How Legal Representation Can Protect Your Best Interests
SUVs are everywhere in Florida. Older drivers like them because they're easy to get in and out of, and parents like them because they feel safer for their families and younger drivers.
These large vehicles are a popular choice for drivers of all ages, yet their size can cause others serious injuries and even death during an accident.
If you experienced serious injuries or lost a close loved one due to an accident involving a reckless SUV driver, our Florida SUV Accident Attorneys could help you pursue compensation for your damages. You must act quickly due to the statute of limitations for civil cases. Contact The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA online for a free case evaluation today.
Florida SUV Accidents
In one recent year, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) accounted for approximately 47 percent of vehicle sales. According to recent data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), accidents involving an SUV resulted in 240 fatalities and 2,144 incapacitating injuries in one year.
Drivers and their passengers tend to feel safer in a larger vehicle like SUVs. What is often overlooked, according to experts, is that the higher center of gravity that an SUV has can make it harder to avoid an accident.
These tall vehicles can cause serious injuries or fatalities when involved in a collision with a motorcyclist or a smaller vehicle. Of particular concern are those accidents involving pedestrians and bicyclists. When struck by an SUV, a pedestrian or bicyclist may require a lifetime of expensive care.
The popularity of SUVs places pedestrians at risk for more serious injuries than sedans. The front-end design results in more pedestrians experiencing twice as serious hip injuries than when struck by a lower-sitting vehicle. The serious impact of such a crash could result in a long hospital stay and major life changes that require continuous medical and personal care.
Bicyclists are also at risk when it comes to SUVs and serious injuries. The tall design of SUVs, which attracts many buyers, can put bicyclists at risk of experiencing injuries that are similar to what pedestrian victims face. Reflective and protective gear does little or nothing to stop a distracted or drunk driver.
If you were riding your bicycle or crossing the street when a dangerous driver struck you with their SUV, contact us. At The Dolman Law Group, our work with accident victims has taught us about the serious injuries that can result from these accidents. We offer a free, no-obligation initial evaluation of your case.
Common Causes of Florida SUV Accidents
When another driver fails to obey traffic laws and engages in reckless behavior behind the wheel, they place others at risk for serious harm. The following are just a few common causes of driver negligence:
Distracted driving: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list three main types of distracted driving:
- Visual: the driver takes their eyes off the road
- Manual: the driver takes their hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: the driver takes their mind off driving
Texting, according to the CDC, involves all three forms of distraction. Other types of distractions involve talking with passengers, reaching for items, or eating. Additional data from the CDC shows that approximately 9 people die every day in the United States due to a crash involving a distracted driver.
Drunk driving: An SUV with a drunk driver behind the wheel is no match for many other road users. According to the data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), more than 5,000 alcohol-related crashes in one recent year. Of these, more than 350 people died and 1,753 people suffered injuries.
Drowsy driving: A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation discovered that 60 percent of those who were surveyed admitted to driving while drowsy. Thirty-seven percent of respondents admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Aggressive driving: A driver of an SUV may express little patience for slower drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists. If an aggressive driver purposely ran you off the road or engaged in road rage, take action and try to hold them accountable for your damages.
If you encountered a driver in an SUV engaging in one or more of the above behaviors, do not wait to pursue justice. Even if they face criminal charges for the accident, you could still pursue a civil case against them. What happened to you was not fair. Your medical expenses and inability to work (due to no fault of your own) provides all the more reason to contact a Florida SUV accident lawyer at The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA as soon as possible.
Serious Florida SUV Accidents Result in Serious Medical Bills
A serious car accident involving an SUV can leave you out of work and in the hospital for a significant amount of time. Depending upon the severity of your injuries, your life may never return to how it was before the accident.
Examples of the types of injuries that pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, or other drivers/passengers can experience in this type of accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury: According to the CDC, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that disrupts normal brain function. An especially severe TBI may require a victim to be placed in a skilled nursing facility. Such facilities are expensive, with an average cost of $8,365 per month.
- Spinal cord injury: A spinal cord injury can impact movement and sensation below the point of injury. The resulting paralysis can require special medical equipment and home modifications for a wheelchair or power chair. These costs can reach millions of dollars throughout a patient's lifetime.
- Broken bones: A traumatic collision with an SUV can result in more than one broken bone. The type of break and the location of your broken bones can impact your daily routine. You may also face future surgeries and extensive physical therapy, resulting in missed time from work.
