It’s rush hour, and all you want is to finally arrive safely at home after a day spent hard at work. Everything is fine until suddenly, it isn’t–you were blindsided, struck by a careless motorist, and now a fairly routine day has just turned into a nightmare. You’re alive, but you’ve sustained a serious back injury.
At this point, you may be wondering what’s next. That is the purpose of this guide. In recent years, our firm helped one individual in a nearly identical situation recover $1,000,000 in financial compensation for their back injury sustained in an automobile accident, and we are ready to put that same grit and knowledge of the law to work for you.
Car accidents are not uncommon, however, this does not make them any less frightening–or devastating, especially if you or someone you love has been seriously injured in one. For just a taste of how prevalent car crashes really are in our society, consider this: on average, the United States sees about 6 million car accidents every year, and of those 6 million accidents, over 2 million people will sustain serious injuries. To make matters even worse, about 90 people die in car accidents, every single day–that means that roughly 6% of all car crashes are fatal.
That is why, despite your injuries, you should be happy to be alive. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t seek the financial compensation you deserve, especially if you have been wrongly injured in an accident that was simply not your fault. Fortunately, that’s where we come in. If you have been injured in a car accident in Florida, please continue reading this guide and reach out to Attorney Thomas P. Schmitt of the Florida Personal Injury Law Team to learn more about car accidents, what you should do after one, and how we can help you fight for the compensation you deserve if you have been injured in one. Here are some of the questions you may have for our experienced personal injury firm:
What causes car accidents in the United States?
Car accidents are caused by several different factors, and the truth is, sometimes, they are simply inevitable. Not every single crash is distinctly someone’s “fault.” However, that being said, the number one cause of auto accidents, is, without question, driver negligence. Some of the most prevalent types of driver negligence in our society include distracted driving, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and speeding.
Distracted driving is now the leading cause of car accidents in the United States, largely due to the technology takeover. Nearly everywhere you go, you can see motorists with their heads tilted downward, looking at their phones, whether texting, checking their GPS, or otherwise. In other cases, distracted drivers will cause accidents while applying makeup, or even eating a meal while behind the wheel. The bottom line–all distracted driving is dangerous, and if you have been injured because of it, you most likely qualify for financial compensation.
Speeding is the second most common cause of car accidents in the U.S. Though we understand that in today’s day and age, everyone’s in a rush, the truth is, speeding is still considered negligent driving behavior. If you were injured because a speeding driver rear-ended you because he/she was going too fast to stop, the law will almost always recognize that driver at fault for your injuries.
Perhaps the most blatantly careless form of driver negligence is drinking and driving. Everybody knows just how dangerous–and not to mention–illegal it is, however, people still do it, in Florida and across the United States. Needless to say, if you have been injured by a drunk driver, you stand a very good chance of recovering financial compensation for your injuries–however, you will still need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. Fortunately, you’ve just found him–Attorney Thomas P. Schmitt is on your side.
To learn more about drunk driving injuries, click the video below.
There are various other common types of driver negligence, such as driving while fatigued, which frequently causes truck accidents, as truckers are often overworked and driving after dark. No matter the cause of your accident, if you have been injured due to negligence of any kind, you may qualify for significant compensation.
What should I do if I am injured in a car accident?
Car accidents can easily rattle a person, putting them in a state of shock. However, if you have a plan in place, you can make the best of the moments before you receive medical care to help maximize your chances of winning a personal injury claim in the future. After an accident, as long as you are physically capable, ensure you do the following:
- Call 911. This ensures both local law enforcement and an ambulance will shortly arrive at the scene to document the incident and treat any injuries you may have.
- As you wait for the ambulance to arrive, calmly and respectfully take pictures of the scene of the accident and ask the driver for their insurance information.
- Next, ask any witnesses for their contact information so they may corroborate your story in the future.
- After receiving medical treatment at the hospital, ask your physician for all documentation relating to your injuries’ origin and extent. You may use this information to further prove your personal injury claim.
- Contact Attorney Thomas P. Schmitt so he can obtain and assemble evidence on your behalf to prove your personal injury claim.
To learn more about car accidents in Florida, click the video below.
How long will I have to sue for an injury in Florida?
In Florida, the statute of limitations for car accidents, is, generally, four years, which means the wrongly injured in Florida generally have four years from the date of their accident to take legal action against the negligent motorist. However, if you do not file within the four-year window, you will most likely be barred from suing. Do not let this happen. Attorney Schmitt is ready to begin the claims process on your behalf–all you have to do is ask.
If the driver is my friend, will I have to sue them directly?
Let’s say you were the passenger in your friend’s car when suddenly, he crashes and you sustain an injury. It’s a tough situation, as nobody wants to sue their friends, especially for an accident. However, this does not change the fact that you still require financial compensation to help you rehabilitate from your injuries. Fortunately, the truth is, as an injured passenger, you can sue the driver’s insurance company, instead of the driver himself. This means that in most cases, you can win the compensation you need without costing your friend a dime.
Can I sue Uber or Lyft for a car accident?
Despite Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing services gaining popularity in recent years, they are not accident-immune. If you’ve been injured in an Uber/Lyft accident, you most likely now require financial compensation. Fortunately, Uber and Lyft provide wrongly injured riders with liability coverage. Their liability coverage is broken down into 4 “periods.” They are as follows:
- Period 0: Period 0 is when the Uber/Lyft driver is not logged into the rideshare app and gets into an accident. In this case, the ridesharing app will not provide coverage.
