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Hiring a Car Accident Attorney in Florida

You may have many questions when you are involved in a car wreck, we are here to help! We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions by car accident victims in the state of Florida.

How common are car accidents in Florida?

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are around 1,050 accidents per day in Florida, resulting in an average of 668 injuries and 9 deaths.

A 2018 study by Uplift Legal Funding, a lawsuit funding company, found that Florida is the third-most dangerous state to drive in in terms of fatal crashes.

How much do car accident lawyers charge in Florida?

Most car accident lawyers in Florida work on a contingency fee basis, meaning that they do not charge anything upfront and never until a case reaches a settlement offer or verdict.

This allows people to access the legal team and services that they need and deserve, regardless of their financial or income situation.

Do I need a lawyer for a car accident in Florida?

You are not required to hire a lawyer for a car accident case in Florida, however, you may find yourself much more comfortable having an experienced lawyer at your side.

In addition to feeling more comfortable, people who work with experienced attorneys often receive higher settlements and faster settlements.

How much is the average accident settlement in Florida?

The average accident settlement in Florida and around the United States is between $20,000 and $25,000.

This number can be much higher or much lower, however, depending on the circumstances of each case including the type of insurance coverage the victim has and how extensive their injuries are.

How long does a car accident settlement take in Florida?

There is no set length of time that a car accident case will take in Florida — they can take several weeks, several months, and even several years.

How long your car wreck case takes depends on several factors, such as the complexity of your case, the extent of your injuries, and how willing each party is to cooperate and reach a settlement.

A car accident in Florida can leave you with heavy damages and injuries, both physical and mental, and can also leave you without transportation or even, in the worst case scenario, experiencing the loss of a loved one.

In addition to the trauma and pain and suffering you might experience in a car accident, you could also be left with medical expenses that you are in no position to cover, especially if you have been unable to work.

A Florida car accident lawyer can help you take legal action after an accident, and file a claim or lawsuit to collect compensation for your injuries.

Contact LegalFinders today if you are located in Florida and looking for an auto accident attorney that is offering free initial consultations.

Florida Car Accident Lawyers

Who Needs a Florida Car Accident Lawyer?

No one is required to hire a personal injury lawyer when filing a car accident claim or lawsuit in Florida, but you still may need one to feel comfortable and confident throughout the legal process.

You may need a Florida auto accident lawyer if:

  • The accident you were in involved serious injuries or fatalities
  • Any of the parties involved in your accident were uninsured at the time of the accident
  • There is a dispute over fault in your accident
  • Your case is complex and you have no legal experience or knowledge
  • You do not know what your next steps are or where to start

 

Florida Car Accident Statistics

According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there are approximately 1,000 car accidents in Florida every day.

This results in around 200,000 injuries and 3,000 accident-related fatalities in Florida every year.

Most Dangerous Highways in Florida

Florida is the third-most densely populated state in the country, and thus faces high traffic density, particularly during seasonal months with high levels of tourism.

Add to this a high prevalence of uninsured drivers and frequently harsh weather and road conditions, and it is easy to understand what makes Florida roads so dangerous.

Most dangerous highways in Florida include:

  • US Route 1 — The longest north-south highway in the U.S., drivers on this highway are subject to distraction, fatigue, and a higher frequency of drunk drivers.
  • US-19 — This highway is one of the busiest and most congested in the state, with speed limits and road widths that vary and change frequently.
  • US-41 — This highway, also known as Tamiami trail, runs east-west across Southern Florida and directly through the Florida Everglades.
  • Interstate 95 — This highway has the highest number of fatal crashes involving either drunk driving or rain and snow in the entire U.S.
  • Interstate 4 — This highway has an average of 1.25 fatal car wrecks for every mile, and has even been nicknamed the “Haunted Highway”.

Top Florida Areas for Speeding Citations

Speeding is common in Florida and tends to be most common around major cities, but can occur in less populated areas as well.

Top areas for speeding citations in Florida include:

  • Jacksonville
  • Tallahassee
  • Tampa
  • Miami
  • Gainesville
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • West Palm Beach

 

Legal Options After a Car Crash in Florida

After you have had a car accident in Florida, you may be wondering about your legal options and next steps.

You generally have two options after a car accident, to file a personal injury claim or to file a car accident lawsuit.

Personal Injury Claims

Most people start by filing personal injury claims as a way of seeking financial compensation. Because Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, people must first file with their own insurance company before filing against the at-fault party.

After someone has filed with their own insurance, they can file with the at-fault driver’s insurance in order to collect additional damages or those not covered by their auto insurance policy or Florida personal injury protection (PIP).

