Florida averages nearly 700 traffic crashes per day, and this makes auto accidents one of the most common causes of personal injuries. Each year, roughly 124,000 people are injured and 2,200 are killed in Florida auto accidents. If you have been involved in an auto accident, it’s important to understand your rights.
Accidents can cause an overwhelming financial burden on any victim’s family including excessive medical bills, loss of wages as well as the costs of rehabilitation. After all, when you are involved in an auto accident, not only are you losing the use of your vehicle but you may also be suffering physical pain and accruing medical expenses. If you were injured, you have a limited time period to file a personal injury claim so seek legal counsel in a timely manner to protect your rights.
What should I do following a collision?
Following any accident, you should seek immediate medical attention to address your injuries. Once you have been seen by a physician, contact a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach or Tallahassee to help you determine what steps you should take next. You need someone who is well versed in the Florida statues and “no-fault insurance” regulations that apply to personal injury law.
Why seek medical attention if I don’t feel pain?
Car accidents can cause severe injuries that aren’t always immediately apparent. Even a low-speed rear end collision can cause whiplash that leads to neck and back pain. The shock and stress caused by an accident can sometimes hide pain, and other injuries have delayed symptoms. Always seek immediate medical attention, and go for a checkup a week or two after the accident. The sooner you can document an injury, the greater chance you have of being able to tie it to the accident in a personal injury claim.
Can I skip calling the police?
Florida requires drivers to file an accident report any time more than $500 in damage is caused. With modern cars, most accidents will cross this threshold. More importantly, a police report ensures that each driver has been properly identified in case they need to be contacted for a future claim. It also provides written documentation of each driver’s initial statement following an accident in case stories later change.
Should I just leave everything to the insurance companies?
It’s important to remember that your insurance company is not your friend. Even if they provide great customer service, their profits are driven by paying out as little as possible and minimizing the legal costs needed to obtain a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company. If you’ve been seriously injured, especially if you need long-term care, a settlement agreed to by the insurance companies may often be far less than the amount to which you are entitled.
What if the at-fault’s insurance carrier contacts me?
Since the at-fault’s insurance company will likely contact you to obtain information, it’s important to be prepared. Our auto accident lawyer can help you determine the best course of action in order to reach a reasonable settlement with any of the appropriate insurance carriers.
How much could I win in a lawsuit?
It is impossible to value a lawsuit without discussing the specific circumstances of the accident. Potential damages including immediate medical treatment and transportation, follow up care, care for long term disabilities, lost time from work, lost wages due to no longer being able to hold a certain job, and loss of enjoyment of life due to a long-term injury or disability. If you are successful, your insurance company has the right to be reimbursed for any expenses they have paid for, and you receive any remaining amount.
What happens if both drivers were at fault?
Florida is a comparative negligence state. That means that it assigns damages according to each driver’s level of fault in causing an accident. For example, a speeding driver may rear end a driver who was driving without their lights on at night. If the driver who was rear ended sues, they will likely be entitled to some recovery, but not as much as if they had had their lights on.
Because of the serious consequences involved, you should take immediate steps to protect your rights following an auto accident. If you plan to file either a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit, it is imperative to contact our auto accident attorneys to learn more about how State laws and insurance regulations may impact the outcome of your case.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this website is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice on any matter of personal injury or wrongful death. Content is provided “as is” and does not seek to nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship with Smith & Vanture.