If you were injured in a car accident, you may be dealing with emotional trauma and financial difficulties in addition to your physical injuries. If someone else caused or contributed to the car accident, you need to understand your rights and know your legal options. As an injured victim, you may be entitled to compensation for all the injuries you suffered in a car accident.
The Melbourne car accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm, P.L. understand how overwhelming it can be to be faced with the need to locate medical care for your injuries and navigate an unfamiliar legal system at the same time. The good news is that you are not alone. Our experienced Florida car accident attorneys are committed to helping car accident victims by identifying the responsible party (or parties) and pursuing compensation for the victims. If you were injured in a Melbourne car accident, the car accident lawyers at Layman Law Firm would be honored to help ensure that you heal physically, emotionally, and financially. Contact the caring, competent, and committed team at Layman Law Firm, P.L. today to schedule a free consultation.
What Steps Should I Take after a Car Accident?
Because no one anticipates being involved in a car accident, most people are unsure what steps to take when they find themselves involved in one. Knowing what to do following a car accident, however, can be the key to healing physically and emotionally, as well as preserving your right to compensation for your injuries. With that in mind, take the following steps if you are involved in a Melbourne car accident:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Always have a comprehensive medical examination completed as soon after a car accident as possible – even if you do not believe you suffered any serious injuries. Some life-threatening injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury (TBI), do not always induce noticeable and/or visible symptoms right after the injury. An undiagnosed TBI, however, can worsen without proper medical attention, eventually causing permanent injury or even death. Submitting to a medical examination ensures that any hidden injuries are detected and provides evidence of the relationship between your injuries and the car accident.
- Call the police. It is always a good idea to call the police when a car accident occurs, regardless of the severity of the collision. The police can act as traffic control to prevent secondary collisions, summon first responders to deal with injuries, and file an official report which may be helpful down the road.
- Document the accident. If your injuries allow, take photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles, the roadway, and anything else that might have contributed to the collision such as traffic signs, landscaping, or construction work. Get names and contact information for anyone who was in an involved vehicle as well as witnesses.
- Consult with an experienced car accident attorney. When you are medically stable and emotionally prepared, contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney to discuss the accident and your legal options. Involving an attorney early on provides you with the best chance of recovering the maximum compensation available for your injuries.
Should I Talk to an Insurance Adjuster?
If another driver was clearly responsible for the accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster for the driver’s insurance company shortly after the accident. The adjuster will probably ask you to give them a recorded statement. To encourage your cooperation, they may tell you it is just a routine statement or that giving them a statement is the fastest way to get you compensation for your injuries. They may even offer you money to settle your claim against the company. Understand that the adjuster’s job is to limit the insurance company’s financial exposure when an insured caused or contributed to an accident. The money they offer may seem like a decent settlement; however, it is almost always a fraction of what the claim is worth. Because insurance companies intentionally target injured victims when they are vulnerable, it is in your best interest to refrain from speaking to anyone from the insurance company without an attorney present.
How Does the Florida No-Fault Insurance Law Work in a Melbourne Car Accident?
Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage that pays their medical bills (up to $10,000) if they are injured in an accident without regard to who was at fault in the collision. Consequently, your own insurance company may initially cover your medical bills; however, if you are seriously injured, you may be entitled to pursue a traditional personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit?
Another reason to have an experienced attorney on board early on is to ensure that you do not run afoul of the applicable statute of limitations. A statute of limitations sets the time frame within which a lawsuit must be initiated. If you do not file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations runs, you are forever barred from litigating your claim for damages. In the State of Florida, the statute of limitations for a car accident is two years from the date of the collision.
What Type of Compensation Am I Entitled to in a Melbourne Car Accident Case?
If you suffered injuries in a Florida car accident, you might be entitled to both economic and non-economic damages if your injuries warrant pursuing a traditional personal injury lawsuit. Economic damages refer to the objective expenses incurred because of the defendant’s negligence and include things such as medical and hospital bills, the cost of repairing your vehicle, and lost wages. Non-economic damages are more subjective in nature, including compensation for things such as emotional trauma, scarring and disfigurement, and pain and suffering. If you are the surviving parent or child or someone who was fatally injured in a Florida personal injury accident, you may be entitled to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Am I Still Entitled to Compensation If I Was Partially at Fault in a Car Accident?
Sometimes it is easy to determine who was at fault in a car accident. For instance, if a drunk driver crosses over the yellow line and hits another vehicle head-on, fault (“negligence” in legal terms) is relatively clear. Other times, however, deciding who caused an accident is not as easy. In fact, it is not uncommon for more than one party to have contributed to a collision. However, under Florida’s new modified comparative negligence standard, an injured motorist is barred from recovering any damages if he/she is more than 50% at fault for causing a car accident. An injured party will have their recovery reduced by their own percentage of fault as long as he/she is not more than 50% at fault. For example, if you were 20 percent at fault, the amount of compensation you receive would be reduced by 20 percent. If you were 40% at fault, the amount of compensation you receive would be reduced by 40 percent. If you were 60% at fault however, you would be barred from any recovery due to the fact that you were more than 50% at fault for causing the accident.
What Should I Do If I Was Injured in a Melbourne Car Accident?
Having your physical injuries evaluated and treated should always be your number one priority following a Melbourne car accident. Once you are certain you are medically stable, seeking the advice and guidance of an experienced Melbourne car accident attorney is important to ensure that your legal rights are protected. Seeking justice for injured victims is our number one priority at Layman Law Firm, P.L. We look forward to helping you recover the maximum compensation possible for all your injuries.