Gainesville Car Accident Attorneys
No one expects to be involved in a serious car accident. Suddenly, you or a loved one may be facing extensive medical bills and lost paychecks as you recover from serious injuries caused by the accident. You may expect that auto insurance will simply cover your costs of the accident, however, this is not always the case. In this situation, it is easy to become frustrated and it is only natural to wonder about your legal rights as a car accident victim.
If you want to learn more about your legal rights and options after a crash, please call our experienced Gainesville car accident attorney to discuss your situation today.
What Are Your Rights Under Florida Law?
If your losses are extensive, it is unlikely that an insurance settlement will be enough. Fortunately, Florida law allows you to seek compensation through the courts if the car accident occurred due to someone else’s negligence. Some examples of negligence that can lead to a car accident include the following:
- Auto Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Burn Injury
- Bus Accidents
- Catastrophic Injury
- Dangerous Road Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Broken Bones & Fractures
- Head-On Collision
- Hit & Run
- Internal Injury
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Rear-End Collision
- Rideshare Accidents
- Rollover Crash
- Scooter Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Taxi Accidents
- Tractor-Trailer Accidents
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Truck Accidents
- Uninsured Driver Accidents
- Wrongful Death
There are many other negligent acts that can lead to a collision and your car accident attorney can help you identify whether negligence played a part in your accident. If so, you can seek compensation from the negligent party for your losses, including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.
Hiring an Attorney to Negotiate With Gainesville Insurance Companies
When you file an insurance claim, you may be shocked to receive a denial or an inadequate settlement offer. The truth is that insurance companies are concerned about their profits like any other business and insurance adjusters are often trained to limit liability whenever possible. For this reason, it is wise to seek assistance from a skilled attorney when negotiating with insurance companies.
An experienced attorney can help you compose a persuasive demand letter and compile evidence to submit to support your claim. Our team will also carefully review any settlement offers to ensure they are adequate before you accept them. If you accept an offer, you lose your rights to pursue any additional compensation for your injuries, so it is critical to make sure a settlement is enough to cover your losses before accepting.
Choose a Gainesville Car Accident Law Firm that is Right for You
Selecting an attorney to represent your rights after a car accident can be a confusing process. After all, you have many options and may not know what to look for in a law firm. Some of the qualities you should look for include:
- Experience successfully handling car accident cases
- Will explore all options to obtain compensation for you, including trial
- Will provide personalized attention in your case
- Will communicate with you regarding new developments in your case
- Understands the types of injuries you have sustained
Gainesville Car Accident FAQs
If you have been injured in a car accident in Gainesville, you may be feeling overwhelmed and uncertain. Perhaps you have questions, and you need answers. The Gainesville personal injury attorneys at Meldon Law may be able to help. For answers to the questions our clients most frequently ask, see below, and for any additional questions related to the facts of your case, please contact us today at 800-373-8000 or online to schedule a free consultation.
What Does a No Fault State Mean for Florida Drivers?
Many people are confused about what the no fault law in Florida really means for anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle accident. It does not mean that no one is to blame for causing an accident, or that it doesn’t matter who is to blame. Instead, “no fault” means everyone who owns a motor vehicle registered in the state is required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage of at least $10,000. This coverage applies toward their own medical expenses and any lost wages resulting from their accident, regardless of who was at fault.
Unfortunately, many people will find that the minimum required coverage of $10,000 is simply not enough to pay for their actual damages. Therefore, it can be critically important to establish who was at fault for an accident, and whose insurance carrier will be responsible for paying for damages.
What Happens if I Was Hit by a Driver Who Has No Insurance?
It is a sad fact that if you are injured in an accident, even if you were not at fault, you may be stuck paying thousands of dollars in medical bills because the other driver had no insurance. An option to help reduce this risk is to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage yourself. While it is not required in Florida, it is strongly recommended that all Florida drivers get this type of insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones in the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
I Was Injured and the Costs of My Injuries Exceeded the Limit of My PIP Policy. What Now?
When this happens, it may be time to file a personal injury claim with the at fault party’s insurance company in order to access additional insurance coverage that can be used for your damages, beyond what was covered by your PIP policy.
Can I File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Against the Other Driver Even if I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
Yes. Florida has a pure comparative negligence rule. This means that even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you may still be eligible for compensation for your injuries. However, the percentage of your blame for the accident may be deducted from any settlement or verdict award you may receive. For example, if you were awarded $100,000 but found to be 15 percent responsible for the accident, you would receive $85,000.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company Has Offered Me a Settlement. It Seems a Little Low for the Extent of My Injuries. What Should I Do?
