25 Car Accident FAQs for Florida Car Accident Victims

 

A car accident can leave you confused. You might not think about what you should do after a car accident in Florida until it happens to you. There are things that you can do to protect yourself and your rights under Florida law. You may need to work with a Tampa car accident attorney to protect your right to recover compensation. Here are 10 car accident FAQs for Florida accident victims.

1. What should I do right after a car accident?

There are important things to do right after a car accident occurs. Immediately after a car accident, you should do all of the following:

Call emergency services if anyone is even possibly injured
Call the police in almost all cases
Take photos of the accident scene
Exchange insurance, license and contact information with the other driver
Get contact information for witnesses
Ask witnesses what they saw
Write down what you remember about the crash as soon as you can

2. What should I say on the scene of a car accident?

It’s important not to admit fault on the scene of a car accident. You shouldn’t apologize even if you’re only trying to express sympathy. It’s best to say very little to preserve your legal rights, other than exchanging contact information.

3. Should I go to a doctor if I’m in a car accident?

Florida has strict laws about physical injuries after a car accident. Florida law 627.736 says that you have 14 days to see a doctor after a car accident if you want to claim no-fault insurance benefits for physical injuries. Even if you don’t think you have physical injuries, it’s important to see a doctor.

You may have injuries that you don’t realize. You might also have injuries that don’t show right away. When you see a doctor right away, you preserve your right to compensation for your physical injuries. Also, it’s essential to document the types of injuries you have as soon as possible.

4. How do I know if I have a legal claim after a car accident?

In most cases, Florida no-fault law says that each side covers their own losses after a minor car accident. But when your injuries are serious or permanent, you can bring a legal claim for the person responsible for your injuries.

If someone else’s behavior led to your accident, you might be able to bring a lawsuit for a full range of damages from the crash. The standard is typically whether you have an injury that’s serious like a broken bone or a permanent injury like irreversible nerve damage or scarring.

5. What can I collect if I’m hurt in a car accident?

If you have injuries that qualify for a legal claim, there are many categories of damages that you might be eligible for. Your medical bills are one category, and medical bills include things like physical therapy, safety aids, and mobility devices.

You can also ask for compensation for lost work, the cost of help with chores around the home, your physical suffering, and your emotional pain. Your car accident attorney can help you make sure that you don’t leave anything out.

6. Are there things that I can do to build my case for recovery when I’m hurt in a car accident?

When you’re in a car accident, you can feel helpless. But there are things that you can do to build your claim. You can write down everything that you remember about the accident. You can ask witnesses to do the same, and you can ask to interview them. It’s also important to seek medical treatment, go to follow-up appointments, and follow your medical care plan.

Your accident lawyer can help you take advantage of legal procedures that you can use to ask for evidence in a more formal way. You can ask for records from the other party. You can even ask witnesses to produce records or sit for a deposition to talk about what they observed. All of these things can give you the assurances that you’re taking steps to protect your rights and build your claim.

7. When I’m in a car accident, can I keep driving my car?

You might need to keep driving your car while you wait for your accident claim to resolve. It’s okay to keep driving your car, but you should have an expert perform a car inspection first.

The condition of your car right after the crash might be a significant issue in the case. Having an expert look at your vehicle can give you a third-party that’s ready to testify on your behalf if there are disagreements about your damages or how they occurred.

8. Will my car accident case go to trial?

Most car accident cases don’t go to trial. The vast majority of cases don’t end up going to trial. Building your case can narrow the issues and make it clear to everyone what happened. You may even use a trained mediator to discuss how you can settle the case without needing a formal trial. Your attorney can help you negotiate your case with the other party.

9. How long do I have after a car accident to bring my case?

You have only a short period of time to bring your case after a car accident. The name for the time limit is the statute of limitations. The Florida statute of limitations for negligence cases is four years.

The time limit is strict, and it can be unforgiving. It’s essential to begin working on your case far in advance of the time limitations. Working on your case as soon as possible allows you to preserve crucial evidence and make sure that you meet important deadlines.

10. How can a car accident lawyer help?

Your car accident lawyer can help you make sure you that you do the right things after you’re in a car accident. Whether it’s one day after your accident or many days, there are things that you can do right now to protect your rights and make sure that you handle your case in the best possible way.

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys we have the expertise to answer all of your car accident questions. We have handled hundreds of car accident cases and can offer the help you need for a successful accident case.

11. Do I have the right to a public attorney if I’m hurt in a car accident in Florida?

No, you don’t have the right to a public attorney if you’re hurt in a car accident in Florida. Instead, you must hire your own attorney. A car accident case is a civil case. Although the at-fault driver may face criminal charges after a car accident, criminal charges are handled completely separately from the civil case. In a civil case, neither party receives an attorney at taxpayer expense. Instead, each party must select and hire their own lawyer.

Even though you must hire your own attorney, don’t despair! Our Tampa car accident attorneys can represent you with no costs up front and no fee unless you win. We make legal representation affordable for everyone. Let us show you how you can have the services of our aggressive, professional Tampa car accident lawyers with no upfront cost.