Car Accident Lawsuits

If your personal injury claim is denied or both parties are not able to agree upon fair compensation, you have the option to file a vehicle accident lawsuit.

Over 95% of claims do reach settlements before ever needing to go to court, so these instances are rare.

 

Why Hire a Lawyer for a Florida Car Accident Claim?

It can be highly beneficial to work with a personal injury attorney after you have been in a car accident in Florida, even though it is not a requirement to do so.

Reasons to hire a lawyer for a Florida car accident claim include:

  • Your case is complex and you have no legal experience
  • You or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in your accident
  • The at-fault driver in your accident had no insurance at the time of the accident
  • You do not feel comfortable or confident representing yourself in court
  • You are unsure who the at-fault driver was in your accident

 

What Does a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Do?

Florida car accident lawyers provide a variety of important services to clients to help make the legal process smooth and comfortable for them.

Determine Whether You Have a Valid Car Accident Case

Not everyone who is in a car accident is eligible for a car accident claim or lawsuit, as there are many factors which affect eligibility.

Most lawyers will have you start with a free case review to help you determine whether you are eligible for a claim.

Find Possible Car Accident Causes

Even if you are sure you know what caused your accident, there may have been possibilities that you have not considered but that your attorney may be aware of.

Identifying other potential causes for your accident may help to build a stronger case and to earn you a higher settlement.

Identify Fault for the Accident

Even though Florida is a no-fault state for auto insurance, it is still important to determine who the at-fault driver was, because no-fault rules only affect injury damages, not property damages.

Your car accident lawyer can help determine who is at fault for your accident, as well as percentages of fault for each party.

Work to Prove Negligence

Negligence occurs when a driver’s careless or thoughtless actions result in an accident which could have been prevented if the negligent driver had acted responsibly and appropriately.

In some cases, a driver may be found responsible, or at fault for an accident, but not negligible for the accident, and therefore not liable for damages.

Assess Your Injury Medical Records

Your car accident attorney will take a thorough look through your medical records, partly to look for evidence but also to take a tally of potential damages to list in your claim.

Common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash
  • Disfigurement
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Limb loss
  • Spinal injury
  • Death

File Your Car Accident Claim

In Florida, your car accident claim must be filed within four years of the date of your car accident, according to the statute of limitations.

If you do not file within this important deadline, you will likely miss the opportunity to take legal action for your care.

Negotiate a Car Accident Settlement

In order for a settlement to be reached, both parties have to agree to an award amount. This can involve a lot of back-and-forth communication.

Your lawyer will take part in these communications on your behalf, helping to secure you the highest accident settlement amount possible.

Defend Your Car Accident Lawsuit in Court

The vast majority of car accident claims settle outside of court, but in rare instances you may find yourself in a courtroom before a judge and jury.

In these instances, you will want a strong, confident, and experienced car accident lawyer to stand for you and serve as your legal representation in court.

What Types of Cases Do Florida Car Accident Lawyers Handle?

While every car accident is unique, they can usually be fit into a small number of general categories, each with the potential to range from minor to extremely serious.

Types of car accident cases that lawyers handle include:

 

What to Do Before You Call a Florida Car Accident Attorney

There are a few steps that you can take before you contact a car accident attorney and while you are still at the scene of the accident, or shortly after.

1. Report the Car Accident

In Florida, you are legally required to call 911 and remain at the scene of an accident if it involved:

  • Fatalities
  • Serious injuries
  • A drunk driver
  • A hit and run
  • A commercial motor vehicle
  • A crash that requires towing or a wrecker to remove any of the vehicles involved
  • Property damage that appears to be worth at least $500.

In these instances, crash reports must be submitted by a law enforcement officer. In very minor accidents, people may be eligible to self-report their accident.

2. Seek Medical Treatment

Seeking medical care is extremely important, both for your well-being and as a means of obtaining evidence of your injuries and related costs.

Even if your injuries seem minor, or you feel no injuries at the scene of the accident, it can still be a good idea to be evaluated and receive medical attention just in case.

3. Collect Evidence from the Scene of the Crash

If no one involved in the accident is seriously injured, this can be a good opportunity to gather information that might be important later on.

Important evidence from the accident scene can include:

  • Photos of the vehicles and environment
  • Videos
  • Notes on weather and road conditions
  • A copy of the accident report or police report

4. Get Information from the At-Fault Driver

Try to speak with the at-fault driver and obtain certain information from them while still at the scene. This may not always be possible, especially if the at-fault driver is uncooperative.

