Car Accident FAQs: Get Answers From Our Abogados de Accidentes en Fort Lauderdale
After a car accident, knowing your rights will help you make smart decisions, and knowing the steps to take will help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your financial recovery. If you have been injured in a car accident anywhere in Palm Beach, Martin, and Broward counties, as well as other parts of South Florida, these answers to frequently-asked questions from our abogados de accidentes en Fort Lauderdale will help you learn more about your claim.
FAQs: Understanding Your Right to Financial Compensation
Q: How do I know if I have a claim for financial compensation?
In Florida, all car accidents are subject to the state’s “no-fault” insurance law. If you have personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as required by law, you are entitled to coverage for your medical expenses and a portion of your lost income regardless of fault in the accident. If you were severely injured and another driver was at fault in the accident, you may have a claim against the other driver’s insurance as well.
Q: Are there steps I need to take to protect my rights?
Yes. After a car accident, the single most important thing you can do is to see a doctor promptly. If you have been injured, you need to obtain a diagnosis, as your medical records will be important evidence of your right to a financial recovery. Learn more about what to do after a car accident in Florida.
Q: Can I contact an attorney if I don’t know whether I have a claim?
Yes, absolutely. When you contact us, we do not expect you to know your rights. If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida, you owe it to yourself to speak with an attorney. Traumatic injuries from car accidents can have serious and long-term consequences, and you need to make informed decisions based on competent legal advice.
Q: How long do I have to seek financial compensation for a car accident in Florida?
Under Florida law, you have four years from the date of the accident to seek financial compensation. This is known as the “statute of limitations.” However, in order to ensure that we have the evidence necessary to prove your claim, it is important that you contact our offices as soon as possible.
Q: How soon can I expect to receive an insurance settlement?
It depends. Some accident victims who have suffered only minor injuries can secure PIP coverage fairly quickly. In other cases, where the insurance companies dispute liability for a serious injury, it can take months to negotiate a fair settlement and it may even be necessary to go to trial. When you contact us for your free initial consultation, we will provide an honest assessment of what you can expect from your case.
FAQs: Florida Car Accident Statistics
Q: How common are car accidents?
Each year, there are hundreds of thousands of car accidents in Florida, and millions of crashes across the United States. According to insurance industry statistics, the average driver will be involved in three or four accidents during his or her lifetime.
Q: How often does distracted driving play a role in car accidents?
Distracted driving has become a leading cause of car accidents in recent years. Crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation show that there are hundreds of thousands of distracted driving-related accidents every year.
Q: What are the most-common causes of car accidents?
Along with distracted driving, other leading causes of car accidents include:
- Alcohol and drug impairment
- Driver fatigue
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Road and vehicle defects
- Other forms of aggressive and reckless driving
Q: How effective are seat belts in preventing serious injuries from car accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Seat belts are the single most effective safety technology in the history of the automobile.” NHTSA data indicate that seat belts save tens of thousands of lives every year.
Q: What percentage of car accidents result in serious or fatal injuries?
In Florida, about 40 percent of all car accidents result in injuries, with about a third of all accidents resulting in injuries to multiple passengers. Annually, about seven percent of auto accidents in Florida result in fatalities.
FAQs: Dealing With the Insurance Companies
Q: Do I need to contact my insurance company if the other driver was at fault?
Yes, even if you believe that another driver was at fault in your accident, it is important that you report the accident to your insurance company promptly. Most auto insurance policies require policyholders to report all accidents involving their vehicles; and, in order to secure PIP coverage, you will need to file a claim with your insurer.
Q: What if I didn’t get the other driver’s insurance information?
If you didn’t get the other driver’s insurance information from an accident that occurred anywhere in the Palm Beach, Martin, or Broward county area, as well as other parts of South Florida, that is okay. At a minimum, you can still file for PIP, and our abogados de accidentes en Fort Lauderdale may be able to identify the other driver through a variety of different sources. You should write down as many details as you can about the vehicle that hit you, and you should get started with your case right away. If you were involved in a hit-and-run, you may be able to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) claim.
Q: My insurance adjuster is encouraging me to accept a settlement. Should I?
No, not until you speak with an attorney. Unfortunately, your insurance adjuster does not have your best interests in mind, and you may be entitled to far more than your insurance company is offering.
Q: My insurance adjuster is telling me I can only file a claim for PIP. Is this true?
Not necessarily. While many car accident victims will be limited to filing claims for PIP, if you have suffered a serious injury, you may be entitled to additional compensation under the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage or your own UIM policy. If a vehicle defect caused your accident or contributed to your injuries, you may have a claim against the retailer or manufacturer as well.
Q: What are the consequences of accepting an insurance settlement?
When you accept an insurance settlement, your claim is over. You will be required to waive your rights as a condition of settlement, which means that you will not be able to seek additional compensation even if you discover later that you were entitled to more.
FAQs: Our Abogados de Accidentes en Fort Lauderdale Explain Your Rights as a Personal Injury Client
Q: Am I entitled to a free initial consultation?
At Searcy Denney, every case starts with a free initial consultation. Your initial consultation is risk-free and completely confidential, and you are under no obligation to hire our attorneys even if we determine that you have a claim.
Q: What can I expect during my initial consultation?
You can ask us any questions that you have, and you can expect to leave with a clear understanding of your legal rights. If you have sufficient details about your accident that occurred in the Palm Beach, Martin, or Broward county area, as well as other parts of South Florida, you can also expect to receive a preliminary assessment of your claim for compensation. Our abogados de accidentes en Fort Lauderdale will also provide you with a list of steps to take and mistakes to avoid. If you decide to move forward, we will start working on your case immediately.
Q: Will I work with an attorney throughout my case?
Yes. While our team of experienced legal professionals will handle certain aspects of your case, you can expect to have direct access to your attorney. Your attorney will be available to answer your questions, provide status updates and help you make informed decisions about settling or going to trial.
Q: Do I get to decide when to settle?
Yes. It is your case, so you get to decide when (and if) to settle. Each time we receive a settlement offer, we will contact you to discuss the offer, explain your options and help you determine whether the offer represents just compensation for your injury-related losses. If you decide to settle, we will communicate your acceptance to the insurance companies and get a settlement check in your hands as quickly as possible. If you are not satisfied with the insurance companies’ best offer, we will take your case to trial.
Q: When will I find out how much I need to pay in costs and contingency fees?
As part of helping you evaluate any settlement offers, we will let you know exactly how much of your settlement would go toward paying your legal costs and attorneys’ fees. Your costs and fees will never be more than your settlement and we will not pressure you to settle if you need more to cover your losses.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation to Learn More
If you have been injured in a car accident in the Palm Beach, Martin, or Broward county area, as well as other parts of South Florida, we encourage you to contact us for your free initial consultation. Our abogados de accidentes en Fort Lauderdale are available to help you, and our experienced staff members are prepared to assist you in any way they can. To learn more about your legal rights risk-free, call us 24/7 at 800-220-7006 or tell us about your accident online today.