Orlando Car Accident Lawyer
We hear about them on the traffic report and on the nightly news, but few of us imagine ourselves being the ones that suffer traumatic injury or death in a car accident. Despite the prevalence of modern safety features in new vehicles, the chance of injury is still quite high out on the roads. Most drivers will experience at least one motor vehicle collision in their lifetime, and even a small collision can cause incredibly painful and long lasting injuries such as whiplash, back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). An article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that low impact rear end collisions ranging from 10 to 15 kilometers per hour (six to 10 miles per hour) would not likely give the occupants whiplash; however, as the speed goes above 15 kilometers, or 10 miles, per hour, the likelihood of severe whiplash and traumatic brain injury increases dramatically. Contact our Orlando car accident lawyers today for more information.
When such an injury occurs, either great or small, medical bills can stack up, victims are forced to take time off work, which results in lower wages, regular daily activities become items of incredible stress and difficulty, and quality of life decreases. An uncomplicated bone fracture takes at least six weeks to heal, with additional time required for rehabilitation and strengthening being required in the ensuing months. Even a severe strain can take well over a month to heal, with lingering pain and weakness lasting indefinitely. Traumatic brain injuries vary in severity, with minor concussions causing pain and forgetfulness for days to weeks, while more severe TBIs may take months or years from which to recover, if full recovery is even possible. If you have been injured in a car accident, don’t hesitate to call an experienced Orlando car accident attorney today for a free consultation. Don’t let another’s negligence put you in debt or keep you from receiving the very best possible medical attention that you deserve.
Florida And Orlando Car Accidents On The Rise
Florida traffic has never been the safest to negotiate. With congested highways and the ever increasing presence of tourists and out of towners, the streets are packed with drivers that are not paying due attention to the road. Cell phones are making the streets more dangerous across the nation, and Florida’s lack of stringent cell phone use and texting laws (texting while driving is not a primary offense in Florida) create an even more dangerous atmosphere akin to thousands of people driving while intoxicated. The distractions, high congestion, impatiens, and outright road rage in Orlando and surrounding areas results in hundreds of deaths annually. There were 2,494 traffic fatalities in Florida in 2014, and those numbers are expected to have trended up a large percentage in 2015. To get an idea of how many unsafe drivers inhabit our streets, in Orange county alone, in 2014 there were 2,977 DUI (driving under the influence) citations, 61,187 speeding citations, 43,484 incidents of red light violations caught by camera, and 16,821 counts of careless driving, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Orlando Car Accidents
There are a number of important steps to take after a crash to create the best outcome for your case. In addition to seeking medical care, filing a police report, and notifying your insurance company, your next step should be contacting an experienced Orlando car accident lawyer for legal representation. Working with an experienced car crash lawyer is highly advised, even if you think that your case is straightforward and that you are guaranteed a settlement.
Why You Should Work with an Orlando Auto Accident Lawyer
Many people hesitate to contact an Orlando car accident lawyer after a crash, wondering whether or not working with an lawyer is really necessary. While you have no legal obligation to contact a lawyer, doing so can improve your chances of recovering the maximum amount of money that you are owed, and can also provide you with a sense of confidence and comfort throughout the process. Here are some important ways that our Orlando car accident lawyer helps you after a car accident:
- Investigating your accident. Fault in a crash is not always clear, and even when it is, the right evidence must be collected to prove it. Fault, or negligence, can have a big impact on the amount of money that you receive in a settlement offer, and unless you prove the negligence of the other driver (or other at-fault party), you may be unable to recover compensation at all. The investigation starts as soon as we learn around your accident, collecting all evidence. This includes physical evidence, pictures of the accident scene, police reports, video footage, witness statements, and more.
- Filing your claim. Filing can be tricky. You may have questions when filing your claim after an accident, or against whom. This is especially true if the accident was caused by a party other than another driver, such as the manufacturer of a defective auto part. Our Orlando car accident lawyers help you file your claim against the appropriate party in a timely manner.
