Florida Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Are The Most Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Most car accidents in Florida will be the result of one or more of the following three causes. First, there is driver error. This is by far the most common cause of car accidents in Florida, as well as the rest of the United States.

The second major cause is a mechanical failure of the vehicle. Sometimes cars or trucks are poorly maintained or they do not operate as intended by their manufacturers.

Finally, there are bad roadway conditions, such as poorly maintained roads. No matter the condition of the vehicle or how careful the driver is, an accident may be unavoidable if the road is in bad enough shape.

What to Do After a Car Accident

  • Call the police. After a car accident, it is important to report the accident to the local police, Florida Highway Patrol, or the sheriff. If the accident caused damages that exceed $500, this report will be necessary to get compensation later. If you’re not sure if calling the police is necessary, call them anyway to be safe.
  • Get the vehicles out of the way. If no one is injured and the vehicles are still working, move them out of the flow of traffic.
  • Exchange insurance and contact information. If you were not seriously injured, obtain the names, addresses, insurance information and phone numbers of the other drivers involved in the accident. Also, take a photo of the other car’s license plate and insurance card.
  • Take photos. If possible, use your smartphone to take photos of the vehicles and accident scene. These pictures may be useful when dealing with other drivers concerning fault or with the car insurance companies.
  • Do not admit fault. Whether talking to a police officer or another driver, explain what you believe happened. Tell the truth, but do not say you caused the accident. You might learn later that you weren’t at fault or that you were only partially at fault.
  • Organize your evidence. This means backing up your photographs and gathering all the information you have concerning what happened. It will usually be helpful to takes notes about where the accident occurred, when it occurred and how it occurred. Memories fade with time and it will be useful to have something to reference when speaking with your car insurance company or attorney.
  • Notify your car insurance company. Under Florida’s no-fault law, you will initially file a claim with your own insurance company after an auto accident. This is the case even if the accident was not your fault. It’s a good idea to notify your car insurance company as soon as possible, even if you don’t plan on filing a claim.
  • Contact an attorney. After a car accident, contact a car accident attorney to get advice regarding your rights and responsibilities. While an attorney may not be necessary for a simple fender-bender, it’s strongly recommended you have one if the accident resulted in any serious injury or if you may be facing criminal prosecution.
As a Passenger, Can I Sue After a Car Accident?

If you were injured in a car accident while riding as a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the crash, you may wonder about your rights to file a claim or lawsuit to recover compensation for the injuries and losses you’ve suffered due to the accident. As an injured passenger, trying to recover compensation after a car accident may prove incredibly complex and difficult. An experienced law firm can help take out the guesswork and guide you through the process of pursuing financial recovery. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. our South Florida passenger car accident lawyers fight to help injured car accident victims make a full financial, physical, and personal recovery following car crashes that turn our clients’ lives upside down.

Should I Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident?

Yes. Driving a car is so much a part of our everyday lives that we often forget how dangerous this basic aspect of life can be. Unfortunately, a car accident can provide a sharp reminder of the fact that we are never fully in control while driving here on the South Florida roadways. The negligent or reckless actions of a third-party driver can change your life in an instant, and, in many cases, insurance can never fully compensate you for your losses. Your routine is likely to be disrupted—the costs of injuries can be substantial and long-lasting, and coordinating with law enforcement officers and insurance companies to recover compensation for injuries or even for vehicle damage is often too challenging to handle on your own.

When to Get an Attorney for a Car Accident

Speaking to an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident can have several benefits, the most important of which is being able to understand your legal rights and options soon after a car crash. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may only have a short window in which to exercise certain options for seeking financial compensation after an accident, so consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident may mean you have the full scope of options available to you in your case.

If you’ve been injured in an accident in South Florida, turn to Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. for help. Contact our firm today for a free case review to discuss how hiring an attorney after a car accident can make the difference in securing a more favorable outcome in your case and obtaining the financial resources you need to recover from your injuries and property damage.

What Does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?

