After a car accident, aside from your health and safety, preserving your right to compensation is of the highest importance. To do so, you need a skilled car accident attorney by your side to help you every step of the way. If you’ve been injured in an accident, our Clearwater rear-end collision lawyer is ready to help. Call or contact our firm online today for a free consultation.
Most personal injury cases settle out of court. Some people assume that rear-end accidents are easy cases to settle, especially in no-fault states like Florida. This is simply not true. The average person is at a disadvantage when dealing with insurance companies. Insurance companies are a business. And businesses exist to make money. No insurance company wants to pay out big claims because the more they pay you, the less money the company makes. Therefore, adjusters and insurance attorneys are skilled at convincing unsuspecting accident victims to accept lowball offers. These offers are bad for the victim but great for the company’s bottom line. You need to fight fire with fire—which means you need an experienced and aggressive Clearwater rear-end collision attorney on your side. A good attorney always puts your best interests first and gives you the best chance to get the full compensation for your injuries.
The legal system can be quite intimidating for people without the appropriate experience. Injuries from rear-end accidents, in particular, can be hard to prove because they are not always obvious. Rear-end incidents commonly involve injuries to the spine and brain, including concussions and other traumatic brain injuries, whiplash, and herniated discs. Although these injuries may not reveal themselves immediately, they can have long-lasting and debilitating effects on a person’s life. A rear-end accident attorney in Clearwater gathers all necessary evidence—including medical records, other documentation, and expert testimony—to prove your injuries and recover just compensation for you and your family. And if the insurance company unreasonably refuses to settle, a skilled attorney is ready and able to aggressively represent your interests at trial.
Every state has its own laws on how courts and insurance companies must handle car accident claims. Florida is no different. Your Clearwater rear-end collision lawyer can explain all of these issues in greater detail and craft a legal strategy to deal with them tailored to your specific circumstances.
Florida is a No-Fault State
Florida drivers are required by law to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance of at least $10,000. Every driver must go through their PIP policy first for compensation after an accident—no matter who was at fault. Florida PIP policies can be used for medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits. However, you may not be able to recover the full amount. For example, Florida PIP policies only cover 80% of medical costs, and 60% of lost wages, up to a maximum of $10,000.
Florida Law Presumes the Rear Driver is to Blame
Florida law places a rebuttable presumption of negligence on rear drivers in rear-end accidents. This means that the front driver does not have to work very hard to prove that the rear driver was negligent. The presumption is that the rear driver was negligent when they hit the car in front of them because they were following too closely or not paying attention. The rear driver can rebut this presumption by showing that they acted with reasonable care, that there is some reasonable explanation for the accident, or that the front driver acted with negligence.
Contributory Negligence in Florida Personal Injury Law
Florida’s contributory negligence rule means that drivers can recover compensation for accident damages even if they were partially to blame. Every party involved in the case is assigned a percentage of fault based on the circumstances. The court reduces everyone’s awards by their percentage of fault. So if someone had a $100,000 claim, but they were 40% at fault, their award would be $60,000.
It is common to feel overwhelmed and confused after a collision. However, it is important to keep in mind that what you do immediately after an accident can have a great impact on your future injury claim.
Your safety and the safety of all others involved are the first priority. The first thing to do after an accident is to call 911 and request police and medical aid.
Begin Gathering Evidence
As soon as possible after the accident, begin collecting evidence.
This can include:
Any evidence collected at the scene can prove to be useful. Additionally, more evidence, including medical bills, medical records, and police reports, can be used to strengthen your Clearwater car accident injury case.
Get Medical Care
If you choose not to receive medical care at the scene, it is imperative you seek medical attention sometime after the accident. Whether it be a visit to an emergency room or your primary care physician, allowing a doctor to examine you can provide answers regarding injuries you sustained.
It is also extremely important to follow any instructions or recommendations provided by your treating physician. Every doctor visit will be well documented, and your medical records can be valuable to your claim.
Report Your Clearwater Car Accident
Report the accident to your insurer as soon as you can. The insurance company will ask for specific details about your Clearwater accident and assign an insurance adjuster to your claims. Insurance adjusters play an important role, as they are in charge of your claim from beginning to end.
It is also important to note that after the other driver reports the accident to their insurance company, that company may try to contact you. Do not give them any information without first discussing it with a Clearwater auto accident lawyer, as this can prove harmful to your claim.
Consult with a Clearwater Rear-End Collision Lawyer
One of the most important steps you can take after a car accident is to consult with a Clearwater auto accident lawyer. Your lawyer should ask all the right questions, give you peace of mind, and preserve your right to compensation after an accident.
After sustaining injuries in a collision, you will expect compensation. Damages serve to provide financial relief and are directly related to the accident. Most damages are either economic or non-economic in nature.
Economic damages essentially reimburse a person for the monetary losses they’ve suffered or will suffer due to the accident.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are slightly more difficult to calculate. These damages are typically associated with the physical and mental distress a person suffers after an accident.
Non-economic damages can include:
Damages are challenging to calculate, but your car accident attorney in Clearwater will review the details of your case to calculate the appropriate amount of compensation.
After an accident, you may be interested in filing a claim. However, there is a strict time limit imposed on the time a victim has to file their lawsuit.
These time limits are called statutes of limitations.
The statute of limitations for most personal injury claims in Florida is four years from the date of the accident.
While you are still able to file your claim after the four-year time period has expired, you are unlikely to succeed. It is best to have the help of a Clearwater auto accident attorney to ensure your lawsuit is filed promptly and you avoid forfeiting your right to financial recovery.
Immediately after an accident takes place, it is best to contact a Clearwater accident lawyer; it helps to avoid getting your right declined by insurance companies and facing legal pitfalls. Wendy Doyle-Palumbo is here to help you today.