Car accidents are a horrible affair. A few seconds of bad judgment or a slight distraction is all it takes to ruin lives forever. The legal system can punish drivers, and victims can be seriously injured or even killed. It’s a hot pot of unfortunate events that happen so quickly, and it can be hard to figure out who is to blame.
When it comes to seeking compensation for a car accident, there is a vast range of variables involved. Car insurance companies know how to manipulate these variables and local state law. They have teams of lawyers specifically trained to lower the pay-outs and reduce the liability of their customers. When facing a team like this, it can be hard as an individual to win an agreeable settlement. This is where personal injury lawyers enter the spotlight.
Facing the insurance lawyers that work for billion-dollar companies is a daunting task for those who do not know their rights and local law. With a skilled personal injury attorney behind you, you no longer need to be at their mercy. Instead, you can seek the full and complete settlement that you deserve.
Remember, though, that not every law firm is created equally. In the past couple of decades, we have seen an increase in the number of settlement mill law firms. These firms are more bothered about settling as quickly as possible then they are about seeking the morally correct compensation you deserve. These companies spend their budget on huge advertisement campaigns and deal with thousands of cases a month, settling quickly and early in order to keep the conveyor belt of income moving.
The Law Place is a law firm with over 75 years of combined experience protecting the rights of victims of car crashes in the state of Florida. We work as a team to ensure that you can benefit from all of this combined experience. We are not a settlement mill, we are not afraid to stand up and fight the insurance companies, and we won’t back down until we are 100% satisfied that you have been treated correctly. Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation on your injury claim.
How to Decide If You Need a Car Accident Lawyer?
Due to the size and power of large insurance companies, as a victim, you are already at a significant disadvantage when it comes to claiming, when not represented by a car accident lawyer. And on top of all that, you are also dealing with your pain and suffering as well as any medical treatment that you need.
In fact, we believe that you should hire a car accident attorney when you have been in any type of accident. Injuries and court battles can happen for a long time, and going it alone can be extremely tough. In almost all cases, even though you have to pay your lawyer their contingency fee, the compensation amount awarded by those who have a skilled car accident lawyer more than makeup for the cost. You can rest at ease that if your case does not succeed, you will not pay anything.
Large insurance companies didn’t get to where they are by awarding large sums of money to victims. Fighting them aggressively and correctly is the key to making them put their hands in their pockets.
When you hire a Florida car accident law firm that has a proven track record for fighting these insurance companies, you level the playing field. Insurance companies often have dedicated injury lawyers who only deal with personal injury and car accident cases.
I’ve Decided to Hire a Car Accident Attorney. What Next?
Now you have made an informed decision following a free consultation and have decided to hire a personal injury lawyer. You are on the way to getting the compensation you deserve.
First things first, your lawyer will most likely sit you down and explain, in detail, how Florida’s personal injury protection (PIP) laws work in line with Florida Statute 627.736. They will then liaise with the insurance companies involved, keeping you informed of their actions.
After you have handed control over to your attorney, you will have to play the waiting game. The best thing you can do for yourself in this period is to focus on getting better, as well as any medical treatment that you need. However, you may also choose to educate yourself on the personal injury process. By doing this, you will understand what stage your case is, and will be able to prepare for what is to come in a more efficient manner.
Don’t stress if you do not get around to looking into the process; however, your attorney should be dealing with everything for you on your behalf. And if you have any questions, then you can always speak to them.
Your first priority after an accident is likely to be seeking medical attention for any injuries. But remember that the sooner after your accident, you contact an attorney, the better they can help you. If you call them immediately after your accident, or shortly after, you give them a much bigger fighting chance. Furthermore, when you contact us, we will be able to advise you on how best to deal with your insurance company.
What’s an Advocate?
You might hear the term advocate thrown about when researching personal injury laws and car accident cases. You might be wondering what it actually means?
Once you have hired a law firm, a car accident attorney will act as your advocate. This means that they become a shield for your legal interests. Your lawyer will shield you from any external or internal entity or a person who is looking to influence or impair your rights after an accident, including speaking to insurance companies on your behalf.
Aggressive insurance attorneys and adjusters and defense lawyers are all common culprits here. They might try and get you to slip up, allowing them to pin the fault on you, instead of their own at fault clients. This is their job, and they will be coming for you, whether you are represented or not. Ensuring you are represented by a reputable and skilled car accident lawyer will ensure that you do not have to deal with such individuals.
