Florida Car Accident Case Timeline
What you do after a car accident is critical to the outcome of your case. While no lawyer can guarantee any specific outcome on your personal injury case, most personal injury lawyers agree that the sooner you get a lawyer involved the better.
The First 3 Days
During the first three days after an accident, any insurance companies that may be responsible for paying damages have probably already been in contact with you. Typically, these insurance companies have claims adjusters who call you and appear to be very concerned for your wellbeing. The adjusters may tell you that they are just trying to find out what happened in the accident to help you get your car fixed. Injury victims should be careful not to give any insurance company a recorded statement (if the adjuster says the call is being recorded, pay attention to what they are about to ask you). While insurance company adjusters are in fact trying to get information to help fix your car and provide other insurance benefits, they are also trying to get evidence to use against you in the future if you decide to make a personal injury claim against them.
During the first three days after an accident, you’ll probably be aware of any injuries you sustained. This is especially true if you were taken to the hospital from the scene or were diagnosed with a head injury or fracture. However, even if you sustained soft-tissue injuries, i.e. whiplash or low back pain, many of the symptoms of a permanent neck or back injury start setting in during the first several days of an accident. It is critical to your case to be seen by a doctor to document and treat any symptoms you may be feeling during the first three days of the accident.
The First 2 Weeks
If you live in Florida, the two-week point is crucial for car accident injury victims. You have probably heard of “no-fault” insurance benefits. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits are only available to injury victims who are seen by a doctor within fourteen (14) days of the accident. If you don’t see a doctor within the first two weeks, all is not lost. However, you will no longer qualify for benefits that pay up to $10,000.00 towards your medical bills.
Also, by the two-week mark, you’ve probably already had your property damage evaluated by an insurance company and repairs might even be underway.
A Month Ago or More
If the accident happened a month or more ago and you haven’t been seen by any doctor to document any of your symptoms, you or your lawyer will have a very tough time proving that you were in fact injured in the accident. That said, there have been successful cases in which injury victims – for one reason or another – delay three or more weeks before getting any treatment.
Ultimately you have four years to file a lawsuit for a car accident personal injury case. If you miss that deadline, your claim is forever barred. People generally refer to this rule as the “statute of limitations.”
Your South Florida Car Accident Lawyer Should be Concerned About Timing
After a car accident, injured drivers or passengers have to deal with the pain of the injuries, medical bills, and missing time from work. Injury victims expect the insurance company to take care of the medical bills and provide compensation for lost wages. However, injury victims quickly find out that the insurance company is not quick to hand over money and may not want to cover all the injury victim’s damages. This is why accident victims should call an experienced South Florida car accident lawyer after an accident.
Waring Law handles most South Florida car accident cases from our office in Deerfield Beach, Florida in between Pompano Beach and Boca Raton:
Car Accidents in South Florida in 2020
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles crash reports, there were almost 27,000 car accidents in Palm Beach County in 2018. Broward County had over 41,000 crashes in the same year. Between the two counties, there were more than 40,000 injuries and almost 400 deaths in 2018 as a result of traffic accidents.
Accidents are something most Florida drivers will have to deal with at least once in their driving career. While these accidents can be caused by vehicle defects or roadway debris, most accidents are caused by human error. In a personal injury claim, the negligent party is generally liable for any damages. Negligence in a car accident means one party is violating their duty of reasonable care. Negligence can also be shown through violating traffic laws, such as running a red light, texting and driving, or driving under the influence (DUI).
If another driver’s negligence caused the accident, that driver may be liable for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the driver caused a fatal accident, the family members may be able to file a wrongful death claim for compensation for their loss.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida
There are many factors that lead to car accidents in South Florida. This includes drivers who are simply not paying attention, violating traffic laws, or failing to maintain their vehicles. Some of the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents in South Florida include:
- Disregarding traffic signs,
- Driving too fast for conditions,
- Failure to stay in lane,
- Failure to yield right of way,
- Failure to watch for motorcycles,
- Failure to yield to pedestrians,
- Following too closely,
- Improper passing,
- Reckless driving,
- Running a red light or stop sign,
- Wrong way driving,
- Texting and driving,
- Drowsy driving,
- Drunk driving,
- Driving under the influence of drugs,
- Overweight trucking loads,
- Defective vehicle parts, and
- Hazardous road conditions.