Items to collect from the at-fault driver include:

  • Contact information
  • Insurance information
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number

5. Gather Witness Statements

If there were witnesses to your accident, either as bystanders or passengers in either vehicle, it can be a good idea to speak with them and get their account of what happened.

In addition to collecting statements from witnesses, record your own witness statement as soon as possible so you do not forget the details of the accident.

 

Top Benefits of Florida Car Accident Lawyers

There are many potential benefits to consider if you are thinking about hiring a Florida attorney for your recent car accident case.

Collision Damages Assessment

No matter how minor or major your accident may be or seem, it can be in your benefit to have your collision damages assessed professionally through a personal injury law firm.

Having your collision damages assessed by your law team can ensure that no damages are missed and that you receive maximum compensation.

Access to Expert Witnesses

Depending on the circumstances of your accident and case, you may benefit from having expert witnesses to provide testimony for your support.

A good car accident law firm will usually have established relationships with experts from various areas whom they can call on for information or testimony.

Thorough Discovery Process

Discovery is an important pre-trial process that involves the obtaining and presenting of evidence from both sides.

Thorough discovery often allows negotiations to proceed more smoothly and can prevent many cases from having to go to trial.

Handling the Insurance Companies

Insurance companies may act in bad faith and attempt to get out of paying you, especially if you are representing yourself and don’t have a complete understanding of your legal rights or the claims process.

By working with a lawyer, you can ensure that you are never taken advantage of by the opposing party or their insurance company.

In-depth Knowledge of Florida Car Accident Law

The average person does not necessarily have knowledge about the car accident laws in their state, but an experienced car accident attorney will have extensive knowledge of these laws and rules.

Relevant Florida car accident laws include:

  • Statute of limitations — In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is four years, meaning you have four years from the date of the accident to take legal action.
  • Fault insurance laws — Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, which requires motorists to file claims with their own insurance companies before filing one against the other driver’s insurance company, and only after certain thresholds are met.
  • Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule — With this type of negligence rule, the plaintiff can recover damages from the defendant based on their individual percentages of fault, even if the plaintiff holds the majority of fault.

Real-Time Knowledge About Your Case

A good car accident lawyer will keep you continuously updated and in-the-know regarding the details of your case.

This way, you always have a clear and thorough understanding of each stage your case is in, and where your case will be heading next.

Improved Car Accident Settlement Outcomes

People who work with car accident attorneys for their claims or lawsuits often find themselves with better overall outcomes as well as higher settlement award amounts.

It is also possible that your case may settle faster with the help of an attorney, because negotiations and other legal communications will be much smoother.

 

Tips for Choosing a Quality Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Who you choose to represent you during a car accident claim or lawsuit is a very important decision and can affect the entire outcome of your case.

Tips for choosing a quality Florida car accident lawyer include:

  1. Look for a law firm that is reputable and which has a national presence.
  2. Choose a lawyer who has decades of experience in Florida law and car accident cases and who has experience in handling cases similar to yours.
  3. Ask about past settlements and the rate of their cases which end up in court.
  4. Take advantage of free consultations from multiple law firms, so you have a few law firms to choose from when deciding who to hire.

 

Cost of Florida Car Accident Lawyers

While it is possible to find car accident lawyers in Florida who charge hourly fees, most attorneys in this practice area work on a contingency fee basis.

In this case, clients only pay their lawyer after their case has reached a settlement or verdict. Once that happens, the lawyer will receive a percentage of the award, usually around 33%.

 

LegalFinders Can Connect You With Experienced Car Accident Law Firms

If you have been suffering after a car accident in Florida and have been left with additional medical bills and expenses that you cannot afford or justify, you may be eligible for a car accident claim or lawsuit.

At LegalFinders, we would love to hear your story and provide legal assistance in any way we can, starting with a free case evaluation to determine your eligibility with no financial risks.

You and your family deserve justice and compensation for your injuries and other damages. Contact us today to be connected with a top-quality law firm serving car accident victims near you.

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Published: 12 December 2021

ARTICLE SOURCES

Click Orlando. “Here’s where Florida ranked on the list of most dangerous states for driving.” Retrieved from: https://www.clickorlando.com/news/national/2020/11/18/heres-where-florida-ranked-on-the-list-of-most-dangerous-states-for-driving/.

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Traffic Crash Facts.” Retrieved from: https://flhsmv.gov/pdf/crashreports/crash_facts_2020.pdf

Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Traffic Crash Reports.” Retrieved from: https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/#Report%20A%20Crash.

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