- Period 1: This is when the driver is logged in but has not accepted a ride at the time of the accident. When this happens, the company will provide up to $50,000 per person in liability coverage, $100,000 total injury liability per accident, and $25,000 property damage liability.
- Period 2: Period 2 is when a driver accepts a trip and crashes while en route to the passenger’s location. Here, the liability coverage will increase to $1 million.
- Period 3: If the driver crashes while the passenger is in the rideshare car, liability coverage is up to $1 million, as well as limited coverage for any damage to the driver’s car and the uninsured motorists’ coverage.
To learn more about what to do after an Uber or Lyft accident, click the video below.
What are Florida’s dram shop laws?
Few things show more of a reckless disregard for others than operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is why if you have been injured by a drunk driver, you will almost certainly have a valid lawsuit against him. However, in many cases, you may seek additional compensation in a third-party lawsuit, thanks to Florida’s dram shop law.
Essentially, Florida’s dram shop law prohibits vendors (bars, restaurants, or other establishments) from serving alcohol to minors or “habitually addicted” people. So, let’s say, for example, a bar knowingly sells a minor a drink and afterward, that minor gets in his car, pulls away, and crashes into your car. In this case, you may sue both the driver and the establishment that negligently served him alcohol. Attorney Thomas P. Schmitt of the Florida Personal Injury Law Team has helped countless individuals harmed by drunk driving, and he is ready to do the same for you.
Does Florida offer PIP?
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a type of “no-fault” insurance designed to provide motorists limited coverage for their medical bills and lost wages after an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. In Florida, motorists are required to have at least $10,000 in PIP insurance, which will cover 80 percent of your medical bills, 60 percent of your lost wages, and $5,000 in death benefits. However, if you do not receive medical treatment within 14 days of your accident, you will no longer be allowed to use PIP. That being said, when your injury extends past PIP coverage, you may have to file a lawsuit to win full compensation.
To learn more about PIP in Florida, click the video below.
Can I still sue someone for an accident that was partially my fault?
Car accidents in Florida follow “pure comparative fault.” This law states that in many cases, even if you are partially to blame for a collision, you may still recover partial–yet proportionate–compensation. So, for example, if the court determines you are 40% responsible for a car accident, you may still recover financial compensation, however, it will be 40% less than the maximum recovery.
Click the video below to learn more.
Can I sue a driver who does not have insurance?
People often wonder what to do if an uninsured motorist hits them. Fortunately, this is what uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage is for. Essentially, if an uninsured motorist injured you, you can file a claim against your own insurance policy to receive the financial compensation you need to get back on your feet again. However, before proceeding, you should speak with Attorney Schmitt to learn more about how he can help maximize your recovery in an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.
How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?
The answer to this question varies, and it depends largely upon whether we can settle your claim before going to trial. Many clients are relieved to know that we settle most of our cases outside of the courtroom setting, winning you the compensation you deserve without ever having to go to court. However, if our firm determines the ultimate payout will most likely be far greater by taking your case to trial, your case can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. No matter your case, you can rest assured that our firm will offer you quality legal advice, have your best interests at heart, and will never proceed without your explicit permission to do so.
What should I bring to my initial consultation with a Florida personal injury attorney?
Many clients are nervous about their first meeting with an attorney. We are here to put you at ease and assure you that no matter your situation, we are ready to fight for your rights. That being said, to maximize the productivity of our initial consultation, we ask you to bring the following documents/evidence with you, if at all possible:
- Pictures/videos of the accident: Regardless of whether you were in an auto accident, a slip-and-fall accident, or otherwise, it is always best to take pictures or videos of the scene of the accident. Additionally, if you were injured in a car crash, our firm can work to subpoena any security camera footage that may have captured the accident on film.
- Any correspondence with the negligent motorist or their insurance company: If the other party or their insurance company contacts you in any way, you must document the correspondence and let us know. This information can be used to win you the compensation you need.
- Your insurance policy: Our firm can assess your policy to take note of what your insurance does and does not cover.
- Witness contact information: As stated earlier in this guide, you should always ask witnesses for their contact information. This can include emails, business cards, or phone numbers. Witness testimony is among the most valuable types of evidence.
- Police reports and medical documents: Both police reports and medical bills/documents serve as official documentation that can help identify the cause of your accident, as well as the extent/total cost of your injuries.
Though all this information is incredibly useful, you should also keep in mind that every accident and every personal injury claim is different. In some cases, your attorney may determine that additional information or evidence is necessary for proving your claim. If this happens, you can rest easy knowing that Attorney Schmitt will leave no stone unturned.
No matter the type of auto accident you were in, we can help. Through the years, our firm has handled hundreds of cases dealing with car accidents, mass transit accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more. The bottom line–if you’ve been wrongly injured, you know where to turn–Florida PI.
Contact our experienced Florida firm
Thomas P. Schmitt and the Florida Personal Injury Law Team has proudly served the wrongly injured in Orlando, Florida for years, which is why we know we have the skill and experience needed to win you the compensation you deserve. If you are someone who has been injured in a car accident due to another party’s negligence, the most important thing you can do is put our 50 years of combined experience to work for you. Our firm will handle the claims process so you can focus solely on what matters most to you: healing. Contact Attorney Schmitt of the Florida Personal Injury Law Team today to learn more about how we can help you.