Florida Car Accident Attorney
You Need a Florida Car Accident Attorney Who Will Fight for You and Your Family
The effects of an auto accident can last a lifetime. If you were seriously injured, 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 moving on without unnecessary consequences requires the experienced legal representation of a Florida car accident attorney.
The car accident lawyers at Searcy Denney have decades of experience and a proven record of success in insurance settlements and litigation. For more than 40 years, we have been helping accident victims and their families win the compensation they deserve. If you are entitled to financial compensation, we can help – we can help you avoid costly mistakes, and we can deal with the insurance companies for you so that you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery. 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 attorney. We have offices in West Palm Beach and Tallahassee.
Common Types of Car Accidents
Accidents and injuries can happen is all types of car wrecks. Below is an infographic created by our Florida car accident attorneys, revealing some surprising data about accidents in the Sunshine State:
Learn How to Preserve Your Evidence with the Help of a Florida Car Accident Attorney
After being injured in a car accident, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. For many people, the stress that comes with being injured and trying to deal with medical bills and the insurance companies can be paralyzing. It is important to remember that countless people have been through the process before, and there is help available to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. When you contact Searcy Dennis, a top Florida car accident lawyer will ensure that all of the necessary steps are taken to give you your best chance at recovery.
Before you contact a personal injury law firm, you can help your claim by following certain precautions after your accident. Below are some important steps that all car accident victims should try to take at the scene of the collision (assuming they are physically able to do so):
- Try to Stay Calm – Your first priority is to get immediate help. If you have a cell phone, dial 911. Or flag down a passing vehicle or pedestrian and ask them to call 911.
- Assess the Condition of Other Passengers in Your Car – After you have called for help, look around and try to determine if others are badly hurt. Tell your companions to stay calm and assure them that help is on the way. If you are in a position to provide first aid, do so. But, generally, it is dangerous to move anyone who may have a serious injury.
- Notate the Details of the Accident – If you can, make notes on the circumstances of the accident, such as the time, the place, and exactly what happened. Identify not only participants – the drivers of other vehicles, for example – but also witnesses who can corroborate your story. Be sure to get license plate numbers, names, addresses, and telephone numbers.
- Cooperate With Paramedics and Law Enforcement Officials – When EMS personnel arrive, do not assume that you were not injured; follow their instructions. When the highway patrol or police arrive, tell them the facts. Do not move your car or any other potential evidence.
- Seek Medical Attention – 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.
- 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.
- Avoid Talking to the Insurance Companies – While it is ok to report your claim (and we recommend that you do this at the scene of the accident), 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 – In addition to avoiding the insurance companies, you should also 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.
- Get a Copy of the Police Report – If you are to pursue any claim against the person who caused your car accident, you will need the police report to substantiate what happened.
- Contact Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorneys – Choosing an 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.
- Rest and Recuperate – When seeking compensation after a car accident, it is imperative 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.
- Keep a Journal – In addition to medical bills 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.
What Our Florida Car Accident Attorneys Can Do for Crash Victims
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?
At Searcy Denney, we take the uncertainty of the insurance claims process out of the equation. We use our extensive experience to handle the process for you, and we make sure you do not make any decisions until you have all of the information you need to feel confident in the outcome of your case. Our Florida car accident 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 40 years have helped clients obtain settlements or verdicts in car crash cases similar to yours;
- Medical professionals who analyze the cause of death and/or the prognosis 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.
In addition, our attorneys handle all car accident cases on contingency. This means:
- Your initial consultation is free and without obligation;
- We do not charge retainer fees or hourly rates;
- You pay nothing out of pocket while your case is pending;
- We only retain a portion of your settlement or verdict if we help you win just compensation;
- If we do not achieve a recovery for you, you pay us nothing.
Understanding What Makes a Driver Negligent
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. Since most drivers have insurance (although Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation), in most cases, victims receive their compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, getting compensated by the insurance companies is easier said than done.
Some of the most common forms of negligence involved in Florida auto accident cases include the following:
- 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.
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, and safety violations by commercial truckers and trucking companies.
What if I was at Fault in the Car Accident? Can I Still File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you were partially at fault in the accident, you may still be able win your case under Florida law. This is because Florida follows a rule known as “pure comparative fault.” Under this rule, even if you were 90 percent at fault in the accident, you would still be entitled to recover 10 percent of your losses. Or, as is more common, if you were 10 percent at fault, you would be entitled to 90 percent of a full recovery.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 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 at fault, 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 an Accident Claim in Florida?
In most cases, the statute of limitations for car accident claims in Florida is four years. If you do not file within four 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 car accident lawyers 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 four years to assert your rights, we strongly recommend that you speak with a Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Seeking Compensation After a Motor Vehicle Collision with an Experienced Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If your life has been turned upside down by a car accident, or if you are facing the constant aggravation of trying to get answers from someone else’s insurance company, it is important that you speak with a Florida accident lawyer about your situation. You may be entitled to compensation – and, if you are like most people, you probably need that compensation to move on – but the reality is that most accident victims are unable to protect their legal rights on their own.
Why is this the case? Why is the process so much harder than it has to be? The answer is simple. For the insurance companies, protecting their profits is their sole priority. The insurance companies want to pay as little as possible, and they will go to great lengths to try to get accident victims to settle for less than they deserve.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney 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 lawyer. Just fill in our Contact Form or call us at 1-800-780-8607 to arrange for your free, confidential consultation at our West Palm Beach or Tallahassee office. No recovery, no fee.
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- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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What if the other driver is from another state?
Here in the Sunshine State, we have a lot of out-of-state drivers. 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.
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 car accident attorney.
What if the 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 attorney so that you can make an informed decision about protecting your legal rights.
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 expenses. In many cases, these future expenses will far exceed the costs incurred to date. You are entitled to financial compensation for your lost future earnings as well, and these are losses that we can calculate for you before you settle your claim.
Am I entitled to financial compensation for my pain and suffering?
Potentially, yes. In cases involving serious traumatic injuries with long-term or permanent effects, accident 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 consortium