Auto Accident Injuries
A Florida Auto Accident Attorney at Our Firm Can Protect Your Rights After Suffering a Car Crash Injury
The forces involved in auto accidents can cause a wide range of traumatic injuries, and drivers and passengers who have been injured will often face long and difficult roads to recovery. Under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law, all accident victims can recover at least a portion of their medical bills and lost wages under their own personal injury protection (PIP) policies, and those who have suffered serious and permanent injuries can seek full financial compensation from the negligent drivers who are responsible for the harm they have endured. Road and vehicle defects can support claims for financial compensation as well; and, to make sure you recover the full compensation you and your family deserve, it is important that you speak with a Florida auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Experienced Legal Representation for Auto Accident Victims in Florida
Our firm is comprised of experienced Florida auto accident lawyers who have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for individuals who have suffered serious auto accident injuries. While most of our cases result in insurance settlements, we do not hesitate to take the insurance companies to court, and we have a proven record of success at trial. The long-term effects of traumatic injuries can be far greater than most people realize. Our legal team can help you understand the true cost of your accident-related injuries, and we can help you avoid settling too soon for less than you deserve.
Serious and Permanent Injuries From Vehicle Collisions
All types of car accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries. If you have been involved in an auto crash, it is important that you see a doctor promptly, as obtaining appropriate treatment can be crucial to both your physical well-being and financial recovery. At Searcy Denney, we represent auto accident victims throughout Florida who have been diagnosed with all types of serious accident-related injuries, including:
Soft Tissue Damage
Soft tissue injuries involve damage to the muscles, ligaments or tendons in your body. Although they are generally considered less-severe when compared to the other potential consequences of serious auto accidents, soft tissue damage can still be painful and require a long-term recovery, and they will often be accompanied by other injuries as well. This includes serious injuries such as broken bones, nerve damage, and injuries to the head, back and internal organs.
While soft tissue injuries are common, they are also difficult to diagnose. This is because they will not show up on X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or many of the other types of tests typically used to diagnose accident-related injuries. As a result, it is important to describe your symptoms to your doctor as clearly and completely as possible, and you will likely want to choose a physician who specializes in treating acute traumatic injuries.
4 Types of Acute Soft Tissue Damage
Acute soft tissue injuries are those that result from sudden and severe trauma, such as when your body stretches, twists or makes contact with part of your vehicle during a car accident. These injuries can broadly be classified into four categories:
- Sprains – A sprain is a ligament injury caused by overextension. Ligaments are the soft tissues that connect the bones in your ankles, knees, wrists, elbows and other joints; and, in a traumatic accident, they can easily be overstretched resulting in pain and limited usability.
- Strains – Strains are overextension injuries affecting the muscles and tendons. Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect your muscles to your bones. Similar to sprains, strains are common soft tissue injuries in vehicle collisions.
- Tears – A tear is a severe form of sprain or strain that results in a rupture of the ligament, muscle or tendon. A tear can either be partial or complete; and, depending on the severity of the injury, surgery may be required.
- Contusions – Contusions (or bruises) are soft tissue injuries that result from blunt force trauma, such as colliding with a steering wheel or door during an auto accident. While most contusions will heal on their own with rest, ice, compression and elevation, severe contusions may require medical intervention.
Brain, Head and Neck Injuries
Brain, head and neck injuries from auto accidents can be extremely dangerous, and they are also more common than most people realize. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of people who go to the emergency room for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) could actually be smaller than the number of accident victims who never seek treatment for their injuries. If you have been involved in any type of auto accident, it is important to be aware of the risk of head and neck injuries, and to seek both medical and legal advice as soon as possible.
Traumatic Brain Injury
One of the most serious risks associated with being involved in an auto accident is the risk of a traumatic brain injury. As explained by the Brain Injury Association of America, a traumatic impact or violent shaking of the head can cause two immediate reactions in the brain:
“[(1)] Brain tissue reacts to the trauma from the injury with a series of biochemical and other physiological responses. Substances that once were housed safely within these cells now flood the brain, further damaging and destroying brain cells in what is called secondary cell death.
