You are not required to hire a lawyer after a car accident that was not your fault. However, doing so can help you get compensation for which you are eligible and avoid liability for the crash.
After a car accident, you may have to get your car repaired, visit a doctor for rehabilitation, or be forced to miss work. A car accident lawyer can protect your rights and help you win compensation, allowing you to focus on what matters — your recovery, your health, and your family.
Why You Should Speak With a Lawyer Before Filing an Insurance Claim
To get compensation, you must file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your insurance company, or both. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help ensure you make such claims to the right party.
According to Florida law, the at-fault driver is responsible for your property damage and injuries, but your own insurance policy—through its personal injury protection or PIP, provision—covers your bodily injuries too.
Negotiating with or even talking to an insurance company without speaking with a lawyer first is unwise. When dealing with you, the insurer aims to find a way to reduce or eliminate what they have to pay you.
The insurer may twist any statement you make and use it against you to justify offering you a lower settlement or denying your claim. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can keep you from falling into some of the common traps that ensnare drivers when they file insurance claims.
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A Car Accident Lawyer Helps You Figure Out What Damages You Are Eligible To Collect
Do you know how much compensation you might be due after a car accident? Perhaps you got an estimate to fix your car or just received the bill from your post-accident hospital visit. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you could file for various damages. For instance:
- Future expected medical costs: Medical bills we can reasonably anticipate you will incur in the future due to the accident.
- Lost wages: Time you had to miss from work while recovering from your injury or receiving medical care.
- Reduced earning capacity: If your injury impacted your ability to do your job and earn a living on a short-term or long-term basis.
- Pain and suffering: You could potentially be eligible for thousands of dollars for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
- Disability: Any injury to your back, limbs, internal organs, brain, or senses that temporarily or permanently limits your ability to use the affected area may qualify as a disability.
- Reduced quality of life: You cannot move as freely, take care of yourself, or enjoy favorite activities to the extent you did before the accident.
- Punitive damages: If we can show that the other driver was behaving recklessly or maliciously. Punitive damages are very rare.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can examine the details of your accident and determine which of these damages you would be able to pursue successfully.
If you have been in a serious car accident, the law requires you to take certain steps to report the crash to the appropriate authorities. While Florida law does not require you to call the police if the car accident was minor, it can be in your best interest to do so—especially if you decide to file an insurance claim or lawsuit later on.
Do I Have to Report a Minor Accident to the Police?
If you were in a fender bender or other minor accident, you may not have to report your accident to the police. According to Florida law, you must immediately report your accident to the police if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- The accident involved an injury or death
- A driver fled the scene after the crash
- A driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- The crash damaged a vehicle so badly it required a tow truck to remove it from the scene
- The accident involved a commercial motor vehicle, such as a Fort Lauderdale truck accident
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Should I Still Call the Police If My Accident Was Minor?
If your accident was minor and does not meet the above criteria, you do not legally have to report it. However, our attorneys recommend that you report it anyway.
Police reports are critical pieces of evidence that we can use to support your insurance claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The police report can establish the date your accident occurred and other key details that may help you recover compensation from your PIP policy for any property damage and lost wages.
You should also call law enforcement if the other driver in your accident is uncooperative or refuses to exchange information, or if you suspect that they are uninsured.
What Happens When the Police Arrive?
Once you make the call, a police officer will arrive at the scene and document the accident in a Florida Traffic Crash Report. This report provides details such as:
- The names of the drivers, passengers, and pedestrians involved in the crash
- The vehicles involved
- The facts of the crash, such as the date, location, and weather conditions
- How the crash occurred
- Whether one or more parties violated a traffic law or received a traffic ticket
- Whether a driver was driving under the influence
- Proof of insurance for drivers involved in the crash
- Whether anyone suffered injuries
- The contact information of any eyewitnesses present on the scene
What Else Do I Need to Do After an Accident?
Reporting your accident to the police is important, but it is not the only thing you need to do. Here are some of the additional steps you must take after a car crash.
