In a state full of beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery, Bonita Springs earns its reputation as the gateway to the Gulf, with many outdoor activities for people of all ages and a welcoming community. Unfortunately, this area has a high rate of motor vehicle accidents, logging around 12,000 annually. These accidents often involve serious injuries that cause major economic and psychological damage. The Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers at Dolman Law Group are proud to serve car accident victims every day.
If a car accident in Bonita Springs injures you, Florida’s no-fault car insurance law requires you to have a personal injury protection policy (PIP coverage) to pay for the medical expenses and wage loss associated with your injury. However, this coverage is often too limited to pay for the losses associated with a serious car crash caused by another driver.
If someone else's negligence caused you serious injuries, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver's liability insurance policy or through the personal injury claims process. If the at-fault driver's insurance provider fails to compensate your claim, you can file a car accident lawsuit for the court to decide your compensation.
Insurance and legal claims can be complex, requiring extensive legal and financial knowledge. An experienced Bonita Springs car accident attorney from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help you navigate these claims processes. Contact us for a free consultation and case evaluation to learn more about our legal team’s services.
- Common Causes of Car Accidents in Bonita Springs
- Common Car Collision Injuries Our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers Handle
- Your Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyer Can Seek Compensation for You After a Crash
- Frequently Asked Questions Answered by our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers
- Contact Our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers Today
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Bonita Springs
According to the department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), accidents injure more than 7,000 people annually on Bonita Springs area roads. Intersections are the most common area for these accidents.
Some of the most dangerous intersections in Bonita Springs include:
- Corkscrew Road and Three Oaks Parkway. While Corkscrew Road has long been a hot spot for traffic accidents in the city due to the high traffic volume. While authorities are working to widen the road and place a divider between the directional travel lanes, it remains a risky area.
- Corkscrew Road and the I-75 Exit 123 northbound ramp. In southwest Florida, gridlock is common, particularly when traveling I-75, which sees heavy traffic flows of tourists, commuters, and tractor-trailers.
- Bonita Beach Road and U.S. 41. This is another area that commonly sees congestion and accidents as commuters and beachgoers frequent this roadway, causing a high volume that is too heavy for the number of travel lanes.
Traffic volume is a major contributor to accidents in Bonita Springs, as concentrated vehicles often create a higher likelihood that a driving error will result in a collision. Here are some errors that drivers make in Bonita Springs that lead to accidents.
Speeding refers to driving faster than the posted speed limit and too fast for roadway conditions.
Speeding poses many hazards, including:
- Difficulty maintaining control of the vehicle.
- Less time for the driver to see and respond to a hazard.
- Increased distance to completely stop after braking.
- Difficulty for other drivers to determine a safe gap in traffic to pull into a travel lane.
- Increased crash severity due to the added force of a collision caused by excess speed.
Distracted driving is a major issue in Southwest Florida, resulting in nearly 2,000 car accidents annually in the Bonita Springs area—far greater than the number of accidents caused by alcohol impairment.
There are three types of driver distractions:
- Manual distractions, which cause the driver to take their hands out of the proper position on the steering wheel. Some examples include eating, smoking, or adjusting stereo or vehicle controls.
- Visual distractions, which cause the driver to stop watching the roadway. A visual distraction can occur when the driver watches the scenery, other vehicles, or people. It can also happen when people tend to children or pets in the backseat or attempt to retrieve a dropped item in the car while driving.
- Cognitive distractions, which cause the driver’s thoughts to stray from the task of driving safely. Cognitive distractions include listening to music, daydreaming, or even talking on the phone or to other occupants in the vehicle.
While this article touches on many distracted driving causes, texting is the most significant. Texting (and other smartphone use, such as emailing or browsing social media) is particularly concerning to traffic safety experts, as it causes all three types of driver distractions at once.
Florida passed a law that makes texting and driving a primary offense, meaning passengers can be pulled over by the police and cited if they seem them texting and driving in school zones or construction zones, even if they committed no other driving infractions.
