Car Accident Lawyer Melbourne, FL
If you were injured in a vehicle crash, you should get in touch with a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL. Your medical bills may be piling up and are unsure of when you can return to work. A lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. There may even be expenses you have not thought about — such as future medical bills or lost wages due to missed work — so it is crucial that you retain representation for your case. The sooner you reach out, the faster you will be able to make sure your rights are protected.
What You Should Do if You Are Involved in a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident is an incredibly stressful ordeal. Not only is it alarming at the time, but it can end up being expensive and having many other financial repercussions after the fact. You should always be prepared for what to do if you find yourself in this situation. Here are some of the steps to take if you are ever in a car accident.
Procedure in Case of A Car Accident
When driving a car, we should know basic driving procedures. We should also know how to identify the indicators for lights, fuel-, oil-, water-, and charge levels (in the case of an electric car). We even need to know where tools and spare tires are stored.
Driving a car implies intrinsic responsibilities, not just while driving, but also in case of an accident. Nevertheless, many times we do not know how to act in a mishap, because we simply think that it is not likely to happen to us. In general, when a car accident happens we tend to feel fearful or extremely nervous even if we are unharmed. It is normal to have a delayed reaction or feel stressed in this kind of situation. However, it is always good to know what to do in these cases.
If you were involved in a car accident and are fortunate to be unharmed, you can follow the steps provided below to help you manage your insurance claim. These steps can help you have a more efficient process.
- Make sure you are unharmed. Adrenaline often causes us to act impulsively, and we do not take time to feel or take a good look at our bodies. Check yourself for injuries. You first need to make sure that you are alright, before moving on to your passengers and the people in the other vehicle. After determining whether or not an ambulance needs to come to the scene of the accident, you can begin to worry about other things. Never hesitate to call for medical help. It is always better to be safe than sorry when lives are potentially at risk.
- Stay calm. Try to breathe deeply, inhale and exhale to regain calmness, and then take action.
- Alert other drivers. Turn the car’s warning lights on; to alert other drivers that they are approaching an accident zone.
- Call 911. If other people were involved, check that they are safe from additional harm. If they are injured, call 911 for help. Do not assume that someone else will.
- Move vehicle off the road. If your car is in traffic or unsafe conditions and is drivable, pull it over to the side of the road but do not leave the scene.
- Move to a safe area. If you are in danger and your car is not in driving condition, move to the sidewalk or the closest place where your life is not at risk.
- Call your insurer. Make sure to call your insurance company to report the accident.
- Do not get upset. Even if the other driver has been negligent, it is not convenient to get upset. Remember that no one wants to be involved in a car accident. Do not offer your version of events and stay on the sidelines until your insurer arrives at the scene.
- Collect information. If the other driver is at fault, request his driver’s license. You may retain or take pictures of them.
- Collect evidence. Do not leave the scene, make sure to take photographs and videos. Remember that evidence is relevant for your insurance claim.
- Witness information. If there are witnesses and can describe the event, take their contact information, if possible. This information can help with police reports and your insurance claim. Wait for your insurer. Do not discuss or sign any agreement with the counterpart, let your insurer deal with the process. Once your insurer arrives, they will start the claim insurance process and answer your questions.
- Police report. The police will arrive soon to create a report of the event, stay cooperative. If the police do not arrive, the report should be submitted within 72 hours to the nearest police station. Your insurer can probably help you with this.
- Legal advice. If the situation becomes complicated, consider contacting an attorney or legal representative to receive the necessary advice.
- Make sure to follow up. After an agreement is reached among the parties and the paperwork is submitted, leave the rest in the hands of the professionals. But make sure to follow up on your case regularly, find out the status and verify any information.
- Call someone for help. Contact a family member or a friend for help. Hopefully, they can help you get to your destination and make you feel more at ease about the accident.
This process is for individuals who have auto insurance. It is worth keeping in mind some of these steps to follow, although the order of the steps may change according to your situation. Do not hesitate to contact a local car accident lawyer if your auto insurance company fails to provide you with the services you are entitled to. Also, it is advisable to speak with a lawyer specialized in uninsured motor vehicle accidents if you or one of the parties involved in the accident does not have an insurance policy. Contacting a lawyer will be one of the most important steps to take. You need to make sure your rights are protected and that you are given compensation for everything you have been through.
What Are the Most Common Car Accident Injuries?
Your body isn’t built to handle a high-speed collision in a moving vehicle. After an accident, you may suffer from various injuries, many of which can be debilitating. If you weren’t at fault for your accident, you need to contact a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, as soon as possible. He or she can help you file a claim and prove your injuries to the court or insurance adjuster.
Here are the most common accident injuries lawyers handle daily.
Back injuries are among the most severe injuries you can face due to a car accident. Trauma to the spine can be life-altering. Many car accident victims who suffer spinal injuries face paralysis from the waist or neck down. About 40% of people who suffered spinal injuries that resulted in paralysis had them occur during a car accident. When you face such life-altering injuries, you could have to change occupations; you may have to quit the hobbies you used to love. Both your enjoyment of life and your bank account takes a hit when you have a back injury.
