FLORIDA LAW NOW REQUIRES YOU TO SEE A MEDICAL PROVIDER WITHIN 14 DAYS IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT OF YOUR PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION INSURANCE COVERAGE.
Time Considerations of Filing an Auto Injury Suit
You have some time before you have to file suit, but there is a limit on the time. I will contact your insurance company so that you can start collecting no-fault benefits right away and be seen by a medical professional if you have not done so already.
Have Realistic Expectations
You want an attorney who is realistic in his projections and realistic in his demands. Insurance companies do not respond well to inflated claims and these cases can take longer to settle. I will tell you the weaknesses as well as the strengths of your case. Telling someone they are going to make millions is not going to make someone happy when the settlement comes in if their case is not worth it. My practice is built on the ethical and moral obligation to my community where I also live.
Car Accident Quick Facts
There were nearly 6,420,000 auto accidents in the United States in 2005
The financial cost of those crashes is more than 230 billion dollars.
2.9 million people were injured and 42,636 people killed in the same year
About 115 people die every day in vehicle crashes in the United States
Every person is likely to experience at least one car accident during their lifetime.
Negligence in Car Accidents
Determining negligence in the case of a car accident, while not always clear-cut, is usually legally necessary. Sometimes there percentages of culpability by different parties that you may not even know about. This is especially true if a police report is filed or legal claim pursued. Under the law, drivers are required to exercise reasonable careŁ and practice car safety in the operation of a motor vehicle. A driver or owner of an establishment who fails to exercise reasonable careŁ is considered negligent and can be held responsible for damages. However, the law requires the injured party to prove that someone else's negligence caused the accident. This is called burden of proof.
What To Do In Case Of A Florida Car Accident
Florida law requires the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident to immediately stop at the scene. You should make sure you do not block traffic any more than necessary. If the accident involved an unattended vehicle or other property, you should attempt to locate the owner. If you cannot find the owner, then you are required to leave a conspicuous note, giving your name, address and vehicle registration number. You must notify police of the accident immediately. If the accident involved an attended vehicle or property, both drivers must stop at or close to the scene, without obstructing traffic any more than is absolutely necessary.
2. ASSIST THE INJURED
Your first responsibility in the event of an accident with an occupied car or property is to find out if anyone is hurt. If someone is seriously injured, get an ambulance, rescue squad, or doctor immediately. You are required to provide the injured person all reasonable assistance, including attempting to obtain treatment for him or transportation to a doctor or hospital. However, you should not attempt to provide treatment for injuries yourself unless you are trained in first aid. Even with good intentions you may make the injury worse if you do not know what you are doing.
3. PROTECT THE SCENE
The cars should be left where they came to rest unless they are blocking traffic. While it is important to protect the accident scene, obstructing traffic can delay the arrival of police or emergency vehicles or even cause another accident. For this reason, it is essential that you carefully note the positions of any vehicles involved in the accident that are obstructing traffic -- and then move then. The use of flares, flashlights, or your car's four-way flashers can help provide warning to other drivers of the accident scene.
4. NOTIFY AUTHORITIES
All accidents do not require police notification. Only accidents involving injury to or death of any person or damage in excess of $500.00 requires police notification. All other accidents (minor in nature as defined by the Statute) do not have to be reported to the police as long as the drivers exchange information or notice is given to an unattended vehicle or property of the cause of the damage. Written reports of accidents have to be made to the Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within five (5) days after an accident which results in bodily injury to or death of any person or damage to any vehicle or other property of an apparent amount of at least $500.00 unless an investigating police officer has made a written report having been notified of such accident.
5. PROVIDE REQUIRED INFORMATION
You are required by law to provide the other driver in an accident with your name, address, and vehicle registration number, and to let the driver see your license. You are entitled to the same. Always ask to see a driver's license, and copy down the number as well as his name and address. You are also required to provide the investigating officer with whatever information is needed to determine the cause of the accident. They statements you make to the officer alone to assist the investigation are privileged. If you are charged or sued, they cannot be used against you in court.
6. DO NOT COMMENT
With the exception of your exchange of required information, you should not comment on the accident. Keep your notes and opinions to yourself. Do not admit you were wrong or careless. Such admissions, made in the tension and excitement of the moment, may not be accurate -- but they could turn out to be costly. There is time to admit responsibility after the facts are all in if they clearly show you were wrong. If the accident was a serious one, you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible -- before arriving at any agreements with anyone, and before making any admissions. A plea of guilty to a traffic charge may sometimes be used against you in a lawsuit to establish your civil liability for damages.
7. OBTAIN WITNESSES
Get the names and addresses of all the witnesses you can. Attempt to have them write down or at least state to you what they know, at the scene. Keep a pencil and pad in your car so you will be able to make necessary notes.
8. TAKE NOTES
Sketch a diagram of the scene, pace off distances, and note skid marks, broken glass, positions of the cars, and locations of damage. If you have a camera with you, take photos of the scene. Try to clarify what happened in your own mind while events are still fresh. Write down all you have noted -- you will forget a great many details in a short period of time.
9. WHEN TO LEAVE
After you have assisted the injured, obtained identification from the other driver, provided your own name, address and identification, gotten the names of witnesses, studied the scene so that you know what happened to cause the accident, and assisted the investigating officer, you are free to go.
10. SEE A DOCTOR
Serious injuries do not always show immediate symptoms. It would be wise to have your doctor examine you as soon as possible.