Stay at the Scene
If you leave the scene of an accident too soon, you could face hit and run charges. Generally, you must stay until law enforcement gives you the okay to leave or at least until you and the other involved parties exchange information.
An exception to this rule is if you or the other party was injured severely and required emergency medical attention. The injured party should of course get treatment right away and speak with the authorities later.
Move Your Vehicle Out of the Way
If your vehicle is movable, move it out of the way to avoid endangering others. Pull over to the side of the road while staying as close to the scene of the accident as you can.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or another person suffered an injury, you need to seek medical help as soon as possible—even if the injuries are minor. If your injuries are minor, you may have to decide for yourself whether to seek further treatment.
Given the choice between going home and going to the hospital for a check-up, our attorneys generally advise you to go there. A more thorough checkup may show more about other injuries that you were unaware of. Also, receiving medical treatment immediately after an accident makes it easier to recover benefits or damages later on.
Once you have called for medical help, you should start gathering information from other motorists and witnesses and document the crash scene. You should exchange contact information with everyone on-site and collect insurance policy information from those involved in the crash. You should also take photos of your injuries, your vehicle, the other parties’ vehicles, and the scene of the crash itself.
If I don’t Feel Injured After an Automobile Accident, do I Have to See a Doctor?
It is a good idea to make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible after the crash, even if you have no visible injuries and feel fine. This is because:
- Not all injuries present with symptoms right away. A doctor can detect and treat such conditions before they cause serious problems.
- You may feel better knowing that you have been checked out and cleared by a medical professional.
- Even minor injuries may heal faster and more fully if they have received prompt treatment.
How Soon After a Car Accident Should I See a Doctor If I Do Not Feel Injured?
As a general rule, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a Fort Lauderdale car accident. If you have no apparent serious injuries, you don’t need to speed to the hospital in an ambulance or summon a paramedic to the scene.
However, waiting days, weeks, or months to seek medical attention is not ideal, either. (If you are reading this and significant time has elapsed since your car accident, it is never too late to visit your doctor, and you are better off doing so weeks or months later than not at all.)
If you have an injury, whether it is obvious or not, seeing a doctor soon after the accident establishes a medical link between the crash and your injuries. This link can serve as a critical piece of evidence when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or fighting the driver in court.
Moreover, based on what your doctor finds, they will recommend a medical protocol for you to follow in the ensuing weeks or months. Doing so benefits your health and recovery; it can bolster your case even further by showing that you are seeking ongoing treatment for your accident-related injuries.
How Likely Am I to Have an Injury That I Cannot See or Feel?
Such a question is impossible to answer with any degree of certainty. However, the likelihood is high enough that you should never assume from the way you look and feel that you did not sustain any injuries and do not need to check with a doctor.
If nothing else, visiting a doctor after your car accident offers peace of mind that you do not have any internal injuries—some potentially serious—that you are overlooking.
Head injuries can be especially insidious, often not presenting any immediate signs or symptoms but worsening as your brain swells inside your skull without your knowledge. In the chaos of your accident, are you sure you did not strike your head against anything: the dashboard, the driver or passenger side window, even the headrest on your seat?
Your doctor will tell you that your instincts were right and you have no serious injuries. However, just that reassurance is worth the copay and the hour or two that it took to go to the appointment.
How Can Seeing a Doctor After a Car Accident Help My Claim?
If the police report and the evidence show that the other driver was at fault, then in most states, including Florida, they are responsible for your property damage. Property damage includes the damage to your vehicle or, if the insurance company declares your vehicle a total loss, its fair market value, plus the value of other physical property damaged in the wreck, such as electronic equipment or jewelry you were carrying in the car.
The process to receive compensation for bodily injuries, however, can be more complex. In Florida, you first have to file with your own insurance company, using a policy provision known as personal injury protection (PIP). However, if you have damages beyond what PIP covers, you may be able to sue the at-fault driver for bodily injuries.
