As with any college town or major tourist destination, Gainesville sees its fair share of traffic. Moving in and about the city can be a bit chaotic, from the busy highways to the congested streets surrounding Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. But while bad traffic can be a headache for some, it can have devastating consequences for others.
The sad reality is car accidents happen every day in Gainesville. These accidents leave victims hurt, scared, and overwhelmed. If you or someone you love is trying to process the aftermath of a car accident, help is available.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our experienced legal professionals work hard to help victims get what they deserve. Contact a Gainesville car accident lawyer at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, to learn more about your legal rights and set up a free initial consultation.
Table of Contents
- Get Help After a Gainesville Car Accident
- Your Rights Following a Gainesville Auto Accident
- Five Causes of Gainesville Car Accidents
- Injuries Following a Gainesville Motor Vehicle Collision
- Contact a Gainesville Car Accident Lawyer Today
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA: Helping you get what you deserve
In 2004, Matthew Dolman started Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, with one purpose: to help people. Since then, he has grown his team and expanded to offer services across the Florida coast. When you work with Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we want you to feel like you matter. Many of our attorneys for car accidents have personally struggled with your challenges and know the road you face.
When you choose an attorney, you must feel confident in your decision. Your personal injury attorney should be an aggressive advocate and work to get to know you and your needs.
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we believe in personal connection and will always listen to what matters to you the most. We take our job seriously and will fight to help you get what you deserve.
Results for our clients
Following a car accident, money quickly becomes a top concern. From medical bills to car repairs and missed time from work, victims often focus on how they will pay for everything instead of what matters the most – their recovery. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our mission is to get you the resources you need to rebuild your life.
While these examples do not guarantee success, we share some results we have achieved for past clients below.
- $5 million recovered after a car accident resulting in severe burns
- $1.58 million for two herniated discs following a car accident
- $939,000 after a rideshare accident
- $425,000 for a car accident resulting in a lower back injury
Your rights following a Gainesville car accident
We often talk to victims who don’t understand their rights following a car accident. As a society, the insurance company has conditioned us to contact it and hope it fixes our car. Half the time, even this is a battle.
However, your rights extend beyond getting your car repaired. Under Florida law, a person injured in a car accident has the right to recover reasonable damages if that accident was someone else’s fault. Further, your personal injury protection policy (PIP) will cover 80 percent of your medical costs or lost wages following an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
So why don’t insurance companies tell you this when you call to make a claim? Because insurance companies are in the business of making money. This means they will pay out as little as possible and won’t tell you about all the benefits you have.
Consult an experienced Gainesville car accident attorney after any accident involving injuries. We will tell you everything the insurance company will try to hide from you.
Beyond your PIP policy, your attorney can help you determine the actual value of your case and demand compensation from the other party’s insurance company.
Each case is different, but common damages your attorney will fight for include:
- Medical bills, including doctor visits, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation services
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Whether you are a permanent resident of Florida or just visiting, you have the right to fight for compensation if an accident injured you here.
Five causes of Gainesville car accidents
Probably the most frustrating thing about car accidents is that most of them are preventable. Most of the time, accidents happen because of a person’s poor choices or negligence. Some of the most common causes of car accidents include:
Gainesville Car Accident Lawyer Near Me 833-552-7274
Distracted driving is one of the biggest dangers drivers face on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused 3,100 deaths in one year. In Florida, the most recent report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles revealed that distracted driving caused 314 deaths.
Distracted driving is a severe problem that hasn’t seen much improvement over the past several years. And while drivers may use various excuses for why they were distracted, most of the time, it comes down to a simple disregard for those around them.
Common examples of distracted driving we continue to see include:
- Talking or texting on the phone
- Conversations with other passengers
- Adjusting the radio
- Looking at animals, objects, or other vehicles outside of the vehicle
- Putting on makeup
- Finding directions
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Gainesville, call 833-552-7274
Failure to yield the right of way
Right-of-way laws tell drivers where to stop, how to merge, and who has the right to move when two vehicles meet. Accidents happen when drivers don’t know the law or fail to abide by the law. This often occurs when someone is new to town or doesn’t know their way around.