- Proving damages. If you are injured in a crash and suffer losses, you may assume that the insurance adjuster responsible for processing your claim will recognize this and you’ll be compensated. Unfortunately, you will need to prove the full extent of your losses in order to recover any compensation. Our Orlando car crash lawyers can assist you in gathering medical bills, working with experts, and proving damages.
- Negotiating for a fair settlement offer. Frequently, insurance adjusters offer claimants less than they deserve, hoping that the claimant will take the money in desperation and frustration. When your settlement offer does not address the full amount of damages you have suffered, we will aggressively negotiate for a more suitable settlement amount.
- Taking your claim to court. When a settlement cannot be reached, our Orlando car accident lawyers will be prepared to take your case to court.
Types of Car Accident Claims
Most car accidents happen because of negligence, which is the failure to exercise a certain level of caution while operating a vehicle. The Orlando car accident lawyers, along with your insurance company, will conduct a preliminary investigation to identify whether you were negligent or not.
To have the best chances of winning the case, the experienced Orlando auto accident lawyers must prove that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident. Some examples are negligent drivers, reckless drivers, intoxicated drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and those who text and drive.
If your vehicle, or the defendant’s vehicle had a defect contributed to the accident, the injured party may have a claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or one of its many parts. If the car had a faulty manufacturing issue, the manufacturer can be held responsible regardless of who was actually at fault for the accident.
The Orlando car crash lawyers must prove that you were not at fault for the accident, and that the defect happened due to the manufacturing process. Usually they bring in expert testimony and analysis as evidence to prove that the defect caused or contributed to the accident. Successful lawsuits will require the plaintiff to show:
- The defective car or part was “unreasonably dangerous”
- The vehicle was being operated safely
- The vehicle’s performance had not changed since purchase
In addition, there’s faulty construction, design, or maintenance of roads. This can contribute to car crashes and have nothing to do with the drivers. This type of claim will prove the plaintiff and defendant not guilty due to circumstances beyond their control.
Types of Car Crash Injuries and Compensation You May Be Entitled To
The extent and severity of injuries suffered will be different with each individual case. In some cases, treatment for injuries will not be covered by insurance. The Orlando car accident lawyers help cover costs of injuries that include:
- Burns and scars
- Loss of limbs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Joint, muscle, back, neck, and bone injuries
- Knee damage
- Permanent disability
If you are seeking further compensation for damages, your lawyer will approach the negligent party’s insurance company in an attempt to recover compensation to cover your remaining costs. Your claim will be submitted for approval to the insurance company, which will have led an investigation of its own.
The success of your claim will likely depend on the ability of your lawyer to collect, analyze, and present evidence. It can be particularly challenging considering the opposing insurance company will clearly want to minimize their disbursement.
Providing your lawyer with as much information as possible can help your odds of winning the case. If your lawyer and the insurance company cannot agree on a settlement, often the case may proceed to trial.
In addition to these, our experienced Orlando auto accident lawyers can help you obtain compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
Orlando Auto Accident Lawyers Assist with Wrongful Death Claims
If you have lost a loved one in a car crash, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In these cases, the family or survivors of the victim must prove that their loved one was killed as a result of another’s negligence. You can gain economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
The largest financial aspect of a wrongful death claim is the lost potential earnings of the deceased person. This is calculated by taking the victim’s age, current average earnings, their education, health before death, and other factors to estimate what they would have earned if they were allowed to live out the rest of their lives. As such, the death of a young executive climbing the corporate ladder with a masters of business degree would net much more compensation for lost wages than the death of an unemployed senior. Likewise, the deaths of children and babies are not “worth” as much as adults with jobs because it is too difficult to predict what a six-year-old is going to grow up to be. This sad fact means that parents of children taken from them in traffic collisions are up against great odds when it comes to wrongful death cases. It is vitally important to work with an attorney to show the earning potential of your lost loved one, as the opposing insurance company will likely pull out all stops to prove otherwise.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Unfortunately Florida has the highest rate of uninsured drivers out on the roads of any state. Not only does this make our roads less safe, it makes compensation more complicated. According to the Insurance Journal, 26.7 percent of Florida drivers do not have insurance. Another problem that we have here is the very low liability minimums. All that is needed to drive is $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in property liability insurance, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That means that the other party, if they have the bare minimum coverage, can give you $10,000 for your property damage, but likely nothing for your injuries. PIP insurance only protects the policy holder or occupants in his or her vehicle. As such, you would only be able to receive bodily injury compensation from their PIP policy if you were a passenger of that negligent driver.