Dangerous Intersections in South Florida
An injury accident can occur anywhere, including parking lots, on the highway, or even in your own driveway. However, certain intersections have higher rates of accidents than others. This is often caused by drivers who are trying to beat a light or roll through a right turn without coming to a full stop. According to local news, some of the most dangerous intersections in South Florida include:
- Okeechobee Blvd. and Military Trail in West Palm Beach;
- North Congress Ave. and 45th Street in West Palm Beach;
- Glades Rd. and State Road 7 in Boca Raton;
- Glades Rd. and Airport Road in Boca Raton;
- Atlantic Ave. and South Military Trail in Delray Beach;
- West Atlantic and Congress Ave. in Delray Beach;
- Forest Hill Blvd. and South Military Trail in Palm Springs;
- South Jog Rd. and Lake Worth Rd. in Greenacres;
- South Jog Rd. and Forest Hill Blvd. in Greenacres;
- Atlantic Blvd. and U.S. 1 in Pompano Beach;
- Sunrise Blvd. and Andrews Ave. in Fort Lauderdale;
- A1A and Las Olas Blvd. in Fort Lauderdale;
- NE 26th St. and Federal Hwy. in Fort Lauderdale;
- Pines Blvd. and South Flamingo Rd. in Pembroke Pines; and
- West Oakland Park Blvd. and NW 50th Ave. in Sunrise
Florida Car Accident Injuries
There were more than 254,000 injuries from all crashes in Florida in 2018. Injuries range from minor scrapes and bruises to permanent and life-altering injuries. Common auto accident injuries for drivers and passengers can include:
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Head injury
- Back injury
- Neck injury
- Nerve damage
- Burn injuries
- Eye injury
- Cuts and scrapes
- Puncture wounds
- Loss of a limb
Even a seemingly minor accident can have long-lasting effects. Neck, back, and head injuries can be difficult to diagnose and treat. A driver may walk away from a car accident feeling fine only to wake up the next day with serious pain, lack of range of motion, dizziness, or memory loss. If there is any chance of an injury, you should seek medical attention after a car accident. Your next step may be to talk to a Florida car accident lawyer about the accident to make sure your medical bills are covered and you can receive the maximum compensation after your accident.
PIP Insurance in Florida Car Accidents
What is PIP insurance in Florida? Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is “no fault” coverage for auto accidents. Drivers in Florida are required to carry PIP insurance, (and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance). PIP provides no-fault coverage regardless of who is at fault for causing the accident.
PIP pays for part of your medical bills if you are injured in an accident, whether the accident was caused by you or another driver. PIP covers the driver under the policy and also covers relatives who live in your home, others who drive your car with your permission, pedestrians, and bicyclists. PDL is supposed to cover damage to another’s property caused by the at-fault driver.
Drivers in Florida must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP. After an injury accident, PIP will cover 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, up to the coverage limit (generally $10,000). PIP may also cover up to 60% of lost wages caused by the accident. However, the $10,000 coverage limit is for both medical expenses and lost wages together. Once the $10,000 amount is paid out, the injury victim may be responsible for any further medical bills.
Unfortunately for many accident injury victims, the cost of medical bills, continuing treatment, and lost wages will exceed $10,000. In a personal injury lawsuit, the injury victim can seek damages from the person responsible for causing the accident to get any medical expenses and lost wages over the $10,000 limit, and also seek other damages, including pain and suffering. If you were injured in a car accident in South Florida, talk to your personal injury lawyer about your claim to make sure you get the maximum compensation possible.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney As Soon As Possible
Most Florida car accident victims do not think about a lawyer after an accident because they think the insurance company will take care of things. However, it may not take long to realize that the insurance company is not focused on your recovery or getting you the maximum compensation possible.
By contacting an experienced South Florida car accident lawyer as soon as possible, you can save yourself a lot of the hassle and headaches by having an advocate on your side who will deal with the insurance companies. Your Florida car accident attorney can talk to the insurance company on your behalf, so you can focus on your recovery.
Your Florida car accident lawyer will be able to keep the pressure on the insurance company to pay for your losses, car repairs, medical bills, and get money for your lost wages. Your attorney can also negotiate a faster settlement offer and make sure you get the compensation to cover all your losses, including future expenses. If the insurance company does not want to pay what they owe, your lawyer can take them to court to get a jury to award you compensation for your losses.
Waring Law for South Florida Auto Accident Victims
Car accidents can be life-changing. Don’t let the insurance company sell you short after an accident. If you’ve been in a car accident in South Florida, it’s important that you contact an attorney right away. At Waring Law, the attorney – not paralegals – will personally oversee and develop each and every case. We offer free consultations and there are never any fees or costs unless and until Waring Law recovers money for injuries. Request your free injury case review today at (954) 388-0646.