Car accidents aren't always clear-cut situations. Without mentioning the stress that results from the crash, the days and weeks that follow can feel overwhelming between medical treatment, property damage, and insurance claims.
A Jacksonville car accident lawyer can help you navigate this process and secure a better outcome for you and your loved ones.
Navigating Florida's Complex Accident Laws
Florida is a no-fault state, but a new rule introduced in March 2023 is affecting cases where tort law applies.
Florida's Car Accident Laws
As a no-fault state, Florida requires drivers to have at least $10,000 or $20,000 per accident in PIP coverage for their own medical needs.
If your PIP coverage runs out and you meet the serious injury threshold, you can seek damages from a liable party under tort law.
In March 2023, Florida went from being a pure comparative negligence state to adopting a comparative fault system. With this new rule in effect, you can only seek damages from a third party if your own liability doesn't exceed 50%.
How a Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
An experienced lawyer can review your case and determine whether you meet the serious injury threshold. If you do, your lawyer will assess what kind of compensation you may be able to recieve under tort law, including medical costs, lost wages, or pain and suffering.
They can also gather the necessary evidence to assess your degree of liability under the new comparative fault rule.
Importance of Legal Representation Post-Accident
A car crash can cost anywhere from around $5,000 to over $1.7 million, depending on the severity of the accident. Exercising your rights and seeking compensation is usually the only way to cover this significant expense.
Protecting Your Rights and Obtaining Compensation
As a Florida resident, you have the right to receive up to $10,000 from your PIP insurance provider toward your medical costs, provided that you have a valid policy.
A car accident lawyer will make sure that your insurer doesn't deny or adjust your claims without having a good reason to do so.
Your lawyer will also help you explore your rights under tort law, starting by assessing whether you meet the serious injury threshold.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
Plaintiffs sometimes make mistakes that limit their ability to receive compensation. A lawyer will help you avoid these common pitfalls:
- Don't accept the first settlement offer you get. It might not be enough to cover all your expenses.
- Don't discuss the accident. It's easy to admit fault by accident. If you do so, you might not be able to get additional compensation under tort law.
- Failing to seek medical care within two weeks of the accident will void your PIP claim. Your lawyer can remind you of important deadlines, ensure you report the accident, and file your claim on time.
The Benefits of a Jacksonville-Based Lawyer
When seeking legal representation, it's often best to work with a local attorney.
The Value of Local Knowledge
A Jacksonville-based lawyer can use their knowledge of similar accidents and settlements in the area as a basis for negotiating with insurers.
Their knowledge of the most dangerous Jacksonville roads can also help them reconstruct what happened. For instance, pointing out a flaw in urban design can help lower your liability score. With over 24,000 crashes recorded in Duval County in 2022, your lawyer can work with the data to find local patterns.
Having a working relationship with different professionals can streamline the process of obtaining compensation.
Your lawyer can reach out to local police officers to obtain a police report. They can work with medical experts for your case or use their past experiences with an insurer when negotiating a settlement.
What to Expect from a Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer
A Snapshot of the Journey
Once you contact a lawyer, they will usually set up an initial consultation. Here's what will happen:
- The lawyer will ask questions and gather relevant documents during this first meeting.
- They will use this information to assess your case. They might take steps to obtain more evidence.
- Next, they will share legal advice with you. You can choose to proceed with the legal plan they recommend or explore other options.
In most cases, your lawyer will begin by filing a PIP claim with your insurer. If your insurer adjusts or denies the claim, your lawyer can negotiate or appeal the claim.
If you meet the severe injury threshold, your lawyer will reach out to the liable parties. They will attempt to negotiate a settlement. If you don't get a fair offer, your lawyer will file a lawsuit in civil court.
The American Bar Association has strict rules for lawyers, including the requirement to protect a client's interests. In the context of a car accident, this rule means using the full extent of the law to get fair compensation.
You can expect your lawyer to represent you at every step of this process and do everything in their power to secure a fair settlement.
Finding the Right Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer
Navigating the post-accident process alone can be stressful. It's best to find a legal representative who can offer advice and represent you when dealing with insurers.
Working with a local attorney can help you navigate the process of filing a claim. A Jacksonville car accident lawyer will have unique knowledge regarding local accident trends as well as working relationships with expert witnesses, law enforcement, and other professionals.
Get started today with Accident.com. Fill out a short form to tell us more about your case to be be matched with a Jacksonville car accident attorney for a free case review.