Car accidents can happen unexpectedly, sometimes with devastating results. If you or a family member recently experienced a car accident in the Riverview area, you are likely to have many important legal questions regarding who is at fault, what type of damages you have suffered, and how you can recover these losses. Recovery from a car accident in Florida can sometimes be a straightforward process due to the state’s no-fault rule, which requires drivers to use their own auto insurance to pay for damages in an accident regardless of fault. However, the no-fault rule does not entirely prevent you from seeking legal recourse if another driver is clearly to blame for causing your recent accident.
The team at the Santini Law Firm is ready to provide the professional legal representation you need to navigate your recovery from a car accident in Riverview with confidence and peace of mind. Depending on how your accident happened and the scope of the damages you suffered, your recovery process may entail an auto insurance claim, a personal injury suit, or both. Navigating these legal matters is technically possible without an attorney, but the average person is unlikely to reach the same level of results that you could expect with a Riverview car accident attorney on your side.
Proving fault is not always necessary for every car accident case in the Riverview area. If you only sustained minor damages, it is possible that your auto insurance policy will cover the full extent of your losses, and there will be no need to pursue further legal action. However, if your damages exceed the scope of your insurance coverage or you suffered any type of serious injury that causes long-term or permanent harm, these factors can form grounds for a civil suit against the driver who caused your accident.
The process of proving fault changes based on the specific details of an accident. A few of the most commonly reported causes of car accidents in the state that lead to civil claims for damages include:
These are only a few possible examples; car accidents are unpredictable and may result from various causes. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, an injured driver should seek medical attention for their injuries and try to record as much as they can from the accident scene if they are able to do so safely. Recovery from an accident begins with an insurance claim. An experienced Riverview car accident attorney can not only make this easier to manage, but they can also help their client build a personal injury case under certain circumstances.
Every driver in the state is required to have at least $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and at least $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage with their car insurance. PIP will pay for all medical expenses the insured driver incurs from an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. PIP typically covers 80% of all medical expenses up to the limit of the policy. PDL pays for property damage inflicted on another driver. If you cause an accident, your PIP will cover your own medical expenses, while your PDL will cover the cost of repairing the other driver’s vehicle.
Filing an auto insurance claim can be a stressful and frustrating experience for some injured drivers. While most auto insurance carriers process claims for coverage in good faith, some unfortunately do not. Some insurance claim adjusters will look for any reasons to justify lowball settlement offers or even claim denials. Having an experienced Riverview car accident attorney help you with your claim can prevent these issues from arising and streamline your recovery process. An insurance carrier is less likely to attempt any unethical handling of a claim when they notice the claimant has competent and respected legal counsel representing them.
Auto insurance may not fully cover your damages from an accident in Riverview, especially if you suffered serious injuries that will require ongoing rehabilitative care. In the event that another driver is clearly to blame for causing your recent accident, but your insurance will not fully compensate you for your damages, you have the right to file a personal injury claim to seek recompense for the remainder of your damages.
Let’s pause for a moment and apologize for some of the fancy legal words we use in this article. One thing we take a lot of pride in at Santini Law Firm is making sure we take as much time as the client needs to understand the legal process. Part of this communication with our clients is being conscious of the words we are using to describe things about personal injury law in Riverview. If we are talking to a mechanic, we may not understand all the words to describe what goes into brake pads or steering columns. It is up to the mechanic to step outside the typical way they speak to their employees with certain acronyms or words used to describe things that one would understand if they worked in the mechanic’s shop. One who does not work in the mechanic’s shop may not fully understand what is trying to be communicated.
In any event, when we use the word “damages,” this doesn’t just refer to the “damage” to your car or truck. In the law, “damages” is a catch-all word used to mean all the things that happened to you from the accident for which you can potentially recover money. So, for example, if you hurt your neck in an accident, you can recover damage for all the treatment you need on your neck. Chiropractic care on your neck from a car accident in Riverview and surgery on your neck from a Riverview truck accident are examples of damages – both for the medical bills themselves and also for the pain and suffering. You may be thinking to yourself, how do you calculate pain and suffering? How do you put a number on pain and suffering? Doing the best job possible in demonstrating to the insurance company the pain and suffering a client has and is continuing to experience is a big part of a Riverview car accident attorney’s job as an advocate. Think of damages as all of the bad things that happened to you for which you may be able to be compensated with a successful civil suit.
Success with any personal injury claim requires evidence that the defendant’s negligence or intentional and illegal misconduct directly caused the damages. “Negligence” is a legal term to refer to any failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation. To put it even more simply, negligence or misconduct refers to doing something “bad” that the other driver wasn’t supposed to do, either on purpose or because the other driver simply wasn’t paying enough attention. Your Riverview car accident attorney can help gather the evidence needed to firmly establish the other driver’s negligence and, ultimately, liability for your damages.
