Suffering injuries in a car accident is not only painful but also frustrating. When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, it’s aggravating to know that your injuries were avoidable. The best way to ensure that you get back on your feet is to work with a trusted Florida auto accident lawyer.
If someone else’s poor choices have caused you or a loved one injuries in a car accident, you should speak with a Fort Myers car accident injury lawyer to determine your eligibility to seek compensation. Speaking with an attorney helps individuals release the stress of wondering how they will pay their bills by leaving the legal complexities into the hands of their attorneys.
Leading Causes of Car Accidents
In one recent year alone, over 400,000 car accidents took place in Florida. That is more than 1,000 car accidents per day, and more than half of these car accidents are serious enough to result in injuries to drivers, passengers, and even pedestrians.
Car accident causes include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Texting while driving
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Aggressive driving
- Driving too fast for the conditions
- Inexperienced drivers
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Street racing
Regardless of the cause of your accident, you have suffered injuries at the hands of another. Depending on the severity of your accident, you might face a long road to recovery, and this road can be costly. You need to have a skilled Florida car accident lawyer guiding you through the complex personal injury claims process to help you maximize your recovery.
Over 100 people die every day in car accidents in the United States. While not every car accident results in death, many car accidents do cause serious and life-altering injuries.
Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Other psychological injuries
As the victim of car accident injuries, your sole focus should be on your physical (and emotional) recovery. The best way to do that is to let someone else handle the legal complexities of your personal injury claim. By working with a trusted car accident injury lawyer in Florida, you can stop worrying about how you will pay your bills and focus on your recovery.
What to Do After Your Car Accident
The steps you take immediately after and in the weeks and months after your car accident can play a big impact on your ability to recover, both physically and financially. Following the following steps can help:
- Call 911 – Placing a call for emergency services is a prudent decision, as it allows you to receive prompt medical attention. You may have internal injuries or injuries that you can’t see. Your adrenaline is probably pumping, and you may not be fully aware of all of your injuries or the extent of your injuries. By getting medical attention at the accident scene, you give yourself the best chance of ensuring that your injuries receive the attention they deserve. Calling 911 also brings the police. While the police may not assign fault in your accident, they will create a report and possibly a diagram showing how the accident happened. Your attorney can use this report to help prove the other driver caused the accident and your resulting injuries.
- Take pictures – If your injuries are too severe, ask a friend or family member to take pictures for you. You want to get pictures of the accident scene, all of the vehicles involved in the crash, your injuries, and the road conditions. Getting pictures will help to preserve the accident scene for your lawyer.
- Get witness information – If possible, speak with witnesses about what they saw and definitely request that they share their contact information. Some witnesses cannot wait around for the police to arrive. Get their contact information, so your attorney can speak with them about what they saw and how their testimony can help to bolster your claim that the other driver caused the accident.
- Seek additional medical attention – Beyond receiving medical attention at the accident scene, prioritize your physical wellbeing. The best way to do that is to see your doctor regularly. Some injuries will not appear until weeks or even months after your accident. Understanding how to treat these injuries requires regular check-ups by your doctor.
- Keep a journal – Over time, you will not remember your day-to-day recovery process. Some days will be better than others, and part of your compensation will include your pain and suffering. By writing in your journal every day, you create a record of how much you’ve suffered and the struggles you’ve endured throughout your recovery.
Your final step is to speak with a car accident lawyer. According to Florida law, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a claim against the negligent driver. Four years might seem like a long time, but it’s not. If your injuries are serious enough, think about the amount of time you will spend in and out of the hospital, undergoing medical procedures, and attending routine doctor visits. This time will quickly pass by, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to hold the at-fault driver liable for your injuries and for your medical expenses.
Proving that someone else caused the car accident in which you suffered injuries is easier said than done. In fact, it can be a complex process requiring the use of expert witnesses.
In simple terms, you must prove all of the following:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care;
- The other driver breached that duty of care;
- That breach resulted in your injuries; and
- As a result of those injuries, you suffered actual damages.
This is why you need to speak with a trusted car accident lawyer. Proving fault is not a simple process, and we do not recommend that anyone, especially a car accident victim who is also trying to focus on a physical recovery, proceed with a claim while unrepresented.
After your car accident injury, you are likely suffering. You should seek compensation for your injuries to help avoid financial struggles. Your personal injury lawyer can work to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Past, present, and future medical bills
Your future medical needs will determine the full financial burden you face. The more severe your injuries, the more likely it is that your future medical needs will be expensive. As you played no part in causing your injuries, you should not bear any responsibility for the costs associated with your recovery. This is where the skill of a Florida personal injury attorney really starts to shine.
How Settlements Work
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, car accidents cost over $242 billion annually in lost productivity and medical costs. That’s an absurdly high cost to the entire economy.
This huge national cost underscores the importance of having the right personal injury lawyer handle your case. You can receive compensation either from a settlement or from a trial. Your lawyer understands that you have financial responsibilities, might be out of work, and simply want to put this traumatic experience behind you as quickly as possible. That’s why most lawyers will focus their efforts on settling your personal injury claim.
However, your car accident lawyer should only want to settle if it’s right for you, not for less than your claim is worth, leaving you in financial hardship. Thus, while it is true that most personal injury cases settle out of court, make sure your lawyer will take your case all the way to trial if that’s what is required to maximize your financial recovery.
Your settlement journey will probably start before you even speak with a lawyer. Shortly after your car accident, the insurance company for the at-fault driver might contact you and offer you a quick settlement. We know you will be excited about putting this behind you, but we urge you to be careful. The initial settlement is likely a low ball offer that will not cover all of the expenses required to secure your physical recovery.
If you take this offer without first speaking with a lawyer, you might waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this accident. This means that you could end up paying out of pocket for medical bills for injuries that you did not cause.
This simply adds insult to injury, and that’s why we urge every car accident victim to first speak with a car accident lawyer before signing any settlement agreement. Your car accident should help you create an accurate estimate of your future medical needs. These costs will include any surgeries you might need, any hospitalization and rehabilitation you might need, and any additional doctor visits or prescriptions. Conducting this exercise helps determine what your personal injury claim is worth, and this is where to begin negotiations with the insurance company.
That is one of the best benefits of hiring a car accident lawyer. You don’t have to deal with the insurance company anymore. Your car accident lawyer can do that for you. Another benefit is that many insurance companies pressure you to take their initial low ball settlement offers because the companies do not want to deal with personal injury lawyers. Insurance representatives know that car accident lawyers can increase the amount of compensation that they will have to pay to you, so they try to avoid that at all costs. Working with a car accident lawyer allows you to maximize your financial recovery.
The amount of time it takes to settle your case varies. If your accident was severe and your injuries serious, it might take longer, as your car accident lawyer will need to speak with witnesses, review police and medical records, and consult with experts. Factors that impact the length of your claims process include:
- Severe injuries with long recovery periods
- Suffering a permanent injury where you cannot work again
- An injury that requires in-home care
- An elongated hospital stay
Once your car accident lawyer settles on appropriate and fair terms for your settlement, that’s when the light at the end of the tunnel turns bright. The only items left to deal with are finalizing the terms in a settlement agreement, having both parties sign it, and having a judge sign off on it. After that process is complete, you should receive your settlement check in less than a month.
Get the Help You Deserve
Victims of car accidents are vulnerable. You are out of work, you have bills piling up, and you just want to move on with your life. Insurance companies prey on that knowledge. Look for a car accident lawyer that will not let the insurance companies take advantage of you.