Moreover, if the negligent driver that caused your crash was uninsured or underinsured, chances are high that they will not have personal property with any real value. As such, there will be nothing to pursue for a lawsuit, either against their insurance company or against them personally. For this reason and the potential for a run in with such an underinsured motorist is great, many of our customers have wisely decided to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorists liability protection. Unfortunately, it is common for one’s own insurance provider to deny coverage or limit compensation, which is why working with an attorney is necessary if you want to maximize your financial compensation. Underinsured and uninsured motorist protection can pay for the same things that a normal settlement or lawsuit would cover, including the following:
- Medical bills;
- Loss of joy of life;
- Lost wages and earning ability;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disability modifications for your home or car;
- Loss of consortium and funeral and burial expenses in the event of death; and
What To Do In An Orlando Auto Accident
Florida is one of the most dangerous states in which to drive. Speed limits are ignored, drivers talk and text on cell phones with few repercussions, the streets are crowded, and drunk driving is rampant. Because of these reasons, Florida has the 19th highest rate of driver fatalities per 100 million miles driven, according the the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, Orlando itself has one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire nation. The intersection of North Semoran Boulevard and Old Cheney Highway was determined to be among 11 of the most fatal intersections nationwide, according to a study done by Time Magazine with data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Time Magazine looked at data from 2003 to 2012 of fatal accidents that occurred 150 feet or closer together at intersections. North Semoran, as well as 11 other intersections, had at least six fatal accidents within that time frame. While some accidents result in injuries so severe that no occupants are able to respond, most collisions are not so severe as to incur such incapacitation, and having a plan to cope in such situations can prove incredibly important. After any collision, one of the most important steps is reporting it to your insurance provider, seeking medical attention for any serious aches, pains, or other injuries, and contacting an experienced Orlando car accident lawyer.
Steps to Take in The Aftermath of a Car Accident
Having a plan in the event of an auto accident can save you a lot of stress in the long run. The first thing you need to do is ensure the safety of everyone in your vehicle, the other vehicle or vehicles that were present in the collision, and the safety of other road users that come upon the crash site. Follow the steps listed below and engrain them in your memory for future use, because chances are we will all be involved in at least one collision at some point in our lives.
Check on the safety of your passengers. Do not move a severely injured person, as this could cause additional spinal damage. If you or your passengers are severely injured, call the paramedics immediately and tend to the injuries as best as you can. Providing company and any additional comforts, such as a blanket or jacket for warmth or a pillow, may be all you are capable of doing. However, if you and your passengers are able to, move the vehicle to the side of the road.
Check on the condition of the occupants in the other vehicle as well and provide any service you are able to. Set up road cones, flares, or a reflective road triangle a hundred meters down traffic if any are available to warn other vehicles of the situation ahead of them.
Proving negligence on the party that was responsible for the collision is the most important aspect of acquiring compensation for your damages. To ensure this, take photos, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, gather witness statements and contact information, and later seek medical attention. Finally, make sure to contact your insurance provider, and call an experienced Orlando car accident lawyers with the law offices of The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-888-573-6327. Our Orlando car accident lawyers can help ensure you recover compensation for any damages you suffered in a wreck.
Contact Our Successful Orlando Car Accident Lawyers for Help
If you were injured in an auto wreck, contact The Pendas Law Firm today at 1-888-573-6327 to discuss your legal options with one of our experienced Orlando car accident attorneys. The best accident lawyers will help you throughout each step of your case toward recovery.