As well as protecting you from others, it is your attorney’s job to be the voice of reason, potentially protecting you from yourself. Car accident cases can be chaotic and stressful, and that’s after the stressful event of the accident. This cauldron of emotion can make it difficult to think straight when it comes to important decisions.
Finally, your car accident attorney will act as your representative. Just as they protect you from aggressive insurance companies and their adjusters, they are also responsible for pursuing them on your behalf, fighting your corner.
This is why we always suggest hiring a car accident lawyer. In our experience, after a stressful event like a crash, victims are going to have to deal with the upcoming legal storm. Once the air has cleared a little after the accident, victims often quickly realize that they do not have the knowledge or the stamina to see these cases through to the end by themselves.
Your lawyer, however, knows what is coming, they have dealt with cases like this before, possibly hundreds of them. The sooner they can put in place their protective measures for you, the better.
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
We spoke about advocates and how a lawyer can protect you in the section above for a reason. We believe that everybody who has been involved in a car accident should at least consult with a law firm or attorney. They can offer the best advice to allow you to make an informed decision. Especially if you are dealing with any trauma or pain and suffering, it may be difficult for you to think clearly.
That is not to say it is impossible for victims to seek compensation alone, many do every year, but to have the best chance at receiving a compensation value you are happy with, you are most likely going to need to hire a car accident lawyer, backed by a reputable law firm, to fight your case.
It is vitally important to hire an attorney if you have received severe injuries. This includes broken bones, injuries causing disabilities, or loss of consortium. In these cases, your attorney will be able to seek maximum compensation for you. This will cover medical bills, as well as any costs associated with your medical treatment, such as lost wages or transport to and from appointments. In these instances, you are much more likely to receive more substantial settlement offers or awarded damages, if you use an attorney.
How Much Is a Car Accident Settlement?
The amount awarded to victims in car accident cases varies depending on several factors, primarily the extent of your injury, the medical treatment you need, and how that injury is affecting your life. Common factors include:
- The severity of the injuries.
- The cost of your medical bills.
- Past and future medical expenses.
- The suggested fault.
- The age of the injured victim.
- The effect the accident has on your quality of life.
All of these are quantifiable, which means they will be graded in severity and entered into calculators by the at-fault parties’ insurance company. This will spit out a settlement value, which will be offered to you by their insurance company, who is looking to settle your case.
At this point, you can either settle or seek more. If you choose to seek more and they do not agree, the next step will be to have your attorney file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
What Is a No-fault State?
Florida is a no-fault state, as stated in Florida Statute 627.7407. That means that following an accident, your insurance company is the first thing that you will look to for compensation, whether or not you were at fault. However, the amount that insurance companies will cover is limited, and you will usually still have to pay out for some things yourself.
In Florida, you are required to be covered by a minimum of $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP) by your insurance company, who are required to pay 80 percent of your medical expenses up to this amount. This could leave you having to find a lot of money yourself, which doesn’t seem fair if the accident wasn’t your fault.
Although Florida’s no-fault law means that your insurance company is your first point of contact for compensation, there are circumstances where you can claim for more compensation. For example, if your injuries are severe and have a big impact on your life, or your medical bills cost more than $10,000. If you are unsure about whether you should be looking to your insurance company for compensation or whether you need an attorney, you are not alone. Florida state law is intricate and complicated. Therefore, get in touch with us, and we can offer a free consultation to help you make the right next steps.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
Choosing to have a skilled car accident lawyer represent you is crucial if you want to seek the maximum possible compensation. When the fault rests on a third party, you will be seeking compensation from their insurance company.
The insurance adjuster, working on behalf of the insurance company, will try and get you to accept a payment that is agreeable to them, not you. By pursuing them with an attorney, they are more likely to offer a more reasonable amount. Without using an attorney, the insurance company will try and offer you a sum of money much lower than the amount an attorney could get for you.
When you choose us as your chosen law firm for your case, you will have a team of attorneys viewing your case. This sets us apart from most other law firms and means that your case will benefit from a wealth of experience and knowledge. Our phone lines are always open, so contact us today.
How Much Does a Lawyer Charge for a Car Accident?
