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Car Accidents

A Florida Car Accident Attorney for Every Aspect of Your Claim

Damage to a Car from a Car Accident

Florida Car Accident Lawyers That Fight for You and Your Family

The effects of an auto accident can last a lifetime. If you had serious injuries, the physical limitations, chronic pain, and medical bills resulting from your injuries are likely to represent just a portion of your accident-related losses. From loss of income to loss of enjoyment of life, accident victims often experience far-reaching implications, and for the average person, moving on without unnecessary consequences requires the legal representation of an experienced car accident lawyer.

The personal injury lawyers at Searcy Denney in Florida have decades of experience and a proven record of success in accident settlements and litigation. For more than 45 years, we have been helping injured parties and their families fight for maximum compensation. If you are entitled to financial compensation, we can help you avoid costly mistakes, and we can deal with the details while focus on your physical and emotional recovery. 

Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Car Accident Victims in Florida

Our personal injury law firm also has unique resources to pursue recovery on your behalf. When we represent you, we bring to your cause:

  • A team of 29 lawyers who, for more than 45 years, have helped clients obtain settlements or verdicts in automobile accident cases similar to yours;
  • Medical professionals who analyze the cause of death and/or the potential for recovery from injuries;
  • Investigators and paralegals whose skills have been honed in the field, sorting out auto accident details;
  • A record of going head-to-head with insurance companies and other powerful corporations to fight for our clients;
  • The financial resources to withstand long-term investigation and lengthy trials if necessary;
  • Our pledge to keep you informed, to tell you the truth, to offer straightforward advice, and to exhaust every avenue for seeking justice.

To learn more about our services and how we can protect your rights, contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a top Florida car accident lawyer. We have offices in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee. 

Florida Car Accident Lawyers Help with All Types of Wrecks

Types of Negligence in Auto Accidents

In Florida, if one driver (or some other party) is negligent in causing another driver’s or passenger’s injuries, the negligent driver is legally responsible for all of the victims’ accident-related losses. Some of the most common forms of negligence involved in Florida car crash cases include:

  • Distracted Driving – Including talking, texting, setting GPS directions, and eating or drinking behind the wheel.
  • Fatigued Driving – Including driving without adequate rest and falling asleep behind the wheel.
  • Impaired Driving – Including driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter sleep aids, or illegal drugs.
  • Reckless Driving – Including following too closely (tailgating), weaving through traffic, running red lights and stop signs, and merging without looking or signaling.
  • Speeding – Including exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for current traffic, weather or road conditions.
  • Collision – Motor vehicle collision is the most common first harmful event on Florida’s deadliest highway I-4

Common Causes of Car Accidents

In addition to negligence, other common causes of accidents for which compensation will typically be available include:

  • Vehicle defects
  • Inadequate vehicle maintenance
  • Road defects
  • Inadequate warnings about road construction
  • Safety violations by commercial truckers and trucking companies

What Makes Car Accident Claims Difficult to Win?

Some examples of issues our car crash attorneys handle on a regular basis include:

  • Establishing liability in multi-vehicle accidentsMultiple vehicles means multiple potential causes, multiple insurance providers, and multiple additional challenges when it comes to recovering your losses.
  • Overcoming allegations of comparative fault – If the insurance companies accuse you of playing a role in the accident, you will need to overcome these allegations in order to fully recover your financial and non-financial losses.
  • Dealing with uninsured and underinsured drivers – Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation, and drivers who purchase only minimal coverage often will not have the insurance required to fully cover accident victims’ losses.
  • Dealing with hit-and-run accidents – Recovering after a hit-and-run accident presents many unique challenges as well. While you may be limited to relying on PIP, our lawyers may also be able to help you find another source of financial recovery.
  • Establishing third-party liability – Recovering financial compensation from vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, road contractors, drivers’ employers and other third parties requires a strategic approach and skilled legal representation.

Learn What Evidence You Need to Give Your Florida Auto Accident Attorney

While there is often nothing unsuspecting drivers can do to avoid serious collisions, there generally are steps one can take after accidents to make sure they receive fair compensation for their losses. You can help protect your claim by following certain precautions after your accident. Below are some important steps that all accident victims should try to take at the scene of the collision (assuming they are physically able to do so).

