Fight For Fair Car Accident Compensation
Car accidents are scary, cause severe injuries and can create long-term financial deficits. In Florida alone, there were 3,185 car crash fatalities with a total of 2,951 fatal crashes in the year 2019. On average, 236,753 injuries were caused by car crashes per year. It can be a while before you recover from your wounds and your financial losses.
When you are not at fault for your damages, you should seek a settlement to receive compensation from the other party. You can speak with a dedicated Orlando car accident law firm like The Turnbull Law Firm that can contact the other party’s insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement amount. This way, you can be at ease while you recover from your injuries.
How Can A Car Accident Lawyer Help You?
Car accident lawyers are well educated in the field of Orlando car accidents. They provide helpful advice in all of the following areas:
Auto accident lawyers will review your case at no upfront cost. You can find out if your car accident is due a compensation based on who was at fault. If you are not at fault, then your attorney will guide you on the next steps. Florida is a no-fault state, and that means if you were injured in a car accident, your insurance company has to pay the bills and any other damages.
This is regardless of who is at fault. Based on your insurance policy, you typically would have full coverage or have a copay. However, most insurance companies don’t compensate you for pain and suffering. That means that you still have to file a claim or file a lawsuit against the other driver. Your car accident lawyer can also guide you in dealing with an uninsured motorist, as each state has different regulations.
Investigation And Estimation Of Your Claim
Once it has been decided that you are due a settlement, your attorney gets to work. They will dig deeper and ask you many detailed questions to get a clear idea of what happened at the accident scene. You will have to talk about any personal injury you sustained, such as wounds, pain and suffering and lost wages. To help your lawyer, you can provide receipts, bills, pictures and a description of how you feel. They will use this information to estimate how much compensation you deserve.
Your car accident lawyer will keep all of your information organized. The information provided will be shown to the other parties to review the number of damages you experienced. Keeping all of this information on record is key to providing evidence of the financial loss the car accident caused you. The documents will then be sent out to all involved parties.
Communication And Updates
Negotiation for Orlando car accident settlements can go on for a long time. It can take months to a year for you and the other parties to agree on an amount. Because of this, you will need frequent updates as you have to review the other party’s responses before you make a decision. Again, your attorney will be in control of all communication and reply to others on your behalf.
Legal Representation In Court
If no one can agree on a compensation amount, your attorney will represent you in court. Again, your car accident lawyer will prepare and draft documents, then submit your claim on your behalf. Typically, the other party’s insurance company will want to avoid court and settle or negotiate at the pretrial meeting.
However, in the worst-case scenario, your bodily injury law firm will still have you covered. Your attorney will explain your case before the jury, who then decides who is to blame for all of your losses. Juries take the plaintiff’s side in most cases, so you may see a court order enforcing the other party to pay you the compensation you deserve.
What Can I Claim In My Settlement?
Your car accident claim can include both noneconomic and economic damages. Anything caused by your car accident can be considered in the total compensation.
These damages are economical and are mostly made up of bills, fees and lost wages. Special damages usually include medical bills, such as emergency room treatment, medical tests, imaging scans, medical treatment and surgery. This doesn’t only apply to your initial treatment but also includes ongoing costs. Follow-up appointments, additional visits to other clinics, physical therapy, pharmaceutical medicine and other expenses can be covered. You will also want your lost wages included in your special damage. This means that any income loss that happens in the present and future should be included, as you may have to take time off from work while you recover from your wounds.
These damages mainly apply to pain and suffering. If you aren’t sure about what that means, you can request help from your personal injury law firm to get further guidance. After your auto accident, you may be suffering from depression, PTSD, emotional anguish, sadness, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, guilt and more.
On the other hand, you may also be suffering in physical – not emotional – ways. For example, this can be described as soreness, stabbing pains, achiness, stiffness and more. All of these items can be included in your personal injury compensation.
If one of the passengers or your loved one passed in the auto accident, you can claim an additional set of damages unique to wrongful death cases. Items that are taken into consideration in the settlement include the victim’s income, education, earning capacity and lost benefits. Their state of health, age at the time of death and the age of their dependents also changes the total settlement amount.
Noneconomic damages you’ll want to include are the pain and suffering the victim endured before their passing. You may also claim loss of companionship, consortium, mentorship, guardianship and other things they provided while they were still alive. The income that they would have made had they not passed away will also be included as their pension fund or any health insurance they couldn’t use.