Most personal injury attorneys work on a no-win, no-fee contingency basis. This means that you only pay your law firm if you win your case and receive a settlement sum. The State Bar Associations outlines the guidelines surrounding contingency fee work. Your attorney should discuss in detail all of the terms and conditions regarding your case and its fees.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Personal injury cases have specific rules around them. Unlike most legal cases, they are time-sensitive, meaning you only have a certain amount of time after your accident to lodge a claim with the insurance company.
In Florida, Florida Statue 95.11 declares that this period is no more than four years from the date of the accident. By quickly hiring a law firm, you give them the best opportunity to win your case and earn you a sum that covers your medical bills and compensates you for your pain and suffering.
What Should I Do at the Scene of the Accident?
The first priority for you and everyone involved should be safety. That means focus on your safety first and, if possible, make sure everyone else involved is safe. Move to the side of the road if you are able, away from the flow of traffic. If the crash is severe, this may not be possible. In both cases, you should call the emergency services immediately; this is crucial, both for your current safety and your case.
Once the police are involved, you will be able to request a police report from them. This will include all of the data and evidence they have collected at the scene of the car accident. This can be a vital piece in launching a successful personal injury claim.
Next, you need to document everything you possibly can. Starting with the other parties’ car, description, registration number. If they have stuck around, get their name, address, number, email, and insurance company details too.
Once you have done this, we advise you to find a piece of paper and sketch the scene of the accident. Draw the road it happened on, and two squares labeled “A” for you and “B” for the other party. Draw the directions both cars were traveling in too. Doing this could prove really beneficial to your case, so do it as early as possible, while the memory is still fresh.
Once you have done all of this, if you did not need an ambulance, you should make your way to a hospital for a medical examination. Some injuries can lie dormant; the best thing to do is to get a trained professional to assess your injuries and wellbeing.
Finally, once you are emotionally and physically able, you should call your car accident attorney, and make sure your insurance company is informed. Informing your insurance company is a legal prerequisite for obtaining PIP coverage for your medical bills. Your insurance company could give you a limited time to do this, usually 24 hours. However, you should seek advice from a personal injury lawyer first so that they can advise you and, if necessary, speak to the insurance company on your behalf.
How Can I Maximize My Settlement Figure?
The best way to get a settlement figure that correlates to your injuries and damages is to make sure you find witnesses and document your crash to the best of your ability. Keep all details of your crash, damages, medical records, witness statements, transport to and from medical appointments, and any limitations to your way of life.
You must also follow your healthcare providers suggested treatment plan and make sure you do not miss any appointments. If you do miss an appointment, it could lower your car accident claim’s legitimacy.
Why Should You Research a Car Accident Lawyer Before an Accident?
For those that are reading this pre-emptively, it is an excellent idea to know about your local personal injury lawyers and car accident attorneys if you are a daily driver.
In Florida alone, around 400,000 crashes happen every year. That’s about 1000 a day. As a result of these accidents, there are approximately 3,000 fatalities. For the other 397,000 crashes, luckily, the majority of them are minor enough to allow both parties to walk away unharmed. Two hundred fifty thousand victims every year are reported to have received a severe injury as a result of a car accident. Florida car accidents are that common and regular, that most drivers understand that they are routine occurrences.
There is no such thing as a routine car accident, though. You aren’t just a statistic, and you deserve personalized attention and for someone to listen to you. In a car accident situation, you will come into contact with police, paramedics, and first responders. They will all treat it as “just another car accident.” They most likely will not offer you the sympathy and emotional help that you need. This is simply because they deal with these events every day, whereas to you, it is a once in a lifetime event.
This means that an attorney can be a great person to call at the scene of the accident. They will be solely focused on you and your needs and will be understanding and sympathetic while still advising you in a clear-minded manner as to what you should do. This alone can help people from retreating into shock and making clouded judgment calls.
What Do Car Accident Lawyers Do? What Is Our Process?
Hopefully, by now, we have imparted the knowledge that a car attorney is usually a good idea in the event of a crash. Now you have been convinced; you may be wondering what your attorney will actually do for you?
Help You Understand What Your Rights Are
Most people do not have extensive knowledge of personal injury law. If you did, then you probably wouldn’t need to read this article.
For most people, when they get into a car accident, they do not understand what their rights are. On a base level, if you are not at fault for your car accident, you should not have to pay any of the damages that arise as a result of the accident.
Your lawyer should not only know the exact laws intricately, but they should also talk you through those laws. Your lawyer should help you understand what your rights are and where you stand in terms of state law.