- Internal injuries: An internal injury—like that of internal bleeding—is especially dangerous because there are often no outward signs or symptoms. If left untreated, this type of injury can cause organ damage and may result in death.
These are just a few examples of the types of injuries you may experience when struck by an SUV. Always accept medical transport to the hospital—even if you feel fine. You may still suffer from a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention.
The costs associated with these injuries can exceed any insurance you may have and wipe out your savings. When the injuries are the result of a careless SUV driver, you should not have to pay all of these medical costs. The person responsible for your harm should pay as the at-fault party.
Florida SUV accident lawyers must prove that the defendant owed you a certain duty of care and failed to act in a way that protected you from harm. Proving negligence is necessary when it comes to fighting for compensation. At The Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we have demanded fair compensation for our clients.
Types of Compensation We Typically Seek
An accident caused by the driver of an SUV can leave you with life-changing injuries. These injuries could result in medical care throughout your lifetime. Each Florida SUV accident case results in its own unique outcome. The evidence associated with your case and proof of liability are among the many factors that could impact your case.
As Florida SUV accident lawyers, we typically pursue the following types of compensation:
- Medical expenses: Your medical costs begin the moment you accept transport to the hospital and can include fees associated with doctors, the hospital, medical tests, lab services, and more.
- Continuing medical costs: Ongoing medical costs can include such care as rehabilitation, physical, occupational, emotional, or other therapies, and expensive prescription medications.
- Time missed from work: The serious injuries you suffered may require a long recovery, resulting in time away from work and a loss of income.
- Diminished earning capacity: If your injuries prevent you from returning to the career you had before your accident, you may receive an award for your diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: Pain and suffering include such damages as your physical pain and mental anguish.
If you lost a close loved one in an accident involving an SUV, you may be eligible for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit. Losing someone close to you in such a sudden way is news that no one should receive.
At The Dolman Law Group, we respect your time of grief. We know that no amount of money can replace your loved one. We also know that your bills will not stop just because your loved one is gone. Let us help—reach out to us today. We treat our clients with the utmost respect while we negotiate with insurance companies for a fair settlement, and take any additional steps that may be necessary.
Insurance Company Tactics
An insurance company may try to use tactics designed to confuse you. Recovering from serious injuries leaves you vulnerable for not fully understanding the terms of a settlement offer. Hiring a Florida SUV accident lawyer can help protect your interests.
Pressure from an aggressive insurance company agent is the last thing you need during this stressful time. While your medical bills and loss of income worry you, settling for less than you deserve could be exactly what the insurance company hopes you will do.
As for-profit businesses, insurance companies want to protect their best interests. To do this, they might offer an accident victim an amount aimed at impressing them so much that they accept the settlement. There is a reason this could be particularly dangerous for your future—once you accept the settlement, you cannot seek compensation later. If your medical condition worsens, you are out of luck for pursuing legal action for your new medical bills.
A civil claim and lawsuit could be your one chance to seek the most compensation possible. If you were seriously injured in an accident caused by the negligent actions of an SUV driver, secure legal representation.
The Dolman Law Group know how to spot the various strategies insurance companies use to avoid paying fair settlements. We could negotiate with an insurance company on your behalf, leaving you more time to rest and recover. While most Florida SUV accident cases settle out of court, The Dolman Law Group do not stop until we reach the best possible outcome for our clients. If we must take a case to trial, we are ready to take this step.
Florida SUV Accident FAQ: What You Need to Know About
Just how big is an SUV?
A sport utility vehicle (SUV) typically has a gross motor weight of 10,000 pounds or less and has increased ground clearance. The taller front-end design, along with the weight, makes an SUV a potential weapon when driven by a reckless driver—they're easy to flip and SUV drivers have a hard time seeing the pedestrians and smaller vehicles in their path.
How many SUV accidents happen in Florida?
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), more than 200 fatalities and 2,100 incapacitating injuries resulted from crashes involving an SUV during a recent year.
This data does not include the more than 500 motorcycle fatalities and 7,000 motorcycle injuries. Also missing from this data are the more than 650 pedestrian fatalities and more than 8,000 pedestrian injuries.
Determining the correlation between SUV accidents and vulnerable road users is often difficult when it comes to state statistics. Research is underway to learn more about the serious dangers between SUVs and pedestrians.
What are the common causes of SUV accidents?
The following are just a few examples of how negligence can occur behind the wheel:
- Drunk driving: despite stricter laws and public safety campaigns, people continue to take a risk and drive impaired.
