Auto Accidents & Personal Injury Law
Auto accidents fall under the broad legal category of what is known as personal injury. Personal injury covers physical injuries inflicted to a person’s mind, body or emotions. In order to determine the at-fault party, your likely next step is to file a claim with your insurance company and carrier for the other individuals involved.
Florida is a no-fault state, which simply means that no matter who is responsible for causing the accident, you will be treated under your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits for the first $10,000 in medical bills. A PIP insurance claim opened to treat your injury is intended to enable an auto accident injury victim to begin immediate medical treatment without the need of a court of law to first determine liability.
Even in no-fault states, the injured party may still demand the responsible party’s car insurance carrier cover additional damages. In this case, if the other driver caused the car wreck, you must also file a claim with their insurance company in order to pay for medical bills and lost wages exceeding the PIP’s maximum benefits. Under a pure comparative negligence doctrine, your restitution will be reduced by the percentage of your responsibility for the collision.
The Auto Accident Lawsuit Process
Filling an accident claim if you were injured in a car is often a complex legal matter, especially when it comes to determining fault. With the help of an experienced auto accident attorney, the focus will be on gathering evidence, consulting with experts and negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf so that you can focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.
If necessary, a lawyer may even take your car accident case all the way to trial in order to obtain adequate compensation. Car accident verdicts and settlements can vary considerably depending on the jurisdiction in which the accident occured as well as the details of the case itself. Hospital bills, car repair bills, quotes from mechanics and other variables are used to estimate the cost of a specific accident and what insurance companies will pay in most cases.
Common Injuries in a Car Accident
In many cases regarding medical emergencies, symptoms appear immediately. The American College of Emergency Physicians outlined the following warning signs that indicate the need for immediate aid:
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Coughing up blood
- Chest pain that exists for at least two minutes
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath
- Sudden or severe pain
- Sudden dizziness or weakness
- Sudden vision changes
- Changes in mental status
- Persistent or severe vomiting or diarrhea
Emergency actions must be taken in the event that any of the above signs present themselves in order to immediately remedy more severe consequences such as a traumatic brain injury. Other types of injuries may present only minor symptoms initially or even none at all. These symptoms will typically worsen gradually over the course of the next few hours, days or weeks following the accident, which is why seeking medical attention following a car crash regardless is so important.
File Your Auto Claim within the Legal Time Limit
You only have as long as the personal injury statute of limitations that your state allocates to file a lawsuit for an auto accident. Florida allows two years or more for car accident claims to pursue legal action. If you miss this deadline, you risk losing out on the opportunity to obtain compensation, and the liable party will not be responsible for paying any damages for the accident.
In Florida, most car accident lawsuits begin two years or more following a car wreck due to the considerable amount of time needed to build your case for establishing liability and determining what damages to seek. Do not wait too long before contacting a lawyer otherwise your personal injury claim could be worth zero. The earlier you act, the better off you and your case are likely to turn out.
The skilled car accident lawyers at Panter, Panter & Sampedro can help you understand your options and seek compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. We understand the significant effect that an auto accident can have on your life. Call today for a free consultation and learn how we can take care of the heavy lifting while you rest and recover from your injuries.