Florida has long been known as one of the most dangerous states in America for drivers. The state is home to some of the most dangerous freeways in America and, with more than 16 million drivers, is prone to be the center of collisions. Winter Haven, although distant from the congested roads of Orlando, Jacksonville, and other populous cities, plays host to its share of accidents. Polk County saw over 4,000 vehicular crashes and 30 fatalities in this year alone. Drivers oftentimes are unable to bear the heavy expenses they have to pay in order to move on from an accident. Whether it’s medical bills, lost wages, or paying for property damage, the burdens can amount to tens of thousands of dollars.
While Florida Law requires that drivers have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP insurance, PIP often caps medical expenses at $2,500 – unless the owner of the insurance has an “Emergency Medical Condition,” which only counts medical conditions that require immediate treatment or those that can cause the victim to die. In the majority of cases, a victim may not suffer such a condition, but instead face chronic injuries or emotional and mental health trauma. That’s where an experienced car accident attorney can help.
If you have been the victim of a car accident, our attorneys may be able to help you file a lawsuit to procure compensation for your injuries. Contact Morgan & Morgan to sign up for a free case review with our Winter Haven office.
Proving Liability in a Car Accident
One of the most difficult parts of proving your case in a car accident lawsuit is collecting evidence that vouches for the fact that the accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. Florida law mandates comparative negligence, which means that the extent to which you were responsible for the accident negates how much you can receive through a negligence lawsuit. For example, if you were faced with $400,000 worth of damages after a car accident and it was found that you were 50 percent responsible for the accident, then by the comparative law you would only receive $200,000.
Therefore, the first hurdle you must pass in the process of making a claim is collecting sound evidence that proves that you were not at fault, or not completely responsible, for the accident that resulted in your pain and suffering. An experienced car accident attorney can help you uncover the facts of the incidents through a preliminary investigation. He or she will perform tasks such as:
- Interview witnesses of the accident and the medical staff that tended to your injuries.
- Collect and analyze police reports, including the other party’s past offenses, DUI reports, breathalyzer reports and so on, to find what information the officials have noted about either party in the incident.
- Gather photo and video evidence from witnesses, traffic cameras etc.
- Work alongside medical experts to determine how your injuries were caused.
- Consult with forensic experts to recreate the crash and understand details that may have led to the incident.
After your attorney has gathered enough information, he or she can proceed to the next step of preparing the documents required to officially negotiate with your insurance company at hand, or take the next step towards filing a lawsuit.
Dealing With Auto Insurance Companies
Sometimes, it can be hard to recover the money you are qualified to receive under PIP insurance. Many victims are denied compensation through their insurance because they didn’t send the right paperwork or overstated their injuries. A legal professional can help you through the process so that you have the best chances of procuring good compensation without violating policy terms. He or she can also directly negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Generally, if you accept money through PIP insurance, you may not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. That is, unless, some conditions are met. If you endured grave, long-lasting injuries and require more compensation than your PIP insurance can provide, your attorney can look at the details of your case and pursue litigation against the other parties in the incident.
Compensation in a Car Accident Lawsuit
If you file a successful lawsuit, you could recover compensation to face any financial setbacks you suffered from the incident. The compensation you can recover in a lawsuit is directly dependant on how many injuries you sustained or how grave your injuries were. It also depends on how much you were at fault for in the accident. In a negligence lawsuit, a victim can sue to gain compensation for two kinds of damages: economic damages and noneconomic damages. Damages that can be calculated in terms of money are considered economic damages.
- Economic Damage: For example, medical bills, property damage, and lost wages can be considered economic damages in a negligence lawsuit.
- Noneconomic Damages: Noneconomic damages cannot be accurately measured in monetary terms, even if the effects of the damages are significant and long-term. Some examples of non-economic damages include mental anguish, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
- Punitive Damages: In rare cases, the jury may also award the victim punitive damages. Punitive damages are large sums of money awarded to victims of negligence in order to show that the acts that injured them were unacceptable and that other drivers should exercise more caution on the road.
If you were gravely injured in an accident that you suspect wasn’t your fault, Morgan & Morgan’s Winter Haven car accident attorneys may be able to provide you with the dedicated assistance you need at this time. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you only have to pay your attorney if he or she procures a favorable settlement or award. Get started today by filling out our free, online case review form.