After a Clearwater car accident, most people’s initial thoughts go to the drivers. However, passengers can also be seriously injured in car accidents, and they are usually blameless.
If you or a family member have suffered injuries as a passenger in a car accident, you, too, can claim compensation for things such as medical bills, emotional suffering, and lost wages. Florida law protects you as a passenger and allows you to file a claim. However, Florida law is complex, and you may need a Clearwater personal injury lawyer to support you.
Our attorneys at The Law Place have dealt with cases like yours for over 75 years collectively. We are committed to helping victims seek justice and secure the compensation they deserve. Your personal injury lawyer will fight with you every step of the way, collecting evidence, dealing with insurance companies, quantifying your damages, and protecting your rights.
Our phone lines are open 24/7, so contact us now on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.
What Should I Do After an Accident in Clearwater?
- Check for injuries – Firstly, assess your own injuries, and then if you are able to, check on anyone else involved in the crash. If it is safe to do so, then move out of the way of oncoming traffic. But if anyone is seriously injured, then do not move them, as this could cause more harm.
- Call emergency services – If anyone is seriously injured, then phone for an ambulance. Furthermore, under Florida Statute 316.062, you must contact the police if there are any injuries or substantial property damage.
- Collect evidence – If your injuries do not prevent you, get as much evidence as possible. This includes the name, number, and vehicle information of all other drivers, as well as the contact information of any witnesses. Take photographs of the scene, including the vehicles, road conditions, and your own injuries.
- Seek medical care – If you did not need immediate medical care, then you should still see a doctor as soon as possible. Your injuries could be masked by adrenaline, and if left untreated, cause you more harm. Furthermore, in accordance with Florida Statute 627.736, you have 14 days from the date of the car accident to seek medical care, in order to secure compensation for your injuries.
- Contact an attorney – Contact The Law Place as soon as possible. Acting quickly can make a huge difference, CCTV is deleted, vehicles are repaired, and witnesses’ memories fade. Therefore, by seeking representation quickly, you could be protecting vital evidence.
- Keep a journal – Keep a journal of any ways in which your injuries affect your daily life. Including pain and adjustments you have had to make. You should also keep hold of any documentation, such as medical bills, taxi receipts, and lost wages.
Who Do I File a Claim Against in Clearwater, FL?
As the passenger of a car accident in Clearwater, you may feel confused as to where you need to go to claim for compensation. We always recommended at least seeking a free consultation with a car accident attorney, who will be able to give you clear advice about what to do next.
However, as a passenger in a car accident, you will most likely look to claim from:
- In accordance with Florida Statute 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault state, which means that you can claim from the diver of the vehicle you were a passenger in, whether or not they were at fault for the crash. You will make a claim against their insurance company unless your damages exceed their policy limits.
- If your injuries do exceed the policy limits of your driver’s insurance, then you will be able to claim from the at-fault party.
- If neither of these options is available to you, then you may also be able to claim from your own insurance.
- Depending on the circumstances of the crash, another party could be liable, such as a mechanic, a car manufacturer, or a governmental organization in charge of the upkeep of the roads.
Most of the time, you will be able to file a claim with an insurance company. However, you should keep in mind that insurance companies are big businesses that make money by paying victims as little as they can. Therefore, be mindful when you speak to representatives and do not say anything that could devalue your claims, such as admitting fault or down-playing your injuries. The best thing you can do is speak to a personal injury lawyer at The Law Place first, who can give you advice, or they may even be able to speak to insurance companies on your behalf.
Florida’s No-Fault Laws
According to Florida Statute 627.7407, Florida is a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, victims of road accidents must first seek compensation from their own insurance, regardless of who was at fault.
Florida Statute 627.736 states that drivers in Florida must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) as part of their insurance policy. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is a minimum of $10,000 for injury, and following a crash, your insurance must cover 80% of your medical expenses up to your insurance policy limits. If your damages exceed this amount, then you can claim from the at-fault party.
Florida’s Comparative Fault System
Florida Statute 768.81 lays out the guidelines for comparative fault. In Florida, the blame for an accident can be shared across multiple parties.
As a passenger, you were likely blameless. However, your driver may have been speeding, and another could have been running a red light. In this circumstance, they would share in the blame. This can make claiming compensation even more complex.
