Car Accident Attorney in The Villages3990 E SR 44, Suite 204
Wildwood, FL 34785
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- Protecting Families Since 1988
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The Villages Car Accidents
The Villages is one of the largest 55+ communities in the nation and continues to grow. While most retirement-age drivers tend to be very responsible, sometimes accidents happen. Even so, Florida, in general, is one of the most dangerous states to drive and leads the country in accidents involving alcohol.
Florida observes no-fault insurance laws to make recovering compensation for medical expenses easier and seamless. Except when injuries are substantial, these laws make getting compensation for injuries more complex, often requiring the help of a lawyer to sort it out. If you've recently been in an accident, The Villages car accident lawyers at Morgan and Morgan can provide valuable assistance.
While Morgan and Morgan Law Firm has a nationwide presence, our roots are in Florida, beginning more than 30 years ago. We understand how much of an impact a serious car accident can have, and our goal is to ease the burden of pursuing financial compensation so you can recover in peace. Let's take a look at some situations where it would make sense to hire legal help.
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Morgan & Morgan
When Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Suppose your injuries are severe or permanent in nature. In that case, you may have cause to get out of the no-fault Florida insurance system. Relatively minor injuries should be taken care of through your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance which is required for every vehicle owner. This provides funds for medical expenses and lost wages up to the policy limits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. It doesn't make much sense to pay for legal help when the system is straightforward, except if your own insurer is giving you a hard time about the claim.
It's not unheard of for insurance companies to deny valid claims or make the claims process overly demanding. Often, this is because they hope you'll throw your hands up because the hassle is too much. However, they are required by law to provide you with an explanation for denying a claim. It may be something as simple as forgetting to include pertinent information. Review any claim denial to see if it can't be easily remedied with additional information. Likewise, they aren't allowed to make the process overly demanding or to draw it out unreasonably. If you're experiencing something like this, often a phone call from a Morgan and Morgan attorney can get them to straighten up.
If you sustained serious or permanent injuries, we strongly recommend having legal representation. Our free case evaluation is the first step. If we take on your case, you will only owe us something if we win compensation for you in court or have a settlement concluded favorably. When the stakes are high for you, the stakes are high for the other party's insurance company, so you can be assured they'll do everything they can to minimize your payout. Of course, they'll have their own lawyers representing their interests, so you should do the same.
Florida recognizes a threshold for injuries that warrant further civil action, which is outlined in statute 627.737. Suppose you meet any of these bodily injury statuses. In that case, you can also sue for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and other inconveniences that are not allowable under PIP insurance. Here are the requirements:
- You've suffered significant and permanent loss of an important function of your body
- You've sustained a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical expectation besides disfigurement or scarring
- You've sustained substantial and permanent disfigurement or scarring
- A person has died because of the accident
While these thresholds sound extreme, even something like a severe fracture can make it impossible to perform activities you once enjoyed if permanent damage took place. While PIP insurance may cover you a little, medical costs can quickly skyrocket, especially if surgery and long-term care are required. This is particularly true for older adults. Our bodies just don't heal the same way as when we were young. That's why it's essential to consider how long it will take to recover and if there will be any future healthcare costs concerning your accident.
In situations like this, it may make sense to wait until you and your doctor have a better grasp on the extent of your injuries before settling an insurance claim. Ongoing medical expenses can rack up, and if you take an insurance settlement early on, these costs may not be factored in, leaving you responsible for the payment. When you have the expertise of The Villages car accident lawyers on your side, you'll understand the complete picture of what you should ask for in damages.
Is Fault for the Accident in Question?
Since Florida is a no-fault state, hiring a lawyer won't likely help a great deal if your injuries are minor. If your PIP coverage isn't enough, you might look to your healthcare insurance or government programs like Medicare and Medicaid to help with any overage. If your injuries are serious, like those described previously, fault does matter. You can still be partially at fault for the accident and pursue legal action against the other party. Still, suppose the accident is found to be primarily or 100% your responsibility. In that case, you may be better served looking for medical expense assistance through other routes.
Still, since Florida observes pure comparative fault doctrine, you're allowed to collect even if the other party is 1% at fault. It just may not make sense to have a lawyer share in that 1% recovery. However, if the fault is in question, we can counter the defense argument with arguments of our own. It all comes down to the facts of your case and the evidence. Even when the police report favors the other party, we may be able to uncover some evidence that was overlooked or minimized.
