Your Insurance after a Car Accident: Ally or Adversary?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

We have all seen the television commercials where an actress calls her insurance company immediately after a car accident. She is unsure what to do and fearful of the outcome. The insurance company not only sends out a representative, generally a handsome mild-mannered man, but they call a tow truck, give her a ride home, and take care of all the actress’s concerns. After an accident, we are told, we are in the “good hands” of our “good neighbor” who “gets you back where you belong.”

However, the reality is often much different. After a car accident, your insurance company is hoping to get off cheap–they don’t want to lose money on you. So if you just take the necessary payment for your car’s minor body damage, less deductible, of course, you will be treated with smiles all around. But if you dare to claim that you suffered a mild TBI or other soft tissue injury, your insurance company will begin treating you differently. You may be accused of making fraudulent claims and being a faker. You will see the good hands putting on the “boxing gloves” (as one internal insurance company memo put it). Suddenly, it’s as if the only thing your good neighbor has to offer is a good wall designed to keep you from getting paid. Then you finally realize where your insurance company thinks you belong: out in the cold.

If your insurance company is refusing to compensate you for all the expenses associated with an accident, you may be able to receive compensation with a personal injury lawsuit.

To learn more about your legal rights and options after an accident in the Miami, Florida area, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you only have two years to file a claim. This time limit cannot be extended by what is known as the delayed discovery rule. The Florida Supreme Court has decided that the delayed discovery rule does not apply to wrongful death cases. Delayed discovery allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit two years from the date that you discovered or reasonably should have discovered that your injury was caused by the negligence of another person. This rule is explicitly applied to product liability cases and medical malpractice in Florida, but in many states is applied to many types of personal injury, including medical malpractice and wrongful death. However, the Florida statute is written so that the delayed discovery rule is explicitly tied to product liability. According to the Florida Supreme Court, this means that it only applies in product liability cases, not other types of personal injury. This means that, no matter when you discover that your loved one’s death may be due to the negligence of another person, you only have two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit claims made after that time are barred. If your loved one has died and you suspect that someone else’s negligence may be to blame, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you are able to recover damages related. For a free case evaluation, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida, located in Miami.

Phases of a Truck Accident Lawsuit

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you have been injured in a truck accident, you may be wondering how a truck accident lawsuit proceeds from the beginning to a successful resolution. Here is a basic description of the phases of a truck accident lawsuit:

  • Preparation: In The Art of War, Sun Tzu notes that “A victorious army first wins and then seeks battle; a defeated army first battles and then seeks victory.” Truck accident lawsuits are the same–we will prepare for victory even before filing your lawsuit.
  • Filing: This is the process of registering your complaint in court. We will clearly state the facts to show how you have been harmed and why the defendant is responsible.
  • Discovery: Having filed a lawsuit, we can now begin the process of obtaining and evaluating evidence that we can legally compel the defendant to turn over. This may have several sub-phases as we discover (often intentional) gaps in evidence given.
  • Settlement conferences: these allow us to negotiate possible settlements with the defendants to find a mutually-agreeable resolution to the lawsuit, often without going to trial.
  • Trial: if we cannot come to a mutually-agreeable settlement, we are prepared to go to trial and argue your case before a judge or jury.

At the end, hopefully you will receive a just payment for all your damages. We cannot guarantee a successful outcome, only that we will do everything in our power to get the best possible resolution.

To learn more about truck accident lawsuits, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation today.

Preventing a Brain Injury

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

There are some risks that are just not worth taking. Risking a brain injury in a motorcycle or car accident is one of them. A brain injury can lead to permanent disability, severely diminished quality of life, or death, but there are many steps you can take to help protect yourself against brain injury.

Wear a helmet on a motorcycle: The easiest way to reduce your risk of brain injury when riding a motorcycle is by wearing a helmet. A study last year showed that helmets reduced risk of neck injury in an accident by 22%, brain injury risk by 65%, and death risk by 37%.

Wear your seatbelt: When you are in an accident, your seatbelt will prevent you from hitting your head on hard components in the car or being ejected from the vehicle, which can increase your risk of brain injury. If you are ejected from your car, you are 41 times more likely to suffer serious or fatal brain injury.

Keep a good posture: Slouching when you drive can put you at increased risk for brain and neck injury. Make sure you sit upright at the steering wheel and have your seat, wheel, and safety belt properly adjusted for the posture you use when driving.

Investigate cars: Your risk of whiplash injuries to the brain and neck can be dramatically impacted by the headrest in your car. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has evaluated a number of head rest designs and makes recommendations about which ones are best.

However, everything you do cannot always protect you from a serious brain injury. If you have suffered a brain injury in the Miami, Florida area, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free consultation about your legal rights and options.

Cell Phones and Car Accidents

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

These days, most everyone has a cell phone, it’s just part of belonging to a modern society. People take cell phones with them everywhere they go, and they are trying to cram in more and more tasks in their daily lives by keeping constantly in touch with family, friends, and, sadly, work.

Unfortunately, some people become addicted to being connected, the way others are addicted to drugs and alcohol. And like a drug or alcohol addiction, cell phone addiction leads people to make bad decisions when behind the wheel. A national crackdown on drunk driving has led to fewer drunk driving accidents and an overall decline in car accident-related fatalities, but now cell phone addiction threatens to cause that number to rise again.

