What to Do After a Car Accident in Florida
You might feel overwhelmed after a car crash, especially as the adrenaline sets in. Making good decisions isn’t simple when you’re confused, in pain, and anxious about what happened.
However, what you do after a car accident can seriously affect your ability to hold the negligent driver responsible and recover compensation for your injuries. You must take immediate action to secure valuable evidence and get the treatment you need to heal. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney from Phillips | Tadros, P.A. can also help. Call or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about what we can do for you during this difficult time.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Florida?
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 391,164 traffic crashes that caused 248,958 injuries and 3,462 fatalities in Florida in one recent year. That works out to about 1,072 crashes, 682 injuries, and 10 deaths daily.
How Do You Prove Liability for a Florida Car Accident?
You must prove someone else caused the accident to hold them legally responsible for its consequences. You will likely do this by establishing their negligence.
Negligence includes a wide range of behavior, such as speeding, disobeying traffic signals, and driving under the influence. Proving another driver’s negligent actions caused a collision requires significant evidence, which might include:
- Traffic camera footage
- Police reports
- Medical records and bills
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Vehicle repair estimates
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Statements from experts, such as doctors and accident reconstruction specialists
Remember, multiple people could share liability for the same accident. If your actions contribute to your injuries, a jury can reduce your compensation based on your shared fault percentage under comparative negligence laws. That means you can’t recover compensation equal to your total losses.
For example, if you have $100,000 in losses but a jury determines you are 20 percent liable for your injury, the highest financial award you can receive is $80,000. This rule is why it’s important to have an experienced attorney who can limit your fault and maximize your compensation.
What Compensation Can I Recover Through a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit?
In Florida, personal injury protection (PIP) and property damage liability (PDL) insurance is mandatory. Every driver must carry PIP and PDL coverage with a minimum limit of $10,000 each. PIP covers 60 percent of lost wages and 80 percent of reasonable and necessary medical expenses up to the policy limit.
You must file a claim with your auto insurance company before you pursue a personal injury lawsuit for any serious injuries. However, the money you recover in a claim might compensate you for your:
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance services, hospitalization, physical therapy
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Property damage
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim After a Car Accident?
In Florida, the statute of limitations allows a four-year timeframe to file a personal injury lawsuit – beginning on the date of your injury. Insurance claims are subject to timelines established in the specific policies.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Florida?
Taking these steps after a car accident can protect your health and rights to compensation:
- Report the accident – Call 911 to report what happened. State law requires drivers to report car crashes that result in injury, death, or property damage of at least $500. Wait for law enforcement to arrive at the scene and investigate.
- Check for injuries and seek medical help if necessary – You should determine whether you sustained injuries and check on passengers in your car and the occupants of other vehicles. If your injuries are severe, stay where you are until help arrives. You can request an ambulance when you call 911 for transportation to the hospital. If you are not treated at the scene, visit an emergency care facility as soon as possible.
- Exchange information with other motorists – Under Florida law, every driver must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number after a collision causing injury, death, or property damage. Exchange the necessary information with any motorist involved in the crash, including their car insurance details.
- Locate witnesses – Speak to any bystanders who saw the incident and get their contact info. They might be able to provide a statement to the insurance company or testify in a lawsuit.
- Document the scene – If your injury allows it, take photos of the accident scene – such as vehicle damage, road debris, and weather or road conditions. Visual evidence is valuable in car accident cases.
- Follow your treatment plan – You must follow the recommended treatment plan provided by your physician. Attend every appointment regularly until you heal or your medical providers release you from their care. Stopping too soon can delay your recovery and negatively affect your case.
- Keep a pain journal – Documenting your symptoms after an accident helps you establish the extent of your injuries. Note whether any symptoms worsen during specific activities or prevent you from completing specific tasks. You should also maintain physical documentation, such as medical records and bills.
- Beware of insurers – Insurance companies are not on the accident victim’s side. Their goal is to save money by avoiding significant payouts. If an insurance adjuster calls to discuss the crash, be polite but decline to speak with them. They can use what you say against you to deny your claim or justify a lowball settlement offer. Instead, tell them you are securing legal representation.
- Avoid social media – Documenting your life on social media might be normal. But you should avoid posting to your accounts while your case is pending. Insurance companies and defense attorneys can use your posts as evidence to undercut your claims. They might argue that your pictures prove your injury isn’t as severe as you said or that your online activity shows you’re not prioritizing your recovery.
- Consult an attorney – You should contact Phillips | Tadros, P.A. as soon as possible after a car accident. We can pursue maximum compensation on your behalf so you can focus on treating your injury.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
Knowing what to do after a car accident in Florida requires help from an experienced lawyer. You should not pursue a case alone. Phillips | Tadros, P.A. is ready to provide quality legal representation to fight for the compensation you deserve.
If you sustained injuries in a car crash for which someone else is to blame, call or contact us online for a free consultation with a Florida car accident lawyer.