When’s The Right Time to Consult a Car Accident Lawyer?
After you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you may be wondering whether you need to hire a personal injury attorney.
Of course, there is no single right answer to this question, and ultimately the right path forward is based on a number of unique factors: the severity of your injury, the nature of the crash, and your dealings with insurance companies.
In a perfect world, drunk and reckless drivers would always receive a punishment befitting the crime, and accident victims would always receive compensation that was fair and just. Unfortunately, you may have noticed that we are not living in a perfect world, and when an insurance company offers you a pittance for your injuries, you may have few options.
In situations like this, auto accident attorneys can offer a lifeline that may ultimately result in fair compensation for your pain and suffering. But how do you know when your injuries call for hiring a car accident lawyer?
Were your injuries severe?
If you have serious injuries from the accident, and if those injuries resulted in expensive medical bills or missed work, then hiring a car accident attorney may be in your favor.
For example, if your injuries required hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, or rehabilitation, you should consider having your case evaluated by a personal injury law firm.
When your claim involves injuries that led to significant medical expenses, then the chances of receiving proper compensation for those expenses can be greatly increased when you have experienced legal representation by your side.
Likewise, in accidents where a victim died, the families may choose to move forward with a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties. However, in cases where the accident resulted only in minor scrapes or bruises, working with the other driver’s insurance company may be your best option for seeking resolution.
Did the accident result in missed work or opportunities?
While most people realize that personal injury cases involve medical bills, not everyone knows that they can seek damages for other types of losses.
For instance, in addition to medical bills, accident attorneys can help you seek compensation for missed work. So long as you can show that the accident resulted in a loss of income, it may be in your best interest to contact an attorney for legal assistance.
Was your injury caused by someone else?
Not every car accident is someone’s fault. Unfortunately, genuine accidents do sometimes happen on the road.
Proving legal fault can be extremely complicated, which is why you may benefit from an attorney who understands what kind of evidence is required to prove your claim. If you try to prove fault on your own, you may end up losing even more money if you don’t win the case. However, a lawyer can help ensure that you have all of the information you need to move forward.
Were you offered a ridiculously low settlement by an insurance company?
Insurance companies have a responsibility to their shareholders, not accident victims. As such, they may try to minimize the amount they have to pay out for your injury claim. Because of this, it’s important that you consult a lawyer before speaking with an insurance company representative.
Unfortunately, some insurance adjusters may try to get you to make statements that can harm your claim or sign releases that they can use against you in court. That’s why having a personal injury attorney is so important. A lawyer can ensure you don’t get tricked into settling for less than your injuries are actually worth.
Personal injury claims from car accidents are something that should be taken very seriously.
Seeing as how every year 1.2 million people die in car accidents worldwide, insurance companies have plenty of experience in handling car accident claims. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you contact a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive proper compensation for your injuries.
Finding the Best Car Accident Lawyer?
If you have recently been involved in a car accident and want to take legal action against those who caused it, you will need to make a point of finding the best car accident lawyer. There are many different attorneys that specialize in personal injury, but it’s imperative that you find one that specializes specifically in handling car accident cases.
Why Hire A Car Accident Lawyer?
One of the biggest benefits associated with hiring a qualified lawyer for your car accident case is that you increase your chances of getting the compensation you deserve. A skilled and experienced attorney will be able to work with the insurance company and handle other complicated aspects of your case on your behalf.
Good attorneys that specialize in car accident cases have the knowledge and resources to settle your case as quickly as possible. If you don’t want to wait a long time to get due compensation, you will absolutely need to hire a qualified lawyer as soon as possible.
Look at the Lawyer’s History
When you are evaluating various car accident lawyers, you will need to look at what kind of history each one has. It’s always a good idea to look for lawyer who has a history of taking cases to trial when necessary.
You ultimately want a lawyer who isn’t afraid to fight for you in court as opposed to one who doesn’t have experience in litigation.
It’s also a good idea to look for lawyers who have a history of getting fair compensation for their clients. Make sure that you ask each of the lawyers you meet with what their track record is like with car accident cases.
You don’t want to hire a lawyer who has a history of losing a significant number of cases for obvious reasons.
Use Online Directories & Reviews
There are numerous directory websites on the internet with huge databases of lawyers that you can use to find the right person to take your case.
Make sure that you use a reputable website so you can be sure that the results you get consist of legitimate, well-respected professionals. Some of these directories even offer reviews of lawyers and detailed information to help you save time doing research into them.
Meet with Multiple Lawyers in Person
You should get consultations with numerous car accident lawyers before deciding on one in particular. Meeting with these professionals in person will give you a better sense of what each one is like and how competent they really are. This will provide you with the perfect opportunity to ask them any questions you might have.
A lot of accident lawyers offer free consultations, and it’s perfectly fine to get several free consults.
If you know someone who has hired a car accident lawyer in the past, you should try to get a referral from them.
Ask the person if the person or law firm they hired did a good job so you will know whether or not to contact them. Getting a referral can be a very effective way to find the right lawyer, because someone you already know and trust is providing you with firsthand information about them.
Find Out What Each Lawyer’s Fee Structure is like
It’s also important that you find a car accident lawyer with a fee structure that you are completely comfortable with. Not all of these lawyers have the same policy when it comes to how they get paid, so you will need to get this information early on.
Some lawyers charge by the hour while others will only ask for payment if they win the case for you. These days it has become very common for accident lawyers to not charge their clients unless they win, but you will need to ask each lawyer you meet with before making a decision.
Make a List and Narrow Down Your Options
Take the time to write up a list of the lawyers you are interested in hiring and try to narrow it down to just one person in particular. Remember to read reviews for each lawyer and find out if they have all the necessary credentials to practice law where you live.
Hire A Top Rated Accident Attorney
Finding the best car accident lawyer might feel a bit overwhelming because of all the options you have, but using the steps listed above will help you to make the right decision.
It’s also important to remember that sometimes the smaller law firms are better than the big ones. At a smaller firm or solo practice you will get personal attention. When dealing with a very large firm, you might not even actually speak to your lawyer!
If you’ve been in an accident and want a free consultation with a highly rated attorney, contact us.