These accidents commonly occur at intersections but can also happen:
- On highway onramps and off-ramps
- In parking lots
- At residential or commercial driveways
Because right-of-way accidents often find drivers arguing over who was at fault, it is always best to talk with an experienced car accident attorney. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we’ll review your evidence and use it to build your case.
Everyone has an excuse for speeding. “I was late.” “The person in front of me was going too slow.” “It’s boring driving slow.” And, of course, “What’s the big deal?”
The big deal is that speeding is dangerous. Not only does it increase stopping distance and decrease reaction time, but it also exponentially increases the likelihood and severity of the injury.
In the most recent year for which data is available, the NHTSA reported over 11,000 speeding fatalities. This number is far too high. We believe speeding is a blatant disregard for the safety of others and will help you fight for justice.
Driving under the influence
It is a sad reality that driving under the influence continues to be a problem. But the facts show that drunk driving kills about 32 people daily, or one person every 45 minutes. When a person drinks and drives or drives under the influence of drugs, their ability to drive safely diminishes.
Common effects of drunk driving include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slower reaction time
- Poor decision making
- Reduced coordination
- Poor vision
- Trouble staying awake
Poor visibility can make driving challenging. But even if someone claims they did not see you, that does not reduce their responsibility to avoid a collision. Every time someone gets on the road, they have to do so with consideration as to whether they can do so safely. If visibility becomes an issue, they should safely get off the road.
Many factors can affect visibility. These include:
- Sun glare
- Other vehicles
In most cases, the driver is responsible for a collision if they claim they did not see you. However, if the accident resulted from improperly maintained trees or illegally parked vehicles, there may be more than one party to blame.
Injuries following a Gainesville motor vehicle collision
Injuries are widespread after an accident. Even a “minor” accident can result in painful injuries. Following an accident, prioritize your health. That’s why we always recommend victims visit the doctor following an accident, regardless of how serious an accident may seem.
You deserve reasonable compensation when an injury causes you pain or missed time from work. Typical car accident injuries include:
Soft tissue injuries
Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common injuries after an accident. While these injuries often resolve on their own and may require little treatment, they can be painful. Soft tissue injuries can sometimes worsen and require further medical intervention. In this case, you may need to miss time from work or take time to rest while your injury heals and you recover.
Examples of soft tissue injuries include:
Treatment options for these types of injuries often include:
- Ice or heat
- Chiropractic therapy
Though a soft tissue injury may seem minor, consult a doctor after any motor vehicle accident. Your care provider can rule out any more severe issues.
Traumatic brain injuries
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) refers to any damage to the head caused by an external force. This includes a penetrating wound or a blow to the head. The CDC lists motor vehicle accidents as one of the leading causes of TBIs. Consult a healthcare professional immediately if you hit your head during an accident or experience any TBI symptoms.
TBI symptoms include:
- Mood changes
- Difficulty concentrating
- Loss of consciousness or difficulty staying awake
- Sensory changes including loss of sight, hearing, or smell
For a complete list of symptoms, visit the CDC page for traumatic brain injuries and concussions.
Spinal cord injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for nearly half of all injuries. Spinal cord injuries occur when a force or penetrating wound injures the spinal cord. This can lead to immediate or delayed paralysis.
One thing to understand about spinal cord injuries is that they do not always result in immediate paralysis. In fact, in some cases, if you catch it soon enough, treatment can reverse swelling and reduce any permanent injury, so seek immediate treatment.
- Extreme pain or pressure on the spine
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Loss of feeling in your limbs
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Difficulty breathing
Mental health issues
There is no questioning that car accidents can be scary. The very nature of these accidents can cause anxiety and fear. Car accident victims may experience mental distress following an accident. The likelihood of this goes up with the severity of the accident.
Take your mental health seriously after an accident and treat it just as you would a physical condition. Help is available, and treatment options may provide relief.
