When you are involved in a car accident, the collision may only last a few seconds but the consequences can last for weeks, months, or even the rest of your life. This stressful situation can be made worse if you don't have the right information about what to expect from the other parties involved or your options. By knowing some common misconceptions about motor vehicle accidents, you can avoid being misinformed during an already challenging time.
If you do not appear to be injured at the scene, you can’t recover damages for related injuries later
It is not uncommon for car accident victims to walk away from the scene with few or no apparent injuries only to find out days, weeks, or even years later that they have sustained serious damage. Even if you seem fine, you should see a doctor after any car accident. You should also seek medical treatment for subsequent pain which may be connected to the crash. Although the damage may have manifested after the accident it may still be part of your legal claim.
Because Florida is a "no-fault" state, I can't sue the other driver for negligence
While it is true that Florida is a "no-fault" state this does not always prohibit one driver from filing a negligence action against the other. In Florida, all drivers must carry “PIP” or personal injury protection which is intended to cover the driver's damages regardless of fault. Consequently, you may not always be able to seek damages from the other driver after an accident. However, Florida law allows an injured party who has sustained certain significant or permanent injuries during an auto accident to seek damages from the other driver.
You have to provide a formal statement to the insurance company
When the other driver’s insurance company contacts you the person on the other end of the line is not looking out for your best interest. The insurance representative may try to limit the company’s liability by getting you to make damaging statements. While they may give you the impression you have to give them a detailed account of the accident and your injuries, this is not the case. When speaking with the other driver’s insurance representative, you should keep your statement limited to the basic facts such as the date, location, and time of the accident.
If you were at fault in any way, you cannot file a claim.
Florida is a “pure comparative negligence” state, which means that you may be able to recover damages after a car accident even if you are partly responsible. Under this approach, your recovery will be limited by the percentage amount of your negligence. For instance, if you are suing another driver for negligence and it is determined that you were 60% at fault for the accident, your damages would be decreased by 60% allowing for a total recovery of 40%.
Car accident cases are simple, so you don't need an attorney
Automobile accident cases can be incredibly complicated. Often it will take experts and several pieces of information to establish what happened and the damages. Once this critical evidence is gathered, it must be presented in the right way to prove fault and request the proper amount of compensation. These are not tasks which the average person is equipped to handle. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the laws, procedures, and rules as well as what steps to take to protect your interest and get you the compensation you deserve.
At the Draper Law Firm, we have over 30 years of experience representing our clients in motor vehicle accident cases and are ready to fight for you. To learn more, contact us today online or call (866) 767-4711. We proudly serve the greater Central Florida area with offices located in Kissimmee, Orlando, and St. Cloud.