When you imagine a perfect vacation, accidents certainly have no part. Meanwhile, injuries at beach resorts are highly common. Knowing what to do after an injury at Clearwater Beach Resort won’t just help you recover faster, but may assist you in seeking sizable compensation.
After sustaining an injury at Clearwater Beach Resort, setting priorities is important. The first step is to take care of your health. When you get professional medical assistance and start feeling better, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss how to proceed with an injury claim.
Filing a claim against the at-fault party or its insurance company is rarely straightforward. No matter how obvious the accident’s circumstances were, you may need professional legal assistance to prove your right to damage recovery.
Let’s examine the steps you can take after a Clearwater Beach Resort accident.
Step #1: Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, your health is more important than anything else, including legal action. That’s why seeking medical attention as soon as possible is imperative. You can call 911 or ask people around you to get help if you cannot.
Remember, some injuries don’t manifest immediately. You may experience consequences after a few hours or even days later. The sooner you see a doctor, the more likely you will avoid complications.
If you didn’t see the doctor immediately after the accident, do it as soon as possible. A professional medical evaluation can still uncover injuries associated with your accident.
Going to the doctor as soon as possible isn’t just vital for your health. It can produce important evidence for your upcoming case. All doctor’s reports, prescriptions, and tests can help your attorney prove your right to obtain compensation.
Important: Always follow doctor’s orders. If you fail to do so, the at-fault party can use this against you. Their lawyers may argue that since you failed to follow their instructions, your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim and do not warrant compensation.
Step #2: Speak to an Attorney
You likely want to pursue compensation if you’ve sustained injuries at a Clearwater Beach Resort. Damage recovery is a complex multi-step process that requires legal experience and training.
In most cases, when the resort’s insurance company handles the claim, its goal is to minimize the payout. If you build a strong case, present clear and convincing evidence, and negotiate a fair amount, you can avoid the insurer’s tactics and get the compensation you deserve.
By hiring an attorney, you are delegating your case to an experienced team that can:
- File all documents on time
- Gather evidence
- Build a strong case
- Speak to witnesses
- Negotiate with the insurance company
- Take your case to court if necessary
While Florida law doesn’t require a lawyer for personal injury cases, working without one could risk losing out of compensation. Many reliable personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations to see if you have a viable claim and what options are available.
Step#3: Report the Accident to the Resort Management
A resort should have a form for filing an incident report. Make sure you fill it out immediately after the accident. Ideally, you should already have an attorney helping you work on the form. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, list facts only and avoid admitting any fault or speculating. If you aren’t sure how to fill out a form, tell the resort management you need time to consult an attorney first.
Once the resort has the incident form, they can file a report with their insurance company. Later, this report may become evidence in your personal injury case. That’s why filling these papers out carefully before signing is imperative.
Step #4: Gather Evidence
The next step is to collect as much evidence as possible. While it may be hard to think about evidence when you have just sustained an injury, you can still collect it after getting medical attention. You can return to the scene of the accident and take photos of a malfunctioning escalator, broken lounge chairs, a lack of non-slip surface near the pool, etc.
You can also take photos and make videos of your injuries right after the accident. All of this can become valuable evidence when proving the resort’s fault and supporting your claim amount. You could also ask people in the hotel to share videos and photos from their phones if they happened to have them from the time of the accident.
Identifying which evidence can work for your case and what isn’t necessary is complicated. If you are working with an attorney, they can help identify high-quality evidence and help you gather it if you are injured or have trouble obtaining it.
Many resorts have security cameras. When an incident occurs, footage from these cameras can become highly valuable evidence. However, even if you are insistent, hotels may not give it up willingly. To get this evidence, you may need to subpoena it (demand through the court).
Personal injury attorneys know exactly how and when to subpoena evidence to maximize the chances of getting what you need. Remember, time is of the essence. Many resorts delete their records every month or even weekly. By waiting, you could lose valuable evidence.
Step #5: Get as Much Information as Possible
When an incident occurs, it always brings a lot of stress. What may seem like something you could never forget starts to slip away from memory quickly, so document all the information that you remember about the incident
It can include:
- Time and date of the accident
- Place of the accident
- Names of people around you (if you know them or can obtain contact info)
- Name of resort manager you report the accident to
- How long it took the ambulance to arrive
- Names of doctors who treated you
- How you feel in the days following the accident
- How your injuries affect you physically and psychologically
- How many days of work you missed
Ideally, you should make a personal journal about the accident as soon as you have an opportunity to do it. This can be kept for your private documentation, but once you contact an attorney, they can leverage this information to find witnesses, gather evidence, and build a strong case to support your losses.