Regarding car accidents and personal injury, mental health injuries are just as valid as physical ones. If you are suffering, you must tell your healthcare provider and attorney.
Examples of mental health conditions that may occur after a car accident include:
Accidents can also cause emotional distress, with symptoms including:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of enjoyment
Our Gainesville Car Accident Lawyers Are By Your Side
At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we fight passionately for victims. We believe no insurance company should ever take advantage of an injured person. We work vigilantly with every case we take to ensure our clients get the help they need. Now is when you need to take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who will support you. After an accident, we’re here to help.
Regardless of the type of injury you suffer, an experienced Gainesville car accident can help you fight for justice and appropriate compensation. Call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at 833-552-7274 (833-55-CRASH) or fill out our online contact form for your free initial consultation.
“AMAZING and understanding attorneys! Did great on my case and I highly recommend Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for anyone that has been injured in an accident!”
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What should I do following a car accident?
Everything you say and do after an accident is important. So take care, even at the collision scene.
Every case is different, but there are a few basic steps we usually recommend:
- Stay at the scene: This one seems obvious, but it’s shocking how many people leave the accident scene because they didn’t want to deal with it or don’t plan to make an insurance claim. In the event of a collision, Florida law requires all drivers to stay at the scene. If your vehicle is in the path of traffic, the law directs you to move your vehicle to the side of the road to protect yourself and pass traffic safety.
- Exchange information: Under the statute above, you must exchange information with the other driver. This allows each party to contact or make a claim if necessary. Basic information you should provide and receive includes: Names, contact information, insurance carrier name, insurance policy number, and contact information for the insurance company. It is also a good idea to take a picture of the license plate to confirm the vehicle was actually at the scene. Limit any communication with the other driver to the exchange of contact information. Do not discuss fault or admit blame.
- Gather evidence: Evidence will help you prove your case if you want to seek damages from the other party. The most valuable evidence you will get at the accident scene? Pictures. Take pictures of both vehicles, focusing on damage and getting photos of the entire vehicle. Make sure to record any noticeable property damage, including skid marks, damaged street signs, or marks or divots on the curb or grass. If witnesses are at the scene, get their contact information. Your attorney will likely want to talk to them.
- Go to the doctor: Your health is the number one priority. If you have serious injuries, call 911. Do not worry about evidence and exchanging information. Urgent care is usually your best option after an accident if your treatment can wait. In Florida, the law requires you to visit a healthcare provider within 14 days of the accident if you want access to your entire PIP policy. While you legally have 14 days, typically, it is best to go to the doctor on the same day as your accident so that your care provider can conduct an evaluation and rule out any serious injuries.
- Contact a car accident attorney: If you have been in an accident, you shouldn’t wait to contact an attorney. The sooner you call someone, the sooner they can get started on your case. Our firm is available with offices on both coasts wherever your accident happens. Contact our office right now.
The other party doesn’t have insurance. What should I do?
While Florida law requires all drivers to carry liability insurance, this doesn’t always happen.
If the other driver did not purchase insurance, you have options:
- File a claim against your uninsured/underinsured policy (UI/UIM): If you carry UI/UIM, you may file a claim against this policy. You can attempt to recover damages up to your policy limits.
- File a lawsuit against the other party: If the other party does not have insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against the person’s property. In the case they have money or assets, your attorney will try to recover damages from said assets. If no assets are available, the court may require the person to make payments to you to settle their debt.
- File a claim against third-party insurance: If you or the other driver were on the job at the time of the accident, you might file a workers’ compensation claim.
The other driver received a ticket for a traffic infraction during the accident. Does this mean they will automatically have to pay?
Not necessarily. However, it does help. When it comes to car accidents, civil cases and criminal cases are two separate issues. This means that if a driver was driving drunk and the court decided they were not guilty, you can still pursue damages from that party. Conversely, even if the driver received a ticket or entered a guilty plea, that does not mean the insurance company will automatically issue a check.
