April is both Distracted Driving Awareness Month and Alcohol Awareness Month.
At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. we understand distracted driving, speeding and drunk driving are the top causes of traffic collisions in the United States. And, while we sometimes call them “accidents,” few are not caused by one or more negligent acts of those involved.
We provide free consultations to injury victims in West Palm Beach and the surrounding areas, because we believe everyone deserves access to quality legal representation in the wake of a serious or fatal traffic collision. Still, others ask whether they should seek help after a more “minor” incident or in cases where there are no serious injuries.
The answer, of course, is that it depends upon the facts and circumstances of your particular case. However, here is a certainty: It’s still free to speak to an experienced injury attorney and determine the best course of action.
The statute of imitations for personal injury and wrongful death in Florida is two years. This means your claim will likely be forever barred if not filed within 24 months of the date of accident or injury. However, as a practical matter your case begins to degrade more quickly. In cases where obviously dangerous behaviors may be to blame – distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving – pursuing a claim in the immediate aftermath of an incident offers the best chance for gathering the evidence needed to prove your claim in court. The more time passes, the less available evidence will be salvaged. Witnesses forget, change phone numbers and move. Seasonal variations, including vegetation growth, may materially alter the scene.
Most commonly, the reason for not pursuing a claim is a lack of apparent serious injury. However, there are many cases in which neck and back injuries are not readily apparent. Whether soft-tissue injuries such as whiplash, or something as serious or life threatening as a traumatic brain injury, gauging the long-term consequences of an accident by symptoms in the immediate aftermath is a fool-hardy endeavor, particularly if you are relying upon self diagnosis.
Ultimately, your ability to secure compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and other losses will be directly impacted by your ability to connect your injuries and associated medical complications with the collision.
If you or a loved one is involved in a serious traffic accident, seek immediate medical attention as appropriate, and then begin to gather documentation. Pictures of the scene, before the cars are moved if possible, can be invaluable months later. Get the names and contact information of witnesses. Note whether traffic cameras or private security cameras might have captured the collision. And seek the advice of experienced legal counsel before talking to an insurance company.
Accident lawyers in West Palm Beach can help injury victims. Call Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. today at 800-608-2965 to schedule a free consultation.