What To Do Immediately After a Car Crash in Florida

  • Call 911 – Your first priority is to get immediate help for yourself or anyone injured in the accident. If you have a cell phone, dial 911. Or flag down a passing vehicle or pedestrian and ask them to call 911.
  • Take Notes About the Accident – If you can, make notes on the circumstances of the accident, such as the time, the place, and exactly what happened. Be sure to get license plate numbers, names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
  • Seek Medical Care – Go to the hospital, even if you think you feel fine. You need a physician to diagnose your medical condition and injuries from the accident, and your medical records will be key evidence in your claim for compensation.
  • Write Down When You Notify Your Insurance Carrier – If you are in a car crash, insurance companies require you to file with them in a timely manner. But you are not required to accept any offers they make for reimbursement or settlement of potential accident claims.
  • Get a Copy of the Police Report – If you are to pursue any claim against the person who caused your accident, you will need the police report to substantiate what happened.
  • Contact an Experienced Florida Auto Accident Attorney – Choosing an experienced attorney is a critical step because you are putting your future, and your family’s future, in his or her hands. You want a firm you can trust to protect your interests and represent you aggressively as you seek the justice you and your family deserve.
  • Follow Your Doctor’s Orders  – When seeking compensation after a car accident, it is critical that you follow your doctor’s advice. Some insurance companies will monitor claimants to see if they are going to work or engaging in strenuous activity when they should be resting, and it is important that you attend all follow-up appointments and therapy sessions to help your recovery as much as possible.

Understanding the Accident Claim Process in a No-Fault State Like Florida

The accident claim process in Florida is different from the process in most other states. This is because Florida is a “no-fault” state. This is an insurance law that requires accident victims to file claims with their own insurance companies in many cases.

Here is an overview of the accident claim process in Florida when the accident is someone else’s fault:

  • File a “No-Fault” Claim with Your Insurance Company – The first step in the process is to file a “no-fault” claim with your insurance provider. This is a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. PIP covers your medical bills and lost wages up to your policy limit (which is $10,000 for most people).
  • Determine if Your Injuries Qualify as “Significant” or “Permanent” – To file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you must be able to demonstrate that your injuries qualify as “significant” or “permanent” under Florida’s insurance law. Your vehicle collision can assist with this determination. If they do, then you can seek full compensation under the other driver’s policy (if he or she has liability coverage).
  • Calculate and Document Your Accident-Related Costs – To recover the compensation you deserve, you need to prove the costs of your accident. You do not want to let the insurance companies do this for you. Your lawyer can assist with calculating and documenting your accident-related losses.
  • Negotiate for an Insurance Settlement – Whether you are dealing with your insurance provider or the other driver’s insurer, you will most likely want to negotiate for an insurance settlement. If you are able to negotiate a reasonable settlement, then you will receive an insurance company payout.
  • Take Your Case to Court if Necessary – If you are not able to obtain a fair payout through the settlement negotiation process, then you will need to take your case to court. Not only does hiring an experienced accident lawyer give you the best chance of obtaining a fair settlement, but it also ensures that you will be prepared to go to court if necessary.

How to Strengthen Your Auto Accident Claim

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident, what do you need to know? What do you need to do? What can you expect over the weeks, months and years to come? How can you make sure the insurance companies do not take advantage of you?

  • Avoid Talking to the Insurance Companies – While it is ok to report your claim (and we recommend that you do this at the accident scene), you should not provide any additional information to the insurance companies. Your legal team will handle this for you to ensure that you do not provide a damaging recorded statement or get pressured into accepting a low-value settlement.
  • Avoid Discussing the Accident – Avoid discussing the accident in general. You do not want your family members or neighbors to be asked to testify, and you do not want your social media posts to be used against you.
  • Keep a Journal – In addition to medical costs and lost income, your claim will also include compensation for non-financial losses. One of the best ways to document these losses is to keep a diary or journal. When do you feel pain each day? Was it worse today than yesterday? Did you have to miss a child’s game or a social event because you were too sore to go? These are all key details that can help maximize your financial recovery.

Inside view of automobile

Florida Crash Statistics 

The Florida Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports motor vehicle crash data and other statistics each year.  Below are Florida crash statistics reported in recent years. The FDOT maintains a Florida Crash Dashboard that reports various crash stats each year.  Below are some motor vehicle statistics from recent years:

2023 (Between 1/1/23 – 1/21/23)

  • All Crashes: 13,574

  • Total Fatal Crashes: 72
  • Total Injury Crashes: 5,695
  • Total Bicycle Crashes: 289
  • Total Bicycle Fatalities: 3
  • Total Motorcycle Crashes: 311
  • Total Motorcycle Fatalities: 12
  • Total Hit and Run Crashes: 3,411
  • Total Hit and Run Fatalities: 2

2022

  • All Crashes: 388,961

  • Total Fatal Crashes: 3,188
  • Total Injury Crashes: 160,075
  • Total Bicycle Crashes: 7,090
  • Total Bicycle Fatalities: 207
  • Total Motorcycle Crashes:9,085
  • Total Motorcycle Fatalities: 585
  • Total Hit and Run Crashes: 104,774
  • Total Hit and Run Fatalities:266

Prior year reports can be found on the FLHSMV’s Crash and Citation Reports page. 