8 Common Mistakes a Car Accident Lawyer Can Stop You From Making
If you get into a simple car crash where nobody was in the wrong, the proceedings after your accident will be relatively straightforward.
On the other hand, if you are injured and believe that another party was at fault, you will want to hire an accident attorney and file a personal injury claim. Sometimes, a victim will think that they can handle a case by themselves and that this choice will save money. Unfortunately, both of these assumptions are untrue.
Not only are personal injury claims too complicated for most people without legal training to understand, but trying to do so will actually cost them more in the long run. This is because they will likely make one of the mistakes below, and end up lowering or eliminating the compensation due. To avoid this tragic scenario, you should hire an accident attorney to keep you from making any of these crucial missteps.
Not Seeing a Doctor
After all car or motorcycle accidents, all of the parties involved should see a doctor. The first reason is that they will want to get their health in order. Seeing a doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan, and help you catch any ailments that you might have missed. The second reason for seeing a doctor is that it will give you an idea of how much compensation you should pursue. Your doctor will tell you what your initial medical bills will be, give you an estimate for future expenses, and tell you if you have physical limitations that will decrease your future wages. When you combine these three points, you get one step closer to deciding how much compensation you deserve. Hiring an accident attorney ensures that you don’t forget your medical exam.
Underestimating Your Injuries
Often, a victim will see a doctor, but choose to underestimate their injuries. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common is trying to be “tough” and thinking a seemingly minor injury will go away. Unfortunately, damages that seem insignificant in the moment can grow into severe conditions. What this means is that if you undersell your injuries before reporting them to the opposing insurance company, your compensation offer will be smaller than it should be. Your attorney will help you avoid this by coaching before your medical assessment.
Embellishing Your Injuries
Sometimes, the victims of car and motorcycle accidents choose to embellish their injuries after a collision. In their mind, making their damages sound more severe than they really are will increase their benefits. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, people that lie about their injuries are usually caught, and when they are, they suffer. Either their level of compensation drops dramatically, or their personal injury claim is lost entirely. This is a critical area where a lawyer can help.
Wrongly Admitting Fault
Whether you are at the scene of the accident, an insurance negotiation, a deposition, or in court, you will frequently be asked questions about the crash. Often, some of those questions are meant to trap you into wrongly admitting fault. There are two things you can do about this. First, you can watch for these types of questions and either refuse to answer them, or do so in a way that does not place fault on you. The second way is by having your accident attorney with you for all questioning sessions. They will recognize these questions right away and advise you before you answer.
Not Gathering Evidence
Some people make the mistake of thinking that their word is enough to obtain benefits. What they find when they make their claim is that compensation is nearly impossible to receive if you don’t have evidence backing up your story and the nature of your injuries. What a lawyer can do is ensure that you gather every piece of evidence that you might need, and use them to argue your case.
Taking a Meager Settlement Offer
Though it is not in their best interest, victims frequently take settlement offers that are far below what they should get. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common are ignorance and fatigue. If you do not have legal training, there is a high chance that you don’t know what a fair settlement looks like. This could lead to you taking a bad deal. Additionally, you might grow tired of the proceedings surrounding your personal injury claim. This may make you accept a low offer just to get it over with. Not only will your lawyer know what a fair offer is, but they will do all of the legwork in your case and allow you to avoid all of the stress that comes with it.
Signing Certain Documents
If an insurance company offers you a document, you should never sign it without understanding it entirely. Sometimes, people get tricked into agreeing to terms because they cannot interpret documents effectively. Rather than take this on alone, you can have your lawyer go over those documents and make sure they are fair.
Making Poor Choices on Social Media
When you make a personal injury claim, the opposing party may investigate you. One portion of this process will be checking out your social media accounts. If anything you say or do on social media is not consistent with your claim, they will use it against you. One thing your lawyer will help you with is responsible social media usage.
Even if you understand these mistakes entirely, you may still make them. Personal injury claims are complicated and often involve a high level of stress. Despite your best efforts, it is possible that you will fall into one of these traps. The best way to ensure that this does not happen is hiring an excellent accident attorney. What they will do is be at your side throughout the entire process, and use their expertise to make sure you act exactly as you should. The result will be the compensation package you deserve.
8 Shocking Car Accident Statistics and What You Can Learn From Them
Some of the most significant costs that society incurs come from car accidents.
The first way we pay is in lives, as a massive number of people die in collisions every day. The second way is through economic loss. Even if somebody doesn’t lose their life in a crash, they could have hefty medical bills, damage to their property, and have to miss time from work.
Though you should be able to recover some money in a personal injury case, the optimal scenario is avoiding an accident in the first place. Ultimately, driving comes with a tremendous benefit, but it has its dark side too. We explain that dark side through 9 NHTSA statistics in the sections below.
Over 100 People Die in Car Accidents Every Day
Though 100 might not sound like much, think about the totality of it happening day after day. It doesn’t take long for the total number of fatalities to rise to considerable heights. These people are not nameless and faceless either, as almost every person in this country has either been in a serious accident themselves or knows somebody who has. The fact of the matter is that driving, despite being necessary, is one of the most dangerous things we do.
The Lesson: What you can take away from this statistic is that you should not take road safety lightly. That means following all best practices, including resisting phone use, not drinking and driving, going to speed limit, keeping your vehicle maintained, and much more. Though it may not feel like it in the moment, every choice you make is vital to keeping you safe. Choose wisely.
Roughly 30% of Those Deaths are Alcohol-Related
The most widespread public campaigns in our country are ones that fight against drunk driving. You may have wondered at some point why this issue is advertised against so much. Well, this statistic is your answer. It becomes even more powerful when you analyze it at a deeper level. First, ask yourself what percentage of total drivers are drunk. Though there is no reliable data on the subject, it is reasonable to assume that it is less than 10%. Next, look at the significant proportion of deaths are alcohol-related. Doing so will show you just how much more dangerous drunk drivers are than sober ones.
The Lesson: First, never drive drunk. You can help yourself do this by taking taxis, using rideshare services, assigning a designated driver, or never drinking at all. No matter how you do it, it is pivotal that you take an active approach to avoiding this costly behavior. Next, you can discourage your social group from drinking and driving by speaking up, asking people for their keys, or setting up rides for them. When it comes to drinking and driving prevention, a little goes a long way.