“[(2)] Depending on the severity of brain injury, effects may include temporary loss of consciousness or coma, respiratory (breathing) problems, and/or damaged motor functions.”
These effects can cause brain injuries including:
- Coup-contrecoup injuries
- Diffuse anoxal injuries
- Penetrating brain injuries
While brain injuries are common, they are not the only types of head injuries that can result from vehicle collisions. At Searcy Denney, we also have experience helping clients recover just compensation for injuries including:
- Eye and ear injuries
- Jaw and cheekbone fractures
- Lacerations and soft tissue injuries
- Loss of teeth
- Nose injuries
- Skull fractures
Most accident-related neck injuries result from sudden stretching or twisting due to the forces of impact. When the neck stretches forward and then snaps back, as is common in rear-end collisions, this can cause whiplash and other potentially-serious neck injuries. We help auto accident victims in Florida seek just compensation for all types of traumatic neck injuries, including:
- Cervical dislocation
- Herniated discs in the neck
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Muscle and tendon strains and tears
- Neck fractures
Delayed Symptoms of Traumatic Head and Neck Injuries
Critically, in many cases, auto accident victims will not experience symptoms of head and neck injuries for days, and in some cases weeks, after the accident. If you are experiencing any of the following in the days or weeks following a collision, you should seek an immediate diagnosis and let your doctor know that your injury may be accident-related:
- Bruising or tenderness on the head, neck or shoulders
- Limited mobility
- Memory loss
- Neck, shoulder or back pain
Under Florida law, you have four years to file an auto accident claim before the statute of limitations expires. So, even if you did not experience symptoms immediately, you could easily still have a claim for financial compensation. But, to protect your claim, you should take action promptly, and your first step after seeking medical attention should be to speak with an attorney.
Pain, weakness, stiffness, loss of coordination and reflex issues are among the first signs of a potentially-serious back injury. Injuries resulting in damage to the spinal cord can have permanent effects, including loss of sensation and function (paralysis) below the site of the injury, and they can impact all aspects of a person’s daily life.
If you have been involved in an auto accident and are experiencing symptoms of a potential back injury, it is important that you see a doctor promptly. If you have already been diagnosed with a traumatic back injury from a collision, you need to make sure you have the financial resources you need to manage and cope with your recovery.
We have extensive experience in insurance settlement negotiations and auto accident litigation involving all types of traumatic back and spinal cord injuries. This includes experience helping clients recover just compensation for injuries such as:
- Disc Herniation – Disc herniation occurs when the jelly-like material inside of a disc in the spine escapes through a crack in the disc. This can inflame the surrounding nerves; and, in many cases, accident victims will need a discectomy or some other form of surgery. While most patients are eventually able to make a full recovery, the recovery process can involve months, if not years, of ongoing treatment and rehabilitative therapy.
- Spinal Fractures – Spinal fractures can vary greatly in severity. While all spinal fractures are serious injuries that require prompt diagnosis and medical treatment, fractures that impact the spinal cord can be particularly dangerous and potentially result in partial or total paralysis. Most trauma-related spinal fractures are compression fractures, which occur when the forces involved in the accident collapse one or more vertebrae. Compression fractures where the vertebrae burst or shatter completely are the most likely to lead to permanent complications, although even less-severe fractures can require surgery and result in chronic pain and disabilities.
- Spondylolisthesis – Spondylolisthesis is a condition that occurs when one of the vertebrae in the spine slips out of place. The dislocated disc can then press on the nerves in the spinal cord, resulting in pain, numbness, weakness, and loss of motor control, typically in the legs. Some accident victims may experience loss of bowel and bladder control as well.
Whiplash is a potentially-serious neck injury that most often results from rear-end collisions, but that can result from other types of auto accidents as well. Although many people are able to fully recover from whiplash within a few months, chronic pain is not uncommon, and some patients can develop psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression with pervasive impacts for all aspects of their daily lives.