- Aggressive driving: some drivers may not want to share the road, using speed or improper lane changes to disrupt the travel of other drivers.
- Drowsy driving: there is no place for sleepy drivers behind the wheel of an SUV.
- Distracted driving: any action that takes the driver's eyes off the road, mind off driving, and/or hands off the wheel.
These are just a few examples of how the driver of an SUV could lose control in a matter of seconds. The moment a driver engages in at least one of these behaviors, they place everyone around them at risk for serious harm.
Even if a driver faces criminal charges for their accident, you may still pursue your civil case. Their criminal case has no bearing on civil proceedings.
All Florida drivers—and visitors to the state—have a responsibility to operate their vehicles safely. A driver's license is a privilege and not a right. If a speeding, drunk, or otherwise reckless driver of an SUV crashed into you, take action. Pursuing justice is easier when you have a Florida SUV accident lawyer on your side.
What is a vulnerable road user?
A vulnerable road user is someone that has less crash protection than occupants of passenger vehicles. Due to their lack of protection, they are more prone to serious injuries or fatality in the event of an accident.
Vulnerable road users include motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Florida helmet laws allow for motorcyclists and bicyclists over the age of 21 to avoid wearing a helmet—provided they provide proof of mandatory medical insurance.
Why should I not speak with insurance companies after a Florida SUV accident?
Insurance companies may contact you soon after your accident. Their goal may be to purely protect their own interests at your expense. To do this, they may offer you a settlement that seems like a large sum. The reality is that the amount offered is generally a lower dollar amount aimed at settling your claim as soon as possible.
What they may not tell you is that if you accept their offer, you forfeit your right to pursue compensation later. If your medical condition should worsen, you may not have the funds to pay for your care.
Speaking with insurance companies alone could also be dangerous because they may blame you for the accident. Anything you say to them can be used against you somehow to deny your claim. You do not, and should not, speak with any insurance company representative alone—no matter how friendly they seem.
What type of compensation can I recover after a Florida SUV accident?
Every personal injury case is different, however, a Florida SUV accident lawyer typically pursues the following types of compensation:
- Medical costs: from medical transport to the hospital to doctor and hospital fees, these are the costs associated with your immediate care.
- Ongoing medical costs: some injuries require continuous medical care, like that of rehabilitation, various therapies, and prescription medications.
- Lost wages: the time you spent away from work recovering from your injuries is a possible form of compensation.
- Diminished earning capacity: if your injuries prevent you from returning to the same job as before your accident, you may qualify for diminished earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering: the mental anguish and other related suffering caused by the SUV driver's negligence.
A Florida SUV accident lawyer would work hard to secure the best possible outcome for your case. A Florida SUV accident case takes time, requires patience, and should be pursued when you experience harm due to no fault of your own.
How expensive are my SUV accident injuries?
There is no way of telling exactly how much your medical costs will total. If your injuries (or that of your loved one) are particularly severe, the costs may continue forever.
Medical costs are on the rise, making it imperative that you seek the best outcome for your Florida SUV accident case. Depending on the type of injury you or your loved one suffered, you may experience costs that escalate into the thousands of dollars a month.
For example, a spinal cord injury and related costs could reach into the millions of dollars each month. These costs associated with care after an accident can far exceed any insurance or savings you may possess.
Securing the skills of a Florida SUV accident attorney could help protect your financial future. You should not pay for the piles of costs associated with injuries caused by a negligent driver.
My spouse died due to a negligent Florida SUV driver. Can I sue?
A Florida SUV accident lawyer can review your case to confirm, however, Florida law allows surviving spouses to file a civil lawsuit. Other close relations to the decedent who could file this sort of claim include children and parents.
The types of compensation possible are similar to those in a Florida SUV accident case, with a few exceptions.
An award for damages in a wrongful death case might include:
- Final medical expenses for the decedent.
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of potential future earnings
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
The value of some damages is easier to demonstrate to an insurance company than others. For example, medical costs—sometimes referred to as economic damages—are specific to the services rendered. Noneconomic damages, like that of loss of companionship, are harder to affix a monetary value to.
A Florida SUV accident lawyer could help you navigate this process as you grieve your loss.
How can a Florida SUV accident lawyer help me?
Having someone on your side during this challenging time could afford you the peace of mind necessary to rest a bit more easily. Experiencing serious injuries or the loss of a loved one is a devastating and highly emotional time.
Focusing on your medical treatments and procedures, or preparing a memorial for your loved one, takes top priority. Dealing with aggressive insurance company representatives is one of the last things you need as you adjust to your new normal.
