Defensive driving is one of the best ways to avoid a motor vehicle accident on the Florida roads. This means paying close attention to all other drivers around you and anticipating their next move — and often avoiding a collision due to someone else’s careless maneuvers. Simply following the rules of the road is typically not enough to avoid a car accident, because safe driving requires much more than just memorizing traffic laws: there are countless distractions to avoid, some of which require you to use your judgment and rely heavily on quick reaction times and situational awareness.
On nearly every ride, we are able to make it to and from our destinations and back to our homes without incident, but with an average of 1,101 car accidents every day in the state of Florida, there is always the risk of being injured — or killed — in car crashes due to someone else’s reckless or negligent driving. Many car accidents cause serious injuries that result in significant medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
Your Rights As a Victim
After an accident, the victim is able to file a car accident claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in order to recover damages that exceed the victim’s own PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance coverage. Florida is a “no fault” state, meaning that after a crash, car accident victims will first file a claim with their own insurer, and any car accident claims against the at-fault driver will be intended to collect damages that exceed these initial limits. At this point, working with a Florida car accident attorney is one of the best ways to navigate the process and ensure that you are working towards a settlement that accurately and comprehensively addresses the many impacts that you have suffered as a result of someone else’s behavior.
Don’t Confuse The Simplicity of Filing With the Difficulty Of Getting What You Deserve
Filing an insurance claim is a simple process, but car accident cases require ongoing research and a deep understanding of Florida tort law. It is necessary to identify and calculate each of the many damages that a victim suffers, and then further negotiation to reach a final settlement is required.
An estimated 50% of personal injury claims are settled before a personal injury lawsuit is ever filed, but this statistic will have little bearing on the outcome of your situation.
Contact Fasig | Brooks For a Free Consultation
The Florida car accident lawyers at Fasig | Brooks will work diligently to get you the money you deserve after a car crash, whether through direct settlement negotiations or a lawsuit in the Florida courts. We are willing to do what it takes to ensure that our clients do not suffer the financial burdens of someone else’s reckless or negligent driving. With a long history of successful car accident cases, we are confident in our abilities to guide you through this complex process and recover compensation. That compensation accurately reflects the impact that your car accident has had on your life — and may continue to have well into the future.
Our law firm offers free consultations to victims of car accidents so we can discuss the details of the situation in detail and provide specific advice and explanations about how working with a personal injury lawyer can help you in your unique situation. Remember: the insurance company is focused on settling your Florida car accident case quickly and inexpensively, and no matter how helpful or communicative the adjuster may be, they are focused on saving their employer as much money as possible.
Show The Insurers You Mean Business
When the insurers are contacted by the car accident attorneys from our law firm to initiate a personal injury claim, they know that they won’t be able to simply bully their way to a low settlement.
Contact us as soon as possible to partner with a Florida car accident attorney who understands how to recover compensation and is willing to fight for what you deserve.
Who Is Entitled To Compensation After a Florida Car Accident?
After a car crash, trying to make sense of your legal options is often overwhelming, especially while you are trying to get medical treatment for your injuries, coping with financial disruptions like lost wages, or dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one in a fatal crash. Regardless of the specifics, if you have been affected by a car accident that someone else caused, then you may be owed compensation for a range of damages.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
The free consultation our law firm offers is a great opportunity to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help you make sense of the specifics of your case before you make any major decisions. Simply knowing that someone is willing to help can ease your burden and allow you to focus on what truly matters: healing, rest, and staying as calm as possible during this difficult time.
Depending on the nature of the accident, there are a number of people who may have a right to initiate car crash cases. If you are uncertain of your rights, or you are ready to move forward with the help of a Florida car accident lawyer, contact Fasig | Brooks as soon as possible.
Whether you were driving a vehicle or were the passenger in someone else’s car, you are entitled to compensation after you were injured in a Florida car accident that someone else caused. If you were driving, you would file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company; however, if you were the passenger, you may file a claim against the driver of the vehicle you were in OR the driver of the other vehicle, again depending on who caused the crash.