90.1% of Drivers Use Seatbelts
After two gloomy statistics, we can now talk about one that is more positive. What this number tells us is that the vast majority of drivers have committed to seatbelts and wear them regularly. Though we often talk about accident avoidance, they are sometimes inevitable. The best thing you can do to keep your collision from being lethal is wearing your seatbelt, and luckily, you probably do. Two of the top reasons for this trend are social campaigns and laws that urge drivers to adopt safe behaviors. Hopefully, our efforts to curb other forms of unsafe driving will be just as successful.
The Lesson: If you haven’t joined the majority of drivers that wear seatbelts, perhaps now is the time. Not only will doing so save you some money on tickets, but it could save your life. Additionally, this lesson isn’t all about you. Instead, the people around you will take notes of your behavior and might copy it. Being a good example is the best thing you can do for yourself and those that look up to you.
The Leading Cause of Death For 16-23 Year Olds is Car Crashes
Let’s break down why this particular age range is relevant. First, think about older age groups. Though they get into nearly as many fatal crashes, they also suffer from heart disease and cancer, two of the most prolific killers in the world. Second, realize that younger age groups are prone to dying from congenital disabilities, though they suffer car accidents frequently too. Lastly, understand that teens and young adults are some of the most reckless drivers on the road and should be watched out for. Ultimately, this statistic shows that when you control for disease, car accidents are the top killer in our country.
The Lesson: Your first takeaway is similar to some of our previous lesson. It is that you should take driving very seriously, as it is a notoriously dangerous activity. The second is that teen drivers, and those that look after them, should take extra care when on the road. That time of life is one with little regard for consequences, but a couple of honest conversations about safety can go a long way.
5,286 Motorcyclists Died in 2016
There are many excellent reasons to ride motorcycles. Among them are saving money, freedom, and the culture surrounding it. Unfortunately, doing so has consequences. The number of motorcyclists that died in 2016 is much fewer than automobiles, but the reason is how little riders there are. If you normalize the statistics, you find that motorcycles are much more dangerous. As you can probably assume, the reason is lack of protection. Riders are not encased in metal and outfitted with seatbelts and airbags. Instead, they take collisions much harder.
The Lesson: Don’t think that you, a motorcyclist, need to quit riding. Though the dangers are significant, it is perfectly reasonable to shoulder them and live your life as you please. The one lesson you can take away from this statistic is to be careful and defensive at all times, as risky maneuvers have even greater consequences for riders over drivers.
41% of Them Were Unhelmeted
The helmet issue has many parallels to seatbelts and drivers. Though wearing one is significantly safer than not, many riders still go without protection, and some pay the price. Another statistic that can hammer home the danger of this habit is the fact that only about 20% of riders don’t wear their helmets. Some simple math yields that being unhelmeted is twice as lethal as the opposite, and that doesn’t factor in traumatic brain injuries and other forms of damage.
The Lesson: As we explained above, riders should consider having some humility when on the road. One critical way they can do so is by wearing a helmet. Almost every injury to the body will heal eventually, but those that come above the neck are a different story. They will likely lead to a traumatic brain injury at best, and at worst, a fatality.
72% of Truck Accident Fatalities are Suffered by the Other Vehicle
You probably instinctively know that large trucks are dangerous, but you may not be able to put numbers to it. When you investigate the statistics, you confirm that these trucks are some of the most lethal hazards on the road. The primary reasons are size and weight. 18-wheelers and similar vehicles are often twenty times as much as a typical car, and the results can be disastrous if a collision occurs.
The Lesson: Your best bet for staying safe around trucks is to keep your distance from them, whether that be in front, far behind, or at least two lanes over. Doing so will allow you to avoid the primary dangers associated with these vehicles, which are wide turns, long stopping distance, and large blind spots.
Yearly Comprehensive Cost For Collisions: $836 Billion
One of the toughest things about economic analysis is grappling with complicated models. A relevant example is the total cost of car accidents. When experts try to make this calculation, they factor in every possible downside. Those include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, lost life, and much more. Despite how complex this task is, the NHTSA has done their best and come up with the number listed above.
The Lesson: When we talk about societal spending, it is usually in the context of government. What we rarely discuss are significant costs that happen every day right under our noses. One of them is car accidents, which we pay an impossibly large price for each and every year.
One thing we want to make clear is that we aren’t listing these statistics to scare you.
Instead, we seek to make readers realize just how much responsibility they take on when on the road. The solution to these issues is not to quit driving. Instead, it is to take care when you operate a vehicle and make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep yourself and other drivers safe. Though we, as injury lawyers, are here to help when things go wrong, what we want the most is for you to live a long and healthy life. Hopefully, with the help of some road safety education, you can do just that.
Top Three Reasons You Need an Attorney after a Car Accident
Car accidents can be dreadful; especially when you are not at fault. Probably the only upside of a car accident is that, per the law, you can claim the financial loss caused to you by the other party. Most people turn to their insurance companies for this purpose, but as a matter of fact, it is a better idea to have an attorney after a car accident to help you claim any financial losses. Here are top three reasons that having an attorney after a car accident is a must:
Understanding of Potential Damages
Hiring an attorney will help you in the understanding of potential damages and filing of the case to recover financial losses accordingly. The potential damages that a person may face after an accident includes reimbursement of medical bills, damage to vehicle etc. In a case where you don’t hire an attorney, you may not be able to judge the correct recovery amount of potential damages that have been caused to you.
Limited Time Period
Laws differ from state to state, but filing a police report after an accident typically must be done within a specific period of time. Furthermore, the laws in some states may require additional formalities or requirements for filing the case to recover damages. An experienced attorney can come in handy at this stage because personal injury attorneys are familiar with state laws and have expertise on the subject matter. A qualified attorney can assist you in filing a lawsuit within the required timeframe. Furthermore, they will also be able to file for the amount that you deserve to recover as per the injuries suffered.
Out of Court Settlement Options
There is a chance that the party who has caused an injury will offer you the option of an out of court settlement. If you have hired the services of an expert attorney, they will be able to assist you in taking the decision of accepting the out of court settlement offer or not. Once you accept the settlement offer, you are foregoing your right to sue the defendant party forever, and this decision requires some consideration. Additionally, an attorney can help you in negotiating the amount of the settlement.