12. What is the value of my car accident case in Florida?

Each car accident case is different. The value of your car accident case is the sum total of your financial losses and the value of your pain and suffering. Your financial losses include current and future damages.

13. Do I have to call the police after a car accident in Florida?

Florida law 316.066 gives you ten days to report a car accident, but most people call from the scene of the accident. When you call right away, a law enforcement professional may respond to the scene and take steps that ultimately help you gather important evidence. You must make a report if anyone suffers even slight injuries, if there’s apparent property damage of $500 or more or if one of your vehicles gets towed.

14. Can I bring a car accident claim if the other driver was a drunk driver?

Yes, you can bring a car accident claim if the other driver was a drunk driver. To win your case, you must show that the other driver was negligent or that they didn’t drive with appropriate care and caution. When drunk driving leads to an accident, it’s strong proof of the driver’s negligence.

15. How do I begin a Florida car accident claim?

While you may be able to negotiate a fair settlement directly from the insurance company, in most cases, you must file a summons and complaint in a Florida court to begin a Florida car accident claim. You draft documents that state the legal grounds for the case. There are technical requirements to begin like case captions that clearly identify the parties. Your attorney can help you ensure that you comply with all of the requirements when you start your claim.

16. What happens if the other party says that I was at fault for the accident?

Even if both parties took actions that contributed to the accident, you might still receive some compensation. Florida uses a system of comparative negligence. However, don’t assume that your actions contributed to the accident just because the other party claims it. The other side wants to make you doubt your case. Your attorney can help you understand if comparative negligence might be a factor in your case. They can give you an informed, unbiased opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

17. How long does a car accident claim take?

Each car accident case operates on its own time frame. You may be able to resolve your case in as a little as a few weeks. In other cases, your case may take a year or more to resolve. It depends on the value of your case, its complexity and the choices that you make as your case proceeds. Your attorney can help you strike the right balance to maximize your compensation while resolving your case as expeditiously as possible.

18. What is pain and suffering in a Florida car accident?

Pain and suffering in a Florida car accident is financial compensation for the intangible losses that occur in a car accident. While your financial losses are easy to see and total, you also have damages that you can’t see like emotional pain and mental anguish. Pain and suffering is the dollar value that the law places on these types of losses.

19. What can I claim in pain and suffering in my Florida car accident case?

The more severe or permanent your injuries are, the more you claim in pain and suffering compensation. For minor injuries, your pain and suffering may be equal to or even slightly less than your financial damages. In cases of severe injuries that limit your daily activities significantly or for an extended period, you may claim pain and suffering damages as high as five times your financial damages. Your attorney can help you determine the value of your pain and suffering damages.

20. If I pursue a legal claim, will I have to speak in court?

If our Tampa car accident attorneys represent you, we speak on your behalf at all court appearances. Unlike what you see on tv, most of the work in a car accident claim takes place outside of the courtroom. While only a small number of cases go to trial, if your case goes to trial, we ensure that you know what to expect so that you can testify with confidence.

21. Where do I file my legal claim?

It’s most common to file your car accident legal claim where the accident occurs. You may also file your claim where you live, where the other party lives, at the location of the insurance company’s headquarters or even in the place where the car manufacturer does business. Our attorneys can help you determine where to file your claim.

22. Why do most car accident claims settle before trial?

Most car accident claims settle before trial because the parties are able to reach an agreement about the approximate value of the case. Florida law allows both parties to gather evidence through a formal process called discovery. All of the cards are laid out on the table, so to speak. When the other side sees that you have a strong case, they’re often willing to pay you a fair amount before trial.

23. What is hearsay in a Florida car accident case?

Hearsay is something a person says out of court that one of the parties wants to admit for the truth of what the person says. For example, if Eduardo says, “Miguel ran a red light,” to a friend four weeks after the accident, it might be hearsay if a party tries to admit Eduardo’s statement to prove that Miguel ran the red light. Not all comments outside of a courtroom are hearsay. In fact, there are many exceptions to hearsay rules that apply in Florida car accident cases like present sense impression and excited utterance. Your attorney can help you take full advantage of the Florida Rules of Evidence.

24. What makes an attorney a good Florida car accident attorney?

A good Florida car accident attorney specializes in personal injury accidents. They have experience representing victims in the courtroom. They also have the drive and determination to pursue justice relentlessly. In addition, a good Florida car accident attorney listens to their clients and communications with clients in terms that are understandable, clear and honest.

25. Will an attorney take my car accident case if it isn’t worth a million dollars?

The attorneys at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys are happy to represent you whether your case is large or small. To our legal team, it’s important that every car accident victim has the representation that they deserve. Most car accident cases are worth far less than a million dollars. What matters to us is that you receive the compensation that meets your needs and gives you justice under Florida law.

If you have questions about your car accident case, contact us at (813) 333-6666 or fill out our contact form to schedule your free case evaluation. There is no fee unless we win.

About the Author

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

For more than 36 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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