Car Accident Attorney in Winter Haven
In Winter Haven, every household has an average of two cars. There are a lot of cars on the road, and that makes you likely to be involved in an accident. No matter how safe you might drive, there’s a risk of another driver acting in an unexpected way and hitting you.
And an accident can impact your life in many ways. After a collision, you can sustain permanent injuries. Even minor injuries could affect your life for years to come. The cost of medical bills and missed workdays can take a toll on your bank account. Here at Abercrombie, P.A, we want to help you cope with the aftermath. We can work towards getting you compensation for the accident. A car accident attorney in Winter Haven can change your life for the better.
Read more below in order to get a better understanding of what to do during a car accident, the next steps that you should take, and how a personal injury attorney can help you. The following information is a high-level overview and is not intended to replace the initial consultation where we will be able to discuss your situation in particular. Contact us now to schedule your consultation, and get started on your case today.
HOW TO HANDLE A CAR ACCIDENT
Most individuals experience shock after a car accident. Although your injuries might be minor, the impact could leave you in a daze. Few people know what steps they need to take after an accident. Even fewer know how they can improve their chances of receiving compensation for the accident. While compensation is certainly not the first thing on your mind after experiencing the shock of a car crash, every step that you take will have a significant impact on the amount of money you will receive, your right to compensation, and more.
Instead of letting the consequences of your accident ruin your life, you can prepare yourself for life after the accident. By doing the following, you can improve your chances at a good outcome:
1. CALL THE POLICE TO THE SCENE
After a small accident, the other driver might try to convince you the police aren’t needed. However, don’t ever follow that advice. You need the police to create a police report. When they arrive at the accident scene, they will document evidence and collect testimony. Eventually, they will write up an official police report.
If you attempt to collect compensation for the accident, the report could help you. The police may confirm that the other driver was at fault, which is a requirement of a successful claim against the other driver.
During this process, it is absolutely essential that you do not make any statements to suggest that any of the blame lies with you. This includes apologizing to the other driver, which may seem like a small gesture, but can seriously impact your case later.
2. EXCHANGE CONTACT DETAILS AND OTHER INFORMATION
While waiting for the police, you should collect the other driver’s contact information. Take a picture of their license plate and write down their basic contact details. Additionally, take down the details of their insurance policy.
If there are any witnesses, you may want to also collect their contact details. Their testimony could help your case. When you’re talking to the other driver or witnesses, avoid discussing the accident. Again, apologizing could make it seem as if you are taking responsibility for the collision.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
In a way, this should be the first step you take after being in an accident. Assess yourself for damage. If you have immediate injuries, those injuries take precedence over anything else. You should also assess any passengers and other involved individuals for injuries.
If necessary, get immediate medical attention. Minor injuries also deserve medical attention, but you may not need emergency services for them. No matter how insignificant your injuries seem, you should visit a doctor. The severity of the injuries might not be apparent until days or weeks after the accident.
Some individuals hesitate to seek medical attention because of the cost. However, this is unnecessary. You may be able to receive money for all of your medical expenses. But to do so, you need documentation of your injuries. If you accept emergency treatment from the EMTs on the scene, then the documentation that will support your personal injury claims will begin at that moment.
4. TAKE PICTURES
If you don’t have serious injuries, document the scene of the accident. Use your phone to take pictures of the vehicle damage and the site of the accident. If there are street signs, be sure to take photos of them as well.
It may be very helpful to take a video of the scene and talk about any important details while you are filming the area. Immediately after an accident, it is likely that you are overwhelmed with adrenaline, there are lights flashing and people who need your attention, meaning that your memories may fade over time. Any additional evidence that you can gather will be helpful to your case.
5. REPORT YOUR ACCIDENT
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is trying to hide your accident from your insurance company. As soon as possible, notify them of the accident. If you fail to do so, they may deny your claim. The other driver may ask that you work with them without going to your insurance company and that they will pay for your property damage out of pocket. This is an easy way to make certain that you are not able to collect the damages that you truly deserve.
Although you need to report your accident, you don’t need to give a detailed statement. Insurance companies often ask for one, but you don’t need to provide it. It is best that you let the rest of the evidence tell the story, and when you are working with an attorney they will be able to speak directly to your insurance company on your behalf.