Offer Legal Advice
Anyone who has been involved in a car accident has most likely been given different advice. One article online will say one thing one will say another. Your family might tell you one thing, your friends another.
Your lawyers are the only source of advice you should listen to when it comes to legal advice. They have trained for years to be in a position to help you. They have years of hands-on experience and can look at your case and give you the best advice.
You know that your attorney will be your advocate and will defend your rights, but what is the process.
In the majority of car accident personal injury cases, your attorney will start their investigation with three critical questions to answer:
How Did the Accident Happen?
The first question is, how did the accident happen? To work this out, your attorney will want to figure out what series of events lead to the crash. They will dig deep for the apparent reasons, distractions, being under the influence, etc.
Who Is Legally Responsible for the Crash?
The next question to answer is figuring out who is legally responsible. They want to know what the cold hard facts of the accident are, and where that lands your case in terms of the laws of the state. Did anyone have a legal duty? Did anyone violate that duty? Did that violation cause a crash? These are all questions that need to be investigated.
How Much Has the Injury Changed the Victim’s Life?
Finally, your injury lawyer should be looking into how much the accident has changed your way of life. The end goal of this line of investigation is to work out how much money the victim needs to compensate for all of the ways the accident has changed their lives.
Once your attorney has the answers to these questions, they should have a rough road map to share with the victim. This road map should help you decide upon a strategy to pursue compensation. With this information, your attorney should be able to give you a sense of how much you could be entitled too, as well as which parties you should pursue. This is the point where your lawyer will call you into the office to discuss the negotiation phase, and how strong they feel your position is.
Armed with the facts from their investigations, it is time for your car accident lawyer to enter the negotiation stage. Before they enter negotiations, your lawyer will consider how strong of a position they have, as well as whether the case has reached its peak strength point. Your lawyer will approach the relevant parties and seek what they believe is the correct settlement figure for your case. If they accept these figures, that is the end of the matter, and you get your money, pay your fee, and get on with your life. If they do not agree to your attorney’s negotiations, your attorney will discuss the best plan of action with you.
One important thing to remember is that the other insurance company does not have your best interests at heart. They will often try and get in touch with you directly, bypassing your attorney to make you “lowball” offers. This is an underhanded tactic, one that you should be ready for.
If you haven’t reached a settlement figure all parties agree upon, it is now time to take the case to court. In court, it is going to be your lawyer’s job to convince the jury and judge that the accident fault lies with the other party. And to convince them that the amount of money you are pursuing is the right amount for the damages you have received.
Most accident cases in Florida settle before reaching this point. Winning a higher settlement value, to begin with, can often rely upon your attorney’s reputation as a trial lawyer. This is another reason to do your research. If the opposing insurance company doesn’t believe in the ability of your attorney, they are likely to push for a trial under the knowledge that they can potentially win.
Time Costs Money
The longer you wait before you decide upon whether or not you are going to use an attorney, the more it is going to cost you in the longer run. The longer after the accident you wait, the older the evidence gets, and the harder it can be to find. Accident scenes get cleared up quickly, and first responders deal with so many cases, the longer you wait, the less likely they are to be a solid witness.
There is also the Florida State Statute of Limitations to consider. This is a law that states you have a deadline in which to take legal action after your accident. Missing this deadline forfeits all of your rights to pursue compensation for that incident forever. In short, if you miss that deadline, you will never receive compensation for your injuries or damages.
Deciding Which Car Accident Attorney to Hire
With all the other stress that comes hand in hand with a car accident, it can be really difficult to think clearly. Deciding which car accident lawyer to hire doesn’t need to be difficult, but it is important to get right. Some law firms look at car accidents like they are a conveyor belt. They want to settle quickly and settle early. This means they will often settle for a lot less than skilled injury lawyers who will pursue the maximum amount you deserve.
Hiring a lawyer can help your odds massively when it comes to a personal injury claim. So make sure that when hiring a lawyer, you know they come from a law firm that has enough dedication and experience to pursue your case to its fullest potential. During your initial free consultation, you should make sure that they convince you that they have what it takes. Remember, you are hiring them, they should at least be able to convince you that they are the right firm for you.
The Law Place has over 75 years of combined experience in dealing with Florida Law and car accidents across the state. When you need a firm with dedication, skill, and the drive to get things done, The Law Place is here to help you level the odds. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, so contact us today on 888-224-6114.