Florida Car Accident Guide

Florida Car Accident Guide

Get our FREE guide and start learning how to protect your rights with Attorney Chris Layman.

Free Consultation




Get Your Life Back In Control



Melbourne Car Accident Lawyers

With Law Offices Near Palm Bay, Melbourne, Rockledge, Titusville, and Cocoa

Have you been hurt in a car accident? It can be truly horrible to be involved in a crash when someone else caused it and you are left suffering as a result. Our East Central Florida car accident lawyers can help you get through your case to win a fair compensation award.

We are first and foremost sorry that you had to go through this. After you read up about this car accident claim, we invite you to call our office to set up a free initial consultation.

The First Steps of a Successful Car Accident Case

When you pursue compensation, you need to know to take these three essential steps:

  1. Seek immediate medical attention
  2. Collect evidence
  3. Hire a lawyer

You need to make sure that you are getting your injuries tended to so that you can start getting better as soon as possible. It is important that you treat your health as the top priority here. It is important that you get to a doctor as soon as you can and do not delay getting there.

Collecting evidence can either be done by yourself or by someone helping you out. That could be a friend, a family member or your lawyer. You want to get photos and videos of the cars involved and the whole wreck scene. You also should get the contact information from witnesses and the insurance information from the driver of the car who hit you.

An extremely important step is hiring one of our East Central Florida car accident lawyers. When you are in need of compensation, the best person to have by your side is someone who has experience with these car accidents in Florida.

Avoid Talking to the Insurance Company for the Liable Party

When you are seeking compensation, you are going to be looking at obstacles that are in the way of your end goal. In almost every personal injury case, you can just about guarantee that the liable party’s insurance company is going to reach out to you to get a recorded statement about the car accident. If you want to get full compensation, then do not talk to these people.

It is important that you do not give a recorded statement. They are trained to get information from you that will make you seem like you are the one to blame for the accident happening. We strongly encourage you to get your lawyer to take over communication with the insurance company so that they can protect your case and your right to full and fair compensation. If they can get you to say even one thing wrong, they are going to be able to reduce or entirely eliminate your compensation.

Florida Car Accident Statute of Limitations

Having one of our East Central Florida car accident lawyers by your side is so extremely important because they will be able to keep you on track to get compensation. Something that you cannot do is wait to hire a lawyer. You are bound to the statute of limitations to get you the compensation you deserve. You have four years from the date of the car accident to bring your claim. If you are late for this statute of limitations, you are going to be barred from receiving compensation. If you wait to talk to a lawyer but you are within your statute of limitations, you may be at risk of your evidence disappearing and your witnesses forgetting important information.

How Florida Car Accident Compensation Works

Florida allows for a lot of leeway in terms of how much you can be compensated, if you are deemed at fault for your accident. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state which means you can get compensation even if you are 99% at fault for causing the accident. You will not be fully compensated, but you can get a partial reward. Your compensation will be based on your fault. If you are entirely at fault for the accident, you are not going to be allowed to collect a compensation award. Your lawyer will do everything in their power to protect you from getting blamed for the accident.

Frequently Asked Car Accident Questions

Alternatives to Going to Court Are there alternatives to going to court in a Florida auto accident case?

Many of the cases involving car accidents in the state of Florida will resolve before a lawsuit has to be filed. Most attorneys will prepare and send demand letters to the insurance company for the at-fault party or for the UM carrier. Seventy-five to eighty percent of those cases will resolve before litigation is initiated. The remaining cases may require litigation, but a lot of those cases will also resolve in litigation through mediation or through some other settlement devices.

Am I liable if I loaned my car to someone else and it was involved in an accident?

As the owner of a motor vehicle in Florida, due to Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine, you are 100% liable if your friend goes out and crashes into somebody. If the use was not permissive, you might be looking at a different situation. If you gave permission for the person to use the vehicle, however, then you as the owner will be 100% liable for any injuries that result from the accident.

How much is my Florida auto accident case worth?

There are many, many factors that go into assigning value to a car accident case – the facts of the accident, the nature of the way the accident occurred, and who is at fault. The amount of your medical bills and whether you have health insurance and/or PIP or MedPay type coverage to offset those bills also factors in. The type of injury you sustained can also be a part of the equation. All of these types of things will go into trying to figure out the value of your case, along with how much coverage is available. You may have the most severe injury the world’s ever seen, but if only limited coverage is available in your case, that’s also going to impact the ultimate value and settlement of that case.

Who can I recover against after being injured in a Florida car accident?