It is a common tactic of insurance companies to offer a quick, low-ball settlement that does not reflect the full extent of the victim’s damages, including costs of ongoing medical care, loss of wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. They bank on the theory that the injured party will prefer a quick payout, and fail to realize the actual costs of their long-term damages until well after the release of liability has been made. The problem when someone signs for a quick settlement, but then later learns their damages are more extensive than the amount they received, is they will be barred from going back and seeking any additional compensation.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you to determine whether the settlement you have been offered is fair and based on both your actual existing injuries and projected damages.
What if the Insurance Carrier Denied My Claim?
Insurance carriers deny claims far more often than most consumers realize. They do this for a number of reasons, such as:
- The policy that you or the other driver has does not cover accidents of the type that you experienced.
- The other driver was uninsured and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage.
- You or the other driver were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.
- Your damages exceeded the limits of the policy.
- You missed required reporting deadlines.
- You made false or misleading claims.
- You failed to pay your insurance premiums.
If your claim has been denied, an attorney can file an appeal and submit evidence regarding the accident and the damages you suffered.
What Damages Can I Claim?
Damages may be economic and non-economic, and may include but are not limited to:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses for injuries that occurred in the accident, including the cost of long-term health care
- Accessibility devices such as wheelchairs and lifts, and home renovations that are required for accessibility, such as ramps
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
The Other Driver’s Insurance Adjuster Wants a Copy of My Medical Records. Should I Release Them?
Not without speaking to your attorney first. Your medical information is protected and private, and should only be shared under limited circumstances.
What Must Be Proven in Order to Obtain an Award in a Car Accident Case?
To successfully litigate your claims in a personal injury case, you must prove the other driver’s negligence by showing:
- The driver owed you a duty of care to operate their motor vehicle in a safe manner;
- The driver breached their duty of care;
- That breach caused your injuries; and
- Damages. This is especially important when those costs exceed what is available from the at fault driver’s insurance policy, your PIP, and/or your uninsured motorist coverage.
What is Hydroplaning?
Hydroplaning, also known as “aquaplaning,” may occur in wet conditions when a tire rides on top of the water, losing contact with the road, much like waterskiing. When hydroplaning, a driver may feel a “tug” at the wheel, as the tire slides over the surface water. Hydroplaning may cause a driver to skid, slide, and lose control over the vehicle.
Drive safe on wet, Florida roadways – avoid hydroplaning. Gainesville accident attorney, Jeffrey Meldon explains the 5 factors involved in hydroplaning. Do you know what they are? Motorists should prepare for hydroplaning at any time when wet conditions strike, especially during the rainy season. Florida’s wet season, from June to October, may bring anything from light showers to blinding downpours with hurricane conditions. To avoid hydroplaning, slow down and maintain your vehicle.
What Factors Cause Hydroplaning?
A confluence of factors like speed, amount of water on the road, tire inflation, tread depth, and the load on a car may contribute to hydroplaning. Generally, hydroplaning is caused by “driver error” in speed and tire maintenance, potentially leading to a catastrophic accident.
- Speed. Hydroplaning does not generally occur at speeds less than 50 mph, except when deep, pooled water is present. The faster a car travels, the less time a tire has to “wick away” water, increasing chances the car will become “waterborne” and hydroplane.
- Water Depth on the Road. Pooled, deep water in dips, the shoulder, ruts, and other low lying areas decrease tire contact with the roadway, causing hydroplaning. Avoid pooled water.
- Tire Inflation. As speed increases, an under inflated tire may lose up to 40% of its contact with the road, causing the tire to lose contact with the road.
- Tread Depth. Adequate tire tread allows water to escape, providing contact between the tire and the roadway. More tread allows a tire to “wick” away more water. Experts recommend replacing tires when tread measures 1/16th of an inch or when “tire bars” are visible.
- Overloading. Overloading a car leads to vehicle instability, which contributes to forces at play in hydroplaning. Overloading may cause a car to lose control and rollover.
Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Attorney for a Free Consultation Today
If you call our experienced legal team, you will speak directly with one of our Gainesville car accident attorneys. At Meldon Law, we have assisted many car accident victims in and around Gainesville. We will always use all of our energy and resources to obtain maximum recovery for you, so please call our office today at 800-373-8000 for help. Contact Meldon Law at 800-373-8000 today if you have been involved in a serious auto accident. We are in your community and here to help YOU. We take pride in our work and in the results we get for our clients.