Insurance companies look for ways to minimize their liability. This means that even if there is clear proof that their party is guilty, they will look for ways to show that you contributed to the accident or that your injuries were not the result. This is why you should always work with an experienced personal injury attorney, no matter how straightforward the case may seem.
Will the insurance company pay for all my damages?
That’s the goal. When negotiating with the insurance company, we always try to recover all costs. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and any out-of-pocket expenses. Additionally, we will fight for pain and suffering when applicable.
However, there may be limits to what we can recover. This usually happens if your injuries exceed the other party’s policy limits. If this happens, you may be able to recover additional damages from your UI/UIM policy.
How do I pay for my medical bills while my case is pending?
You may worry how to pay your bills while waiting for a settlement. In theory, the money is there, but how do you pay in the meantime? We can help you. Contact us if you ever worry about your ability to receive medical care.
Payment options include:
- Your PIP policy: All drivers have access to their PIP policy immediately following an accident. Your PIP policy will cover 80 percent of your medical bills, up to your policy limits (usually $10,000). However, please note that you must see a care provider within 14 days of the accident and receive a diagnosis of an emergency medical condition if you want access to your full policy limits. If your doctor determines you do not have an emergency medical condition, you can still access up to $2,500 of coverage.
- Your private health insurance: Nothing precludes you from using your health insurance while you wait for a settlement from the insurance company. If you use your own insurance, your insurance company will likely seek reimbursement from the other party after the case. If you have to pay for anything out-of-pocket, make sure to keep any receipts so you can have these costs reimbursed.
- A letter of protection: In many cases, your attorney will be able to draft a letter of protection to your health providers to delay payment. This letter of protection is a promise to pay once you receive your final payout. Not all attorneys can provide this, and not all providers will accept this, so it is a good idea to talk to your attorney about your options.
Will I have to go to court?
Generally, no. Most car accident cases settle out of court. Typically, both parties understand that court is a risk and an added cost. In most cases, it does not make sense to go to court. However, if you are unhappy with what the other party offers, you may go to court. For this reason, work with an attorney with litigation experience who will take your case to court if necessary.
How long do I have to file a claim for damages after my accident?
The statute of limitations dictates how long you have to make a legal claim for damages. In Florida, the statute of limitations for car accidents and all other personal injury matters is four years from the date of the accident. Beyond this point, you may lose your legal standing to bring a case.
There are a couple of points to consider. First, you must file a case with the court before the four-year date. It doesn’t matter if you have been negotiating with the insurance company prior; the actual paperwork must be filed with the court by this date.
Secondly, four years may sound like a long time, but it is never a good idea to wait until the last minute to file for two reasons. One, you want to allow your attorney enough time to review and prepare your case. Second, the longer you wait to initiate a claim, the less likely the insurance company (and likely the court) will take your claim seriously.
What if I can’t return to work?
The prospect of losing your job after an accident can frighten you. Your attorney will fight for lost wages if your injuries prevent you from returning to work. If the loss of employment is temporary, the lost wages will cover the time you miss. If you can return to work but not in the same capacity, you may receive payment for vocational retraining.
If you cannot return to work, your attorney will likely argue for future lost wages. In this case, the insurance company will look at your previous position, wages, and age. They will use this information to determine how much you potentially would have made if you had continued until retirement age. If you recover future lost wages, this amount will go into a lump sum payment included in your final settlement amount.
Do I need an attorney?
The law does not require you to have an attorney to recover damages after an accident, but if you hope to be successful, you should consult with an attorney who has the experience and team to pursue your claim. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA., offers free initial consultations. Here, we will review your case and determine whether you need legal representation.
Even if you think you can do it yourself, this is rarely a good idea, if not because insurance companies almost always offer less to unrepresented parties. Additionally, valuing a case and proving that case can be difficult. We have experience working with care providers and negotiating with insurance companies at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA.
Most importantly, when you work with an attorney, it allows you to focus on your recovery. Your attorney can work on your case and connect you with care providers so you can put your energy into getting better.