It depends on the case. The driver is certainly the first place you look to see if there is any coverage available. We also look to see if there’s a different owner who we could file a claim against as well. If the person that hit you is an employee in the scope and course of their employment, their employer might have some liability. Also, if there’s a U-M component to your case, there could be a claim presented there as well if the person who caused the accident is either uninsured or underinsured.

How will I pay for my medical bills after a car accident?

If you’ve been involved in a car accident in the state of Florida, your PIP benefits will pick up and pay your medical bills at the rate of 80%. They’ll also pay for prescription charges, mileage to and from the doctors, and lost wages under this coverage.

Should I give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company?

It might be, depending on what you said in that statement. That’s why it’s always advisable not to give a recorded statement to the insurance company unless an attorney is present with you, because you could ultimately say things in your recorded statement, if you’re not accompanied by an attorney, that might ultimately cut your legs off at the end of the case.

Should I accept a check from the at-fault driver or their insurance company Should I accept a check from the at-fault driver or their insurance company?

Generally speaking, it’s not advisable to accept a check from the insurance company or the at-fault driver. The reason is they are typically trying to resolve a case and float a check to you to dispose of your case before the full extent of your injuries may be realized. If an insurance company comes knocking on your door trying to hand you a check for a few hundred dollars and the extent of your injuries is not realized yet, you may be settling your case short of what the real value of that case may be.

How long does it take to settle a Florida auto accident case?

Every case is different. Some cases can be resolved very quickly; others may take a long time. A lot of times it depends on the nature of the injury, the type of coverage, and the facts of the accident. Your standard auto accident case in the state of Florida that resolves short of litigation may take six to nine months. Cases that require litigation may take several years to resolve.

How long do I have to file a car accident claim in Florida?

In Florida, you have four years from the time of the accident to bring a third-party lawsuit against the person who caused the accident. If you have uninsured motorist coverage and you are making an uninsured motorist claim, then you have up to five years to present that claim.

If I have non-serious injuries after a car crash, do I still have to see a doctor?

Yes, it’s advisable to see a doctor as soon as you can following an accident, even if you feel fine. There could be latent injuries that you’re not aware of, and you won’t know that until you go to a medical care provider to get checked out. Even if you feel fine, it is advisable to seek some type of treatment so that you get at least reassurance or confirmation that you don’t have an injury. Obviously, if you do have an injury that is detected by your medical care provider, then they can put you on the appropriate course of treatment.

How do I choose the right car accident attorney for my case?

The most important thing to look for in an attorney to handle your Florida car accident case would be someone that specializes in car accident cases on a regular basis. There are a lot of attorneys out there that do a little bit of everything; someone who knows the ins and outs of car accident cases, however, is much more valuable as an attorney. You also want to look for somebody who is going to work hard for you and devote the time necessary to handle your case in the way it deserves.

What documents or evidence should I bring to my attorney following a car accident?

When you meet with an attorney following a car accident in the state of Florida, you should bring everything that relates to the accident – any pictures of the scene that you may have taken, pictures of your wrecked motor vehicle that you might have in your possession, and any medical records that you might have acquired from the time of the crash until the time of the consultation. You will also want to bring any letters that you’ve received from any insurance companies, any telephone numbers and addresses of adjusters, and a copy of your insurance policy, if possible.

What should I bring to the consultation with my attorney after a car accident What should I bring to the consultation with my attorney after a car accident?

If you’re meeting with an attorney to potentially represent you for a car accident case, there’s a number of things you should bring. Bring the crash report or the driver exchange of information, any photographs that you may have taken at the scene of the accident or of the vehicles involved in the accident, and the names and whereabouts of any witnesses that may have seen the accident. You also want to bring any medical records or medical bills that you’ve acquired to that date along with any information regarding your auto policy.

How quickly should I contact an attorney following a Florida auto accident?

It’s important to contact an attorney as quickly as possible after you’ve been involved in a car accident in the state of Florida. By contacting an attorney right away, you will have limited exposure to the insurance company; they won’t be able to contact you once you’ve retained an attorney. Additionally, the attorney’s office will be able to assist you in getting the claim set up, as well as beginning this information process by the insurance company, including property damage issues and medical care and treatment.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving would be anything that’s going to take your attention off of driving your vehicle that might ultimately lead to a car accident. Many things can qualify as distracted driving, including texting. Using your cell phone or smartphone, looking on the internet, listening to the radio too loud, talking on the telephone, eating, drinking, or even attending to your children in the back seat can qualify as distracted driving. According to recent studies, distracted driving is the single most significant cause of accidents here in the state of Florida.