Long story short, the fact that an attorney can help in easing out the complexities of your case while making sure that you are appropriately reimbursed for your losses in the most effective way is reason enough for you to hire an attorney after a car accident. No person would like to bear financial losses after an accident without any mistake of theirs; hence, hiring the services of an expert attorney is a must.
You are welcome to call us for a free consultation regarding your case.
Call Now: 813-258-4878
Did You Have A Car Crash? Here Are The Steps To Take After
Every year, road crashes cost the U.S. about 230 billion dollars.
Yet, the greater toll of each car crash is on the people. Many of them suffer debilitating injuries, disabilities, or even death.
Common causes of car accidents include speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving. Others include reckless driving, rain, night driving, and running red lights. Moreover, there’s also tailgating incidents and making improper turns.
With so many possibilities of accidents, you need to know what to do in case you’re involved in one. Keep reading to learn the steps you can take after a car crash.
What to Do After A Car Crash
Being in an accident can be scary and confusing. It takes just a second of distracted driving to spell disaster on the road. Yet, you could be the victim or the cause of the crash.
Thus, what steps should you take after a car crash? Here are a couple of things to do:
1. Check on Yourself and Any Passengers
The first thing to do is to check whether you have any injuries. Can you move? Are you in pain? If you are able to move, check whether other passengers are okay. Be careful when helping them as you might exacerbate any injuries they have.
Check your surroundings as well. There might be a risk of fire or explosion. Thus, if everyone can move, get yourselves to a safe distance. Consider checking on the occupants of the other vehicle if there’s one involved.
2. Call Emergency Services
Call 911 once you are at a safe distance. Remain at the scene until the emergency services arrive.
Leaving the crash site may put you in danger especially if there’s oncoming traffic. Leaving the scene may also put you in legal jeopardy if the crash caused injuries or death. They may think you are a hit-and-run driver.
If you are not hurt, place hazard signs on the road to alert other drivers about an accident. This ensures the car accident victims, other drivers, and bystanders aren’t put at risk.
3. Call Your Insurer and Lawyer
It is important that you don’t admit guilt for the accident. Even apologizing may be a sign of admitting liability for causing the accident.
Instead, call and inform your insurer and your lawyer. They’ll give you directions on what to do or not do.
4. Document the Accident
The police officer will document the accident. Make sure to do the same. Take note of the officer’s name and badge number. Write everything you remember because you might skew the details later. Take pictures if possible.
5. Exchange Information With the Other Driver
Exchange information and contact details with the other driver. You can take the details of passengers as well. Record insurance information, license plate numbers, and addresses.
Be cordial as you speak to the other people because accidents are very emotive. You don’t want to start a fight that may cause more damage or risk your wellbeing.
You can also talk to any witnesses on the scene. Take their contact details as well. They may help you with your case if there’s one.
Learn More About Auto Accidents and Wrongful Death
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes on at the scene of a car crash. With the tips above, you’ll be able to protect yourself and the other people involved in the accident. Try to stay calm and you’ll be able to get through this situation.
Contact us to learn what to do in cases of auto accidents and wrongful death.
The 7 Types of Evidence to Use in Your Car Accident Case
If you are ever injured in an auto collision, the first step you need to take is caring for your health.
If you sustain damages that warrant a trip to the hospital, then call emergency response as quickly as possible. If not, you can move on to gathering evidence at the scene of the collision and hiring an accident attorney.
Once you do, you can discuss the possibility of pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. The most critical factor in winning that potential suit is the quality of the evidence you gather. Evidence frequently makes or breaks cases involving car and motorcycle accidents, so collecting it is worth understanding and prioritizing.
Below, we explain 7 types of evidence that you may use in your car accident case.
Pictures at the Scene
After you establish that your health is stable, you should call the police and report your incident. What they will do is send an officer out to the scene of your accident as quickly as they can. The time it takes for them to arrive is perfect for taking pictures, which are often a crucial piece of evidence in car and motorcycle accidents.
First, take photos of your injuries, if they are visible. The opposing party may call your damages into question, so having proof that they came from the accident is useful.
Second, get some shots of both of the cars. This will establish how much damage each vehicle sustained and perhaps help describe what happened leading up to the accident.
Last, take pictures of the surrounding area and any skid marks on the ground. If your version of the events ends up being different than the other driver’s, having pictures can help rectify the situation.
Another thing your accident attorney will want is a police report. As we mentioned above, you should call the police immediately after the accident. When they arrive, they will ask all the drivers a few questions and gather physical evidence. From this information, they will write up a report.
This report does two things. First, it stops other drivers from changing their stories later on. Sometimes, a driver will admit fault on the scene but decide to lie about what happens when you pursue compensation. Having a record of their initial testimony can be useful in stopping that from happening. The second thing a report does is give you a second person collecting physical evidence. If you miss a crucial picture or detail about the crash, the police may catch it.
Once you and your accident attorney start to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you must decide on the number of benefits you deserve. One of the top reasons for receiving compensation is the physical injuries you sustained, so collecting medical records is very important.
The first thing they allow you to do is to add up all of your initial medical bills, which will be paid for in your suit. Next, a doctors assessment will give you an estimate of your future medical bills, as well as how physically limited you will be going forward. This opens your case up to a significantly greater number of benefits.
Part of your benefits could include payments for lost wages. While a significant portion of these benefits will likely be future lost wages, proving that you are already missing work due to your injuries is a strong piece of evidence. Not only will it raise the amount of compensation you are eligible for, but it will prove that you are not embellishing your injury.
Another piece of evidence that you may use is a deposition, which is a sworn statement made out of court.
Depositions go roughly as follows: Your legal team invites the other party to answer a series of questions, they take a legal oath to tell the truth, your attorney asks them those questions, and you create a written document based on their responses. What this does is give you a sworn recounting of the events surrounding the crash. Later, your accident attorney can compare that to other sworn testimonies and perhaps find that the other driver’s story has changed over time. This can help you win a case that is your words against theirs because a changing story is proof of a lack of reliability.
Another way you can solve cases that are your word against theirs is through a 3rd party witness.
