There are some critical steps that you and your family should take in deciding whether to file an auto accident lawsuit. These actions will help to ensure that your Florida personal injury attorney is prepared and has as much information as possible in working on your behalf.
Let’s look at these important actions:
Documenting everything you can about your accident will help with the success of your case. This means gathering everything possible about your automobile accident. If you’re able, take photos at the scene, including pictures on the crash site and debris from the collision, any skid marks, as well as other visual evidence of the crash. Take a shot of the traffic signal or stop sign at the intersection. Also, take pictures of any injuries that you may have suffered.
In addition to getting the contact and insurance information from the other driver(s), see if there were bystanders who may have witnessed the accident, such as pedestrians or drivers of other vehicles. They may be able to give a statement or testify at trial on your behalf.
Get a copy of any police accident reports (and make sure you have the name of the responding officer), medical records, and your auto repair bills, as well as your employment records that evidence the amount of pay you lost from missing work due to your injuries from the auto accident.
Remember that you must prove your case that the defendant(s) are at fault for causing the accident and your injuries. To accomplish that, you must show four things:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care, such as obeying traffic signals and driving with reasonable care;
- The other driver breached her duty of care, for example by running a red light or making an illegal lane change;
- That breach caused an accident, such as the other driver running a red light caused her to collide with your vehicle; and
- The accident caused your injuries, whether that’s a dislocated shoulder, broken ribs, or a knee fracture.
As you can see, to prove these four elements, you need to have proof, and that proof comes in the form of the photos, records, and reports you’ve collected in your case. With this information in hand, you’re ready to speak to a personal injury attorney.
Meeting with an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney
It’s important that you partner with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney, like the attorneys at Trentalange & Kelley P.A. Our attorneys will help you with all of the issues to make certain that you have the greatest chance of success in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
You may be undecided about whether to file a lawsuit, but that okay, because your attorney will walk you through the steps that are involved in a personal injury lawsuit for car accident injuries and answer all of your questions.
Your personal injury lawyer will help you understand what’s involved in the process of litigating your claim both with the other drivers and their attorneys, as well as the insurance companies. The personal injury attorneys at Trentalange & Kelley P.A. have the knowledge and backgrounds to give you an idea of how successful you might be and what you might recover in damages.
Another key in your discussions with the attorney is whether you may also be at fault for causing the accident. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that if you’re partially at fault for an accident in which you’re injured, your recovery of damages will be reduced by that percentage. For example, if you’d been drinking or there was evidence that you were tired or distracted, a jury might impose some degree of liability to you in causing your accident. However, as long as you’re less than 51% responsible, your claim can move forward.
Deciding to Sue or Negotiate a Settlement
Our personal injury attorneys will help you weigh your options and give you their best opinion and insight on the success of your case. Of course, nothing can be a guarantee in court with a jury, and in many cases, in light of the long hours and stress of a trial, negotiating a settlement may be the best choice.
Another factor in the decision-making process is to determine whether the other driver has sufficient insurance and high enough policy limits to cover your injuries. Florida is a “No-Fault” insurance state, which means that every driver is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver may incurred in an accident, regardless of who is found to be responsible.
In Florida, an accident victim may opt to file a claim with their own insurer or with the other driver’s insurer. The victim can also sue the other driver to prove fault to decide who is responsible and must pay the costs of the accident.
You and your attorney will most likely make a claim with the other party’s insurance company and try to negotiate a settlement. If the offer is too low, and the insurance company won’t cover all your expenses, the next option may be to bring a lawsuit against the other driver.
If the other driver doesn’t have insurance, you can attempt to sue them personally. However, if the driver doesn’t have auto insurance, he may not have much money to pay you if you sue.
You can also make a claim with your own insurance company under your uninsured motorist benefits. Uninsured motorist benefits can’t exceed the amount of your primary coverage, and many people buy the minimum coverage in this area.
You can see the importance of an experienced personal injury attorney, and you should speak to an attorney at Trentalange & Kelley P.A
Our lawyers can advise you on the pros and cons of filing suit or seeking a settlement based on the specifics of your case.
If you or a family member is injured in an auto accident, speak with an experienced Florida personal injury attorney at Trentalange & Kelley P.A. in Tampa, Florida. We’ll help you with all of the issues to make certain that you’re successful in obtaining the compensation you deserve and your legal rights are protected.
Call 813-226-1080 for a free consultation.
Contact TK Law today!