The chances of getting compensation often lie in the art of negotiating, whether in meetings with the other party or in the courtroom. That is an area where Morgan and Morgan excels. If we come to a stalemate with the other party's insurance company, and we feel confident we could swing a jury in your favor, that's just what we'll do. Many notable cases we've won result in our client getting substantially more than what was offered pretrial.
What Are the Other Party's Policy Limits?
When it comes to making a third-party claim against another driver's insurer, the kind of coverage they carry makes a difference. Carrying bodily injury liability insurance is not a requirement according to Florida law since everyone is supposed to have PIP insurance in case of injury from an accident. However, Florida drivers are supposed to have coverage of $10,000 per person and up to $20,000 in insurance for an accident they cause under Florida's Financial Responsibility Law.
If the other party carries sufficient coverage, then a claim could turn out favorable. Another aspect to consider is if the other party has sufficient assets to go after in a lawsuit. Sadly though, if a person carries the minimum insurance, this may indicate they don't have sizable assets worth protecting. Still, we always do our due diligence in researching the possibility of recovering meaningful compensation for our clients. Another option is to look to your own insurance if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Even so, you may struggle with your insurance company because it's still your burden to prove fault and provide evidence of your injuries. We may be able to help.
What Can The Villages Car Accident Lawyers Do for Me?
Car accident lawyers do a number of things for their clients by taking control of the complicated and lengthy process to help them secure compensation. Here is a general outline of what we can do to assist you:
- Offer you a free case evaluation to determine the likelihood of success.
- Collect all pertinent evidence concerning your case, such as police reports, relevant medical records, witness statements, eyewitness documentation, and vehicle damage reports.
- Manage all communications with other parties on your behalf.
- Establish liability using investigative techniques.
- Determine your damages.
- Negotiate settlement offers.
- Represent your interests in court if necessary.
It's important to state here that this is your legal matter, and you remain in control of it as you see fit. We're here to advise and represent you, but you always call the shots. We can be as involved as you wish, as we understand your health and recovery are likely your number one priority.
How Is Fault Established in a Florida Car Accident?
Although Florida is a no-fault state, when it comes to serious injuries that allow victims to step outside the no-fault system, fault becomes an essential factor in determining how much you can expect in compensation. Here are some common forms of evidence that we may use to establish the other party bears the burden of paying for your damages:
Physical evidence - We may inspect both vehicles involved in the collision for evidence of paint transfer, as well as examine skid marks left at the scene and damage to surrounding fixed objects that may point to who is responsible. This type of investigation is usually done by expert crash investigators we hire.
Witness testimony - Typically, witnesses can provide crucial insight into what took place directly before the accident, such as if drivers were distracted by using their cell phone or other technology, if they were doing illegal maneuvers, or if the other driver was apologetic after the crash, indicating they understood they were in the wrong.
Photos and video - In some instances, there may be video evidence of the accident occurring that was captured by nearby surveillance cameras or even dash cameras. Likewise, eyewitnesses may have taken video or pictures of the wreck directly afterward, which can help prove the other party's responsibility for the collision.
Police report - When officers respond to the scene of an accident, they perform their own investigation, collect evidence such as photos, and witness information, and may create a diagram. Suppose they find evidence of a traffic violation. In that case, citations will be issued, which can help significantly if the fault is in question. All of this information is typically found in the police report.
Accident reconstruction - If an accident is complex or the fault is undetermined, sometimes an accident reconstructionist can show how it played out with technical renderings. We have access to a network of highly respected accident reconstructionists that we may use in your claim. Presenting strong evidence is critical to ensure you win the maximum compensation possible. When you supply substantial proof, it makes negotiating much more manageable and allows a jury to understand the whole picture.
Contact Morgan and Morgan
We understand that you may have misgivings about hiring an attorney for many reasons, one of them being the costs. However, you should remember that our fees are only payable if we win. This is known as a contingency fee. We agree to collect payment for services only after we've successfully concluded your matter. Working with an attorney increases your chances of success and the amount you recover in the majority of instances.
We also know you have lots of choices when it comes to legal representation. However, when you’re considering something as important as your ability to pay for medical expenses and get the best treatment possible, the caliber of the law firm you work with matters. Working with a law firm with resources, support staff, and experience pays dividends. While we've grown to be one of the biggest law firms in the country, we're still family-owned and treat clients the way we like to be treated, with integrity and respect.
The Villages car accident lawyers at Morgan and Morgan are ready to provide you with the valuable insight you need to recover compensation. Contact us today for a free and confidential case evaluation.