A Florida SUV accident lawyer could help handle the details of your case and keep you informed throughout the process. They understand how insurance companies operate, and the tactics they could use to deny or to underpay victims. If your Florida SUV accident lawyer can't secure a fair settlement out of court, they could prepare to go to trial.
How much does a Florida SUV accident lawyer cost?
Our Florida SUV accident lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. Do not let the fear of paying for a lawyer stop you from reaching out to one. With no deposit or retainer required and a free case evaluation, you have nothing to lose by reaching out to us today to discuss the next steps.
I have lots of time to call a Florida SUV lawyer, right?
When it comes to filing a personal injury or a wrongful death case, time is not on your side. The statute of limitations sets a strict deadline for filing a civil case. These statutes are laws that we must adhere to—missing the filing deadline can result in you losing your opportunity to pursue compensation forever.
Collecting and reviewing important evidence takes time. A Florida SUV accident lawyer would be interested in the following, as they pertain to the SUV accident and your injuries:
- An official police report detailing the accident
- Witness statements and contact information for witnesses
- Accident scene photos and/or video
- Your medical reports relating to your injuries
Florida drivers who fail to maintain control of their SUV can change your life in an instant. By trying to hold them accountable for their actions, you may just be preventing the same thing from happening to someone else.
What should I do next?
After seeking medical attention for your injuries, you should contact a Florida SUV accident lawyer without delay. The sooner they can get to work for you, the better.
To recap, the following list of what to do and what not to do is essential for protecting your best interests:
- Do seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not apologize or accept fault for the accident.
- Do not post pictures or information on your social media accounts.
- Do not accept or sign a settlement offer from an insurance company.
- Do refer insurance company representatives to your attorney.
How popular are SUVs?
SUVs are very popular. In one recent year, along with pickup trucks, SUVs made up 70 percent of the automobile market. Not too long ago, one out of every five cars sold was a sedan—now barely one out of every 10 vehicles sold is a sedan.
Why would a Florida SUV accident lawyer want to help me?
Our Florida SUV accident lawyers are humans, and we care about the rights of accident victims. Their choice of law differs from criminal law in that they pursue financial compensation for their clients.
By reaching out to schedule a free case evaluation, you may just find that our Florida SUV accident lawyers are not so different from you. They, too, want to see people who harm others held accountable for their actions.
Our Florida SUV accident lawyers are here to help. Civil cases are often complex matters. Trying to handle your case alone can leave you stressed and disappointed. Secure strong legal representation that protects your best interests.
Crossing the street, riding your bike, or commuting to work should not result in life-changing injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered serious harm due to a negligent SUV driver, take action. From negotiating with an insurance company on your behalf to proceeding to trial, a Florida SUV accident lawyer can help you when it comes to possible compensation.
If you lost a close loved one, our Florida SUV accident lawyers could help. An attorney could fight for justice on behalf of your loved one and seek the compensation you need to move on. Lost wages and the loss of potential future earnings can keep you up at night.
Find a chance at some peace by discussing your case with a member of the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA's SUV accident legal team today.
Contact Us Now for Help with Your Florida SUV Accident Injuries
An accident involving an SUV can result in serious bodily harm and possible death. The aftermath of your accident can leave you feeling confused and overwhelmed. It is no time to try to handle assertive insurance company representatives on your own.
At The Dolman Law Group, we investigate your accident by reviewing key pieces of evidence, such as:
- Police reports
- Accident scene photographs
- Witness statements
While most Florida SUV accident cases settle out of court, we remain ready to go to trial if necessary. The statute of limitations refers to the time allowed for filing a Florida SUV accident or wrongful death lawsuit. State law allows four years for a personal injury lawsuit and two years for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Both time limits may appear like significant time for your case. However, time can pass quickly when you are seriously injured or grieving. If you miss the deadline, you could be barred from pursuing civil action in the future. Adhering to court deadlines is just one way we could help you with the civil process.
Refrain from speaking with insurance companies before contacting an attorney. The sooner we can review your case, the faster we can develop the best plan for you. No one should suffer serious injuries or lose a close loved one due to a reckless SUV driver.
If this happened to you, we could help you fight for justice. Contact The Florida personal injury lawyers of Dolman Law Group now for a free case evaluation. Call 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or contact us online. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach us, and we proudly represent clients throughout Florida. Set up a free consultation today to see what we can do for you.
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*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.