Dealing with a car accident can be a confusing time, especially if serious injuries are involved. Even if it has happened to you before, you may have many questions about what you should do next in order to protect your rights and obtain the compensation you are entitled to receive.
To help you get a better general understanding of the issues that may be involved in your case, Orlando car accident attorney, Frank M. Eidson, P.A., provides answers to the following frequently asked questions.
You should also contact attorney Frank M. Eidson to discuss the specific facts of your auto accident case in a free consultation. His firm serves clients throughout Winter Park, Orlando and surrounding areas in Central Florida. He will take the time to thoroughly review your auto accident, answer your questions and give you the personalized attention you deserve.
Car Accident FAQs
What are the first steps I should take after getting into a car accident?
The first thing to do after a car accident is to get medical care for anyone who needs it. Then, you should contact police and your insurance company. The next steps you should take will help you to protect your rights to compensation for your losses.
If you can, you should document the accident with photos. Get pictures of vehicles, their damage, crash debris and any physical features of the roadway that may have contributed to the crash. Get contact information for any witnesses and from the other driver.
Make sure the law enforcement officer who responds to your accident records your insurance information completely and accurately.
If you don’t need emergency medical care, you should still see a doctor within 24 hours. Some serious injuries do not cause symptoms until a day or so later. Seeing a doctor also ensures the required documentation of your injuries if you pursue a claim.
Do not sign anything offered by an insurance company. You could be forfeiting your right to compensation. You should contact an attorney experienced with Florida car accidents for advice right away.
For more information, see our page on What To Do After a Car Accident.
I was in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault. I have been told that means their insurance, not mine, should pay for my injuries. Is this true?
In Florida, your auto insurance should pay for your initial medical bills after a car crash. But after your policy’s coverage limits are exhausted, you may have to turn to the other driver’s insurance.
Florida drivers are required to buy personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, which is also known as no-fault insurance. It pays the policyholder, regardless of fault, up to the limits of the policy’s coverage.
You should have a minimum of $10,000 PIP, as well as $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
Your PIP covers you, your children, members of your household and your passengers who do not have their own PIP coverage. PIP also covers you if you are hurt in someone else’s vehicle, or if you are a pedestrian or bicyclist involved in a car accident. Your PIP also covers your child if he or she is injured while riding on a school bus.
But $10,000 of PIP coverage will not go far if there are serious injuries in a car accident. A lawsuit can seek additional compensation through insurance held by the driver who caused the accident.
In such a lawsuit, Florida employs a principle known as “pure comparative fault.” These laws are complex. Essentially, a percentage of fault is assigned to each party according to the evidence provided. Any compensation you are awarded is reduced by the percentage of responsibility for the accident that is assigned to you.
You will need an experienced car accident lawyer to help you file a personal injury lawsuit and to mitigate any responsibility you may have for the accident.
Please see our page on Insurance Claims Do’s and Don’ts to learn more.
My car was hit by someone who said their vehicle was a “company car.” Can I hold that driver or that company liable for the damage to my car and my injuries?
Yes. The driver and their employer may both be held liable if the driver was on the job when the accident occurred.
An employer is considered a third party indirectly responsible for the actions of an employee who is working on their behalf. This includes an employee driving a car as part of their job duties.
The employer might be considered directly liable if they acted negligently. For instance, if the employee was a delivery driver who had a history of drunk driving arrests and was intoxicated at the time of your accident, the employer may have been negligent in hiring the driver.
Our investigation of a potential drunk driving or distracted driving crash would help us determine the extent of liability that might attach to the driver’s employer.
My wife was killed in a car accident caused by the other driver. Can I sue that driver?
Yes. You can seek compensation for your losses much as you would for an accident that caused serious injury.
In a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, a spouse may seek compensation for loss of companionship and protection in addition to restitution for medical bills, property damage, future lost income and burial and funeral expenses.
The court could also order punitive damages if the defendant’s intentional, reckless or grossly negligent actions caused your wife’s wrongful death.
To learn more about the considerations that go into pursuing a personal injury claim after a car accident, please see our page on, Do I Have a Case?
Is there a deadline for filing a lawsuit after a car accident in Florida?
Yes, Florida has a statute of limitations for lawsuits involving car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash through no fault of your own, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure it is not too late to file a claim.
Under Florida law, you generally have four years from the date of the auto accident to file a personal injury lawsuit or two years to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In some circumstances, these time limits are extended.
The deadline for filing a lawsuit is usually based on the date of the accident (or date of death). However, if an injury sustained in the accident is not discovered until later, the four years would begin as of the date of diagnosis. If an accident victim was a minor at the time of the crash, their age can also extend the time in which a claim must be filed.
In claims against government agencies in Florida, a separate law requires personal injury claims to be filed within four years and for notice to be given to the agency within a specific time period.
Personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits can be complex. It takes time to investigate and prepare a car accident case before a claim can be filed.
Evidence must be carefully collected and analyzed, including accident scene photos, the vehicles, black box data, cell phone records, toxicology tests and driver records. Witnesses must be interviewed, and accident reconstruction experts often must be consulted. Insurance policies must be examined as well to determine the amount of coverage available.
Additionally, in order to determine the full extent of a victim’s injuries, medical records must be obtained and reviewed by qualified medical experts. These experts will need time to forecast any future medical care a victim may require.
To learn more, please our pages on personal injury and wrongful death.
To ensure the statute of limitations does not bar you from seeking compensation you deserve, you should contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident.
At Frank M. Eidson, P.A., our initial consultation is free. When we meet, we can advise you about the steps that we will need to take to prepare your case for a pre-lawsuit settlement or filing of a claim. Simply contact us today to get started.
How can a lawyer help me after a car accident?
An experienced car accident attorney can investigate your case, deal with insurance companies on your behalf and pursue compensation that you need to carry on with your life.
When you hire a lawyer, you will have a dedicated professional handling all of the legal issues surrounding your crash, injuries and recovery.
First, your attorney will thoroughly investigate your accident to uncover why it happened and who should be held responsible for it. As your case moves forward, the attorney will ensure that all of your losses, including future medical expenses and income losses, are calculated and included in what is sought for you.
Second, the attorney will take the burden of dealing with insurance companies from your shoulders so you can deal with your recovery free of that distraction. The lawyer will establish the most solid case possible and use that information to negotiate with the insurance company for a settlement that justly compensates you. If the insurance company fails to make a reasonable settlement offer, your attorney can go to battle for you in court.
Finally, when your case is resolved, your lawyer can make sure that any liens on your recovery that are asserted by health insurers, workers’ compensation insurers or others are properly handled.
Attorney Frank M. Eidson takes pride in being a hands-on attorney. From the beginning of your case to the end, he will give your case the close, personal attention it deserves. To learn more, please see our Firm Profile as well Testimonials of clients we have served in Winter Park, Orlando and throughout Florida.
It all starts by providing you with a free legal consultation that comes with no strings attached.
Our firm is ready to go to work for you. Contact us today