What frequently happens during an accident is another driver or a pedestrian will be in the area and will see what happened. If this is the case, do not let them get away. If you do, you may lose a critical piece of evidence. What a 3rd party witness can do is back up your account of the crash and help you establish that the other driver was at fault. This can be crucial in difficult cases where the truth about what happened is up in the air.
When you make a personal injury claim, there is a significant amount of information that the opposing party can question. That includes the fault in the accident, the extent of your physical damages, your medical bills, and more. When this is the case, your accident attorney may recommend obtaining an expert to testify on your behalf. This will help establish your claims as credible and increase the number of benefits you are eligible for. Experts that are frequently used include doctors, accident reconstruction specialists, highway safety professionals, and accountants.
Sometimes, car and motorcycle accidents are solved without making a personal injury claim.
Other times, another driver was at fault and you are injured as a result. In this case, you need to hire a skilled accident attorney and use them to obtain your rightful compensation. When you do, there are many types of evidence that you may use to win the case. The 7 on this list are some of the most useful, but there could be some alternate forms that you use in your claim.
To explore those other options, you should consult with an experienced attorney.
Recovering From An Injury After A Car Accident
Over 6 million car accidents are reported to the police in the U.S. every year. Over 2 million people a year are injured.
And, with more and more cars on the road, it’s increasingly possible that you or a loved one could be involved in an accident.
The population in the Tampa Bay area is growing by leaps and bounds; and there is more traffic with a greater amount of frustrated drivers on the road. As if that’s not bad enough, the increase in popularity of mobile apps means that crowded roads full of frustrated drivers are also full of distracted drivers.
Automobile accidents happen frequently, and unfortunately, so are the associated injuries.
If you happen to be one of the unfortunate drivers to be involved in a car accident, you may find yourself confused and stressed about what to do next. Learning the proper way to react immediately following an accident that caused injuries can save your life, but it also can help you be prepared in a situation where there is legal recourse.
Read on for an overview of important steps to take if you or someone you know becomes injured in a car accident.
Seek Medical Help
We can’t emphasize this step enough.
After an accident, your body will be full of adrenaline. It can make you dazed and unable to focus. Your judgment about the severity of your injuries can be impaired; this is especially true if you’re in shock.
Even if you feel completely fine, soft tissue or spinal injuries could arise later. Soft tissue injuries are common in car accidents and they typically get worse over time. This is why it’s important to get checked out by a medical professional immediately following a major car collision.
A medical exam will not only protect your health. It could also strengthen your personal injury claim. Insurance companies and opposing legal counsel could argue that you were not injured in the accident if you do not seek medical care immediately.
Do Not Admit Fault
Even if you think you might be at fault for the accident, it is not time to discuss such things immediately following the accident, especially if you are injured.
If law enforcement asks you for details about what occurred then it is fine to discuss what you recall with the officer, but depending on the severity of your injuries it might not be a good time to try to recall specifics.
Your health and well being are more important than trying to recreate the details of what happened so, if you feel extremely shaken up or confused then state that and get medical attention prior to going over the ply by play of the accident.
(Wondering what to do if the other driver lies to law enforcement about what happened? Read this blog post to learn what we suggest!)
Keep Detailed Notes and Photos About the Car Accident
To strengthen your position in any possible future personal injury claim, proper documentation is a must.
If you are able to make notes or take videos and photos then do so. Keep all of your notes, photos of the accident and any injuries, as well as all medical records in a safe and secure location. Make copies and store them electronically.
However, as mentioned previously, your health is far more important than trying to document the details of your accident. If you need medical attention then that is your first priority.
Recording this evidence will be essential for you to receive reimbursement from your insurance or take the other driver to court.
File a Claim and Hire an Expert
There are different claims you can file with your insurance company:
- Not-at Fault Claims: You are reimbursed for repairs.
- At-Fault Claims: If you are at-fault, you will not be reimbursed for your repair deductible and your premiums could increase.
- Total Loss Claims: If your car is not able to be repaired, your insurance company will verify the irreparable damage and pay you for the current value of your vehicle based on make, model, year, and condition of the car.
The claims process can go on for months. And if the driver fights being at-fault, you may even have to take them to court. These dealings can cause quite the headache and financial strain, especially if you need a car repaired now and not months from now.
It can’t hurt to get a second opinion on your case, whether seeking professional help or asking online. Lawyers now specialize in car accident claims and court proceedings, so you can be sure you’re in the right hands.
Many of them do not even charge unless they win your case!
Remember, if you’re injured in a car accident, seek medical help immediately and begin the claims process. Should you find yourself needing legal help, be sure to contact an accident attorney.
What to Do If You’re a Passenger In A Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is an extremely stressful life event, and it only becomes more stressful in the months following the crash.
If the accident is severe, there will be arguments about who was at fault, and what the proper compensation will be for those involved in the crash.
But what if you weren’t driving when the accident occurred?
You may have been injured, but clearly, the accident wasn’t your fault because you were simply a passenger. There are specific steps that need to be taken if you were a passenger in a car accident. You need to protect yourself and get any insurance benefits that you are owed.
In this article, we’ll outline exactly what you should do if you’ve been a passenger in a car accident.
What To Do As A Passenger In A Car Accident
You may think that being a passenger in a traffic accident shouldn’t require much action on your part, but that isn’t the case. Here are the steps you need to take after the car accident has occurred.
Hire An Accident Attorney
The first step you should take, especially if you’ve been seriously injured in the accident, is to hire a reputable accident attorney to represent you. Having legal counsel during this type of case can protect you and ensure you are exercising your legal rights.
Car accident attorneys guide both drivers and passengers towards solutions that will help them recover both medically and financially. Here are just some of the tasks a car accident attorney will help you with.
Collect Evidence – Your attorney will know what kind of evidence will be needed to build a successful car accident claim. Since each case varies, different types of evidence may be required.
For example, if you claim the other driver ran a red light, your opinion won’t be enough to get the insurance company to reach a settlement with you. Instead, work with a lawyer who can acquire the red light footage that can prove your story making it nearly impossible for the other party to deny.
Filing a Claim – An accident attorney will help you file claims with the insurance company(s) and discuss all your specific options depending on your own insurance policy. They will read through all the insurance policies at work in the incident and offer sound advice on how to proceed with a claim.
