Dear Florida Personal Injury Lawyer Spencer Aronfeld:
Do I need a lawyer or an attorney to handle my Florida hit and run car crash? What is the difference between a Florida car accident lawyer and an attorney?
I was involved in a crash in Fort Myers on Thursday. A small pickup truck cut me off and forced me into a parked car. I did not feel pain immediately and refused an offer by the police to have an ambulance transport me to the local Emergency Room. The next day, I woke up and could not move. I felt like I had been in a fight and lost. My wife gave me some Advil and called my Primary Care Physician. He does not have an appointment available till Monday. What should I do?
Injured in Ft. Meyers
Dear Injured in Ft. Meyers:
Thank you for reaching out to me. I am sorry you were involved in this wreck. The most important thing I can advise is for you to seek immediate medical care. Assuming you have the mandatory minimum coverage (Personal Injury Protection or PIP) and/or health insurance you can, and should, go to the Emergency Room. Tell the doctors there how the accident happened and let them order the appropriate diagnostic tests. The advantage this has for you is considerable for several reasons. First, they will have the ability to get X-rays, CT Scans, MRIs and/or blood work right on the spot. If the ER doctors feel you need a consult with an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist they can request that the “on call” specialist see you while in the emergency room. It will also be helpful in ruling out a potentially serious injury, like an embolism or clot. Once you get released from the ER you can read the next paragraph.
You should immediately contact your insurance company and advise them you were involved in a car accident. Take photographs of your car and obtain a claim number and a copy of the Police Report or Driver’s Exchange of Information Report. Do not sign anything with any insurance company until you have had an experienced Florida auto accident lawyer review the papers.
If you are injured and feel that you need the assistance of a lawyer to help you, I recommend that you only consult with a Board Certified lawyer from the Florida Bar in Civil Trial. There are plenty of lawyers out there, who advertise on everything from bus benches to urinal cakes, and they may be good, but the Florida Bar’s Board Certification process is the ultimate seal of approval.
Lastly, to answer your question regarding the difference between a lawyer and an attorney depends on who you ask. Most will tell you that there is no difference, though, technically, one can be a lawyer and not necessarily an attorney at law. A lawyer is someone who has presumably graduated from an accredited law school but may not necessarily be licensed to practice law by being admitted to a State’s Bar. Many government lawyers practice for the government but are not admitted to practice by any state. Often law school professors and administrators are unlicensed lawyers too. Attorneys, on the other hand, have been admitted or are admitted to practice law in a particular state. In other words, an attorney is a lawyer, but a lawyer is not necessarily an attorney.
If our Florida car accident law firm for those injured by a drunk driver can be of further assistance to you, please contact me for a confidential consultation about your legal rights.
I hope this is of help to you.
Florida Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer