Common Car Accident Claim Questions
Car accidents are an easy way to completely ruin your day. Florida roads are filled with cars, especially when the weather is colder up north. While you can drive defensively, that won’t help you avoid all accidents. If you or a loved one find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being involved in a car accident, you deserve to have a trusted personal injury attorney help you recover for your injuries. When you want the best chance of recovery for your car accident injuries, you need to contact a personal injury lawyer you can trust.
What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?
Car accident injuries vary from minor to extremely serious. Examples include:
- Scrapes and bruises
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
In 2017, more than 3000 traffic fatalities took place in Florida. While death is less common, other injuries happen frequently. During the same year, there were over six-million car crashes in the United States. These accidents result in many types of injuries.
Do I Have to Call the Police?
While your accident may seem minor, make an official record of your accident. The best way to do that is to call the police. The police will create an official report of the accident. While they may not assign fault on their report, they will speak with you, the other driver, and any witnesses. This will help them create a diagram of the accident.
This report will also note any injuries suffered. This is important to note because you want to have a record of the accident and your subsequent injuries. You can also record your injuries by seeing a doctor as soon as possible after your accident.
Do I Have to See a Doctor After a Car Accident?
We can’t force you to see a doctor, but you definitely should as soon as possible after an auto accident. Some injuries like concussions won’t show symptoms for several days, or even weeks, after your accident. This could cause further injury because you did not promptly see a medical professional.
In addition, when you see a medical professional, they keep meticulous records of your injuries, your pain, and your medication. Having this detailed documentation by an objective third party can be important for evidence purposes at trial or during settlement negotiations. It’s also a good idea to keep a personal injury journal. You should write in your journal every day, making note of how you’re feeling, how your injuries are healing (or not), and if you’re getting better or worse. This can help your car injury lawyer because it shows your injury progress from day to day.
What Are Common Causes of Car Accidents?
Common causes of car accidents include:
- Driver fatigue – Maybe someone didn’t sleep well, is under too much stress at work, or has been trying to make a long road trip on little sleep. Regardless of the reason, drowsy driving is dangerous. Studies have consistently shown that drowsy driving is similar to driving drunk.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol – Speaking of drunk driving, a common cause of Florida car accidents is drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs. Choosing to drive after having too many drinks puts other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk of grave injury or death.
- Failure to yield – Whether at an intersection or while changing lanes, other drivers sometimes do not look for oncoming or existing traffic. This negligence could result in an accident causing your injuries.
- Distracted driving – Drivers are not immune to the beep of their phones or the need to change the radio station. Distracted driving causes serious accidents because other drivers may not have time to apply the brakes before impact with another vehicle.
While there are many causes for car accidents, these are the most common. Unfortunately, it may be too late to take proper action to avoid a collision.
Do I Have to File a Lawsuit Right After My Accident?
Like many other types of legal actions, personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations. This means that you only have a certain amount of time after the accident to sue before the law bars you from bringing an action. Different types of cases have different time periods.
In Florida, to file a lawsuit against the at fault driver, you must file suit within four years after the date of the accident. While that is a long time, it’s best not to wait. If you wait too long, you could end up forgetting about the accident, if it was minor enough. You may also have lost important details and contact information. Maybe you forgot where the accident happened. Maybe you lost a witness phone number. All of this information is important to maximizing your recovery, so it’s best to file a lawsuit as soon as possible after your accident.
Who Is at Fault in My Car Accident?
Determining fault in your car accident isn’t always as simple as looking at the police report. The police report may not assign fault, which means you need an aggressive advocate on your side to show the other driver was at fault in your accident. But it’s possible the other driver isn’t the only one at fault. Maybe their car was recently serviced and the mechanic didn’t properly install new brakes. Maybe the car’s tires weren’t installed correctly. There could be many other factors at play which could have contributed to your accident.
That’s where an automobile accident lawyer comes in. An experienced car crash law firm can help you by conducting its own investigation and determining who is at fault for your car accident injuries. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer might bring a claim against the at-fault driver, as well as other parties who may have contributed to the accident.
What Compensation Can I Recover For Car Accident Injuries?
When you’re injured in a car accident, your sole focus should be on your recovery. But your ability to recover hinges on your ability to pay your medical bills. Since you played no part in causing the accident, you shouldn’t have to bear any responsibility for those bills.