Accidents and injuries can happen in all types of car wrecks. Below is an infographic created by a Searcy Denney Florida auto accident attorney, revealing some surprising data about accidents in the Sunshine State:

Florida Car Accident Statistics

Speed Limit Sign in Florida Keys

Florida Auto Accident FAQs

How Much Does an Attorney Charge for a Car Accident in Florida?

You should not have to pay anything out-of-pocket to hire experienced auto accident lawyers. A reputable legal team will represent you on a contingency fee basis. With contingency fees, there are no retainers or monthly legal bills, and you don’t pay anything unless your lawyer helps you recover just compensation.

If your lawyer helps you recover just compensation, your legal fees will be calculated as a percentage of your settlement or verdict. Your lawyer should disclose this percentage to you upfront, and there should be no surprises when it comes to the legal fees you have to pay out of your award. At Searcy Law, we will explain our legal fees before you hire us, and if we receive a settlement offer on your behalf, we will let you know exactly how much you will take home so that you can make an informed decision about whether to accept.  

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Florida?

If you’ve suffered serious injuries in a car accident, the aftermath can be a difficult time, with medical bills and lost income only part of the picture. With far-reaching consequences, including chronic pain and diminished quality of life, seeking maximum compensation often requires legal representation. Searcy Denney’s Florida car accident attorneys bring decades of experience and a proven track record in securing substantial settlements and litigation victories. With unique resources and a commitment to transparency and justice, our attorneys protect victim rights and fight for their fair compensation.

How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Florida?

Due to a change in the law enacted in 2023, you generally only have two years to file a lawsuit after you are injured in a car accident in Florida. However, you do not want to wait anywhere near this long to hire a Florida car accident lawyer. Instead, you should hire a lawyer as soon after your accident as possible—as your lawyer will need to conduct an investigation before any evidence of liability disappears.

When you are entitled to financial compensation for a car accident in Florida, any unnecessary delays can be costly. Even if you haven’t run out of time to file a lawsuit, you may find it much more difficult to recover the financial compensation you deserve. For this reason, we encourage all auto accident victims to contact us right away.

How Long Does an Insurance Company Have to Pay a Settlement in Florida?

The insurance companies do not have a deadline to pay a settlement in Florida. While the insurance companies must handle all claims in good faith, they do not have to offer a settlement by a certain date (or even offer a settlement at all). Additionally, as a car accident victim, the timeline of your claim also partially depends on you. The sooner you hire a Florida car accident lawyer to represent you, the sooner you can begin making informed decisions while relying on your personal injury lawyer to negotiate on your behalf.

What is the 90-Day Rule in Florida Insurance?

The 90-day rule in Florida insurance states that insurance companies must make their coverage determinations within 90 days of receiving a claim unless they cannot do so due to factors beyond their control. However, this is the old rule—and it no longer applies to car accident claims as of March 1, 2023. Under the new rule in Section 627-70131(7)(a) of the Florida Statutes, this time window has been reduced to 60 days. In addition to making coverage determinations within 60 days, insurance companies must also pay undisputed amounts within this time period. 

Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim If I Was at Fault in the Car Accident?

If you were partially at fault in the accident, you may still be have options under Florida law. For example, if you were 10 percent at fault in the accident, you would still be entitled to recover 90 percent of your losses. In Florida, if the injured party is found to be more at fault than the defendant, then they cannot recover damages.

However, establishing fault requires a thorough investigation and reasoned legal analysis, and it is one of the most common issues leading to car accident litigation. While you may think you were the at-fault party, the evidence may suggest otherwise, and you should not rush to judgment until you have discussed your case with an experienced car accident law firm.

How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Florida?

In most cases, the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Florida is two years. If you do not file within two years, you could lose your rights entirely.

However, much shorter delays can jeopardize your case as well. For example, if you wait too long to seek legal representation, your Florida car accident lawyer may not be able to collect certain key evidence (such as skid marks) from the scene of the accident. Without legal representation, you also run the risk of saying something you shouldn’t to the insurance companies. As a result, while you may technically have two years to assert your rights, we strongly recommend that you speak with an accident attorney as soon as possible.

