Car Accident Lawyer in Winter Park, FL
Legal claims involving car accidents can be extremely complicated since no two lawsuits and no two car crashes are the same. It is important when filing a claim that victims have some knowledge of Florida law that concerns auto accidents. Researching the current laws in Florida can help victims understand their rights.
If victims know that their accident was due to another person’s negligence while driving, they should act quickly to file their claim. Time is very important when it comes to these cases because all states have a deadline or a statute of limitations.
Florida’s Statute of Limitations and Car Accident Claims
The Statute of Limitations is a deadline set for the window of time the victim can file their lawsuit in civil court. Under Florida’s statute of limitations for cases that involve injuries, car crash victims have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If individuals fail to file claims during this time, the court will usually refuse to hear them. There are rare cases where auto accident victims discover that they suffered harm from an accident only years later. In those cases, victims receive extensions for the time window for filing these lawsuits in Florida, if the court agrees.
Understanding Legal Options after Having a Car Accident
Accident victims who are injured by another individual’s negligence should be aware of their rights and responsibilities when filing a lawsuit. In order to receive fair compensation for an accident or injury in Florida, victims must show evidence that the other person (the defendant) was involved. Failure to present evidence of negligence can result in victims, (plaintiffs) not receiving payment to cover their medical bills or lost wages.
Specific Florida Laws for Auto Accident Cases
If victims were involved in automobile accidents, the circumstances could be different from the laws in other states. Florida is a no-fault state, which means both drivers’ insurance will pay for all injuries and damages, no matter who was at fault. According to state law, every Florida driver must carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage at a minimum of $10,000 per person. This coverage must also cover property damage.
Victims have the right to file a lawsuit following a car accident if their injuries are serious. Florida law defines a serious injury as:
- Significant or permanent loss of necessary bodily functions
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, aside from disfigurement or scarring
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Car accident victims who experience these serious injuries should consult a car accident lawyer who specializes in Florida’s complex laws governing car wrecks that result in these kinds of severe medical issues.
Comparative Negligence Law and Car Accident Law in Winter Park, FL
In cases where the victim is partiallybenefit amount lowers. This is because of Florida’s comparative negligence law. It states that if the injured person is partially responsible for the incident that caused their injury, such as more than ten but less than 25 percent at fault, they may only collect up to $200,000. If the defendant is between 26 and 50 percent at fault, the most that the plaintiff may collect is $500,000. If the defendant is more than 50 percent at fault, and the plaintiff is also partially to blame, the most they can collect in compensation is $1 million.
The Importance of Evidence for Auto Accident Legal Claims
The most important thing that victims can have to strengthen their cases is plenty of evidence. For plaintiffs with auto accident injury claims, some forms of evidence may include:
- Testimonies from doctors who examined the car crash victim and diagnosed the victim’s injuries.
- The car wreck victim’s journal that details what happened during the accident.
- Proof that a medical professional saw the victim within a reasonable amount of time following the accident.
These forms of proof can provide your car accident lawyer with the evidence they need to represent you effectively.
There are times when evidence can hurt victims’ claims, such as not getting medical assistance immediately following the accident or seeing a doctor who could overtreat them for their injuries. The latter could happen because the health care provider knows that there is a potential claim at hand. Providers might attempt to order additional, unnecessary tests to run up the medical bill. Needless expenses like these could bring victims larger settlement offers or compensation amounts, yet these uncalled-for tests can also backfire. Therefore, car accident victims should avoid physicians who perform these dishonest practices. If the insurance companies recommend medical professionals, plaintiffs should attempt to see these providers first before seeing their own doctors.
Insurance Company Settlements
nt where someone becomes injured in an automobile accident, he or she is likely to receive a call from the defendant’s insurance company. An insurance adjuster makes an offer to settle their case, and while it may seem to be a generous offer, it is important to speak with a lawyer before accepting it.
For a car accident victim in Winter Park, F.L., the days following the incident can be overwhelming and stressful. Receiving that phone call from a concerned insurance representative at that time may seem like the best solution to the problem. However, the insurance company does not always have their client’s best interests in mind.