More than 200 accidents occur on Bonita Springs-area roads yearly due to alcohol-impaired drivers, resulting in around the same number of injuries and several dozen deaths.
Alcohol impairment deficits many driving skills necessary to safely operate a vehicle, including performing more than one task at a time, braking and steering effectively, roadway surveillance and signal detection, maintaining lane position, and making good driving decisions. Alcohol impairment can lead to nearly any type of car accident and is commonly a factor in head-on collisions due to wrong-way driving.
Tailgating refers to following another vehicle too closely. The following car does not have enough space to stop if the vehicle in front of them suddenly slows or stops.
Tailgating is the most common cause of rear-end accidents. While rear-end accidents are not generally as lethal as other types of accidents, they injure thousands of people and kill hundreds more each year due to tailgating drivers.
More than 1,400 students attend high school in Bonita Springs, many of whom have already received driver's licenses. Each year in Florida, hundreds of teen drivers are involved in severe accidents. In fact, according to statistics compiled by AAA Exchange, teen drivers are three times more likely to die in a crash than drivers 20 or older.
Some of the risks posed to young and inexperienced drivers include:
- Dangerous distractions and lapses in judgment when driving with friends in the vehicle.
- Lack of experience in low visibility conditions and fatigue when driving at night.
- Lack of awareness of certain defensive driving techniques to avoid collisions.
Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way
All roadway users—from pedestrians to commercial truck drivers—must yield the right-of-way to others at certain times, particularly at red lights and stop signs. Falling to do so often results in a particularly dangerous crash in an intersection, known as a broadside accident or a T-bone collision.
Driver fatigue is commonly associated with long-haul truck drivers and shift workers operating a vehicle during the late night hours. Driver fatigue is common in hours of darkness due to the biological circadian rhythm, which is the body's tendency to crave sleep during night hours. However, any driver can experience fatigue at any time. Life changes, difficulty sleeping, or even medical conditions can leave an individual feeling unrested even after a full night's sleep.
Common Car Collision Injuries Our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers Handle
Being seriously injured in a car accident can affect all facets of a person’s life, including:
- Their ability to work. Car accidents represent a significant loss of productivity in Bonita Springs, as even seemingly minor injuries can result in lost wages and benefits. Many individuals sustain permanent injuries in car accidents, affecting their ability to earn an income.
- Finances. Being too injured to work will hurt your financial status. Unfortunately, car accident injuries are extraordinarily expensive. Florida has the highest average cost in the nation for an emergency room visit, at $3,102. Hospital fees can result in thousands of dollars a day, and medication, surgery, physical therapy, and other costs associated with treatment can result in extreme debt.
- Relationships. Sustaining a severe injury sometimes renders an individual unable to participate in the activities they enjoyed before the accident. Injured parents cannot always care for their children, provide the companionship and consortium their spouses need, and must rely on those closest to them to perform caregiving tasks.
Your Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyer Can Seek Compensation for You After a Crash
Florida's personal injury claims process generally begins when an injured individual hires an experienced Bonita Springs car accident attorney to assist them with their claim. Lawyers offer experience and legal understanding crucial to a claimant's ability to receive compensation. An attorney and their legal team will thoroughly investigate the accident to determine who was liable and what insurance resources are available to compensate the claim.
Once the claimant reaches maximum medical improvement—meaning their injury has stabilized, and additional recovery is unlikely—your lawyer will establish a claim value. Once completed, your lawyer will file the claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Upon receiving the claim, the provider will assign it to a claims adjuster. The claims adjuster is an employee or contractor for the insurance company who will work to protect their bottom line by looking for ways to reduce a claim’s value.
Once the claims adjuster has evaluated the claim, they have three options. They can approve the claim as submitted and begin processing the payment; they can deny the claim and provide a written explanation of the denial to the claimant, or they can offer to settle the claim out of court for less than its established value. If the adjuster offers a settlement, their initial offer is usually far below the claim's value. While this disappoints many claimants, the claimant's attorney can negotiate with the adjuster to increase their offer.