Communicate on Your Behalf – Your car accident attorney will be able to communicate with the insurance company so you’re not placing yourself at risk for saying anything that might jeopardize your claim. Insurance adjusters, unfortunately, are waiting to catch you in a comment that they can spin in their favor.
Pressure and Negotiate – Insurers like to drag their feet in settling claims hoping you will abandon the claim/lawsuit or “give in” to a lowball settlement. When you work with an attorney, they can turn the heat up on the insurer to get them to move faster on your claim. Your accident lawyer will also negotiate your settlement and make sure you are being compensated correctly.
A Day in Court – If you and the insurer cannot come to a settlement, your attorney will represent you in court if necessary. Most cases never get to this point, but if they do, having an attorney will be crucial to navigating the courtroom procedures and paperwork filing.
File a Claim Against the Driver’s Insurance
Depending on which driver was found to be guilty of causing the accident, you can file a claim against that driver’s insurance company. You have the right to collect money from the driver that was at fault. This may take a long time as determining the responsibility of the accident could potentially go to court. If both drivers were found to be at fault, then you should file a claim against both insurance companies so you can be adequately compensated.
While you may have just been a passenger, this doesn’t make your claim worthless or not worth pursuing since your vehicle wasn’t necessarily involved. The adjuster might even treat your case with less “importance” since you were just a passenger. An auto crash attorney won’t let that happen and will pursue your case with the importance as they would if you were the driver or owner of the car.
If your injuries were severe in nature, you’d want to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance, especially if they were being negligent beyond a bad mistake. This is even the case in Florida despite being a “no-fault” state. The details will matter, but ask a car accident lawyer for guidance on your specific situation.
File a Claim Against Your Insurance Company
Depending on your auto insurance policy, you may be compensated for merely being a passenger in the car during the accident. This is dependent on what type of insurance you have, but it’s always best to call your insurance company and see what your options are.
It used to be that individuals were only insured if in their own cars and not so much if they were in other vehicles. Today, many insurers cover you no matter what vehicle you were in with that coverage following you from car to car.
Of course, you should also discuss your options with your attorney to make sure your insurance company isn’t cheating you. Your attorney will be familiar with your insurance policy and whether you can file a claim.
Collect Your Medical Documents – Reach out to the medical facilities, physicians, therapists, and chiropractors you’ve seen and ask for a copy of your medical records. Copy those and give a set to your attorney.
Accident Statement – In your best memory, write out the story of your accident so your attorney can refer to it regularly, even after you’ve gone. Do not share that document with anyone else, including insurance adjusters.
Acquire the Police Report – Whatever law enforcement agency helped you after the accident, you’ll want to get a copy of their police report. You might already have this document. Make a copy of that and give it to your attorney.
Insurance Details – Find a copy of your insurance policy, sometimes you can find this online or by asking your representative, and bring that with you to your attorney meeting. Your attorney will pore over the details of that policy to see if you can file a claim as a passenger.
Witness Information – Often times, there are accident witnesses. If you have their information, you’ll want to include that in your documents. If you don’t have that information, the police report may have those details, and the attorney can assist in contacting those individuals.
Write Down Questions – This is your chance to interview your car accident attorney, so write down all the questions you can think of relating to your crash situation. This can include questions about the attorney’s experience, background, and if they’ve worked on your kind of case before.
What “Not” to Do After Your Car Accident
As with drivers, you too will want to avoid a few situations so as not to put your car accident claim at risk to be denied. Adjusters are looking for any reason to deny or pay you less money than you deserve.
Avoid Insurance Adjusters – Chances are, the insurance adjuster will want to speak with you and get your account of what happened. Avoid this phone call until you speak with a lawyer first. Your attorney will be able to guide you through that call so you don’t say something that might hurt your claim.
Avoid Social Media and Online Platforms – Insurance adjusters will go to great lengths to find out if you are being truthful with them, including trying to find your online social platforms. This is even the case if your accounts are private, they will still try to befriend you somehow to see what you’re talking about and what you do with your day to day life. Avoid posting anything about your accident or injuries, and stick to very generic posts. Also, don’t check in anywhere that might plant a question about your injuries such as a yoga studio, hunting lodge, or bowling alley.
Don’t Miss Medical Appointments – Everyone has to reschedule an appointment or two, but avoid missing or rescheduling appointments with your doctors or therapists. Physicians will keep track of this, and if they insurer sees that you had missed appointments, they might think you’re not as injured as you claim.
Being a passenger in a car accident is a stressful life event that can not only leave you with physical injury but emotional and mental trauma as well.
You need to make sure you are adequately compensated for the accident by filing claims against the driver’s insurance and your own insurance policy.
To ensure that you are treated fairly and receive proper payment, it’s essential to hire a reliable accident attorney to represent you. Contact our law office today for more information and a free case review.
How to Handle a Car Accident
Every year, there are approximately 6 million vehicle accidents across the United States.
Because these auto accidents are so frequent, knowing what to do when you have a car accident is one of the most important aspects of automobile ownership. You certainly have to know how to properly handle and operate a vehicle, know how to perform routine auto maintenance, and fully understand the rules of the road, but that’s not all. It’s essential that every driver, from first-time teenage drivers to experienced drivers, knows exactly what to do when you have a car accident.
Here are some of the most important things to remember after you’ve been involved in an auto crash:
- Contact emergency crews right away — No matter how minor a crash is, your first step should always be contacting police, fire, and emergency crews. Even small accidents can lead to serious injuries and potentially life-threatening problems.
- Call your attorney — After you’ve been cleared by medical professionals, your next step should be to contact your personal injury attorney. You and your attorney can discuss everything that occurred leading up to, and immediately after the crash. Be sure to disclose every single detail to your attorney, even details that might seem potentially incriminating — you should still let them know. As long as your attorney knows everything that happened the day of your crash, you will have a much better chance of succeeding if your case goes to trial.
- Get your car fixed — After your car has been involved in an accident, no matter how severe the crash actually was, your next step should be getting it properly fixed once again. You should never operate a vehicle that has been damaged because you could risk potentially even more damage and additional car accidents.