These damages are usually used as a punishment in court and require a judge to decide the ultimate amount. This is when someone has grossly neglected their responsibility to be an excellent driver to others on the road. For example, they could be drunk driving, intentionally malicious or aggravated and driving wildly. When this is the case, they will receive legal action and a heightened settlement to pay.
What Causes Car Accidents And Makes Other Drivers At Fault?
Your lawyer can prove another driver is at fault after an auto accident with the help of evidence. Even though Florida is a no-fault state, you can still receive a settlement if you can show how the other driver caused your accident. This is mainly to obtain compensation for pain and suffering damages, which your insurance company doesn’t cover.
This could be used as evidence if the other driver caused an auto accident because of texting, talking on the phone, navigating on their GPS or talking to other passengers. Car accidents caused by distracted driving in 2020 amounted to 48,537 incidents. There were 308 car accident fatalities caused by distracted driving.
It is hard to prove who is at fault for these unless the other driver is honest about their mistakes. However, your attorney can file for a subpoena to pull up the texting history of the other driver. This way, your evidence can include whether or not they were texting when the car crash happened.
A Car Accident Caused By Substance Abuse
If the other party was driving under the influence, this will wind up being a litigation process instead of using a traditional settlement approach. There were 814 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Florida, making up 26% of total car accident fatalities in the state. That is 3.8 DUI fatalities that happen per 100,000 people.
This is because the other driver will face criminal charges for not only causing your personal injury but also drinking and driving. A police officer filing a report on the scene will be able to identify if someone is possibly drunk, either from the drivers’ behavior, spotting open alcoholic beverage containers or smell alcohol on them.
Fatigue And Drowsiness
Many individuals aren’t able to get enough sleep because of their road schedule and end up causing wrecks by falling asleep at the wheel. There is also the chance that the other driver took medication before hitting the road. Many prescription medicines recommend that the patient doesn’t operate heavy machinery after they have taken it. However, drivers still get on the road despite these warnings. Again, it is only possible to know if they admit that they were drowsy. This is very common, as Florida is known as a retirement state with many elderly drivers.
Road Rage Driving
Aggressive driving is very prevalent in Florida, where anger can result in road rage. About half of fatal motor vehicle accidents are caused by aggressive driving. If you can help your attorney prove that the other driver was screaming at you, being obscene or purposely driving recklessly, then this will improve your claim. In this case, try to get witnesses who saw the driver’s behavior and keep their contact information. That way, if the other driver doesn’t admit to what they did, at least you have backup evidence. This is different from aggravated driving, which also falls under DWI.
Poor Weather Conditions
In Orlando, Florida, much of the year is covered by hurricane season. There are a lot of thunderstorms, heavy rain showers, flash floods and tropical storms. Hopefully, no one is driving during a tropical storm. However, when there is heavy rain, highways often get congested. Most drivers try to drive slowly, but many still drive fast and risk hydroplaning. When a car hydroplanes, its tires lose their grip on the road and begin to slide on a layer of water. This can lead to accidents as the car goes out of control.
At night time, the number of accidents goes up substantially. For example, 50% of car accident deaths happen at night, though most spend less than 25% of their time on the road after sunset. This is because it is harder to see other cars at night, and the glare of oncoming traffic can be blinding. In addition, the other driver may not have seen you or may have made a mistake because they weren’t able to see the area around them.
How To Prove The Other Driver Is At Fault?
It can be a challenging situation to get the other party’s insurance company to believe your claim. Your attorney has the job of proving to them that the other driver was responsible for your personal injury using the four tenets of duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.
Generally, your attorney can skip this aspect of neglectful behavior because everyone on the road has a duty to all of their fellow drivers. Once a car is being operated on a public street or highway, they and their insurance company are liable for any damage the driver causes to the vehicles and people around them.
Demonstrating Breach Of Duty
Lawyers have to show how the other driver breached their duty and reveal how they caused your personal injury. This means that they had to have acted neglectfully by breaking road rules, making a mistake on the road or any malicious intent.
Your personal injury has to be directly connected to the breach of duty. This means that if you trip and fall, you cannot include the medical bills for your injuries in your settlement. Only the injuries caused by the car accident will be considered.
You can’t claim a settlement if you didn’t suffer from damages at all. For example, if you walked away from your accident unscathed or have injuries not tied to your car accident, then you aren’t due any compensation.
What Steps Can I Take Toward My Car Accident Settlement?