If the insurance provider fails to compensate the claim, the claimant can file it as a personal injury lawsuit. Settlement negotiations can continue at any time up through trial as long as the court has not yet made a decision on the matter.
Frequently Asked Questions Answered by our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers
If a Bonita Springs car accident injures you, you likely have questions about the personal injury claims process and your ability to seek compensation. You can obtain answers to questions about your specific case through a free case evaluation with an experienced attorney from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Below are some answers to general questions about the process.
Do I have to file a claim against my PIP policy after a car accident?
As noted, car accident claimants in Florida have three methods for receiving compensation for the expenses and effects of their injury, including a claim against their own PIP policy, a claim against the at-fault party’s liability insurance policy, and through a lawsuit if the at-fault party’s insurance provider refuses to compensate the claim.
Florida’s no-fault car insurance law requires all drivers registering their vehicles in the state to purchase a personal injury protection (PIP) policy of at least $10,000. This policy provides immediate coverage of up to 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of wage loss (up to the policy’s limit) for those injured in an accident, regardless of fault. Only those whose injuries satisfy the state’s serious injury threshold or who have exceeded the limit of their PIP policy can seek compensation from another party through the personal injury claims process.
What is Florida’s serious injury threshold, and how does it affect my claim?
Serious injuries typically result in more severe expenses and psychological effects. Because of this, Florida has a serious injury threshold that determines if a claimant can bypass the PIP claims process and file a personal injury claim instead.
Florida’s serious injury threshold includes injuries that:
- Result in a significant and permanent loss of bodily function.
- Result in a permanent injury, to a reasonable degree of medical probability.
- Result in significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Result in death.
If I was partially at fault for the accident that caused my injury, what should I do?
Speak with an experienced Bonita springs car accident lawyer. Individuals often believe they were partially responsible for an accident when they weren’t. Additionally, even claimants who bear some responsibility for the accident can still seek compensation from other at-fault parties. Having a free case evaluation with an attorney gives you an obligation-free opportunity to discuss your accident and obtain answers to the questions you have about your eligibility to file a claim.
How long do I have to file a Bonita Springs car accident lawsuit?
Florida has a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. This law is a legal deadline for the right to use the court process when seeking compensation for the expenses and losses related to your injury. In most cases, car accident claimants in Bonita Springs have four years from the accident to file a Bonita Springs personal injury lawsuit. Filing the lawsuit after this date passes will usually result in the court refusing to hear the case.
There are some scenarios, however, when the statute of limitations pauses. For instance, when the injured individual is incapacitated and unable to file a claim. Another scenario is when the claimant is a minor. Minors cannot file claims on their own, so either their parents must file the claim within the four-year statute of limitations, or the victim will have four years from their 18th birthday to file the lawsuit on their own behalf.
Most car accident claims in Bonita Springs resolve through a negotiated settlement, not a lawsuit. You may therefore wonder why the statute of limitations is so important. Filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations preserves your leverage for compensation because it provides a legal consequence for insurance companies that refuse to offer fair compensation. By removing this legal consequence, the insurance company has little reason to negotiate.
My partner died in a car accident in Bonita Springs. Is there compensation available for me?
Yes. Florida’s wrongful death claims process allows loved ones to obtain compensation for the damages caused by their loved one’s death. In this case, a named or appointed executor or administrator of your partner’s estate would file the claim for the benefit of you and other close family members, including any children, grandchildren, or other relatives who were financially dependent on them.
Through the wrongful death claims process, claimants can seek compensation for the financial costs of their loss, such as the loss of their loved one's support and services, the value of the earnings the deceased would have provided to their family, and expenses including final medical costs, funeral services, and burial or cremation that you, other family members, or the estate paid.
Claimants can also seek compensation for the psychological effects of their loved one's unexpected passing, including loss of companionship and protection, loss of parental instruction and guidance, and mental distress suffered by all family members.
Can I file a claim on my own?
The mere suggestion of hiring an attorney causes most people to pause. While the Dolman legal team understands common concerns about affordability, we want to assure you that the method we use to bill for our services ensures that anyone who needs our assistance has access.