Step#6: Hold on to Physical Evidence
If you don’t have legal experience dealing with resort incidents, you may accidentally get rid of important evidence. Examples may include your clothes, shoes, or other objects on your person. If you haven’t already done so, don’t wash your clothes. Leave everything intact and consult an attorney about what is important to collect.
For example, in a slip-and-fall case, the soles of the shoes you wore (non-slip or slippery) can become a major piece of evidence.
Even the smallest pieces of physical evidence, like broken glasses or a cracked cell phone, can become vital to proving your case.
Step #7: Talk to Witnesses
Witnesses can provide highly valuable testimony for your personal injury case. However, they may not be straightforward with the information. You can find witnesses at the resort and speak to them about the incident and collect contact information.
It’s also possible to ask for photos and videos they may have taken. If you are too hurt to come back to the scene and ask questions, you can delegate the task to a family member, friend, or, ideally, your attorney who can handle all interactions with the witnesses. They know exactly how to search for these people and which questions to ask. Attorneys can also work to convince witnesses to testify if necessary.
The faster you can speak to the eyewitnesses, the better. People’s memories fade quickly.
Step #8: Keep Track of Your Expenses
When you seek compensation, you need to come up with a figure that represents your total losses. Make sure to keep track of all your expenses carefully. All receipts and invoices should be readily available for your attorney to present to the insurance company or the court.
Save the receipt even if you are paying with cash for over-the-counter medications. Besides adding to the size of your settlement, this type of evidence can help support how serious your injuries are.
Whether the case goes to court or you reach a settlement with the insurance company, evidence plays a key role in how much money you can recover.
Step #9: Stay Calm
When taking legal action after an incident, it’s vital to stay calm and make informed and calculated decisions. Clearwater Beach resorts will do everything they can to avoid or reduce a payout. Their insurance company will present many arguments to minimize your settlement. If the case ends up in court, the insurer’s attorneys will fight against you with evidence and statements they twist to undermine your suit.
If you become emotional, it’s easy to ruin your case. In fact, insurance companies know what to say to scare victims into taking an unfair settlement. The pressure of negotiations can be overwhelming, especially for people who recently experienced an injury and financial loss.
Working with an attorney is the best way to stay calm and achieve the best outcome. Once you hire a personal injury lawyer, you wholly rely on them for your legal action. They deal with the at-fault party and handle all the pressure by leveraging a professional approach and negotiating for a fair settlement.
Step #10: Watch the Time
When you are tending to your injuries, it can be easy to lose track of time. Many victims mistakenly believe that they have ample time to file a claim against a resort. In reality, there is a hard limit you must observe.
In Florida, the statute of limitations (the law that regulates the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit following an injury) states that you have two years from the incident to start legal action.
While four years feels like a long time, healing from your injuries, collecting evidence and preparing a claim can take a long time. Delaying engaging with an attorney is risky. As time passes, it can become nearly impossible to collect high-quality evidence, such as camera footage. That’s why it’s better to start working on your case as soon as possible.
When it comes to personal injury cases, there are many nuances and requirements. Missing any one of them could cost you. Act quickly to allow your attorney to build a strong case and pursue the maximum compensation.
What Not to Do After an Injury at a Clearwater Beach Resort
Knowing what NOT to do after sustaining an injury at a Clearwater Beach Resort is also important. Even a seemingly small mistake could make it much harder to support your claim.
Don’t Admit Your Fault
An insurance company adjuster can call you anytime after the accident. They can use a variety of tactics to get you to admit at least partial fault. Adjusters can ask trick questions and twist your answers to shift the blame for the accident to you. The best course of action is to direct the insurance adjuster to your attorney and not speak with them at all.
Don’t Share Your Condition on Social Media
Even if you usually share important moments of your life on social media, try to avoid posting about the incident. Insurance adjusters can find ways to use statements, photos, and videos against you to reduce or deny your claim. If you’ve already posted about your injuries and the incident, consider deleting the posts as soon as possible.
Don’t Accept the First Offer
The first settlement amount the insurance company offers you is always low. Don’t blindly accept it. Make sure you have the offer reviewed by your attorney. They can help you determine a fair amount based on your losses and counter with that amount. If the insurance company refuses to agree to a fair amount, your attorney can recommend taking the case to court to pursue maximum compensation.
Protect Yourself After an Injury
Injuries that people sustain at resorts are often serious. In most cases, you can seek compensation if the resort’s negligence caused your injuries.
With a legal professional on your side, you have a much better chance of getting the money you deserve. Contact an experienced premises liability attorney for your free case evaluation.