- Negligence and Liability
- Common Forms of Personal Injury That Result from a Car Accident
- Fort Myers Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Laws
- What Damages Can I Claim Compensation for After a Car Accident in Fort Myers?
- Defense Strategies to Watch Out For
- Arguing the Extent of Your Injuries
- Contact The Law Place Today
Every single day there are hundreds, if not thousands of car accidents that happen across the state of Florida. Many of these occur in the Fort Myers area. Sadly, our state is one of the most dangerous states to be a pedestrian, driver, or cyclist, and as a result of these accidents, personal injury is extremely common. Sometimes these injuries can be relatively minor, and all parties involved can walk away relatively unharmed. For some, though, these injuries can be life-changing and can change the lives of the victim and their families forever.
When this happens as the result of someone else’s mistake, it can feel extremely unfair, and rightly so. This is why Florida and Fort Myers’ law state that anyone who is injured due to the negligence of somebody else should have the right to seek fair and reasonable compensation following an accident. This is also true if one of your loved ones has been in a fatal car accident in Fort Myers; you need to get in touch with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner after the incident, the better your chances of seeking the full and maximum compensation you may be entitled too.
The Law Place has a team of skilled personal injury accident lawyers in Fort Myers ready to give you a free consultation and case evaluation. This is no strings attached, and we simply want to give you some unbiased legal advice and advise you on where we think you stand. If you choose to hire us, we will take over the case for you, giving you room to breathe and recover. Our phone lines are always open, every hour of every day, so give us a call when you are ready on (941) 444-4444.
Negligence and Liability
After a car accident, in order to claim compensation through a personal injury claim, your car accident lawyer will have to prove that the other party was negligent. To do this, you must prove that they had a duty of care to the injured party and that they broke this duty of care.
This means evidence has to be shown that the at-fault party acted in a way that a responsible and reasonable person in the same situation would not have. Once the party is found negligent, they become liable for the victim’s damages.
In Fort Myers, you assume a duty of care as soon as you get behind the wheel. That duty is that you will act in a reasonable manner that protects the safety of all other road users. There are a range of common driving behaviors that count as negligence.
Perhaps the most common reason for car accident cases is speeding drivers. We see a huge range of excuses. From being late from work to blaming a dodgy speedometer, the fact is, speeding causes danger to other drivers. When a speeding driver encounters road conditions or weather conditions, it makes it very easy to lose control of their vehicle.
Tired or Drowsy Drivers
Another common problem is fatigued drivers. Often unaware that they are acting negligently by getting behind the wheel, sleepy drivers have slow reaction times and can even fall asleep at the wheel. When this happens, there can be terrible, horrific accidents as the driver is unaware of what is happening and cannot do anything to recover.
DUI or DWI
Driving under the influence or driving whilst intoxicated is another example of gross negligence. Drunk drivers and drivers under the influence of drugs have severely altered mental states. They may have drastically reduced reaction times, or they may be twitchy in the driver’s seat at high speed. They may drive recklessly or dangerously and can cause serious injuries and even death very easily.
To be classed as a distracted driver, all you need to do is engage in an activity that “takes your hands off the wheel, eyes of the road, or mind off driving.” Texting or making phone calls is the most obvious example of this, but there are numerous other distractions besides cell phones. Eating while driving, adjusting AC or the radio, daydreaming, applying makeup, interacting with passengers, or watching another event outside of the vehicle are all other examples.
Failure to use Signals
With studies showing that over half of all drivers fail to use their turn signals during a turn, it is easy to see why it is such a big problem. Two million crashes every single year are associated with the fact that one driver did not signal that they were about to make a turn.
Driving Too Close
Driving too close or tailgating, as it is commonly known, is a form of negligent driving. By driving too close to the car in front, you don’t give yourself enough time to react or stop. With Fort Myers, and Florida law placing liability on the rear driver in most cases, this can be a costly mistake.
Common Forms of Personal Injury That Result from a Car Accident
Every Fort Myers car accident lawyer has probably seen a huge variety of different injuries that have occurred as a result of a car accident. The potential speed a car can travel, combined with the weight and force, can lead to a huge impact and potential for injury and damage. As a result, we commonly see the following injuries.
Head Injuries & TBI’s
Blows to the neck, skull, and head can cause long-lasting and potentially life-threatening injuries called Traumatic Brain Injuries. These injuries are a common result of car accident incidents and can range from a concussion to coma and death.