Common Damages For Victims
You may be owed compensation for many different damages, including things like your past and future medical expenses, the effect on your income. There are also a host of “non-economic” damages like the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries. Depending on the specifics of your situation, there are likely many more damages that your Florida car accident attorney will identify, calculate, and negotiate on your behalf.
Family Members and Dependents of Those Killed in a Fatal Car Accident
In the event of a fatal accident, surviving family members or dependents may be eligible to file wrongful death claims intended to recover damages. Those damages include many of the standard personal injury damages but extend beyond to include things like the loss of financial support from the decedent, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, and much more.
Are You Eligible To File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Typically, claimants in a wrongful death case include spouses, children, or parents of the deceased. However, an individual’s right to either file or be included in a case depends on a number of factors that are best discussed with a lawyer. During this difficult time, our team of Florida car accident lawyers will be happy to take on the burden of your legal issues so you can stay focused on healing from this tragic and unexpected loss without the added stress.
Our primary focus through this process is to ensure that you are compensated sufficiently, but more importantly, that you are able to move forward with your life without being overwhelmed by complex legal matters and contentious insurance claims.
Proving Fault After a Florida Car Accident
In personal injury cases, Florida uses a rule called “pure comparative fault” which allows victims to accept a percentage of the blame for an accident while still being entitled to compensation for their damages. Simply put, pure comparative fault accounts for the percentage of fault that a claimant has assumed and then reduces their final award proportionately to this fault.
The Basics of Pure Comparative Fault
Pure comparative fault is an important law because the alternative would bar a victim from compensation if they contributed to the accident in any way. Still, insurance companies will attempt to use this law to their advantage by pinning as much fault on a victim as possible to protect their financial interests.
Your Florida auto accident lawyer will work to ensure that you do not accept any fault that is not clearly yours, which requires proving that the other driver caused the accident. In some instances, this is a simple and straightforward process, but in others, the details may be obscured, the at-fault party may be unwilling to cooperate, or there could be other reasons.
Common Methods For Proving Fault in Car Accidents
The following examples are just a few of the many different ways that Florida car accident attorneys will prove fault in order to protect their clients’ financial interests. Since no two accidents are alike, these examples may or may not apply to your motor vehicle collision, but by working with a lawyer, you will not need to worry about the specifics, as they will handle this process on your behalf.
Admission From The At-Fault Driver
In a perfect world, the responsible driver would readily admit their fault and clearly explain how they caused the accident through their own negligent or reckless behavior. In some circumstances, this is actually the case, and there is little effort or time expended on further determining this aspect of the accident.
Unfortunately, there are many times that negligent drivers will not admit to reckless driving, and the claims process is delayed as your Florida accident attorney works to provide ample evidence.
Police Reports or Citations
After any car accident in Florida, regardless of how minor it may seem at the moment, it is absolutely essential that you call 911. First, and most importantly, a team of EMTs will be dispatched to the scene so they can examine your injuries and provide emergency care. Additionally, a police officer will be sent to the accident scene and will interview eyewitnesses and those involved in the crash and compile an accident report.
If a driver is intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle without a license, or in violation of any other Florida law, the officer may issue a citation or make an arrest for these violations. This report and/or citations will support your claims substantially.
Dash cameras, security cameras, and other surveillance devices are common, so there is a decent chance of a camera capturing your auto accident. Video footage is the best type of proof since there is little room for interpretation, and attorneys do not need to rely on their clients’ recollections of the situation.
However, if there is not a recording of your accident, there are plenty of additional opportunities to determine fault and prove that you are the victim in this accident. Car accident claims have been handled for decades longer than dashboard cameras and high-definition surveillance video have existed.
Eyewitnesses are another great asset when it comes to proving that you are the victim. In cases where a driver is acting particularly dangerously, good people will often stop and wait for a police officer to arrive to tell them the behavior they witnessed.