Do I need an attorney for my car accident case if the insurance company seems to be cooperating?

That’s exactly the way the insurance companies work. They will befriend you and call to check on you and see how you’re feeling. When it comes time for them to write a check for your injuries, that’s when you realize that they’re not on your team. The other party’s insurance company is never advocating for your interests, and it’s important to make sure you’re adequately represented so that your interests are, in fact, advanced. Contact an attorney that is a specialist in handling automobile accident cases to represent your interests in those situations.

What is the first thing I should do after a Florida car accident?

There are several things that you need to do once you have been in an accident in the state of Florida. You need to always contact the police, first and foremost, and make sure that they are brought to the scene. A lot of drivers that might hit you or that have been involved in car accidents with you might try to talk you into just exchanging information or what have you. We do not recommend this approach. Always have the police come to the scene of an accident. I’d also always go and get medical care and treatment as soon as you possibly can. You also want to contact an attorney right away so that your rights can be protected and you can move through the process as smoothly as possible.

What if I was the victim of a hit and run accident What if I was the victim of a hit and run accident?

If you have been involved in a hit-and-run accident or if you were run off the road by what’s known in Florida as a “phantom motorist”, then you still have a claim for injuries, if you have uninsured motorist coverage available on your policy. There are two things you need to do very quickly, however – number one, you need to make sure you notify the police that you were either hit by another vehicle that left the scene or run off the road, as the case may be, and, secondly, you need to notify your insurance company. There are typically time limits in insurance policies that define when you must notify not only the authorities, but also your insurance company.

What if the driver who hit me was drinking?

The fact that a person hit you that was drinking might impact your case in the damages category down the road, if it can be established through record evidence that he was indeed drinking. It might open up punitive damages as an element of damages that you can recover in your car accident case.

Are witnesses important in a car accident case?

Witnesses are important to have in Florida car accident cases. Unfortunately, they are not always available, especially in cases where liability is a question or under dispute. If there are witnesses to the accident that will corroborate your version of what happened, that can be extremely helpful. If there are no witnesses and the claims are still valid, we can still present them to the insurance company, but witnesses help corroborate what happened at the scene of the accident.

If I am injured as a passenger in a vehicle, can I sue the driver for damages?

Yes, you can present a claim for your damages against the driver of the vehicle you were riding in. The fact that you were not wearing a seat belt or the seat belt wasn’t buckled will come into play, however, as comparative negligence on your part. As a result, the extent of your damages or injuries that you might have sustained will be reduced, potentially, by the percentage of fault assignable to you for not having that seat belt buckled.

Do I have to leave the scene of the accident in an ambulance?

Yes, you can go to the hospital the next day or as soon thereafter as possible, even if you didn’t leave the scene of the accident in an ambulance. Florida does have a 14-day rule — you have to seek treatment with a medical care provider within 14 days, otherwise your PIP benefits will not be activated. Many times people tell me that they didn’t even feel an injury at the scene of the accident and it wasn’t until later that they started realizing that they had a problem. You want to treat it as soon as possible, and the next day is not too late to do so.

Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I already said Can I still win my case if my memory of the accident now conflicts with things I already said?

Although your case is not necessarily lost if the account of what happened today is different from what you gave in a recorded statement early on, it significantly complicates things. This is why it is very important to make sure that you do not give a recorded statement unless you’re accompanied by an attorney. A conflicted statement is not necessarily fatal, but it makes things a lot more difficult, which is why it’s important to not give a statement when you’re not required to do so and to always be accompanied by an attorney when you do give a statement.

What is negligence in a car accident case?

In order for someone to be negligent in a car accident case, a two-prong test needs to be met. First and foremost, you need to establish whether or not the other driver involved in the crash owed you some type of a duty, as he or she was operating his or her car out on the roads the day that you got hit. If indeed there was a duty that was owed, then you have to determine if he or she breached that duty by their actions in operating their car. For instance, were they distracted when they were driving? Were they speeding? Did they run a red light? Did they not have their brakes adjusted and their car slid into you? If you can establish that there was a duty owed – and I think, arguably, everybody owes a duty in the state of Florida to operate their vehicle safely on the roadways – and there was a breach of that duty, then you’ve established negligence on the part of the party that hit you.

Call Our East Central Florida Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident, please do not hesitate to call our office to set up your free initial consultation. Our East Central Florida car accident lawyers is here to take on your case as a priority and get you the compensation that you deserve for your damages and injuries. We are eager to take your call and get you the information you need to get your case started.

Subscribe to Our YouTube Channel