What if the Driver is from Out of State?

Here in the Sunshine State, we have a lot of out-of-state drivers, and a Florida auto accident attorney is happy to assist with these claims. If you were injured by an out-of-state driver, your case will largely be similar to one involving a claim against a Florida resident. There may be some additional steps involved if your case goes to trial, but it is much more likely that your case will settle long before that comes into play. Even with the similarities, it’s best to speak with an auto accident lawyers to make sure the proper procedure is followed. 

Am I Entitled to Financial Compensation for my Future Medical Expenses?

Yes. After an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, in addition to compensation for your outstanding medical bills, you are also entitled to compensation for your future medical treatment, but there are limits, and these numbers vary based on your particular circumstances. Your Florida auto accident attorney can help determine what future care expenses you may be entitled to. 

Can My Florida Auto Accident Attorney Argue for Pain and Suffering Damages?

Potentially, yes. In cases involving serious traumatic injuries with long-term or permanent effects, victims will often be entitled to financial compensation for the non-financial impacts of their injuries. This includes pain and suffering, as well as losses such as:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of society, support and services
  • Loss of companionship and Loss of Consortium

Depending on the extent of your accident injuries, our qualified attorneys would fight for all damages relevant to the accident. 

How Will My Florida Car Accident Attorney be Paid?

Our attorneys are paid via contingency fees. This means:

  • Your initial consultation is free and without obligation;
  • We do not charge retainer fees or hourly rates;
  • No out-of-pocket fees while your case is pending;
  • If we recover compensation on your behalf, we only retain our fixed portion.
  • If we do not win, you pay us nothing.

Case Results from Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers 

What Is the Average Accident Settlement in Florida?

Our experienced car accident attorneys have been representing victims of accident claims for more than 45 years. We have an impressive track record of success. Some notable car accident case results include: 

Read about our other vehicle accident case results.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer To Discuss Your Motor Vehicle Crash Claim

If you or a family member has been injured in a vehicle accident and you want to discuss a potential claim, schedule an appointment with an experienced Florida car accident attorney. Just fill in our Contact Form or call us at 800-780-8607 to arrange for your free, confidential consultation at our TampaWest Palm Beach or Tallahassee office. No recovery, no fee.

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FAQs

What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance?

If the driver who hit you was uninsured, you will need to discuss the specific facts of your case with an attorney to determine what options you have available. While one option is certainly to file a claim against the driver personally, if the at-fault driver was uninsured, he or she is unlikely to have the financial resources to pay just compensation for your losses.

As a result, in most cases involving uninsured drivers, we need to explore alternative sources of compensation. One of these sources may be your own auto insurance policy. If you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, then in addition to your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, you may also be able to collect the compensation that you would have been paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

Another option is to identify another party that is responsible for your losses. This could be the case if, for example, your brakes failed or you were injured when one of your airbags deployed improperly. If a hazardous road condition (such as a pothole, blind curve or low shoulder) played a role in the accident, then the highway authority may be responsible for your losses as well.

An insurance company is offering me a check. Should I take it?

No. If you have received a settlement offer without legal representation, the offer is almost certainly for far less than the true value of your claim. The insurance company is trying to get you to settle before you have had the opportunity to make an informed decision. In addition, by accepting the check, you could be waiving your right to seek additional compensation. Before accepting any money for your injuries, it is critical that you find out exactly what your case is worth from an experienced Florida auto accident attorney.

What if the auto insurance company is refusing to pay for my injuries?

If you have been unsuccessful in securing payment from the insurance companies, you will need to hire an auto accident attorney to help. The insurance companies routinely deny unrepresented accident victims’ claims for compensation; and, when they offer payment, it is usually because they are trying to settle for less than the full amount owed. It is not too late to seek help, but you do not want to wait any longer than necessary to seek legal representation.

Will my insurance rates increase after an accident?

It depends. If the accident was 100 percent someone else’s fault, your rates should not increase. On the other hand, if you were partially at fault or if you need to file a UIM claim, then your accident could affect your premiums. This is yet another issue you will want to discuss with a Florida car accident lawyer so that you can make an informed decision about protecting your legal rights.

Hear What Our Clients Have To Say

"Every question that I had was answered in mere minutes and the follow through that the staff, secretaries and attorneys had was superior. I have dealt with many, many firms that have all disappointed me and Searcy Denney was by far the most thorough - I highly recommend them!"
Posted By: Susan Baker