The initial offer that an accident victim receives from an insurance adjuster is always much less than what they would receive by taking legal action. Choosing to accept the insurance company’s first settlement offer is a mistake, and the amount usually will not pay the victim’s expenses. The best thing that anyone seriously injured in a car accident can do is consult with a car accident lawyer and learn about what they consider fair compensation for their injuries would be.
The Legal Claim Process for Car Crash Cases
The law requires filing a legal claim in the same county where the car accident occurred, or where one of the defendants lives. If the value of the injuries or damages is less than $15,000, plaintiffs can file in county court. Circuit courts retain authority over claims valued at more than $15,000. Those who file in county court risk not receiving more than $15,000 in compensation, even if juries decide that plaintiffs should have more than the court limit.
Auto accident victims should keep in mind that all legal claims, even those from car crashes, are subject to Florida’s Statute of Limitations, which mandates a four-year deadline to file cases. Remember that public entities, such as state and county governments and other similar agencies, have shorter limitation periods. If plaintiffs file filing against one of these public agencies, the plaintiffs should find out the filing deadlines as soon as possible to ensure fair compensation.
During court, the judge or jury analyzes the statements from the plaintiff and defendant. If they discover the victim has partial blame, the responsible party will assign the percentage of fault to both the plaintiff and the defendant; then they will distribute the damages according to the results based on Florida’s comparative negligence laws.
The Discovery Process for Car Accident Cases in Winter Park
The discovery process for car accident cases is a pretrial procedure where both parties request evidence such as records, information and other important documents related to the accident. Both plaintiffs and the defendants can request answers to interrogation. The plaintiffs or defendants can either respond to the questions in writing or deny a response if their attorneys disapprove them. The documents often requested during the discovery process can include medical records and bills, lost wages, proof of property damage, any photos taken of the car wreck, police reports from the auto accident scene and of vehicle damages, car insurance policies and any other forms of relatable information.
Plaintiffs may also be deposed during this process, which means that they must answer questions orally under oath, asked by the defendant’s attorneys. The question could be about anything referring to the car accident in Winter Park, Florida. The plaintiffs’ lawyers will accompany their clients to the deposition and advise them throughout the process. Usually, the car crash victims must submit to a medical examination by a doctor of the defendants’ attorneys’ choosing.
During the discovery process, the lawyers can agree to mediation. This involves an uninvolved third-party who helps plaintiffs and defendants come to a resolution without taking claims to court. Mediation can be extremely beneficial in auto accident cases because mediation can help both parties avoid expensive, unnecessary trials.
The Decision to Settle Winter Park Car Accident Legal Claims Outside of Court
In most Florida cases involving injuries, the defendants’ lawyers approach auto accident victims to settle cases outside of court. Defendants’ attorneys offer the car crash victim a settlement amount that might seem generous. However, these settlements are often much less than what the individual could receive if the case went to court.
There are advantages and disadvantages to settling car accident cases outside of the Florida courts. However, injured victims of an accident are advised to always consult with a lawyer before they decide on a settlement offer.
What is a car accident settlement?
Car crash settlements are formal resolutions of legal disputes without a judge’s ruling or a jury’s verdict that awards a victim compensation for injuries and losses. In most cases, defendants offer money to plaintiffs. In exchange, plaintiffs sign a release of the defendants’ liability in the case. Settlements can occur at any time during a civil lawsuit. Sometimes they occur before plaintiffs file lawsuits, if both parties can reach an agreement.
Benefits of Accepting Winter Park, F.L., Car Accident Settlements
Victims receive some benefits if they choose to settle their car crash cases outside of court, such as:
- Car accident settlements can be less stressful. Working with defendants and their lawyers outside of court can be less stressful than enduring trials and the potential appeals that could occur afterward. Plaintiffs and defendant don’t need to speak about the auto accident on the witness stand or face attorneys’ cross-examinations. Both parties can bring in a Winter Park, Florida, mediator who can speak for them and make the entire mediation experience fast and as comfortable as possible.
- Mediation keeps the auto accident case private. Agreeing to a settlement keeps the details of the case out of civil court and reduces public mentions of the case’s details. Anytime a case goes to trial, the court documents become public records that anyone can see, unless the judge decides that the records should remain sealed. When a car crash case settles outside of Florida courts, these details stay out of the court documents and are not available to the public or the media. Many times, a settlement will also include a confidentiality clause.
