first time, that has never gone through this, what is the first step they should take when hiring an attorney?
Jack: Well, let me start at the very beginning. When you’re in a crash there are certain mistakes that you don’t want to make, and here I’m gonna confine my comments to the auto cases. As mentioned earlier, there are other cases, there’s the products liability cases, there could be malpractice cases or premises liability cases. But in auto cases, particularly, what I’d start with is what you should do, the mistakes that you don’t want to make.
First thing is to call the police. Why should you call the police? Because the accident report that the police generates is helpful. And in most cases, Florida law requires you to call the police if there’s an auto accident. So call the police. Preserve evidence, take photographs. Everyone has a cell phone. Take a number of different photographs of the damage to your car and the damage to the other vehicle. And get some perspective, some close-up shots some far away shots, so the evidence of what happened in the accident is preserved.
Of course, something you should do probably before all other things is a medical assessment. If you are injured get medical treatment, that’s the single most important thing to do is get the medical treatment that’s appropriate, maybe going in an ambulance to the emergency room or you may want to go to an urgent care center. But regardless, you want to assess your medical condition. And if you need medical help, you want to get your medical help. If you do go to the hospital or see your doctor it’s important to give an accurate medical history particularly focusing in on what’s hurting as a result of the auto accident. The reason for this is because the insurance companies who defend these cases will try to use any errors or omissions against you down the road. So if your back is hurting as a result of a crash, you need to tell the doctor, “Well, my back is hurting really badly now, but, you know, I had some sort of pain that I sought medical treatment for, I can’t remember all the details, back in 2015.” As long as you acknowledge the truth of the matter and be truthful in giving your history, you can’t be tripped up.
So you want to call the police, take photos and preserve the evidence, you want to do a medical assessment and go for treatment, you want to get your prior history right. And as things progress, you want to control social media. Everyone is on Facebook. If you’re complaining of back injuries don’t post photographs of yourself on a trampoline. It’s probably not a good idea if you’re being treated for a back injury, but you certainly don’t want to spread any misleading photographs which indicate that you are 100% healthy if you’re not. So just be aware of social media and the fact that your social media will be scrutinized. Then the last thing is hire an attorney, and we could go into the reasons why you should hire an attorney. And hiring an attorney is sort of last on the list but it’s very important and something that you should do.
In 1980, Jack J. Fine founded the law firm now known as Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. With more than 100 years of combined legal experience, we are a well-respected personal injury law firm providing individualized service to people and families across Gainesville who have been harmed due to the negligence of others.