We’ve all seen scenes in movies or television shows that involve a car accident. Even if the incident is just a fender bender, things can get dramatic between the drivers involved. One driver may even threaten to call their lawyer and sue the other driver.
While yelling and screaming after a fender bender may exaggerate the emotions involved in a car accident, it’s not uncommon for a lawyer to help people through the process of getting compensation and dealing with the aftermath of a car accident if someone was seriously injured. Dealing with your insurance provider or getting the other driver to cough up money for damages can be a long process. Reaching out to an experienced personal injury lawyer can help to make that process smoother, faster, and more effective for you.
How do you know whether or not you should hire an attorney to help you deal with your auto injury?
When Car Crash Injury Victims Should Contact an Attorney
You Don’t Know Your Rights. Lawyers can be extremely helpful if you want to learn more about your rights and what is ahead after a car accident. Laws are always changing, and this may be your first time entering the world of personal injury law as it relates to car accidents.
Insurance companies may incorrectly try to tell you that you don’t have the right to do something in order to lower their payout to you. Reviewing your rights and your options after a car accident is the number one way to get the best outcome.
If you are new to Florida, or you are not familiar with Florida’s policies and procedures, it is especially important to talk to a lawyer who, has experience in the Sunshine State. Each state has different laws and policies regarding insurance, fault, and negligence claims, and ours vary more than most.
You Need to Negotiate with Your Insurance Provider. Damages from an auto accident can’t always be calculated with a few receipts: an auto accident can cause financial damages in the form of lost work, loss of transportation, and so on. Your insurance provider can therefore negotiate these damages.
Haggling for the compensation you deserve can be extremely stressful and confusing, especially if this is your first time filing a claim of this sort. From writing a demand letter to finalizing your settlement, a lawyer can represent you, negotiate for you, and help get you the best settlement.
If you get involved with another driver’s insurance company, or if your insurance provider gets a lawyer involved, get on the phone with your lawyer immediately.
Filing a “Bad Faith” Insurance Claim. Even after you negotiate with your insurance provider, they may deny your claim, leaving you with car repairs and hospital bills to pay.
An insurance company may deny you because you failed to make certain deadlines or applied for payments that are not covered under your plan. However, if they unlawfully deny you, it may be necessary to file a “bad faith” insurance claim. A lawyer can lead you through the process of negotiating a bad faith claim and fighting for the compensation that you deserve after an accident.
Damages Aren’t Fully Covered By PIP. After many smaller, less serious car accidents, insurance will cover most of the damages and everyone can move on. Unfortunately, if your damages exceed $10,000, PIP will not cover them. Other types of coverage can step in to ease the blow, but if there is no additional insurance or if your damages go beyond even that, you may have to take the other driver to court.
This only works if your injuries are truly serious and you believe you can prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the crash. If you are able to do this, a lawsuit can help to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Be prepared for blame to be cast in your direction as well, though. To defend their actions, the defendant is likely to try to argue that you are at least partially at fault for what happened. Even if they succeed, though, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be compensated.
Florida’s comparative negligence laws mean that it is possible to assign a percentage of blame to each driver and base compensation accordingly. So if you sue the other driver for $20,000 and win, but you are found to be 25% at fault, you will only get $15,000.
The best way to get needed compensation is to find a lawyer who has experience dealing with these types of lawsuits. They will know how to collect the right evidence and make the most effective arguments to help you win your claim.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.