For such an effort to succeed, you need the strongest evidence possible, and this means drawing a conclusive, indisputable link between the car crash and your injuries. The sooner you go to the doctor, the easier it is to do this. A long gap between the accident and your first post-crash medical exam makes it easier for the other driver to call the causal link into question, or to suggest that something happened in between that was the real cause of your injuries.
What Happens If You Get Into a Car Accident Without Insurance?
In Florida, if you cause a car accident with injuries while you do not have insurance, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can suspend your driver’s license, vehicle registration, license plate, and tags. If no injuries resulted from the accident, even if it was your fault, you may be able to keep your license and car registration if you provide DHSMV with proof that you have since bought the required insurance.
You will also be financially responsible for other parties’ damages if you caused the accident. If you did not cause the accident and suffered injuries, you may pursue compensation from the at-fault driver, even if you do not have insurance. Auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine can help you pursue a claim against the responsible driver’s insurance company.
Can I Get Compensation Even If I Have No Insurance?
If you get into a car accident without insurance, your responsibilities will depend on who was at fault for the accident and whether anyone sustained bodily injury as a result.
If no one sustained physical injuries in the accident, it falls under Florida’s no-fault laws. This means that each driver must seek compensation for damages from their respective insurance companies. Consequently, as you had no insurance, you must pay out of pocket to repair your vehicle.
If bodily injuries did occur and if you caused the accident, you are liable to compensate the other parties for their physical injuries and vehicle damage. Once you compensate them, you will obtain a signed form, releasing you from any further liability. If you cannot afford to pay each person in full, you can try to establish a payment plan.
If someone else caused the accident, however, you can likely pursue compensation for injuries and damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine helps people hurt in accidents caused by other drivers.
Can I Purchase Car Insurance After a Crash?
You can and should purchase car insurance immediately after a crash. When you purchase your insurance policy, you must inform the insurance company that you had an uninsured crash and request that they issue you an SR-22 certificate of liability. You must provide this to DHSMV for three years after you have a car accident without insurance.
What Are the Consequences for Uninsured Drivers With the Florida DMV Following an Accident?
The DHSMV will suspend your driver’s license if you have an accident while you are uninsured, as well as your vehicle registration, plate, and tags. To avoid this, you must meet their requirements by a deadline they specify.
The DHSMV enforces insurance laws through their Bureau of Motorist Compliance (BMC). This agency deals with uninsured drivers who have accidents. If the other driver(s) involved in the accident pursue(s) legal action against you–and obtain a judgment against you for damages–the BMC can suspend your license for as long as 20 years or until you satisfy the judgment by paying the damages.
To avoid this fate, you must forward your SR-22 to the BMC or your local DHSMV office by their deadline, along with the liability releases you obtained from each person involved in the accident.
What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?
Millions of people suffer from motor vehicle injuries or permanent damage in auto accidents each year in the U.S. If you’re wondering what are the most common types of car accidents, they include side-impact collisions, rear-end accidents, head-on crashes, multi-vehicle collisions, and vehicle rollovers. Below, our auto accident attorneys discuss these common types of car accidents, their leading causes, and when it can be wise to seek legal representation.
- Side-impact collisions: Also known as T-bone collisions, side-impact collisions frequently happen at intersections, in parking lots, and due to unsafe passing. These crashes can cause severe injuries because most vehicles are less protected on the sides.
- Rear-end accidents: These accidents commonly occur when a driver is inattentive and crashes into the car in front of them. Other causes can be poor weather conditions, distracted driving, and tailgating.
- Head-on crashes: Head-on collisions can result in severe injuries. These types of accidents can happen when a driver fails to stay in their lane and crashes into oncoming traffic.
- Multi-vehicle collisions: Due to there being multiple parties involved, lawsuits are typically more complicated in multi-vehicle crashes than with other accident claims. Problems arise with proving who is responsible for the accident and establishing how it occurred.
- Vehicle rollovers: Driver behavior, car type, and external conditions play their role in this type of accident, resulting in the vehicle tipping onto its side or roof. As such, rollovers tend to have a higher fatality rate.