But you do not need to navigate the legal system alone, and we are here to help!
Seek Medical Attention After an Accident
According to Florida Statute 627.736, you have 14 days after a car accident to seek medical attention in order to file a claim.
However, you should seek medical care as soon as possible. Firstly, your injuries could be masked by adrenaline, and you could worsen your condition by not seeking proper care. Secondly, it will help your attorney to prove that your injuries were caused by the accident.
Even if you feel ok, act on the side of caution, and get help from a medical professional.
Every crash in Clearwater is different. However, the combination of speed and weight results in some common injuries, such as:
- Head injuries & TBI’s – Impact on the head or neck can cause life-threatening or permanent damage, called Traumatic Brain Injuries. These types of injuries can seriously impact a victim’s life.
- Whiplash – Whiplash occurs when the back is whipped backward during the impact. This is a common injury that is often downplayed, but the impact can be life-altering.
- Broken bones – Broken bones are common results on accidents and include ribs, toes, arms, and legs.
- Internal injuries – Internal injuries such as internal bleeding are particularly serious. Especially if they go unnoticed. Just one reason why it is so important to be checked over by a medical professional.
- Mental and emotional trauma – Many victims can be left with PTSD and emotional trauma, which stops them from living their lives. They might even be afraid to get back on the road. It is difficult to quantify emotional trauma, and without representation, it is often ignored. Your attorney will make sure that you are properly compensated for your suffering.
Clearwater Personal Injury Damages
As a passenger in a vehicle that is involved in a crash, your damages are very similar to that of a driver.
- Medical bills – Medical expenses quickly become overwhelming. Your attorney will fight for your right to past medical bills and anticipated expenses for the future. Future expenses include medical bills, home adjustments, and transportation.
- Loss of earnings – Any injury can result in lost income, but severe injuries may lead to a loss of future earning potential as well. Your attorney will ensure that this is taken into account in the amount you are offered in a settlement.
- Property damage – As a passenger, you won’t have to worry about vehicle damage. However, you may have had belongings in the car that were broken, such as a phone.
- Wrongful death – Under Florida Statute 768.21, if a family member was a passenger in a crash that led to their death, then you can claim compensation for funeral expenses and lost income to a family household.
- Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages compensate victims for their emotional suffering. However, monetary compensation can be difficult to justify. The Law Place will help you to quantify these damages and properly evidence them.
What Will a Personal Injury Attorney do for Me in Clearwater, FL?
After a car accident in Florida, you should seek a free consultation at The Law Place. As a passenger in an accident, it can be difficult to know where to turn. We will make things a bit simpler for you.
Regardless of your circumstances, we will advise you on your next steps, but if we think you have a valid accident claim, then we will ask you to meet us for a more in-depth review of your case.
Here, we will explain how we operate and talk about our fee structure. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions. If you decide to commit to representation, then we will get right to work, but you are not obliged to continue at this stage.
Once you sign on the dotted line, we will be committed to your accident case. Firstly, we review the car accident as a team, so that you can benefit from our combined knowledge. We will form a strategy and assign you an attorney, most suited to your case. They will become your advocate and will take over your case, speaking with third parties, gathering evidence, and calculating your damages so that you can focus on your recovery.
We will do all we can to secure maximum compensation. Most car accident claims in Clearwater never see a courtroom, but if yours does, we will be ready to fight.
Just by having quality representation in Clearwater, insurance firms are often quicker to offer a larger amount in compensation.
How Much Will an Attorney Cost Me in Clearwater?
At The Law Place, you do not pay anything upfront. And if your case is unsuccessful, then you will never pay anything. Instead, our fees are deducted from your settlement.
Our contingency work is regulated by the State Bar Association of Florida. Our law firm adheres to these guidelines, designed to protect victims.
The Law Place
If you or someone in your family has suffered an injury as a passenger in a car accident, then you could be entitled to compensation.
At The Law Place, we understand the complexities of Florida law, and we will help you to navigate the system while protecting your rights to compensation.
Florida’s roads are some of the most dangerous in the country, and we are determined to change that by holding negligent drivers responsible for their actions and seeking justice for victims.
We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us today for a free consultation on (941) 444-4444.