Although the specific tasks that a car accident attorney takes on will vary from case to case, in most circumstances, you can expect that a car accident attorney will help you with your case by:

  • Advising you as to your legal rights and options at each stage of your claim
  • Handling communications with the insurance companies
  • Investigating the accident to recover all available evidence to prove fault for the crash
  • Requesting and organizing your medical records to establish the types and severity of your injuries
  • Collaborating with your treating medical providers to help prove your injuries and losses, including bringing your doctors and other medical experts in to testify
  • Working with lienholders in your case, such as health insurers or workers’ compensation insurers, to arrange for the satisfaction of those liens while ensuring that you get the maximum amount of money possible from any settlement or verdict you obtain
  • Negotiating with insurance adjusters or defense attorneys to try to reach a fair and full settlement
  • Filing your claim in court and advocating on your behalf at trial, if necessary
How to Choose the Best Car Accident Lawyer for Your Case

When you have a car accident claim, you likely may have many car accident attorneys and law firms to choose from. In deciding which firm or attorney may be right for you, some of the factors you should consider in your decision include:

  • Experience — You should choose an attorney or law firm with extensive experience handling car accident claims, preferably cases similar to yours. You may want to ask an attorney what percentage of the cases they work on are car accident claims, what their success rate is in car accident cases, how many car accident claims they’ve taken to trial, and how often they win at trial, and whether they’ve handled car accident cases similar to yours. You’ll want to make sure that the attorney you choose knows what to expect in your case and has the experience to see your case all the way through trial if necessary.
  • Good communication — Your car accident claim is important to you, so you’ll want an attorney that you can contact whenever you have questions about your case and who will regularly reach out to you to update you on your case’s progress. Your attorney should respond to your calls, emails, and texts within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Personal fit — The success of your claim may depend on you having a good working relationship with your attorney. Trust your gut if you get an uncomfortable feeling when talking with an attorney during an initial consultation.
  • Tenacious approach — Insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to avoid paying you fair and full compensation. You should make sure that the attorney or firm that you choose to represent you won’t pressure you to take the first decent offer the insurance company makes but instead will put in the work necessary to secure a maximum settlement offer.
  • Resources — Car accident cases can quickly become complex, especially if you’ve suffered serious injuries or if fault for the accident is an issue in the case. You’ll want to make sure that your attorney or law firm has the resources to thoroughly pursue your case, including the ability to consult with accident reconstruction or medical experts when necessary.
  • Reputation — Your legal counsel’s reputation with the insurance companies can affect the ultimate outcome in your case. If your attorney or law firm is known for winning cases at trial, the insurance company may be more likely to offer a larger settlement to avoid litigation.
When to Hire a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawyer

Right away! If you have been involved in a car accident in South Florida, you may be wondering whether to hire a car accident lawyer. When you have been injured in a car accident that is someone else’s fault, you are entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. And while that may sound straightforward, the process of recovering damages is often complicated and challenging. Getting the money you justly deserve is not always easy.

How to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer

Schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. Call 561-898-0497 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation Form.

How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?

Instead of the hourly fee that you might more frequently associate with legal services, car accident lawyers instead handle cases on a contingency fee basis. Under a contingency fee arrangement, the client is not required to pay any money upfront to hire an attorney to represent them in their case. In fact, the client is not obligated to pay the lawyer’s fee unless and until the lawyer successfully recovers compensation for the client.

At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our South Florida personal injury attorneys handle car accident claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t have to pay anything upfront to get the experienced legal representation you deserve. We only get paid when we win compensation in your case. Contact us today for a free case review to discuss how our firm can help you pursue your car accident claim on a contingency fee basis to ensure you obtain the financial compensation and accountability you deserve from those at fault for your injuries and losses.

How Much Is My Car Accident Worth?

it’s important to remember that although every car accident is different, the value of a car accident claim, or the money that the injured accident victim is likely to receive in their claim for compensation, may depend on various factors, including the underlying facts and circumstances of the crash, the severity of your injuries and how your injuries have affected your life, how the at-fault driver’s insurance company values your case, and how a jury might value your case and award you compensation.

What Is a Good Settlement Offer for a Car Accident in Florida?

After you’ve been injured or suffered property damage in a car accident and have filed a claim for compensation with the insurance company, you may be pleasantly surprised to hear back that the insurer has agreed to pay you compensation for the accident. Or you may hear from an insurance adjuster out of the blue offering to pay you a settlement right now to resolve any potential claims you may have. Whatever the circumstances of the insurance company’s settlement offer, you may not be sure whether the amount of money the insurer has offered you represents a fair or good amount. That’s why it’s always helpful to have experienced legal representation on your side who can advise you about the suitability of any settlement offer you receive from the insurance company.