6. CALL A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY IN WINTER HAVEN
You might not be the reason for your accident. If another individual’s negligence caused your accident, you could be eligible for compensation. An attorney can discuss your options with you. If you have a case, they can assist you in the fight for compensation.
All too often, insurance companies offer less money than the victims deserve. But you don’t need to settle for less. A lawyer could be the key to you receiving a fair settlement. They can negotiate with the insurance company and work towards a better outcome.
CAR ACCIDENTS AND YOUR INSURANCE
It’s important to understand how car insurance works for accident victims. In Florida, all drivers must have Personal Injury Protection coverage. No matter who is responsible for an accident, your insurance could pay for your expenses.
However, it doesn’t cover all of your expenses. Typically, PIP covers 80% of your medical costs and 60% of missed wages. Therefore, you could be responsible for paying the rest of the expenses. If you have MedPay, that might pay the remaining medical costs. The same is true of your own medical expenses.
In some cases, that coverage isn’t enough. Fortunately, you have other options. If the other driver is at fault for the accident, their insurance should pay for your medical expenses. But that only happens if they have bodily injury liability coverage. According to state laws, drivers do not need to have bodily injury coverage.
Despite state laws, some motorists choose to drive without insurance. If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you don’t have much protection for accident-related expenses.
However, you could have uninsured motorist protection on your own insurance policy. In the event that you’re in a collision with an uninsured driver, your insurance might cover you. But you may need to work with a car accident attorney in Winter Haven to get the insurance company to pay for your expenses.
After your accident, your rates may or may not rise. The outcome depends on the circumstances of your accident. If you are at fault for the accident, your rates will likely increase. The insurer will view you as a greater risk, which impacts your premium. If you are only partially at fault, you still might see a hike in your rates.
On the other hand, you are unlikely to see your rates rise if you aren’t to blame for the accident. The amount of damages does not matter; the only detail that matters is the cause of the accident.
THE CHALLENGES THAT FACE CAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS
Car accident victims face a long list of challenges. First, they have their own injuries from which they must recover. They might need surgery, therapy, or rehabilitation. Some accidents result in permanent disabilities.
But a serious injury isn’t the only issue. After an accident, victims often have debt. The cost of medications, doctor’s visits, and treatment can add up. If you want to avoid debt, you may need to work with an attorney.
Finally, there’s the challenge of receiving a fair payout. You might need to fight to get the money you deserve. Usually, the insurance company makes a low offer that leaves you with unpaid bills.
You may need to fight to get a fair deal. This means showing evidence that the other driver was responsible for the accident and that your injuries were caused by the accident. If the company challenges your claim, you need to be ready to fight for justice.
A personal injury claim against the other driver could help you overcome the challenges faced by car accident victims. If the other driver was at fault, you could receive money for the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (in extreme situations, like drunk driving or gross negligence)
Your personal injury lawyer in Winter Haven could get you the money in one of two ways. First, they could resolve the lawsuit with a settlement. After meeting with the other party, they might be able to negotiate a fair settlement offer. If this is the case, you don’t need to go to court.
The other option is to have a trial. If this happens, the court decides whether or not you deserve compensation. They also determine the amount of compensation you will receive.
With the average income of a Winter Haven resident at $21,448, most residents aren’t ready for the financial impact of a car accident. The damages could leave them in a vicious cycle of debt. For that reason, it’s crucial that car accident victims seek money for damages.
HOW TO HANDLE AN INSURANCE COMPANY’S OFFER
After the insurance company has had time to review your case, they will make an offer for a settlement that includes the costs of your property damage as well as your personal injuries. It is important to realize that the true cost of your injuries will never be compensated with this offer. An insurance company seeks to minimize the amount of money that they issue for any given accident and will work to find all of the ways to convince you to accept this amount and waive your rights to any future legal action.
When you receive this initial offer, your personal injury attorney will be able to step in and begin a series of negotiations with the insurance agent. During this process, they will fight to get more money for your injuries while avoiding the need for a costly lawsuit. If negotiations fail, you will then begin to prepare for a full personal injury lawsuit. If you are able to reach an agreement, then you will be able to accept an out of court settlement and move forward with your life.