Symptoms of Auto Accident Whiplash
While some auto accident victims will experience symptoms of whiplash immediately, it is not unusual for symptoms to manifest gradually over a period of hours or days. If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash following an auto accident and you have not seen a doctor already, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Some of the most common symptoms of whiplash include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
- Headaches or dizziness
- Memory loss or difficulty concentrating
- Neck pain
- Neck stiffness
- Reduced muscle stability or range of motion in the neck
- Shoulder or upper back pain
- Vision problems
- Weakness, tingling or numbness radiating into the arm, hand and fingers on one side of the body
Many of these are symptoms of other traumatic neck and back injuries as well. When consulting a physician, it is important to explain your symptoms and what you remember about the accident as clearly and thoroughly as possible. In a serious accident, it is not unusual to suffer multiple injuries that impact the nervous system and your brain’s cognitive function; and, even if you are able to recover from whiplash fairly quickly, you could still require months or years of treatment, therapy and prescriptions for other serious injuries.
There are over 200 bones in the human body. In a serious auto accident, all of these bones are at risk for being broken. While certain types of accidents are more likely to result in fractures than others, our bones are surprisingly fragile, and all types of accidents can result in fractures in all parts of the body.
Whether you suffered a minor break that can heal on its own or you need surgery for a bone that shattered upon impact, your rights as an auto accident victim in Florida are the same. You are entitled to just compensation for your injury; and, if someone else was fully at fault in the accident, you are entitled to recover 100 percent of your injury-related losses. Even if you were partially at fault, you are still entitled to a partial recovery. With the potential for exorbitant medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other financial and non-financial losses, regardless of what you think may have happened, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced Florida auto accident attorney.
Bone Fractures and Other Bone Injuries Following an Auto Accident
If you have a claim for a broken bone, we can make sure you seek the maximum amount to which you are entitled under Florida law. We represent clients in insurance claims and personal injury litigation involving all types of broken bones, including those in the:
- Arms, wrists and hands
- Back and skull
- Chest and shoulders
- Hips and knees
- Legs, feet and ankles
When seeking financial compensation for a broken bone, one of the key steps involved in calculating your losses is to gain a clear understanding of the extent of your injury. When we represent you, we will work closely with your doctors and our trusted medical experts to accurately calculate the immediate and long-term costs of your fracture. Some of the more serious types of fractures that can result from auto accidents are:
- Comminuted Fractures – Comminuted fractures occur when a bone shatters or breaks into multiple fragments. While they are most common in the smaller bones of the hands and feet, in a serious accident, various other bones can suffer comminuted fractures as well.
- Greenstick Fractures – Greenstick fractures occur when a bone splinters on one side due to being bent but does not break completely.
- Oblique Fractures – Oblique fractures involve breaks that are at an angle to the bone. They typically result from severe blows to the body in the area of the break.
- Pathologic Fractures – Pathologic fractures are those that result from disease-related weakness. Under Florida’s “eggshell plaintiff” doctrine, individuals who suffer pathologic fractures in auto accidents can seek full financial compensation for their injuries.
- Stress Fractures – A stress fracture can occur in an auto accident when a twist, strain, or other severe or abnormal movement exerts unsustainable force on a bone.
- Transverse Fractures – Transverse fractures occur when a bone breaks at 90 degrees. These types of breaks typically require orthopedic surgery.
Compensation for Medical and Non-Medical Costs Associated With Auto Accident Injuries
While the medical costs associated with auto accident injuries can be substantial, in many cases, they are just a fraction of accident victims’ total losses. Under Florida law, accident victims are entitled to full compensation for all of the physical, emotional, and financial effects of their injuries, and calculating your total losses requires a comprehensive understanding of all of the various ways that your injuries impact your life. Along with coverage for the costs of diagnosis, treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, prescriptions and other medical expenses, you may also be entitled to compensation for additional losses. At Searcy Denney, our auto accident lawyers in Florida can help you recover damages for:
- Current and future medical bills and prescription costs
- Other current and future out-of-pocket expenses
- Loss of income and wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium, society and enjoyment of life
- Other financial and non-financial losses
Learn More About What a Florida Auto Accident Attorney Can Do for You During in a Free and Confidential Consultation7
For more information about your right to compensation for injuries sustained in an auto crash, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. In order to protect your claim for maximum compensation, it is important that you take legal action as soon as possible. To speak with an experienced Florida auto accident attorney in confidence, call us at (800) 780-8607 or request an appointment online now.