What Happens When You Are At Fault in a Car Accident?

Your routine is likely to be disrupted—the costs of injuries can be substantial and long-lasting, and coordinating with law enforcement officers and insurance companies to recover compensation for injuries or even for vehicle damage is often too challenging to handle on your own. At Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., our Florida car accident lawyers understand that you are likely overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done following a car accident and could use some help from someone with experience dealing with these issues.

You may suddenly be faced with substantial medical bills, lost wages, and damage to the vehicle that you use to get to work. Many of our clients are without health insurance, which can turn an already emotionally challenging time into a future financial crisis. Our Florida car accident lawyers are here to help you cope both emotionally and financially. We have 35 years of combined experience working with insurance companies and fighting for our clients’ rights to recover compensation after a car accident. We can also help ensure that you follow the specific insurance laws that apply in Florida in order to preserve your right to receive compensation from your insurance company under Florida’s no-fault statute.

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

First and foremost, the most important initial action step to take after a car accident is to seek medical attention. This is for the injured party’s own personal benefit, from a health perspective, as well as to preserve the right to recover compensatory damages for injuries sustained in the accident. Serious injuries will be obvious, but even if it seems that everyone has escaped the crash unharmed, many injuries only become apparent to the untrained eye days after the accident. Under Florida’s no-fault law, a person who is injured in a car accident is required to seek medical attention within 14 days of the accident in order to preserve his or her right to recover under a personal injury protection (PIP) insurance policy.

How to Obtain a Police Report after a Car Accident

When you’ve been involved in a serious car accident, you or someone else may have notified the police about the accident. The officers who responded to the scene will have completed a police accident report. Obtaining a police report after a car accident is extremely important. A police accident report will include details about the officer’s investigation of the crash, note whether any citations were issued or any arrests were made, and sometimes may provide the officer’s opinion about who was at fault for the accident. As a result, police accident reports often serve as a key piece of evidence in car accident claims.

You can request a copy of the police accident report following the crash, but you may not be familiar with the process of obtaining a copy or may have concerns about contacting the police to request a copy of the police accident report.

How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Florida?

Under Florida’s statute of limitations, you generally have four years from the date of a car accident in which to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation from the driver or party responsible for the accident and your injuries. Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has run on your claim may mean that you permanently lose the right to seek compensation from those at fault for your injuries and losses. That makes it critical to start your car accident claim as soon as possible.

How Long Does a Car Accident Case Take to Settle?

In a car accident claim, settlements are usually reached after the accident victim has completed their treatment, all their economic losses (such as medical bills and lost income) have been documented, and the accident victim or their attorney has sent the at-fault driver or their insurance company a demand package. Although this process may seem complicated and time-consuming, the South Florida car accident attorneys at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. have extensive experience with pursuing settlements of car accident claims. We can help walk you through the settlement process and vigorously advocate on your behalf for fair and full compensation for your injuries and losses.

Do You Have to Go to Court for a Car Accident in South Florida?

Fortunately, most car accident claims result in a settlement that provides accident victims with fair and full compensation, long before the case ever ends up at trial or inside a courtroom.

However, there are some circumstances under which a car accident claim may end up going to court, including cases where the insurance company refuses to settle or to make a reasonable offer of compensation, or cases where the at-fault driver lacks insurance. When a fair settlement cannot be reached in your claim, it may become necessary to pursue your claim in court and to take your case to trial to argue in front of a judge or jury for a ruling in your favor.

How to File a Car Accident Claim If You Are Undocumented in South Florida

Car accidents are an unfortunately daily fact of life in South Florida. When an undocumented immigrant is injured in a car crash through no fault of their own, they may have misconceptions or hear misinformation about their right to seek compensation from the driver or parties at fault for the car accident. Even if a person is not lawfully present in the United States, they still have the right to equal protection under federal and state laws. This includes the right to seek financial compensation from parties responsible for inflicting injury and to access the courts to enforce that right.

Pursuing a legal claim for compensation, even when you need money to help you recover from injuries, can be a scary proposition for an undocumented immigrant. The South Florida personal injury lawyers at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A. will defend the rights and interests of undocumented immigrants who have been injured in car accidents to ensure they can pursue the financial compensation they need and deserve.

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