Thousands of people suffer from car crashes in Florida every year. You might have been in one and suffered from acute injuries. Compensation can help you recover financially, but your policy might have limited coverage.
A motor vehicle collision lawyer from Holliday Karatinos Law Firm can help. We are a leader in car accident law and are ready to assist with your case. Call our office if you have questions about your case. Reach out to a Florida car accident lawyer.
Holliday Karatinos Law Firm has the resources you need if you have suffered from a car accident. Our motor vehicle collision lawyers have the means to take on complex cases. Meanwhile, we provide you with the personal attention you require.
We make sure your road to recovery is smooth while we negotiate fair compensation with the insurance company. We have built a strong reputation with clients and the community. You can trust us to represent you in court.
Contact us if you believe you have a valid accident claim. We serve residents in multiple locations, such as Brooksville and Inverness.
Types of Motor Vehicle Collisions
When a person travels on I-4, I-75, or any Florida road, they risk a motor vehicle collision. One of the most common crash types is a rear-end collision. An accident happens when the front of one car collides with the back of another vehicle.
Over 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur annually. Most cases lead to non-fatal injuries. Usually, drivers and passengers sustain head and neck injuries. Even a minor rear-end crash can result in a significant impact. Therefore, you should visit the doctor before you consult a lawyer.
Side-impact collisions, or T-bones, involve the contact between the front of one car and the side of another. Many reported cases happen at intersections. A person might fail to yield to another driver for one reason or another.
The driver or passengers may suffer significant bodily harm from a side-impact collision. They generally have to repair their vehicle and visit the doctor. An attorney can represent motorists and passengers who face injuries due to negligence.
A motorist could become a victim of a head-on collision. A head-on crash is when the front ends of two cars hit each other. An accident generally occurs when someone moves into the wrong lane or enters a one-way street in the wrong direction. Intersections can be a common site as well.
The damage from a head-on collision tends to be more severe. Motorists can suffer from acute injuries, and around 58 percent of traffic fatalities are from frontal impacts. The injured party or their loved ones must handle long-term consequences like medical debt. A claim can recover much of the losses.
Many motor vehicle accidents involve at least two cars. However, a person can become a victim of a single-vehicle crash. A person might have hit an object on the street or had to swerve off the road.
Another motorist could have led to an incident despite the lack of direct contact. Alternatively, a defective car part or an issue with the road itself could be the reason. Call a motor vehicle collision lawyer when you can. They can determine if someone was negligent.
Causes of Motor Vehicle Collisions
Different factors can contribute to a car accident. Many of them consist of driver errors, and some involve another entity.
A collision usually happens because of reasons like:
- Texting and driving. Over 56,000 distracted driving crashes occur in Florida every year. Anything can pull a driver’s attention from the road, and people frequently use their phones.
- Speeding. Higher speeds mean a driver requires a longer braking distance to stop safely. If a car slows down suddenly, the negligent motorist is less likely to respond on time.
- A malfunctioning vehicle part. A car component could fail to work and cause an accident. The manufacturer can be responsible for an unsafe product in your vehicle. However, a mechanic may be at fault if they missed the issue during an inspection.
- Drunk driving. Florida experiences over 4,500 alcohol-related crashes yearly. Alcohol inhibits motor functions and coordination skills. A drunk driver is typically liable for damages to another motorist or passenger.
- Dangerous streets. The road can lead to a crash in a few instances. The design may be ineffective for driving. For example, a sharp curve may result in a rollover accident. Additionally, cracks and potholes increase the risk of injuries.
The reason behind an accident may or may not be evident. A car collision law firm can help determine if you have a valid case. Our attorneys perform an in-depth investigation to discover the cause and who was at fault for your injuries.
Most claimants receive money for medical bills in a settlement. The damages include all the costs you accrued from hospital stays and doctor visits after the accident. In addition, the money you spend on any medication or medical devices affects your claim’s value.
Furthermore, compensation can cover the expenses for anticipated medical care. The other side could owe you for things like upcoming physical therapy fees.
Property damage is common in motor vehicle collisions. Extensive damage to a vehicle results in a higher settlement. Additionally, you can get reimbursement for ruined personal items like a phone. Keep your repair bills safe until you can give them to your attorney.
Missed workdays affect the total value of a car accident claim. In addition to the shifts you lost, you can get reimbursement for the loss of future income. Pay stubs generally show the extent of economic losses a person’s negligence caused. However, you can use tax documents instead.
Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages can raise your claim’s worth if the injury is life-changing. Car accident victims regularly see pain and suffering as part of their settlements. The damages refer to the physical and emotional discomfort people experience after a collision. Your lawyer does their best to estimate the value of your pain and suffering.