If you want to learn more about what to do when you have a car accident or speak to qualified auto accident attorneys, give Herron Law a call right away.
Did You Witness a Car Accident? Here’s What to Do Next
Over 6 million vehicle accidents happen annually in the US.
This huge number of accidents per year means that at some point, most people will be affected either directly or indirectly by a car accident.
Many people will witness a car accident while going about their day-to-day activities, so it is vital to know what to do if you see a car accident.
So, what should you do after witnessing an accident? Here are the steps to take if you happen to be a car accident witness.
Stay Safe First
If you witness a car accident and you’re driving, pull over to one side of the road about 100 feet away from the scene. Then turn on your hazard lights.
You should allow enough distance between you and the accident scene so you don’t risk your safety by being too close to the leaked fuel, flames, or broken glass.
If two vehicles collided and burst into flames or if someone appears to be hurt, call 911 immediately. Regardless of how severe the crash is, you need to let the authorities know.
Let the 911 operator know that you’ve just witnessed an accident and give them the address. When prompted, provide the operator with any relevant information.
Check Up on the Accident Victims and Seek Help
Unless you’ve got medical training or you know CPR, it’s not advisable to try to help injured victims. Instead, call for an ambulance from 911 and describe the state of the victims.
If they’re conscious, assure them that you’ve summoned medical assistance and it’s on the way. Simply being there and talking to them calmly may help to lower their stress levels.
Help Secure the Scene
If you’ve got an emergency cone or road flares on hand, you should deploy these items on the road to draw the attention of oncoming traffic at the scene.
Just make sure there’s no liquid in the scene before lighting anything. If you’re not sure of the liquids in the scene, don’t light anything as you may cause a fire.
If the victims can’t take photos of the accident, you could help them with that once the scene is secured and they’re stabilized.
Photos taken immediately after an accident may be very useful during investigations by the insurance firm(s).
Give a Statement to the Police
When police arrive at the scene, cooperate with them and provide relevant information as well as your contact information.
Don’t discuss liability with the victims of the accident as there might be serious ramifications. Only talk about the crash to the police.
If you’ve got any relevant information to give to medical professionals, do that as well.
Unless you have experience working in the emergency response field, you are probably not used to seeing traumatic accidents and it can be very upsetting. Make sure you reach out to your support system if you need to talk and get plenty of rest.
If you saw something that was extremely bothersome and you don’t feel you’re able to process it on your own, make sure you seek professional help.
Looking for more information about how to deal with car and motorcycle accidents?
check out our blog for more information.
Car Accidents and Personal Injury in Florida – 4 Common Myths
Even though car accidents are so common, there are still so many misconceptions about personal injury cases.
In Florida, which is a so-called “no-fault” state, these cases can be even more confusing. Whether you’ve been injured in a drunk driving car accident, were injured at work, or were involved in a collision with a commercial truck driver, personal injury attorneys help accident victims recover the damages they deserve. Unfortunately, too many Florida car accident victims try to handle their case alone based on a misunderstanding of the state’s personal injury law.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions when it comes to Florida personal injury cases:
Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, I can’t sue the other driver for my injuries.
Of all the myths faced by Tampa accident attorneys, this is perhaps the most common. To understand why this myth often does not apply, it’s important to understand the basics of Florida’s no-fault insurance law.
In “at-fault” states, you can file a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties after being injured in an auto accident. However, per Florida law, every driver must carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection coverage, also known as PIP coverage. When a driver suffers medical bills, lost wages, or other losses in an injury accident, their insurance company should cover some of the costs regardless of fault.
As a result, you may not always be able to seek damages after an accident. However, this is not always the case. According to Florida statute 627.737, you may have a personal injury claim if you suffered from “significant” or “permanent” injuries.
These permanent injuries include:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury, based on a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
In serious cases like these, Tampa accident attorneys can help you determine whether or not you have a valid civil claim.
Resolving a claim could take years
In some major instances, these injury cases can take a significant amount of time to finalize, but that’s certainly not always the case. The length of time it takes to resolve an injury case does depend on how complicated the particular case is, but the majority of claims are settled before a lawsuit is even filed. Insurance companies, like you, do not want to go to court, so they will often do all they can to avoid litigation. That’s one reason so many personal injury lawsuits are settled outside of court.
You don’t need an attorney if you have insurance
Simply having insurance is not enough to ensure that you will always be compensated fairly for any injuries that you sustained in the crash. While insurance companies often help accident victims receive the financial compensation they need to recover, you may not be so lucky. Without an injury attorney, you’ll have to handle your lost wages, medical costs, and all the other logistical aspects of your case by yourself.
Injury claims are straightforward legal matters
Injury claims, on the contrary, actually require a lot of handwork, time, and effort to resolve. There are many legal requirements that must be met to move forward with an injury case. For instance, do you understand the statute of limitations for Florida personal injury cases, or the legal requirements of proving fault? If not, you may benefit from a consultation with Tampa accident attorneys.
When you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, it’s important to have all of the facts. That’s why you should explore all of your legal options and ensure you aren’t getting suckered by any of these common personal injury myths. If you want to clear up some other common misconceptions or speak with our Tampa personal injury attorneys, contact Herron Law today for a consultation.
I Caused a Car Accident – Can I Still Make a Claim for Personal Injuries?
The story goes like this: you have just been involved in a car accident.
Because of it, you have some injuries, perhaps nothing too serious, but costly enough that you need compensation to cover substantial medical bills. Maybe you even need cover for those days when you’re on bed rest and have to miss work.
You feel like you should be compensated for your injuries, but there’s a catch. You were at fault in causing the accident. So, the obvious question that comes up is: are you still entitled to compensation if you caused the crash?
The issue is relatively complex, but we’re hoping to make things clear in this article.
Know the Law
The first step towards answering this question is to find out what the state law says about at-fault drivers and their right to compensation.
When you break it down, there are two main categories:
1. Pure Comparative Fault States
In this category, the party involved in an accident is liable for damages in direct proportion to the degree of their fault. If you are found to be 60% at fault for causing the crash, while the other party is only 40% responsible, then pure comparative fault states allow you to seek pain and suffering compensation but reduced to a 40% of total damages. Florida, for instance, is a pure comparative fault state, so you are entitled to compensation. Therefore, if it’s found you are 99% responsible for causing the accident, you’ll only be allowed to 1% of total damages.
