Everything You Need to Know About Florida Car Accidents (Safety Tips, Settlement Process, & More)
No one wants to be in a car accident, no matter how big or small. Auto accident aftermath is usually full of adrenaline and stress. But, it is important to stay as focused as possible and follow certain steps post accident. Here is everything you should know about getting in a car accident in Florida.
For a free consultation about your case, contact the experienced injury lawyers at SteinLaw today.
What To Do After a Car Accident in Florida
After an auto accident, the first concern is staying safe. Secondly, you must be aware during an auto accident aftermath because this is the most important time to gather information. People often regret not being more vigilant at the scene of a car accident.
Here is how to stay smart in an auto accident aftermath.
Check for Safety
- Move the vehicle out of traffic to a safer spot if you can.
- Calmly assess yourself and anyone else involved in the accident for injuries.
- Call 9-1-1 if necessary.
Stay at the Scene
- If you try to leave an accident, especially in a busy area in broad daylight, it is almost guaranteed you will get caught.
- If you cause an accident, it is extremely unwise to try and flee.
- If you flee and get caught, you can face additional charges.
- A crowd can cause things to get out of hand very quickly.
- Rather than trying to be a hero, stay calm and wait for the police.
Take Down Important Information
- Use your cell phone to take photos or videos of the accident, including your vehicle, other vehicles, skid marks, and/or obstructions on the roadway.
- Take notes, such as contact information, driver’s license information, and insurance information.
- If there are any witnesses, take down their information.
Talk to Authorities
- Make sure police write an accident report and find out where you need to go to get a copy. Get the officer’s name and contact information.
- If your car needs to be towed, get the contact information and address of the towing company.
- If you are treated for injuries, get the contact information for the hospital.
Contact a Car Accident Injury Lawyer
- Contact a lawyer from SteinLaw. They can help you navigate your way through what happens after the accident.
When Can I Sue for Damages After a Florida Car Accident?
After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed. In addition to recovering from injuries, you may see expenses for property damage and medical treatment piling up. Time away from work may prevent you from earning a living wage and in some cases, you may never regain your previous quality of life.
For this reason, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve. Here is what you should know about filing a claim.
Important Florida Car Accidents Laws
It is important to be aware of car accident laws in Florida because they may affect your compensation for damages.
- Florida is a no-fault insurance state, so you will go to your auto insurance carrier before taking your claim against another party’s carrier.
- Florida uses the comparative fault model for determining accident responsibility and reimbursement.
- The statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a claim regarding an auto accident is 4 years. The statute of limitations for seeking medical attention, however, is only 14 days.
- Drivers involved in car collisions are required by law to report the accidents to authorities if damages exceed $500.
No-Fault Insurance State – Florida
Florida operates under a no-fault system, which means that in many cases, individuals must file a claim against their own insurance policies to receive compensation. However, you should consult with a car accident lawyer before contacting your insurance companies. Your lawyer will handle and walk you through the legal process, so you will not have to worry about dealing with insurance companies.
Comparative Fault Rule – Florida
In serious accident cases, fault matters. The courts will use a pure comparative fault rule to determine liability and award damages. In car accident cases following pure comparative fault guidelines, the jury will reduce the total amount of damages based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
For example, if you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver but were driving above the speed limit at the time of the incident, the jury may reduce your total award by 10%.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer After a Florida Car Accident
If you were recently involved in a car accident and walked away with minimal injuries or damage to your car, you may not feel a need to contact a lawyer. However, the severity of the crash makes no difference.
Here is why you should contact a lawyer after any car accident.
You Are Up Against the Clock
In Florida, the statute of limitations (deadline) for filing an auto accident claim is 4 years, but the statute of limitations for seeking medical attention is only 14 days. Once that time has elapsed, you surrender all rights to a lawsuit.
If you walked away from the accident unharmed, a lawsuit may be the farthest thing from your mind. But by taking appropriate legal action now, you ensure you are covered in the future.
Insurance Companies Complicate the Process
Your insurance company is committed to protecting and representing you in the aftermath of an accident, but they are also interested in protecting themselves by keeping their losses as low as possible.
While they want to help you, they also want to expedite the claim, which may or may not be in your best interests. An experienced car accident lawyer can intervene and mediate.
Legal Paperwork Is a Nightmare
Completing the forms on your own is challenging enough. Getting them where they need to be, when they need to be there, can be nearly impossible.