Negligent Driving Changes Lives in a Heartbeat
Unfortunately, many people are involved in serious auto accidents caused by another driver’s negligence; their lives change in a heartbeat, with devastating consequences to their long-term health, family life, and financial wellbeing. If you’re wondering what are the most common types of car accidents and their causes, typical examples of negligent driving include:
- Distracted driving, from using a mobile phone, for example
- Impaired driving, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Disobeying traffic laws
- Driving in the wrong lane or changing lanes unexpectedly
- Not yielding the right of way when necessary
If you were involved in a car accident or have sadly lost a loved one due to another driver’s negligence, it is a good idea to seek advice from a law firm that offers a free case review. You can benefit from a legal opinion about your case without risk.
When You May Need a Lawyer
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, meaning you will usually look to your insurance policy to recover your losses. While this makes it simpler to recover compensation for minor injuries, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the other driver if your injuries are severe and the policy is not enough to cover your expenses for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost earnings both now and in the future.
If you’re asking what are the most common types of car accidents and if you should seek representation if you were involved in an accident, here are some examples of when it can be a good idea to seek legal representation:
- The accident caused you serious injury or the death of a loved one
- Your injuries have left you unable to work
- You have received a settlement offer from an insurance company that is low
- The collision involved multiple parties
- The negligent driver was uninsured or underinsured
- You need help collecting evidence to prove negligence
The list is not exhaustive, and every case is unique, so it is an excellent first step to check in with your personal injury lawyer for advice if you are hit by another motorist and injured.
What does a Car Accident Lawyer Do?
Personal injury lawyers who handle car accident cases have many responsibilities. They include:
- Seeking out evidence from witnesses, documentation, experts, and other sources to build the strongest possible case
- Identifying all involved liable parties
- Determining a fair monetary value for your damages
- Communicating with the liable party and their representatives, including their insurance company
- Filing paperwork related to your case, including notifications, legal briefs, and settlement agreements
- Advising you about your options, including whether you should settle or go to court
- Meeting with the insurance company as many times as it takes to get a fair settlement agreement from them
- Arguing your case in court by presenting arguments, questioning witnesses, submitting evidence, and so on
This is another reason why you should get a lawyer for a car accident, even if it was not your fault. Lawsuits involve a large investment of time and effort, which you may not be able to give if you are still recovering from your injuries.
We Can Help With Your Car Accident Claim
The attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are ready to help you with your injury claim. Your initial consultation is completely free. During your first call or visit, we will:
- Listen carefully as you share your story
- Tell you within minutes if you have a case—and how we can help you with it
- Allow you to decide the next steps—the consultation places you under no obligation to retain our services
Our clients receive personalized attention and advice. Aside from pursuing the compensation you deserve, we can make things easier for you by:
- Coming to see you at home or in the hospital, if you have not recovered enough to travel
- Charging no attorney’s fees until we have secured compensation for you
- Keeping you updated throughout your case
- Answering all of your questions promptly, whether you contact us by phone, text, or email
- Helping you make doctor’s appointments, get your car fixed, and more
How Can I Speak to a South Florida Car Accident Lawyer About My Case?
Once you have safely arrived home, you can contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for further assistance. We can help you file your insurance claim to recover PIP benefits from your insurer. For victims with more serious injuries, we may be able to seek additional damages.
After the consultation, you are free to decide whether or not to hire one of our car accident lawyers. If you do so, we can assign a dedicated, compassionate lawyer to your case. They can work closely with you to figure out the next steps.
A Lawyer Can File a Lawsuit or Negotiate an Out-of-Court Settlement
The at-fault driver should be responsible for your damages, but insurance only pays up to the driver’s policy limits. Beyond that, you might have to pursue the driver on an individual basis for any additional compensation you deserve.
To do this, we recommend working with a lawyer to spearhead the process. Your attorney can calculate the value of your claim, pursue the responsible party outside of court, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and try your case in front of a jury.
For a free consultation with the accomplished legal team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, call 1-800-747-3733 today.
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