If the other driver caused the accident through some illegal misconduct – in other words, they did something dangerous on purpose – they face prosecution from the state alongside your civil action; your Riverview car accident attorney can advise you as to how this could influence your recovery.
You may require a combination of different types of evidence to establish that the other driver was at fault for your accident. Vehicles have internal computers that log driving speed, brake application, and other vehicle functions. These car computers can also record the moment of impact in an accident, helping investigators establish a timeline of events. Traffic cameras can be invaluable for some vehicle accident claims, showing exactly how an accident happened. Witness testimony is also likely to come into play in your case if anyone saw the accident occur firsthand, and your attorney may coordinate expert witness testimony if liability for your crash is contested or if the case involves any complex technical issues.
The aim of a personal injury case is for the victim of another party’s actions to secure the compensation they need to recover as fully as possible. Put another way, your Riverview personal injury attorney’s number one job is to help you recover as much money as possible from the driver who caused personal injury to you or your loved ones. After claiming as much compensation as you can through auto insurance, your remaining losses caused by the defendant can be included in your personal injury case. Under Florida’s personal injury laws, the plaintiff in this type of civil personal injury case has the right to claim:
Your Riverview car accident attorney is the ideal asset to have on your side if you want to maximize your total case award as much as state law allows. In the event the defendant (the “defendant” is the at-fault driver) has caused your accident through some reckless or even purposeful action, you could receive punitive damages. If the other driver was breaking the law and is being prosecuted by the Hillsborough County State’s Attorney’s office, then you also may be eligible to receive restitution as a result of the state’s criminal case against them. Ultimately, your Riverview car accident attorney can help determine the total potential value of your case and guide you through the personal injury proceedings necessary to hold the defendant fully accountable for your personal injury damages.
After you have exhausted your recovery options through insurance and constructed a personal injury claim with the help of your Riverview car accident attorney, your case could proceed in two possible directions. If the defendant accepts responsibility for their actions, seeking a swift settlement benefits them as much as you. Both parties can reach a faster conclusion to a personal injury case and have more influence over the final outcome if they are willing to compromise in settlement negotiations.
Alternatively, if the defendant denies liability or refuses to settle the case, the case will need to be resolved in court. Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s not the actual driver that’s refusing to settle the case; it’s his or her car insurance company. With recent changes to Florida car accident law, car insurance companies are less likely to settle cases quickly. Examples of car insurance companies with policies on Riverview residents are Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, and Geico, but there are many others. Emboldened by recent Florida law changes that favor the insurance company, many insurance adjustors feel empowered to push things to the limit and force innocent injury victims to go to court. One thing you can do to give yourself an advantage is to hire a Riverview car accident lawyer that the insurance companies respect and know is not afraid to litigate a Riverview personal injury case in court.
Litigation for any civil case can be time-consuming, stressful, and expensive for all parties involved. The judge overseeing the case will listen to each side’s evidence and testimony before delivering a ruling. The judge, and, if it comes to it, a jury, has the final say regarding liability and the scope of compensation due to the plaintiffs. It is possible for neither party to feel satisfied with the judge’s decision. Because Riverview sits in Hillsborough County, car accident cases are heard in the downtown Tampa courthouse or the courthouse in Plant City.
Don’t be discouraged by the prospect of going to court. Despite the 2023 changes to Florida law on personal injury cases, most personal injury claims filed each year are still resolved through private settlement negotiations. This process allows both parties to save money on legal fees and have more control over the outcome of the case. Your Riverview car accident attorney can help resolve your case quickly through settlement, and if litigation is necessary, you will be able to rely on them for guidance and support through these proceedings.
Time is a crucial factor in any car accident case. You have a very limited time in which to file your insurance claim after an accident; you also face a statute of limitations of two years if you intend to make a personal injury claim against the other driver. This may sound like enough time, but the reality is if you don’t start working with a Riverview personal injury lawyer soon after the accident, it will often hurt your case. For car accident lawyers who truly take their craft seriously, it takes time to prepare a comprehensive personal injury case, and it is always preferable to file your claim as soon as possible after your accident.
When you choose The Frank Santini Law Firm to represent you, you are investing in extensive professional experience, skillful legal representation, and a compassionate source of guidance and support as you navigate the difficult proceedings ahead of you. Our team takes a client-focused approach to car accident cases, learning as much as possible about every client we represent to address their unique challenges. Our goal is to help you recover from your recent accident as fully as possible, whether that requires an auto insurance claim, a personal injury suit, or both. You are not just a number for our Riverview car accident lawyer and all our clients get our Mr. Santini’s cell phone number to be able to text or call him anytime. Contact us today and schedule your free consultation with a Riverview car accident attorney to start working toward your recovery with confidence.
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