A lawyer can guide you through the entire process to ensure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed.
Injuries Are Not Always Apparent
You may feel fine right after the accident, but pain and injuries can pop up days, weeks, or even months after the accident. These injuries can result in lost wages, hefty medical bills, and emotional suffering.
If you did not take the proper steps immediately after the accident – including consulting with a lawyer – you may not receive any compensation for your injuries.
Expert Negotiation for Your Case
Are you prepared if your litigation goes to court? Are you able to prove the other driver was at fault?
Do you know what your injuries are worth and what settlement option is best for you?
Chances are, your answers are no. But with a car accident lawyer by your side, you will not have to face these negotiations alone.
Do Not Wait: Contact a Lawyer After a Car Accident
If you live in South Florida, contact us at SteinLaw to discuss your case. We will help protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
What You Should Know About Getting into a Car Accident While Traveling
Most car accidents happen within a 10-mile radius of your home. However, up to one-quarter of car accidents occur far away from home while you are on vacation or traveling for work. Crashing your vehicle is stressful enough, but when you are involved in a car accident in unfamiliar circumstances, it can be even worse.
That is why it is so important to know what to do if you are involved in a car accident while traveling or on vacation. Read our tips for dealing with the aftermath of a car crash.
Follow the Usual Procedure
The procedure is generally the same across states:
- Check if you or anyone in the vehicle was harmed and seek medical assistance immediately, even if you think you received minor whiplash.
- Contact the local police.
- Try to move your car out of the way of traffic.
- Exchange contact information with the other driver and take photographs of the vehicles’ damages, license plates, and the scene of the accident for evidence.
- If you are driving a rented vehicle, you will need to contact the company to ask for any further instructions.
- Reach out to a personal injury attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
2. Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer
You should always consult a lawyer after you have been involved in a car accident – even if you do not think you need to. It is particularly important if you or the other party were injured. You need to cover yourself and ensure you are getting compensated for car damages, medical expenses for injuries, missed work, etc.
The lawyer will be able to advise you on the amount of compensation as part of a settlement.
3. Make Fresh Travel Arrangements
You may need to find new transportation. Get in touch with your rental company for a replacement vehicle, or, if you are driving your own vehicle, you can rent a replacement or wait until your vehicle is repaired.
You should not allow the car accident to ruin your vacation or travel plans. If you were not injured, nothing should stop you from having a fun and relaxing time while traveling. However, if you or others in your party have been injured, you may want to cut your vacation short so you can recover in the comfort of your home.
If you have been involved in a car crash while traveling or on vacation, get in touch with SteinLaw today for legal advice and support.
Car Accident Settlement Timeline: What To Expect in Court
If you have been injured in an auto accident, there is a long process ahead before you will receive your settlement. Here is an auto accident settlement timeline.
Consulting with Experts
First, contact an expert. It is important to compile as many details as you can from verified sources that will help prove your case. Various experts will likely have to be consulted regarding specific aspects of the accident, including any injuries that were sustained. These experts could include your doctor, accident reconstruction specialists, and mechanical or civil engineers.
Filing Your Claim
When you have been involved in an auto accident, you will need to file a claim. There will typically be an investigation conducted by the insurance adjuster, during which evidence regarding the accident will be looked at in order to determine exactly who was at fault.
Seeking a Pre-Lawsuit Settlement
The majority of auto accident claims are settled out of court. It will be up to your attorney to decide how to proceed based on the available evidence in the case. It is always preferable to reach a financial settlement and avoid a court date, and yet sometimes settlement terms cannot be agreed upon and a lawsuit will have to be filed.
Filing a Lawsuit
Unfortunately, when a settlement is not reached, your lawyer will have to file a lawsuit in an attempt to recover damages. This type of lawsuit is typically filed in Circuit Court in the county where the accident occurred.
Negotiating a Settlement
Once the lawsuit has been filed, it is now more likely that a settlement will be reached. After all, everyone involved would prefer to avoid court. The settlement will be negotiated between your lawyer and the insurance provider, which is why it is vital for you to hire an attorney with plenty of experience with these types of claims.
Going to Court
If a settlement is not reached, the case will have to go to trial. Both parties will have to appear and present their claims to the jury. The jury will then reach a verdict that will be read aloud by the judge.
Getting the Settlement You Deserve
If you have been in a car accident in Florida, the experienced auto accident injury lawyers at SteinLaw can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.