A TBI can require long-term treatment as well as having the potential to cause disability that can drastically change how the victim lives their life.
A very common injury in car accident cases is whiplash. Whiplash happens when the spine is whipped backward during an impact. It can cause neck and back strains and can be very painful for victims.
Ranging from serious fractures like the ribs and femur to less serious breakages like the fingers or toes, broken bones are common car accident injuries. Compound breaks are typically more serious, as the bone penetrates the skin, leading to other problems.
Internal injuries like internal bleeding are particularly serious due to the ease that they can go noticed by the victim. This can lead to a lack of treatment and nasty complications further down the line as the injury gets worse.
Mental and Emotional Trauma
After a horrific crash, many victims are left with a fear of driving or with PTSD. This can affect their lives in a number of ways and can stop them from feeling safe in a car or by the road.
Fort Myers Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance Laws
As Fort Myers is part of Florida, it follows the state’s no-fault laws. This means that anyone who registers a vehicle in Fort Myers must carry a minimum level of Personal Injury Protection insurance. This minimum is set at $10,000.
In the event that you are involved in a car accident, you must first look to claim for any damages and medical bills from your own PIP insurance. PIP will cover 80% of medical costs and 60% of lost wages.
As soon as damages or medical bills exceed the $10,000 mark, you are eligible to seek compensation from the other party. This usually happens very quickly in all but the tamest of accidents.
If you are unsure or confused about where you stand when it comes to your PIP insurance and claim, your Fort Myers car accident lawyer should be able to clear things up for you quickly.
What Damages Can I Claim Compensation for After a Car Accident in Fort Myers?
If your damages and expenses have already overtaken the level of your PIP insurance and have decided to seek compensation from the other party, these are the damages you might be able to claim for.
- Any medical expenses that you have already built up that exceed the coverage of your PIP. This includes medication, ambulance call-outs, and surgeries.
- The cost of any future medical expenses that you might incur.
- Any lost wages that your PIP has not covered.
- Any future loss of wages that you might have to deal with due to the severity of your injury.
- Pain and Suffering.
- Punitive damages.
- Rehabilitation treatment like physical and occupational therapy and anything else necessary to help you get back to a normal life.
Defense Strategies to Watch Out For
In Fort Myers, it is very common for those named as liable in a car accident case to seek to reduce their liability and, ultimately, the value of your claim. With the help of their own lawyer and insurance company, they might attempt to use the following strategies to do so.
The Blame Game
As Florida courts use a comparative fault system, one that places some of the blame on the other party, the defense may try and blame the victim. They will attempt to say that the driver was speeding, under the influence, or distracted. These claims are to convince the court to find the plaintiff partially at fault. If the court finds that the victim is 20% at fault, the other party will only have to find 80% of the costs.
Low Ball Settlements
After a Fort Myers car accident, the insurance company behind the at-fault party may try and offer a low ball settlement. They know that most people would prefer an easy payout to a long, drawn-out fight. They will often ring up quickly and directly, bypassing your lawyer.
You might get a call from the other insurance company offering immediate payout and convince you to accept. If you do, you forgo the chance to claim for anything after that point. For this reason, we highly recommend you decline, or at least speak to your lawyer first.
Arguing the Extent of Your Injuries
The final strategy that we often see in Fort Myers car accident cases is when the defense attempts to argue the severity of the victim’s injuries. They might say that the injuries were pre-existing or that they were caused by another incident. They could argue the medical costs or that the time off work is more than it should be.
We always advise that following a car accident that does not involve an ambulance journey, that you make sure you go to the hospital as soon as possible. Medical documentation of your visit and injuries is a good way to combat claims that you are over-playing your injuries. Besides that, you should always get checked over by a medical professional for any underlying issues.
Remember, a good Fort Myers car accident lawyer will be able to spot these tactics and combat them. This is another reason it is so important to have a skilled personal injury lawyer fighting your case.
Contact The Law Place Today
The car accident lawyers here at The Law Place deal with cases just like yours in the Fort Myers area every day. Our personal injury accident lawyers know exactly how to navigate the complex and trick personal injury laws that Fort Myers is governed by and will be able to offer you the best chances at seeking a fair and reasonable compensation following your accident.
We offer a free consultation service where you can speak to one of our accident team and have your case evaluated. Following that consultation, the accident team will tell you just where you stand and what the best course of action is for you to take.
A phone line is always open, so give us a call at (941) 444-4444.