Motor vehicle accidents are a daily occurrence, leaving behind a trail of bodily injuries and death. Generally, victims of car accidents have several legal options available to them. Although Florida is a "no-fault" state, car accident victims can still get compensated for their injuries and property damages.
However, the claims process is riddled with difficulties posed by the fault party and their insurance company. This is why we advise accident victims to seek the counsel of an accident attorney before commencing persona injury claims. However, most people fail to get a lawyer involved.
Others do not know when they should hire a lawyer for a car accident. Our personal injury attorneys will attempt to answer this question. You can contact us at VG Law for more information on your legal rights as an accident victim.
Like most of the states in the U.S., Florida is no stranger to motor vehicle accidents. Between January 2018 and December 2018, the state recorded 403,626 motor vehicle crashes. Out of that number, there were 3,135 fatal crashes and 255,353 injuries.
These accidents were either single-vehicle crashes, rear-end accidents, head-on collisions, or broad-side collisions. Driver behavior is the primary contributor to traffic accidents. It covers the following:
An automobile collision resulting from any of the above could lead to any of these common injuries:
Aside from the above, a crash victim can also suffer a minor injury. While minor wounds do not often result in an accident injury claim, you could file a claim for property damages, if any. In such an instance, you might not need to hire personal injury lawyers.
However, if you have permanent injuries that would require life-long care, making personal injury claims maybe be unavoidable. In such an instance, you would need an injury law firm on your side if you desire the maximum financial compensation. There are other instances when you need an experienced lawyer on your side. We'll look at them next.
Most victims do not know when they should involve an accident law firm in their compensation journey. Some wait too long and find themselves barred by the Florida Statute of Limitations. Others find themselves receiving a low ball settlement from their insurance company.
So, when exactly should you involve an experienced attorney in your auto accident claim?
As mentioned earlier, you need someone with legal experience if you have catastrophic injuries. In Florida, the law requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance coverage covers your medical expenses and lost wages from the time you spent away from work while recuperating.
With Florida as a no-fault state, this insurance policy prevents drivers from suing the at-fault party in an accident. However, there is an exception. You can file a personal injury lawsuit when there is serious bodily injury. Florida law describes the personal injury threshold as:
It would help if you had an attorney when pursuing a claim for financial recovery. An auto accident attorney is your best shot at getting the maximum compensation.
Insurance representatives are always after their bottom line. They are more interested in protecting their company's interest than making adequate compensation. This is why they offer quick settlements to injury victims.
At other times, your insurance carrier looks for fault in your testimony or with the evidence presented to avoid paying you what you deserve. The best way to avoid this is by getting an accident injury attorney involved. The lawyer has experience dealing with a claims adjuster and will get you the best settlement.
Your insurance company would likely claim you were the negligent party in the accident to avoid compensating you. You need a lawyer with a Florida injury law firm to dispute this claim. The attorney will present evidence like the police report, witness statements, medical record, and video footage to show you were not liable.
They will also present the same evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. Additionally, they will show that:
Auto insurance companies only pay for physical crash injuries as that's the only thing PIP covers. They do not pay for emotional wounds like post-traumatic stress disorder. You can only get the preceding from an auto accident injury lawsuit.
However, proving emotional injuries is quite complex. Only an experienced accident attorney can help you prove it. They will get the testimony of a medical professional to show the impact of the automobile crash on your mental health.
Sometimes, an auto accident lawsuit involves multiple liable parties. Suppose a drunk driver ran a red light, then a speeding vehicle strike the person. The drunk driving motorist then struck your vehicle. You need to be able to identify if one of them or the two are at fault.
An Orlando personal injury lawyer can help you with this. They will bring their wealth of experience to bear in identifying who the fault party is. This way, you can file against the at-fault driver and get fair compensation.
At the beginning of every legal claim, injury victims want to know the types of settlement they can get. Generally, an experienced car accident lawyer can get you two types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
They refer to the care costs and other expenses incurred by the victim. They are actual because you know their value and can calculate them to a fixed dollar amount. They cover:
These damages are for intangible loss that you cannot calculate to a fixed dollar amount. Unlike economic damages, you cannot place a dollar value on non-economic damages. They cover:
If the motor vehicle collision victim dies, the action becomes a wrongful death lawsuit. In such an instance, both the actual and special damages would include:
Since Orlando is a no-fault state, many crash victims wonder if they are entitled to punitive damages. The first thing to note is that not everyone is entitled to this compensation. For an injured party to get punitive damages, there must be evidence of grossly negligent conduct.
Your accident injury attorney must prove that the fault driver behaved in a way that another person wouldn't have under the same situation. The court awards this compensation against the negligent party to discourage future similar actions. It also serves as a deterrent to other drivers.
One common reason why most people fail to involve a lawyer in a bodily injury claim is the fee. There's a misconception that lawyers charge expensive fees or take a huge chunk of the settlement sum. This is not the case in Orlando.
In Florida, an Orlando personal injury lawyer works on contingency fees. The latter means that the lawyer will not charge upfront fees and will only get paid once they arrive at a fair settlement. An accident injury attorney will not charge more than 33% of any personal injury settlement in Florida before a lawsuit.
If the personal injury claim moves into a lawsuit, the lawyer gets 40%. This is because an auto accident lawsuit takes a long time to get settled. However, the lawyer cannot go beyond the percentage. But they will deduct other out-of-pocket costs like transport, filing fees, etc.
Before the attorney starts representing you, they will draw out a contingency fee agreement (CFA). Contingency fee agreements stipulate what both parties expect and the percentage the lawyer will take. Note that you can negotiate below the percentages listed here.
A motor vehicle collision leads to several catastrophic injury claims. Injury victims require medical attention that leads to a pile-up of medical bills. While recovering, you can have difficulty commencing the legal process due to the pain and mental anguish.
This is why you need to work with an attorney who is an expert in personal injury law. While you're on the road to recovery, a VG Law auto accident lawyer will investigate the case. We will gather the necessary evidence and negotiate with your insurance representative.
Our attorneys will get you the right accident settlement and ensure you have enough for your medical and household expenses. We work on a contingency fee basis and will only get paid when we win for you. Contact us today for a free consultation on your case.