The Car Accident Claim Deadline in Florida
You have a strict deadline if you wish to start a motor vehicle collision claim. Florida’s car accident laws consist of the statute of limitations. The statute defines how long you have to initiate your legal pursuit for compensation.
You have four years from the day the accident happened to start your claim. Otherwise, you likely will miss your chance to obtain financial recovery. A similar timeframe applies to claims regarding property damage.
However, fatal car accident cases follow the wrongful death statute of limitations. The deadline in Florida is two years from the date of the individual’s death. An attorney ensures you file the necessary papers on time.
What if the Victim Is a Minor?
The law entitles a car accident victim to compensation even if the person is a minor. A parent can file a claim on the child’s behalf, and they must adhere to the four-year deadline. However, the injured party can pause the statute of limitations if they are underage.
The clock does not begin to run until the victim turns 18. Afterward, they can start a claim. However, they have the same limited statutory time to do so.
Common Insurance Company Tactics
After a car accident, you need to contact your insurance company. You go through the claim process to obtain financial reimbursement. While the adjuster tries to help you, they still work in favor of the company. Some adjusters use strategies to minimize payment.
A Pre-existing Injury
A common tactic is to claim your injury is a pre-existing one. Medical bills can build up over time, and insurers generally do not want to pay a ton of money. Therefore, the adjuster might look for a sign the accident did not cause your condition.
The insurance company may use the strategy with head or back injuries. You can still recover damages even if you have an injury from a past event. The other driver could have aggravated the symptoms of a hurt neck. Avoid allowing the adjuster to obtain access to your medical records before you see a lawyer.
Delay the Claim
The adjuster may attempt to prolong the claim process to frustrate the claimant. They hope to use your annoyance to convince you to accept a lower settlement. The delay may prevent you from considering the worth of your claim.
The insurance should accept or deny a claim due to state-specific deadlines. Find a car accident law firm if the insurer attempts to delay your claim. The attorney can pressure the adjuster to act more quickly.
Say You Do Not Need a Lawyer
Another strategy is to convince the claimant not to get a lawyer. The adjuster may tell you an attorney is expensive and unnecessary. However, a motor vehicle collision attorney has the skills to know what your claim is worth. They ensure you do not accept a low settlement offer.
Ignore the adjuster if they argue you do not need a lawyer. Find an attorney who has plenty of experience with car accident claims. You are likely to obtain fair compensation as a result.
What if the Other Driver Does Not Own the Vehicle?
The other driver might not be the one who owns the vehicle. They might have borrowed it from a friend or family member. Regardless, you can hold the car owner accountable even though they did not cause the accident.
In Florida, the vehicle owner may be vicariously negligent under the Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine. The doctrine extends liability to the owner of the inherently dangerous instrument if an accident occurs.
Therefore, the friend or relative of the motorist may owe you compensation for your injuries. However, a couple of exceptions exist. For example, a rental car company owns the vehicle title but is not responsible for a driver’s negligence.
Another exception is if the owner did not grant the driver permission. The law does not apply to crashes involving a stolen vehicle.
Make sure to review your insurance policy after a collision. Then, consult a lawyer. The attorney helps you pursue a claim involving a driver who does not own the vehicle.
Should You See a Doctor if You Do Not Feel Pain?
Minor accidents may not leave catastrophic damage, and vehicle occupants might not experience much pain. You may not view a hospital visit as necessary if you do not feel hurt. However, you should see a doctor regardless of the extent of the damage.
The reason is the adrenaline might have masked any pain you would have felt at the time. In addition, injuries like traumatic brain injuries can take a while to manifest symptoms. Get medical attention to avoid a worsened condition and issues with the insurance company.
The insurance adjuster might view the delay in treatment as a sign you do not have serious injuries. As a result, the settlement they offer might not be enough to reimburse you for your losses. Seeing a doctor can reduce the issue of a lowball settlement.
Can You Sue the Government?
The local government might hold responsibility for the motor vehicle collision. Florida law waives immunity for specific injury accidents like car crashes. Therefore, you could have a valid claim against an agency. However, your case needs to meet specific requirements.
A department is liable if the other driver is a government worker. The individual needed to have been working a shift and driving in the interests of their job. Alternatively, the government could be liable for the road.
Unsafe road conditions might have caused the crash. You will need to show how the hazard was the government’s responsibility to fix. However, the department did not correct the issue in a reasonable amount of time. Consult an attorney to determine if the government was negligent.
Call Holliday Karatinos Law Firm
We at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm are ready to answer your questions about motor vehicle collisions. Our attorneys have plenty of experience and a history of wins. While we cannot guarantee success, we dedicate ourselves to achieving the best outcome possible. Contact our office at (352) 597-0009 to get started with your free consultation. Reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer.
Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.