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Car accidents are a leading cause of injuries and deaths in the United States. In fact, the CDC estimates that three million people suffer injuries from car accidents each year. Knowing what to do after a car accident can make or break a successful claim for compensation. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to obtain monetary compensation for hospital bills, lost income, funeral expenses and pain and suffering. Below, our Florida car accident attorney explains how state laws apply to car accidents and the steps you can take that may help your claim succeed.
Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?
You should consider going to the hospital after a serious accident. Florida’s “14 Day Rule” provides that if you are in a car accident and you do not seek medical treatment within 14 days you may forfeit $10,000.00 in no fault personal injury protection coverage. Waiting to seek medical attention could be a major mistake. Seeking medical attention is important for two main reasons. First, you could have an injury that does not cause symptoms for hours or even days after a crash.
Certain delayed car accident injuries can lead to permanent disability or death if left untreated. You are also obtaining evidence of any possible injuries. Medical documentation is extremely useful for pursuing a successful auto accident claim.
If the crash resulted in major injuries, then an ambulance will likely be called to the scene of the accident. At this point, emergency workers may take you to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Do I Need to File a Police Report?
If the accident resulted in property damage and bodily harm to you, other passengers or other motorists, then someone must call law enforcement to the scene of a crash. Officers may speak with the parties involved in the crash or witnesses to obtain information for a police report.
However, law enforcement officers may not always respond to the scene of a crash. You or your attorney may have to fill out an accident report and turn it into the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and DMV. A Florida car accident attorney can help with this process.
Do I Have to Notify My Insurance Company?
You must notify your insurance company after a crash to report property damage or any injuries. However, your attorney can help with this process.
You do not have to talk to the other party’s insurance adjuster. In fact, talking to the other party’s insurance adjuster can be a major mistake. The adjuster can use what you tell them to devalue or deny a claim for compensation. Talking to the other party’s insurance adjuster can make settlement negotiations much more difficult. It is a common tactic for insurance adjusters to claim you did not suffer serious injuries or were partially at fault for the accident.
How Do I Get Compensation After a Car Accident?
Insurance companies must have personal injury protection (PIP) in our state. Therefore, your insurance company may pay for your damages.
Florida is a no-fault state. In many car accident cases, you cannot sue the other driver and they cannot sue you after a collision. There are exceptions to this rule. You may be able to recover compensation if the insurance payout does not cover the full cost of your injury.
If you suffered a permanent injury due to the other driver’s negligence, then you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover additional compensation. This includes damages for pain and suffering, also called noneconomic damages. We can help you determine if your injury qualifies as a serious injury under Florida state law.
There are scenarios where it might be more difficult to recover compensation from a lawsuit. If the other driver lacks an insurance policy or has inadequate insurance, it can be more difficult to recover compensation. However, your insurance provider may provide compensation if you suffered injuries and property damage in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Can I File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
You may be able to sue the other driver under the right circumstances. As we mention above, you would need to have suffered a qualifying “permanent injury” or lost a loved one. However, you would need to be able to demonstrate the other motorist was at fault.
If you can demonstrate the other driver’s negligent or reckless driving caused the accident and the resulting damages, then you may be able to file a successful lawsuit. However, there are other factors that could affect your ability to seek compensation.
You would need to be within the Florida statute of limitations for filing an injury lawsuit. In Florida, you generally have four years from the date of a car accident. You have much less time to act if the at-fault party is a government entity.
We encourage you to reach out to us for a free consultation if you or a loved one suffered harm during an accident. Our Florida personal injury lawyers can help you determine if it would be possible to recover compensation.
What If I Cannot Settle a Car Accident Claim?
Most car accident claims settle out of court. However, there are cases where you may need to take your case to trial. For this reason, you should be very selective while choosing a personal injury lawyer to take your case. It helps to choose a lawyer who has trial experience.
Can I Sue for a Truck Accident?
You may be able to seek compensation after a truck accident. In this case, your lawsuit would be against the trucking company, a truck part manufacturer, a loading company, or possibly another party.
Truck accidents are far more likely to result in permanent injuries or wrongful death due to the weight and size of modern commercial vehicles. In fact, a fully loaded eighteen-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Even at low speeds, the impact forces from a collision can cause devastation.
You may file a claim for damages against the at-fault party’s insurer, or a lawsuit if the insurer refuses to settle. Our personal injury law firm can help you review your options.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
The process for pursuing compensation can be difficult. This is because the circumstances surrounding the accident and your injury determine what legal options are available. In addition, without a lawyer it would be extremely difficult to obtain and protect evidence following a crash. The settlement process, if necessary, could also be difficult to navigate on your own. For these reasons, you should strongly consider working with an attorney.
An attorney can help you review potential legal options for recovering compensation, and can protect evidence that is vital to your claim. Additionally, an attorney can also help with the claims process, filing a lawsuit or even taking your case to trial under the right circumstances.
Most personal injury attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay fees unless they successfully recover compensation. Personal injury attorneys also offer free initial consultations. Cost should not factor into your decision to seek out the help of a personal injury attorney.
About Our Florida Car Accident Attorney.
The Florida car accident lawyers at Milles Law can help you understand your legal rights after a traffic collision. We have a proven record of helping our clients recover compensation for serious injuries. To schedule a free consultation with us, call (855) 553-3310 or use the contact form on our site.
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Hiring the right firm can make all the difference. At Milles Law, we have the experience successfully handling thousands of personal injury cases. When you hire our firm you can expect to work closely with Attorney Milles from start to finish, and you will have access to him and his team any time you have questions.
Why Hire Our firm?
Over 23 Years of Experience
Tens of Millions Won for Clients
Highly Personalized Legal Counsel
Past President of the Tallahassee Bar Association and the Capital City Justice Association