The contingent fee billing method allows you to wait until there is a positive resolution to your claim before paying for your attorney’s services.
Here is how it works:
- When you hire an auto accident attorney to assist you with your claim, you will sign a contingent fee agreement. This documentation outlines the services the attorney will provide and designates a percentage of the award as payment for the attorney's services. If the claimant doesn't receive compensation through a negotiated settlement or as the result of a court decision, they don't pay the attorney.
- Work can begin immediately on the claim because the legal team doesn’t wait for a retainer from the claimant. Also, work can continue without worry about whether the claimant is keeping up with hourly billing, as they aren’t billed while the case is in progress.
- After the claim, the settlement or award proceeds go directly to your attorney. The attorney will deposit the funds in a trust account. They deduct the amount from that trust to satisfy any medical liens placed on the award. They will also deduct the agreed-upon percentage of the funds for their payment.
- The attorney will meet with the client to finalize the case, providing them with a complete accounting of the services rendered, the funds received, and deductions made, and will turn the remainder of the compensation over to the client.
While claimants certainly have the right to file a claim independently, there are many reasons why having an attorney is crucial. One of the main reasons is that the insurance company will have very experienced legal counsel that understands the process, and the company has a financial interest in not paying for your injuries. Not having an attorney puts you at an immediate disadvantage because you won't understand the complex process and its requirements.
Insurance companies make their money by collecting premiums from their policyholders and by avoiding payouts on claims. They hire claims adjusters to evaluate the claims and determine liability and compensation through the lens of protecting the company’s bottom line.
Claims adjusters are not legally required to be overly truthful about how they deal with claimants and are notorious for taking advantage of those who do not have an experienced attorney. They commonly offer ridiculously low settlements for car accident claimants, along with the statement that it is their final offer and the claimant must agree to it, or they will miss out on compensation completely.
For a claimant who has not had their case evaluated or valued by an attorney who understands the type of compensation needed, the money dangled in front of them often seems like a lot. Months or years later, however, they discover that they should have asked for more because the injury has impaired their ability to work and altered their life. Because they signed a legal agreement barring any additional legal actions, more compensation is no longer available.
What services does a car accident attorney offer to assist with collision claims?
As noted, an attorney brings experience and understanding of the law. They work with a legal team and do the legwork—including gathering documentation and evidence to justify the claim’s value and prove liability.
They can deliver services, including:
- Determining liability and insurance resources. In some car accidents, there will be multiple sources of liability. While this makes a claim more complex, it also provides more insurance pools to access to compensate the injury victim fully.
- Valuing the claim based not only on the actual out-of-pocket expenses but other factors, such as the claimant’s lost earning capacity and the effects to their quality of life.
- Gathering the best evidence available to prove the claim.
- Managing the timeline of the claim to protect the claimant’s right to use the court process when seeking compensation for their injuries by filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
- Representing the claim at all pre-trial hearings, in legal motions, and responses to motions.
- Negotiating a settlement.
- Litigating the case and continued representation if the defendant appeals the court’s decision.
- Collecting compensation and satisfying any medical liens placed on the settlement or award.
Why are the Bonita Springs car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group a good fit for my claim?
For attorney Matthew A. Dolman, founder of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyer, PA, assisting those injured due to someone else’s negligence is personal. When he was a teen, his father was seriously injured in an accident and received lackluster representation from a lawyer who lacked confidence. Ultimately, this led to a measly award and a growing desire to support accident victims in seeking compensation.
Dolman has received numerous awards and recognition for his service and for building a firm that assists the injured across both Florida coasts and other locations throughout the U.S. The Dolman legal team gets results and aggressively advocates for their clients to obtain the maximum compensation available, even if it means going to court.
Contact Our Bonita Springs Car Accident Lawyers Today
Let our experienced Bonita Springs car accident lawyers explain how we can assist you with your claim during a free consultation and case evaluation. We are conveniently located on Bonita Beach Road, or you can contact us online or call us at (239) 307-2634. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions and help you find peace of mind after a life-changing car accident. Reach out today.