If an eyewitness stops after an accident but cannot wait until the police arrive, make sure that you get their contact information so you can reach out to them as soon as possible and get an account of their story. In many cases, an eyewitness may have seen behavior before the initial collision that you would not have seen, such as aggressive driving like weaving in and out of traffic, distracted driving, or other things that could have contributed to the auto accident.
In accidents where death or traumatic brain injuries limit a victim’s ability to recall or recount the details of the crash, a forensics expert may be called in to reconstruct the accident using evidence like tire patterns, angles of collision with the vehicle, onboard data, and more to make sense of what happened. These professionals can use a variety of evidence to recreate motor vehicle accidents when there is nobody able to provide personal testimony about how and why the crash occurred.
Accident reconstruction can be especially helpful in fatal accidents where there are no eyewitnesses or a strong disagreement about basic facts of the crash. Your Florida car accident attorney will be able to work with these professionals on your behalf so you can remain focused on your recovery.
Calculating Damages After a Car Accident
Experienced auto accident attorneys have years of practice working through claims of all types and a deep understanding of Florida law. This helps them compile a substantial body of evidence that proves their client’s right to compensation AND presents factual and detailed evidence of the amount of compensation they deserve.
Quick Settlements Are Not Always Good Settlements
Accident victims who file their claims are typically offered a settlement from the insurer within 4-6 weeks that includes obvious issues like property damage, medical bills, and short-term lost wages. Hoswever, these are just a fraction of the major damages that a victim may be entitled to — especially after suffering a serious injury in the crash.
A personal injury claim seeks payment in the form of compensatory damages, meaning that they are meant to compensate the victim for measurable costs, losses, and impacts they have suffered as a result of the car accident. Of course, medical bills and income loss are significant factors in these damages. Still, there are many more that auto accident lawyers will work to identify and calculate before moving into settlement negotiations.
Compensatory damages are divided into two distinct categories: economic and non-economic damages. Each is equally important but requires much different calculation methods that Florida car accident attorneys are highly experienced with.
Economic damages are the basis of most personal injury cases and are the easiest to identify even without the help of a Florida auto accident attorney. These damages apply to any impact of a car accident that has real and measurable dollar values such as the cost of a victim’s medical car and, the many effects on their ability to earn a living. There are also any services or goods that a victim or their loved ones need to buy to assist with tasks they would have otherwise performed on their own without any injuries.
While calculating economic damages is as simple as adding up the totals, one of the many benefits of working with a car accident lawyer is recognizing the many, seemingly minor or obscure economic damages that may be overlooked. Many people may just choose not to include them in their claim because they seem insignificant. Things like prescription copayments, transportation to and from medical facilities, and any sick leave or vacation time a victim uses to cover days off of work are all able to be included in this category of damages.
As you will see in the following section about non-economic damages, every dollar excluded from these calculations may translate to anywhere from $1.50 to $5 of non-economic damages not included in negotiations. Working with a detail-oriented Florida car accident lawyer is essential for identifying and including all impacts and losses in your case.
Non-economic damages are more complicated and often more intimidating than economic damages because they seek financial compensation for impacts of an accident that do not have dollar values or objective ways to measure them. They include things like the actual pain and suffering of a serious injury, the inconvenience that a serious car accident has on a victim’s life, and more. Personal injury protection policies do not address non-economic damages, so the only way to recover compensation for these types of impacts is by filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Trying to make sense of how much something as abstract as “post-traumatic stress” is worth after an accident is difficult because of how highly subjective this condition is, but car accident lawyers have years of experience doing just that. There are a number of calculation methods that a car accident lawyer at our law firm will choose from. One is calculating a “per diem” rate multiplied by the number of days that you have or will continue to suffer from these issues. Alternately, the “multiplier” method will quantify the extent of all non-economic damages along a scale — typically between 1.5 and 5 — and then multiply that number against the total economic damages.
Insurance companies are quick to reject these calculations outright, especially when dealing with a claimant who is not being represented by a law firm. However, our Florida car accident attorneys will use concrete evidence such as medical records, daily notes about your condition, and a variety of other tools that will each support their final calculations and demands for a fair settlement.