- Settlements are less expensive than car accident trials. Taking cases to trial involves attorneys, expert witnesses, travel to and from the courthouse and other meetings with attorneys and time. When a case for a Winter Park car wreck settles, these expenses are drastically reduced or eliminated, saving both parties time and money.
- It’s easier to predict a car crash mediation’s outcome. In cases involving automobile accidents and subsequent injuries, it can be difficult to predict the jury’ s verdict or the judge’s decision. However, when victims agree to settle their car wreck injuries cases with the defendants, victims can dictate the terms and help decide what the outcome will be. This kind of mediation eliminates the need for others to make decisions about what fair compensation for injuries should be
- Mediation and settlements finalize cases. When these cases go to court, the losing party has the right to file an appeal. The appeals process can increase the time plaintiffs must wait for their compensation. With a settlement, the losing parties cannot file appeals because the agreement occurs outside the Florida court system.
When Not to Settle Car Accident Cases
There are times when plaintiffs will file lawsuits to make a profound statement about what is right or wrong. They may want to demonstrate that the details of their Winter Park, FL, car crash case pose a danger to others who might have a similar auto accident. Lawsuits that challenge the current laws or question laws and regulations that seem to be unfair can make a positive difference in the Florida judicial system. In these instances, settling the case outside of court would not be the best option.
Also, if both parties cannot come to a fair agreement on a settlement, or they offer an unrealistic settlement for the car accident injuries and losses, resolving the lawsuit outside of Florida’s courts may not be possible. Automobile accident victims should keep in mind that they have the right to disagree with any settlements offered to them and they can choose to take their cases to court, even if the settlement amount seems reasonable.
Making the Final Decision to Settle or Pursue a Car Crash Case
Attorneys assist their clients to make the decision to accept or reject settlement offers. In the attorneys’ role as their clients’ advocates and counselors, they analyze settlements’ details and determine if offers are the best option for their clients. Experienced car accident lawyers look at all aspects of a settlement and find out if the amount will compensate for their client’s losses. Regardless of the lawyers’ recommendations, victims have the right to make the final call on whether they want to accept settlement offers or deny them and pursue their cases in the Florida courts.
When to Contact a Winter Park Car Accident Lawyer
Winter Park car accident victims should contact a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance in filing their claims. Good car accident attorneys will have the experience needed to build a compelling case for the victims and ensure that the plaintiffs will receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses. Law is not for the do-it-yourself enthusiast. Those car crash victims who file claims without a lawyer’s assistance rarely receive the remuneration they deserve for their injuries and losses.
If you have caused a car crash, you need legal representation, too. It is not just the driver and passengers in the other vehicle who can file a claim against you; your own passengers can, too. Always call law enforcement when you have an accident, request a copy of the officer’s car accident report, contact your insurance company to file an insurance claim and fix your automobile and then contact an attorney with car accident legal experience, like those at Farah & Farah.
At Farah & Farah, we have the knowledge and dedication needed to help our auto accident clients get the compensation that they need to resume their Winter Park, Florida, lifestyles. We have faced insurance companies in the past, fought diligently for our clients’ rights to receive benefits and won. We can do the same thing for you. Our skilled legal team has worked on many Florida car accident cases. We have settled multi-million-dollar lawsuits and have won multi-million-dollar verdicts in court.
The car accident attorneys at Farah & Farah have the training and experience to advocate for our clients and get them the compensation for their injuries and losses they sustained from car accidents. We know how difficult it can be to fight against insurance companies, so we specialize in car accident law. We are meticulous about our research and evidence gathering, so our clients know that our cases are solid and our attorneys are top-notch. Defendants’ attorneys know this, too. When you choose Farah & Farah, you know that your legal representation is the best Florida and Winter Park has to offer.
For over 35 years, Farah & Farah has worked with injured clients in Winter Park and the surrounding areas. We encourage all who are injured in a car accident to act quickly and get in contact with us to discuss their cases. Our lawyers receive no payments unless our clients receive the compensation they need.
Contact us here at Farah & Farah today to discuss the details of your car accident case with one of our dedicated lawyers. We offer a FREE CONSULTATION to all new clients. Give us a call today at (321) 274-9202 to learn more.