2. Modified Comparative Fault States
Most states follow the modified comparative fault model, where if you are more responsible for the accident than the other party, you cannot collect any damages. You can only open a claim if the other party is responsible for more than 50% of total losses, but your request will still be reduced by your degree of fault, like in the pure comparative fault states.
If you are living in Tampa, Florida, you’re probably wondering why we even bother telling you about the laws in other states. Well, if the accident took place in a modified comparative fault state, those laws apply, even if the car is registered to Florida. So it’s essential you know the laws of the state the accident took place, not just the ones where you reside.
Proving the at-fault Party
In some cases, it is obvious who is at fault for a vehicle accident, and from that, the entire process can run its course smoothly. However, there is a lot of grey area when it comes to most car accidents. Unless one of the parties was just sitting in a parking lot and the other party hit the parked vehicle, an accident is usually caused by more than only one person.
So, who determines who is at fault in a car accident? Well, if we are talking about insurance claims only, then the insurance company adjuster will review the case and determine how much you are at fault, and what you’re entitled to for compensation. However, you might not always be pleased with what they find, which is why you should have a lawyer that represents your interests during this process.
Insurance companies will assign a person to review the case, called a claims adjuster. They will allocate each party a percentage of fault, based on the evidence they have on hand and the state laws to see who they can hold liable.
Each party involved in the accident have their claims adjuster, which will often have to work together to reach a conclusion. This process can be dragged on quite a bit since both parties will argue for the smallest percentage of blame. If you can’t reach a mutual conclusion, then the court will step in and help solve the case.
What Affects Fault?
Claims adjusters take into account a variety of information to determine fault. One of the first things they’ll review is the police report to get a better idea of the events that took place. The police report can be either damning or very helpful, depending on how you’re portrayed in it because it is seen as an objective recollection of the accident.
Then, they will look at what other evidence is available and review it. We’re talking about photos, witness statements, and proof if one party admitted fault, even if it wasn’t done correctly.
What Can You Do?
If you are involved in a car accident and are partly at fault for causing it, there are a few things you can do to help your case. The first thing would be to hire a lawyer to represent you. That is a critical step you must take if you want to be compensated for your injuries.
Here’s what a lawyer can do:
- Represent you in meetings with insurance company officers;
- Gather evidence and talk to witnesses to make a case for contesting the initial insurance evaluation;
- Negotiate a better settlement.
You are better off with professional representation because, unless you can’t tell by now, claiming pain and suffering compensation can be very tricky. One small mishap can ruin your chances of ever getting the settlement you deserve and need.
Not to mention, it’s a very stressful process, and you need to have someone on your side. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your claims adjuster is representing your interests, even if they are meeting with the other parties. They represent the insurance company, not you.
Still, there are other things you can do to increase your chances of getting a settlement:
- Call the police immediately;
- Take pictures of the car and other damages that took place, including photos of your injuries. That will help your lawyer make a case for you;
- Note if there are any surveillance cameras in the area;
- Write down everything that took place that day the first chance you get, with as many details as possible;
- Create a list of witnesses to help your lawyer track them down quickly;
- Record any comments made by other parties at the scene of the accident;
- Don’t, under any circumstances, make any comments about the accident;
- Don’t make any statements to officials without your lawyer present. Even something as small as using the wrong word in a sentence can be used against you;
- Keep a file with all your medical records, bills and prescriptions gathered as a result of the accident. You can even ask your doctor to make a written statement describing your injuries.
Nobody likes to think about the possibility of an accident, but unfortunately, drivers must be prepared if they occur.
The claims process can be a frustrating one, but if you are not represented correctly, it can make it even more difficult.
If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, contact us today for a free case review.
Is It Mandatory to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been driving for a while and still never been in a car accident, you’re lucky.
But you also might be wondering what to do in case you’re ever in a car accident. For instance, do you need to file a car accident police report? Or is it enough to just exchange insurance information?
Well, that depends on the severity of the accident and the state laws where you live. But either way, you’ll want to remember this:
A Car Accident Police Report Is Always a Good Idea
Even if your accident is one where there are no injuries, the damage is minor and everyone involved is properly licensed and cool about everything.
Because the reality is, people can get shaken up and disoriented during an accident and a few days later, they may be remembering things differently than the day of the accident.
If there’s no police report, there’s no record of the extent of the damage to each vehicle and the surrounding landscape, as well as who appeared to be at fault.
And you could end up getting sued for that minor damage. Even if it wasn’t your fault. It’ll merely be your word against the other driver’s word.
A police report also helps to facilitate the claims process with your auto insurance company. And that means a quicker payout on your claim.
If, however, you choose not to file a police report, then you need to document everything at the scene of the crash. Take photos of your vehicle, their vehicle and of the surrounding area so that those pictures so you can use them in case you get sued.
What Goes into a Police Report?
In some states, you’ll be required to file a police report if you’re in a car accident – regardless of the severity of the accident.
But once again, we strongly recommend that even if your state doesn’t require you to do so, you get the police on the scene.
When filing your report, be sure it’s as detailed and accurate as possible. Take notes to gather information and to help you remember. You’ll want to include the following:
- Description of how the accident happened
- The number of passengers in the other car.
- Other driver’s name and insurance information.
- Names of witnesses and, if possible, their recorded accounts of the accident.
- Any damages to your vehicle.
- Injuries you or your passengers sustained.
Also, take photos of the scene of the accident, as well as your vehicle, and any injuries you sustain.
The law enforcement officer at the scene will collect your information and submit it to their department. It’s possible that the officer may issue a ticket to one or more of the drivers for violations.
Be sure to ask the officer for a card in case you need to contact him or her later. While the name will appear on the report, you want to ensure that you can read it clearly.
Typically, the report will be available for you to review within one to two days. Then you will have it if you need to file a claim or, worst case scenario, you need it for court.
Play It Safe!
If you’re ever in an accident, cover all your bases by filing a car accident police report. It’ll give you one less thing to worry about – as well as some peace of mind.
And if you do find yourself getting sued for an accident in the Tampa area, be sure to contact us to schedule a free case review.