Car Accidents Frequently Asked Questions

What Happens When You Hire A Lawyer For A Car Accident?

If you are injured in an accident, meeting with an experienced car accident attorney can help you determine your rights and ensure that any claims are handled in a timely and efficient manner. A personal injury action begins with a lawyer drafting a legal document known as a complaint on behalf of the injured party, who will be known as the plaintiff. Generally, the complaint describes what happened, what injuries were sustained, and what damages are being sought. The defendant must then answer or respond to the allegations contained in the complaint in a legal document known, appropriately, as an answer. Next, both sides participate in a process known as discovery, which helps to clarify and flesh out the details of the plaintiff’s claims. During discovery, the lawsuit may be settled for an agreed amount. Or, if not settled, the claims will eventually proceed to a trial, during which the defendant’s liability and responsibility for the plaintiff’s injuries will be determined.

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When Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident?

When involved in a car accident, you will need to evaluate and understand potential personal injury or property damage claims or responsibilities. Therefore, it is important to contact a personal injury/car accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you are involved in a car accident, you may be overwhelmed with questions and concerns about injury, fault, property damage, insurance claims, and who is responsible for what. Even experienced drivers can become flustered at an accident scene. That is why it is a good idea to periodically review your responsibilities and go over best practices before an accident occurs. Immediately after you are involved in a car accident, remember to take the following steps: Stop and assist, get emergency medical assistance, report the accident, protect and photograph the scene, exchange information with the other driver(s), reach out to your insurance company and a lawyer. The personal injury team of lawyers at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you understand and undertake all the necessary steps to make sure that your personal injury claims are handled in a timely manner.

Can I recover damages for the impact the accident had on my business as a whole?

I own my own business and have to miss a lot of work due to injuries I suffered in an automobile accident where the other party was at fault. Can I recover damages for the impact the accident had on my business as a whole?

Proving loss of income for people who are self-employed is not easy.  One of the best ways to show a loss of income is by keeping detailed records of earnings, expenses, tax returns, and receipts for comparison of earnings after the accident.  Make sure to keep detailed records of your injuries and treatments to show that they were serious enough to force you to take time off work and have a negative effect on the business.

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I was in an accident a few days ago and just now started feeling pain, what should I do?

Visit the ER, Urgent Care or your doctor as soon as possible.  Quite often injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents do not become apparent until the day after or even several days later.  Sometimes adrenaline and shock covers the pain until some time has passed.  Even if you got checked immediately after the accident, you should see a doctor for these new pains.  They might give the doctor reason to examine you more extensively than previously expected.  Just because it may have taken a couple days to feel any pain, that does not mean you are any less entitled to compensation for your injuries.  If you have yet to do so, contact a personal injury attorney and they can help you review your case.

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Can I Sue Other Party After Deadly Car Accident?

I was injured in an automobile accident and the other party died from their injuries. The other party is the one at fault. Can I still sue them?

In a sense, yes.  Who you would be suing in this case is the “personal representative” of that person’s estate.  In Florida, you would not sue the deceased person’s estate directly.  If there is no estate opened for the person, and therefore no personal representative, you can pay a fee to file a petition in the county where the deceased person died in order to open up a Florida probate.  You are filing to have an estate opened.  The person’s insurance company is still obligated to defend the case and to pay you any money for which you are entitled for the accident.  This does not change because the person died.

Can I Make Person Responsible Pay The Rest Out-of-pocket After Car Accident?

I was in a serious automobile accident, had to miss months of work, and will have lifelong injuries. My medical bills are very expensive and I need more procedures. The person responsible only had $100,000 of liability insurance. Can I make him pay the rest out-of-pocket?

The party responsible is liable for all the damage or cause they harm, not just the amount covered by their insurance.  Insurance is used as a buffer to keep the out of pocket costs at a minimum.  However, if the expenses exceed the amount covered by the insurance, the liable party is responsible for paying the difference.  The problem then arises of making the liable party actually pay.  They need to have assets and/or income.  If the burden of paying becomes too great, the liable party may file bankruptcy, discharging the remaining obligation (with limited exceptions).

Do I Have To Give A Recorded Statement To An Insurance Adjuster?

The short answer is “maybe.”  It is possible that you purchased an insurance policy that would require you to give a recorded statement.  It is unlikely that you should give a statement to the at-fault party insurance company prior to a lawsuit.  You need to know that any statement you make to the insurance adjuster can be used against you, even if the adjuster is working for your insurance company.  Make sure to demand a transcript of your statement from the adjuster if you make any statement.  Whether the insurance adjuster works for you or another party involved in your personal injury claim, it is strongly recommended that you do not make a statement without professional legal representation by your side.

What Should I Do If I Am Involved In A Car, Truck, Motorcycle, Golf Cart, Pedestrian, Bicycle, Boat, Or Other Type Of Motor Vehicle Accident? What Steps Should I Take?

Step 1. Stop and move out of the way of traffic.  If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road to allow for oncoming traffic.  Make sure not to leave the scene, and take pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved.

Step 2. Under Florida law, you are only required to report an accident if property damage exceeds $500.00 or if there is an injury.  However, reporting the accident so that it can be properly documented can be in your best interest if the damage is more extensive than initially thought, or if injuries only make themselves apparent days after the accident.  When reporting an accident, make sure to call the police and your insurance company.  In certain situations, insurance companies may deny coverage if the accident is not reported within a specific amount of time.

Step 3. Make sure to get the personal information and insurance information from all other drivers involved in the accident.  If possible, make a diagram of the accident scene so it can be confirmed with the official accident report made by the authorities.  Take as many photos as possible.  This includes photos of the vehicles involved and any injuries you may have received, no matter how minor they may seem.

Step 4. Do not give any statements to an insurance adjuster!  Even if the adjuster is working for your insurance company, you do not want to give a statement before consulting a personal injury attorney.  Any statement you make can be used against you later.

Step 5.  See a doctor!  Some injuries take days to appear following an accident.  Shock and adrenaline can mask the pain.  If medical experts arrive at the scene, allow them to examine you.  If not, visit your doctor or go to the local ER as soon as you can.  Make sure to give your doctor as much information as possible so you will have a detailed record of any injuries.

Step 6. Contact a Personal Injury attorney.  Before giving any statements to an insurance company or signing any kind of form, call a personal injury attorney and get help with your claim.  They can make sure you meet any deadlines and will help you with any paperwork or statements involved, as well as help you recover any damages you may be due.

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