Depending on the facts of your case, you will want a lawyer who will aggressively fight to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
If your injuries are severe enough, you’re likely out of work at least temporarily, and maybe permanently. When this happens, you may be unable to pay your bills. While your injuries are already tragic, this simply adds to the stress and worry you don’t need.
Should I Take a Settlement Offer?
The other driver’s insurance company knows if you’re out of work and having trouble making ends meet. They will prey on this, and may offer you an early settlement. They’re hoping you take this offer because it gives you the quick cash you need. Don’t take it until you’ve spoken with a seasoned personal injury lawyer.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, traffic accidents in the United States cost over $240 billion per year. That number is astronomical and shows you how important it is to not take the first offer from the insurance company. The insurance company makes money when they don’t pay out the full value of claims. Their offer to you will be a low ball offer that will only cover your existing bills. It likely won’t cover any future costs.
When you work with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Florida, you create an accurate estimate of your future costs. This gives you a good idea of what your claim is worth and how much you should reasonably settle for. A good attorney won’t settle unless it’s right for you. While it’s true that most cases settle out of court, you want a lawyer who is fully prepared to take your case all the way to trial, if necessary, to get you the maximum compensation you deserve to make a full and complete recovery.
Will My Case Go to Trial?
As is the case with many parts of the law, it depends. When you’re involved in a car accident, your main concern is your health and safety. Our concern is getting you the compensation you need to get better. Sometimes, that means going to trial.
Generally, a car accident lawyer will evaluate your case and determine the value of your claim. This is based on your injuries, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering, among other factors. Your attorney will then negotiate with the insurance company to try to obtain a fair settlement so you don’t have to worry about how your bills get paid.
But sometimes the insurance company isn’t willing to provide a fair and reasonable settlement offer. In those instances, your lawyer might recommend taking your case to trial. While this will take additional time, in the end, it could be the right decision for you because then you can maximize the amount you receive. Most likely, your case will get resolved during mediation or with a settlement offer. But if it must go to trial, look for a lawyer who is fully prepared to guide you along the way. It’s nothing to be afraid of, and could be the right decision for you.
Isn’t Hiring a Lawyer Expensive?
The short answer is no—it should cost you nothing.
It’s more expensive to choose to represent yourself or to take the low ball settlement offer from the insurance company. This could leave you in a position where you’re unable to pay for your recovery. A car accident lawyer, however, can evaluate your claim, conduct an independent investigation, speak with witnesses, review medical reports, negotiate with the insurance company, and guide you through trial, if necessary. Most car accident law firms work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if you obtain a settlement or award.
How Long Will My Car Accident Injury Case Take?
This is one of the most common questions we hear and also one of the most difficult questions to answer. It depends on the complexity of your case. Some personal injury cases settle in a matter of weeks. Other cases take years before there is a verdict at trial. Most cases, however, live somewhere in between.
You probably want to wrap your case up as quickly as possible because you need the money to aid your recovery. But you want to make sure your attorney serves you correctly and gives you the best representation possible. To do that, your lawyer will want to thoroughly review your case. That can take time. But you want your lawyer to do that to make sure he or she fully understands your claim and can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
It depends. The more severe your injuries, generally, the more your claim is worth. However, that isn’t always true. No two car accidents are ever the same. But certain factors can affect the value of your claim, including:
- The total cost of your medical bills
- Your future medical costs
- Your lost wages
- If your injuries prohibit you from living a full life
Our goal is to keep you informed and working together toward the best possible outcome for your car accident claim. You’ve already suffered enough.
Seek an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney
Your injuries and your recovery should be your sole focus after an accident. It’s wise to let an attorney deal with the legal complexities of your personal injury claim. That said, the law is always changing, and so you’ll want to know how your case might play out.
A consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer is typically free, and an attorney can help set you on the right path for success regardless of whether you choose to pursue a claim or not. Following a car accident, daily life can feel overwhelming, let alone the prospect of pursuing a personal injury claim; however, failing to do so can seriously damage your ability to recover from your injuries physically, financially, and emotionally. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you understand your options.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA Clearwater Office
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765
Phone: (727) 451-6900