When you are ready to consult with a lawyer, you should take action and gather evidence to help them prove your case. Every detail matters, so you will need to include as much information as possible.
After a car accident, you need to see a doctor. Don’t delay getting treated; try to get medical help immediately after your collision. Your doctor will let you know all of your injuries and inform you of your soft tissue injuries. This will help prevent your injuries from getting worse and get you on the path to a quick recovery. Your insurance company will cover the bills. However, you still should keep all your receipts and records of the medical bills. This will support your claim of pain and suffering.
You can also ask your doctor to write a letter on how your injuries affect your ability to work and function. This is because Florida law requires your insurance company only to cover 60% of your lost earning capacity and income and 80% of your medical bills under personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. You can still seek compensation for your lost wages by having your attorney prove your damages exceed this amount to the other party’s insurance company.
You will want to get a police report that officially documents your car accident. This is so that you can include your input in the report, further supporting your claim. Sometimes, the police officer will cite the other driver. This can work to your advantage as that also shows that the other party is at fault somehow. You can later obtain the police report for your attorney to include in your claim.
Truck accidents are treated differently, and you will need to ask the police department for additional information. Truck accidents often result in wrongful death incidents, where 4,119 people died from a large truck crash in 2019. After a truck accident has occurred, the police officer will make a separate traffic incident report, known as the truck driver’s inspection report. A truck driver’s vehicle requires a certified inspector to check for any issues with its function before relocating to a mechanic.
Your attorney may also request the truck driver’s work history, driving records, background check and other information. If the truck driver is unqualified, this can increase your compensation amount. Additional information can be used to further your case, such as inclinometers, GPS systems and other devices in the truck that keep track of how the vehicle is operating on the road.
You should take pictures of the car accident you were in, the area it happened in and the damage done to your car. If there are tire tracks on the road, take photographs of that as well. Try to include the other cars’ wreckage to help create a story of what occurred. You should also take pictures of your injuries. This will help your attorney prove your claim by showing the severity of your car accident.
Collect Contact Information
You shouldn’t leave the scene of the accident without collecting information from the other involved parties. You will want their name, phone number, email and home address. This is so they cannot dodge you if your attorney tries to contact them. You will need their insurance company contact information, insurance policy number and driver’s license number.
If it is a truck driver, you will need their employer’s contact information and the trucking company’s name. Make sure you also write down the truck’s license plate number. You will also need to collect information from any witnesses on the scene. Their name, number and email will be all you need. Your attorney can contact them at a later date to help them provide testimony for your claim.
Speak With An Attorney
After gathering all of this information, you will want to meet with your attorney. They will take over from this point and help make the settlement process easier for you. Your attorney will also instruct you on how to interact with your insurance company so you don’t reduce your policy benefits by mistake.
You must let your insurance company know what happened. Tell them your side of the story and explain what happened. Also, include in detail all of the physical injuries you received from the accident. This way, they can help cover your medical bills up to the allowable amount.
What Can Increase My Settlement?
Every car accident is unique, which means that the settlement amount can range significantly from small to astronomical. Of course, it all depends on the circumstances around your car accident.
Severity Of Injuries
If your wounds caused a permanent disability, then your settlement will be much higher. For example, brain trauma, paralysis, scars and disfigurement and spinal cord injuries can cause permanent damage. You can also receive lacerations, punctured organs and severe burns in a car accident. This means that you may need surgery, organ replacement, physical therapy and ongoing treatment.
When the other driver has been acting extremely irresponsible and demonstrated abnormal behavior, the settlement will go up. This is because the other driver put your life at risk by driving irresponsibly. This is especially the case if they had malicious intent and didn’t have your best interest at heart.
Pain And Suffering
Your pain and suffering are estimated by your attorney using a multiplier. While this may be based on the severity of the car damages, it will also depend on how much emotional anguish you struggled with. Your personal account of what happened will matter. For example, your injuries may make you feel embarrassed or incapable of living everyday life. Depression and other forms of sadness can ruin your life.
Next Steps For Your Claim
In Florida, the statute of limitations for claiming a settlement from the date of your car accident is two years. So don’t wait until you’re deep in medical bill debt before asking for help. Your Orlando car accident lawyer can do their best to fight for your right to compensation. In a no-fault state, insurance companies only cover so much in terms of damages. The rest has to be obtained from the other party’s insurance. Seek help from a supportive team. Contact The Turnbull Law Firm by calling 863-336-6993 or click this link today for a free consultation.