THE NEED FOR A CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN WINTER HAVEN
In one 2018 Winter Haven car accident, a vehicle caught fire and there were three fatalities. Whether a car accident results in a fatality or an injury, the victim deserves justice. Safe driving could prevent many of the accidents. Regardless of whether or not the accident could have been avoided, we will work to make sure that you have the best chance of getting the financial support that you truly need in order to move forward with your life free of economic struggles as a result of your crash.
Here at Abercrombie, P.A, we have been handling car accident cases for years. Our firm understands what it takes to get results, and we strive for success. Contact us today for more information, and to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced professional. This is a great opportunity to learn about your rights as a victim, and how we can help you get the attention and compensation that you need and deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accident Law in Winter Haven
The following are just a few of the common questions that we are happy to answer during your free initial consultation. We understand that this is likely a very stressful time in your life, which is why we are happy to help you get the money that you are rightfully entitled to while handling much of your legal stress. The following answers to these questions will vary depending on many of the specifics of your case, but these are intended to give you a general idea of what you can expect as one of our valued clients.
In order to get specific answers about your questions, contact us to schedule your free initial consultation as soon as possible.
After you have been involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you have the right to recover compensation for both your property damage as well as any personal injuries that you may sustain. In addition, you have the right to request monies for any other financial impact that this accident and your injuries have on your life, either through a settlement or a damage award at the end of a trial.
Immediately after an accident, your first instincts may be to apologize whether or not you were at fault and try not to “make a big deal” out of the situation. This could include working directly with the insurance company, who will attempt to get you to sign a waiver in exchange for a quick settlement. NEVER accept this offer or sign anything without first consulting with an experienced and trusted personal injury attorney, who can help you make sense of your rights and options before making any decisions.
In order to determine who is actually liable for an accident, there are many different details that will need to be accounted for. Were there any citations issued at the scene of the accident, to you or the other driver? Was the other driver arrested for anything specifically related to the accident, such as for drunk driving? Were there eyewitnesses that can verify or corroborate your claim that the other driver was engaging in reckless or negligent behavior?
These are just a few of the questions that we will need to answer early into our work together, and build ample evidence to support this claim. Florida, like many states, uses a rule known as “comparative fault,” which considers the possibility that there can be more than one party who contributed some degree of fault to the crash. If you are found to be less than 51% responsible, you may still collect damages, although the damages will be reduced by the amount that you are at fault. This is one reason why it is so important to gather as much compelling evidence as possible to support your claims.
Ideally when you are in an accident that someone else caused, their insurance company will be able to compensate you through the other driver’s policy. Unfortunately, Florida has the highest percentage of uninsured motorists, at a stunning 26.7% according to the Insurance Information Institute in a 2015 study. In this instance, you will need to work with your own insurance company through your underinsured/uninsured coverage. However, Florida does not require that all drivers carry this type of coverage, unlike other states.
In order to decide who we will need to pursue in order to get you the money that you deserve, and the amount that you deserve, we will need to consider a variety of options that are unique to your situation. The sooner you begin working with a personal injury attorney in Winter Haven, the more time we will have to develop a clear and aggressive strategy.
Florida has a 4-year Statute of Limitations for all personal injury cases, which is addressed in Florida Statute 95.11(3)(a). If this statute expires, you will be unable to file any actions against the defendant or their insurance company, with the exception of very specific instances where you will need to request special consideration.
Although four years may seem like a long time, this time will be best spent negotiating with insurance companies. If you begin working directly with the insurance company near the time limit, they have less motivation to agree to a settlement, since you will be forced to either file a lawsuit or drop the case after the time limit has expired. It is best to start working immediately so that you can get your money soon as put this stressful period of your life in the past.
If you are at fault for a car accident, then anyone who has been injured as a result of your actions is able to sue you for compensation. However, you will not be subject to a lawsuit if you were not at fault for an accident, although someone may still attempt to sue you. This is just one reason, out of many, that hiring an attorney as soon as possible after your crash is one of the most important steps that you can take.
Frivolous lawsuits can be dismissed or thrown out of court, but when you are focusing on recovering from your own injuries and are being threatened by legal action, this stress can be detrimental to your health. Whether or not you are responsible for the accident, hire an attorney to manage this process and work towards an ideal resolution.