Residents of Apollo Beach know it has become a busy area of Hillsborough County and that US-41 has unfortunately become a common place for car accidents. Drivers in the area face numerous risks every day, but most reach their destinations safely and, unfortunately, take their everyday safety for granted. It’s important for all drivers in the Apollo Beach area to understand the risks they face while driving and how to minimize their chance of experiencing an accident. It is also vital for drivers to know what to do after an accident occurs due to forces beyond their control, specifically the actions of other motorists.
Whether you were injured on your commute along one of the major roads in the Apollo Beach area, such as US-41, I-75, or the busy Apollo Beach Boulevard, the first steps you take following a car accident can significantly influence your recovery efforts and the quality of the compensation you obtain for your damages.
Santini Law Firm has years of professional experience handling all types of car accident cases and other personal injury claims in Apollo Beach, and we’re ready to put our experience to work for you in your recovery efforts. It’s vital to know Florida’s laws pertaining to vehicle crashes, the recovery options available to you after another driver has caused an accident and injured you, and how to maximize the compensation you obtain from an at-fault driver.
The state’s no-fault rule for car accidents is often viewed as an impediment to injured drivers’ recovery efforts when the goal of this system is to minimize the legal proceedings necessary to recover compensation after a crash. Under this no-fault rule, a driver must file a claim against their own auto insurance after an accident to pay for their initial medical expenses, regardless of who caused the accident. As such, all drivers are legally required to have auto insurance that includes personal injury protection (PIP) of $10,000.
This may be enough to cover medical expenses, lost income, and other losses after a minor accident, but if a car accident victim suffered severe injuries, they may need to take further legal action to fully recover their damages. Your recovery efforts following a car accident in Apollo Beach may begin with a claim against your own auto insurance policy, but they are likely to continue with a civil suit against an at-fault driver when insurance alone cannot compensate you for your damages.
When you must prove fault for an accident in Apollo Beach, your attorney can be an invaluable asset when it comes to gathering the evidence you will need to prove liability. Most of the car accidents reported throughout Hillsborough County are the result of “negligence,” a legal term that defines any failure to exercise reasonable care. Some common ways that negligence causes serious accidents in Apollo Beach are:
These are only a few possible examples of how negligence can cause a devastating car accident. It is also possible for illegal misconduct like reckless driving or driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs to cause a car accident. In these cases, at-fault drivers face criminal charges along with civil liability for the harm they’ve done. If the defendant who caused your accident did so through some illegal action, your Apollo Beach car accident attorney can explain how this could influence your recovery.
The no-fault rule will require you to file a claim against your own auto insurance policy after an accident, even if you did not cause the accident. This may sound straightforward, but the reality is that almost every driver will encounter some measure of difficulty in dealing with insurance company representatives.
Your Apollo Beach car accident attorney can make dealing with insurance companies much easier. They can help you complete your claim forms and resolve any disputes the insurer might raise against your claim. If you believe the insurance carrier has treated you unfairly or acted in bad faith while processing your claim, your attorney will know how to address the situation for you.
After recovering as much compensation as you can with your auto insurance claim, remaining damages can be sought with a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. The state’s no-fault rule enables an injured driver to file a civil suit against the driver who caused their accident when they have suffered great bodily harm and auto insurance cannot fully cover their damages. Once you prove the exact cause of your car accident in Apollo Beach, your attorney can help you assess the extent of damages you can claim from the at-fault driver.
The average personal injury claim seeks compensation for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include any direct financial losses inflicted by the defendant that the plaintiff cannot recover through insurance. In an Apollo Beach car accident case, economic damages are likely to include:
The average car accident victim in Apollo Beach will likely be able to calculate immediately recognizable damages like their vehicle repair costs and medical bills, but identifying all the various long-term damages they can claim will be very difficult on their own. Additionally, Florida’s personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced from your accident. You might find it difficult to determine appropriate pain and suffering compensation, but your attorney can provide valuable guidance on this aspect of your case award.
When the average person hears the term “pain and suffering” and realizes they can claim compensation for their intangible losses from a car accident, they may have trouble determining the value of their non-economic damages. The state does not cap or limit pain and suffering compensation in car accident cases, meaning a plaintiff has the right to seek as much as they believe to be appropriate to reflect the severity of the harm they suffered.
Your Apollo Beach car accident attorney can help determine fair pain and suffering compensation for your accident based on the severity of your injuries, how long it could take for you to reach maximum medical improvement, and whether you suffered any long-term or permanent harm. If your accident caused a permanent disability, resulted in a loss of your earning capacity, or diminished your quality of life, the pain and suffering compensation you win from your case could form the bulk of your final case award.
It is important to remember that Florida enforces a modified comparative fault rule, meaning it is possible for a plaintiff to lose a percentage of their final case award if an investigation reveals that they are partially liable for the accident. As long as the plaintiff’s fault is less than 50%, they can still recover their losses, but their fault percentage will be taken from their case award as a penalty. If they are found to be 50% or more at fault, they cannot claim compensation from the other driver.
After filing your insurance claim, receiving your settlement from your insurance carrier, proving liability for your accident, and filing your personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, your case is likely to go in one of two possible directions. If the defendant accepts liability for the accident, then you can proceed to settlement. During settlement negotiations, the parties involved in the case meet to discuss mutually acceptable terms to resolve the claim. As long as they are willing to compromise and negotiate constructively, it’s possible to settle the case privately in a matter of a few weeks. If the defendant does not accept fault, the case will need to be resolved through litigation.
Resolving any civil claim in court can take several months or even longer than one year, depending on the specific details of the case. If your car accident claim goes to trial, a judge will consider evidence presented by both sides and then deliver their ruling. They will decide fault as well as compensation owed to the plaintiff if the defendant is found liable. Most civil claims filed will not go to trial as settlement is beneficial and preferable to all parties involved in a case.
Hiring an Apollo Beach car accident attorney to represent you will not only make facing your claim much easier and less stressful, but you will also be more likely to maximize the compensation you win from the at-fault driver in the shortest timeframe possible. When you choose Santini Law Firm to represent you, our goal will be to minimize the time it takes for you to recover compensation for your damages while maximizing that compensation. We have years of experience handling all types of complex car accident cases and will do everything we can to effectively leverage this experience for you in your case.
You have a limited time in which to file your auto insurance claim after an accident, and this may only be a few days. It’s important to secure legal counsel you can trust to guide you through the claim filing process, and if you intend to pursue a personal injury suit, you will also need to meet the statute of limitations for personal injury claims to successfully recover compensation for your losses.
The sooner you consult an Apollo Beach car accident attorney, the more likely you are to succeed with all the recovery efforts you attempt. Contact Santini Law Firm today to schedule your free consultation with our team and learn how we can assist with your recovery efforts.
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