According to the department of transportation, using a cell phone while driving is just as likely to cause a car accident as driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08, an illegal level of intoxication in Florida. Texting while driving is about six times worse. If someone engages in these risky behaviors while driving, they should be held responsible for the accidents they cause.

If you have been hurt by a driver distracted by cell phone use in the Miami, Florida area, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. To learn more about your legal rights and options, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation today.

How Do I Know If I Have a Personal Injury Claim?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, there are three main questions that you have to ask.

Am I injured? It might seem basic, but the existence of a documentable personal injury is crucial to making a personal injury claim. Injuries can be physical, mental, or both. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand the full dimensions of your injury and document injuries that can be hard to prove, such as mild TBI.

Is someone else responsible? The second important consideration in a personal injury lawsuit is that another person or group of people is fully or partly responsible for your injuries. In Florida, you can receive compensation for your injuries even if you are partly responsible for the accident leading to your injuries. However, the amount you are able to recover will be reduced by your share of responsibility.

Do I have recoverable damages? This is the final question to determine before making a personal injury claim, if you have recoverable damages. Recoverable damages can include economic losses like medical bills and lost wages, as well as noneconomic losses like pain, suffering, and diminished quality of life.

The best way to know if you have a personal injury claim is to contact a personal injury lawyer. For a free case evaluation in the Miami, Florida area, please call 1-800 THE FIRM or email The Cochran Firm South Florida.

Why Do You Need a Medical Malpractice Attorney?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

If you suspect that you or a loved one has been hurt by medical malpractice, you may be considering a medical malpractice lawsuit. If so, then you should consult with a skilled medical malpractice attorney to help you have any chance of succeeding in your lawsuit. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why doctors have advantages in the courtroom when it comes to medical malpractice, such as:

  • Doctors’ access to medical resources and expertise
  • Doctor’s ability to drag out proceedings–they’re not the ones hurt and they can wait
  • The respect doctors have in society
  • The false perception that our legal system contains many frivolous lawsuits, especially against doctors
  • The tendency for juries to give doctors the benefit of the doubt

Overcoming all these obstacles to get you compensation for your medical injury requires a skilled medical malpractice attorney, one who knows how to pursue and win these cases. Even if you are only looking to get answers, a lawyer’s help can be invaluable for obtaining information that doctors and nurses might otherwise conceal.

If you believe you have been hurt by a doctor’s error and are considering a medical malpractice lawsuit, don’t go it alone. Find out how a medical malpractice lawyer can help you with a free case evaluation. Call 1-800 THE FIRM or email The Cochran Firm South Florida, helping clients in and around the Miami area.

What Constitutes Identity Theft?

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Identity theft is the use of another person’s identifying information, such as name, social security number, credit card numbers, or other information, to commit fraud. The Federal Trade Commission identifies the most common types of fraud committed using identity theft:

  • Credit card fraud
  • Phone or utilities fraud
  • Bank or finance fraud
  • Government documents fraud
  • Fraudulent identification for a job, house, or medical services, or when arrested

When you are charged with this type of crime, the evidence used to support the charge can be very technical, and must be properly obtained. We can carefully scrutinize the evidence and how it was obtained to challenge any illegally obtained evidence.

Charges of identity theft can result in felony or misdemeanor charges, and often the difference between which is pressed depends on the exact definition of your crime. Defense strategies can also include challenging the classification of your crime to diminish the severity of the charge.

The laws around identity theft are being revised constantly, and to successfully defend yourself against this type of charge, you need a criminal defense attorney who remains up-to-date in this area of law.

To talk to a lawyer about defending yourself against charges of identity theft in or around Miami, Florida, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida.

Teens and Car Accidents

Miami & Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

The good news is that the number of teenagers killed in car accidents in Florida has decreased dramatically, dropping from 414 in 2005 to 222 in 2009. In just four short years, the number of teen traffic fatalities has been cut in half in the state.

What is responsible for this dramatic reduction in teenage mortality in car accidents? Many hold up Florida’s graduated drivers’ license program, the first in the nation, but now emulated by nearly every state. However, the graduated license system was introduced in 1996, a year when only 243 teens were killed in car accidents. Despite the graduated license system, teen fatalities would almost double before the tide began to stem.

So what was the cause of this dramatic upswing in teen car accident fatalities and its almost as rapid decline? Most likely, it was SUVs. Although they present an appearance of ruggedness and safety, SUVs were significantly more dangerous than passenger cars to their drivers and passengers. And if we look at the statistics for car accident fatalities in Florida, we see that the significant increase in teen deaths from 1996 to 2005 parallels the rise in deaths for light truck (mostly SUV) passengers, which rose from 477 in 1996 to 883 in 2005, then declined to 649 in 2009. As the family car switched from a sedan to an SUV that was potentially unstable, especially when driven by an inexperienced driver, we saw a dramatic increase in the number of SUV rollover-related teen driver deaths. Now that SUVs are becoming safer, the number of fatalities is going down again.

If your teenager has suffered an injury in a car accident near West Palm Beach, the injury may not be wholly their fault. It may be due to a dangerous or defective automobile. To learn whether you can receive compensation for your teen’s injuries, please contact The Cochran Firm South Florida for a free case evaluation.