Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accidents
Vehicle accidents (especially those that cause death, serious injury and substantial property damage) are a difficult time for the persons involved as well as their friends and family. Like any unfortunate event, we don’t expect it will one day happen to us. So when it does, you grapple with many questions as you contemplate your next move. Here are the most frequently asked questions we encounter when someone contacts the Badgley Law Group following a car accident in Orlando.
You do not have to contact the police if the accident did not result in injury or fatality. Fender benders may for instance be quickly resolved by the parties involved. That said, it is good practice to call the police when there is damage to either vehicle. There will be instances when the other driver accepts responsibility at the accident scene only for you to later learn from your insurer that they blamed you for the accident. Getting police involved ensures there is an official report of the event that can be be used to your advantage if the matter ends up in court.
No. The law requires that you stop and make sure everyone involved is okay. Administer first aid where necessary and call 911 for assistance. Leaving the scene of an accident without providing your details to the other parties is viewed as a hit-and-run incident. If the accident was grave enough to cause fatality or permanent injury, you could be facing several years of jail time if convicted.
This will depend on who was at fault and the kind of insurance cover you had. All car owners must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance cover. It is referred to as a ‘no-fault’ cover because it caters for medical costs irrespective of who caused the accident. However, if the medical costs outstrip the PIP cover, injured persons can file a claim against the at fault driver to cover the additional bills.
This will initially be treated like any other accident. The PIP insurance will cater for your medical costs. The difference will arise if the PIP proves insufficient in covering your treatment. If your employer has taken a workers’ compensation cover for their employees, you can make a workers’ compensation claim to cover the difference.
Yes. Some injuries will be apparent from the get go. However, given the nature of car accidents, not all injuries will be visible at the beginning. Occasionally, an individual will suffer serious Internal injury and only seek attention when it is too late to treat it. It is important that you go for a medical check up just to be on the safe side.
Not necessarily. The majority of car accident claims are resolved without the need for a lawsuit. It is only when the parties to the accident together with their insurers cannot agree on settlement that the matter is brought before the court for a determination.
Insurance companies in Florida offer uninsured or underinsured motorist cover. This cover addresses injuries due to the negligence of an insufficiently insured driver. The catch is that you must have had the cover prior to the accident. The compensation comes from your own insurer as opposed to the normal personal injury case where you claim from the other driver’s insurance company.
Yes. If you get notice of a lawsuit against you, make every effort to appear in court when required. That will help protect you against excessive or unwarranted damage awards at your expense. By presenting yourself before court, you could also argue for staggered payments that will not strain your income.
No two personal injury cases are the same so it is difficult to predict how long the entire process will take. It starts off with you seeking immediate treatment for your injuries. You’ll be taken through several tests to determine the nature and seriousness of your injuries. At this point, your lawyer will try to negotiate compensation with the insurer of the at fault party. If the negotiations are unsuccessful, your lawyer will file a lawsuit. The length of time it will take to resolve the suit will depend on complexity, jurisdiction and the judge’s caseload.
Yes. This is because most personal injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. They do not receive any payment from you until a successful recovery is realized on your behalf. The team at Badgley Law Group always ensures that clients understand when they can expect to pay for the service and how much that will be. In case you have a question that has not been addressed here, do get in touch with one of our car accident attorneys. Help is a phone call away.