When you think of whiplash, you probably think about car accidents. Whiplash is most commonly associated with a collision. During the impact, your head jolts forward and backward quickly—the movement and speed cause soft-tissue injuries to the tendons in your neck. Whiplash may manifest as pain directly following an accident or you may not have any signs of whiplash until 24 hours later.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A TBI can be a mild concussion or a severe injury that leaves a patient comatose. Unexpected stops and wrecks force your head to move in unnatural ways. You can suffer from muscle sprains or you can hit your head against the window or steering wheel. Closed head injuries can be severe, resulting in tearing and bruising of blood vessels and severe swelling. Some people suffer permanent damage following a TBI. You could deal with chronic headaches, an inability to concentrate or think clearly. The results of a TBI can be life-changing for the patient.
It is common to hit the dashboard or steering wheel during a collision. The impact may cause bruising, but it can also break your ribs or cause internal injuries. Chest injuries can be debilitating and dangerous if left unchecked. Your seatbelt can also cause injuries to your chest during an accident, but opting out of a seatbelt leads to much worse consequences.
Common Tricks Insurance Companies Try To Limit Your Compensation
Many of the clients we’ve helped at Tuttle Law have told us horror stories about the way they were treated by their own insurance company. Many drivers are under the impression that their insurer is there to help after a car accident. The truth is that insurance companies are mainly interested in protecting their profits. A car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, can help you avoid common tricks insurance adjusters use to keep from paying.
1. Denying Valid Claims
Did you know that many insurance agents reject claims automatically without even looking at your case? That’s completely unfair, but it’s a common tactic. Insurance companies want to make the process as difficult and time-consuming as possible for drivers.
Having a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, changes things. At Tuttle Law, we take care of your case so you can focus on other things. We can gather needed documents, fill out claim forms, speak with insurance adjusters and handle negotiations. You can get back to your life and still get the compensation you need.
2. Blaming You for the Car Accident
Florida has no-fault insurance, which means that it’s not necessary to figure out which driver was responsible. Your own insurance company handles claims for vehicle damages and medical costs, often with the help of personal injury protection driver’s coverage.
Don’t let your insurer give you bogus excuses to turn down your claim. You don’t have to prove your innocence to the insurance company or anyone else. At Tuttle Law, we tell you right away what the insurance company can and can’t do.
3. Offering You a Low Settlement
Sometimes, insurance companies try to convince you to sign an agreement that gives you a low payout after the accident. The small print may limit the medical expenses covered or prevent you from getting the treatments you need to recover. Always have a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, look over any settlement agreements before you sign them.
We keep in mind your needs right now as well as possible costs you may face down the road. Many car accident injuries take a while to appear, potentially causing long-term issues that you didn’t notice right away. Our team can help you evaluate your options and negotiate with the insurer.
How much is your car accident claim worth? That depends on the type of coverage you have and the circumstances of the accident. Speak with a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, to get a good idea of what you can expect in your case.
How to Prepare for a Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
If you want to pursue a lawsuit for your car accidents injuries, one of your next steps should be to schedule a meeting with a car accident lawyer. Here are a few tips to get ready for the initial consultation.
- Gather evidence. In order to obtain compensation for your injuries, you must have sufficient evidence. If you have any evidence pertaining to your case, you should bring it with you to your first meeting with a lawyer. The more information your lawyer has to go on, the better he or she can help you. For example, if you have a copy of the police report or photographs of the accident scene, remember to bring them with you.
- Be prepared to answer questions about your case. During your initial consultation, your lawyer will want to gather as much information as possible about your case. As such, you should be prepared to answer several questions. For example, your lawyer may want to know when and where the accident occurred and who is responsible. He or she may also want to find out what kind of injuries you sustained.
- Save correspondence with the insurance company. After a car accident, the negligent driver insurance company might try to contact you. They may ask you questions about the accident and even offer a settlement. If you communicated with the insurance company by phone or email, you should preserve the correspondence and show your car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL.
- Write down a list of questions. At your consultation, your lawyer shouldn’t be the only one asking questions. You should also have a list of your own questions. If you ask plenty of questions, you can determine if the lawyer is the right person to represent you or not. For instance, you may want to ask how many car accident cases the lawyer has handled and what the strengths and weaknesses in your case are.
Factors That Determine the Value of Your Car Accident Case
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another motorist, you may be eligible for compensation. However, before you file a claim, it’s important to understand what can affect the value of your claim. Here are some factors that may impact the value of your car accident case:
- Type of injury. The amount of money you receive in your settlement will greatly depend on the type of injury you sustained. Generally, the more severe your injury is, the higher settlement you receive. For example, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may receive a higher settlement because you may require more medical treatments, like surgery and rehabilitation therapy.
- Medical bills. A car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL will also look at the medical bills you incurred thus far from your injury. It’s important to keep your medical records in a safe place so that you get fairly compensated.
- When you sought medical treatment. In order to receive fair compensation for your injury, you need to seek medical care immediately. The longer you wait to see a doctor, the harder it will be to prove that your injury resulted from the accident. Even if you don’t feel too bad after the accident, you should still get medical care right away.
- Liability. In some car accidents, both motorists can be considered at fault. If you’re found even partially at fault in a car accident, it can lower your settlement.
- Statements about the accident. Anything you say about your car accident can impact your settlement. For example, if you say, “I’m sorry,” after the accident, you are admitting fault. Don’t say anything that indicates you’re admitting fault.
- Activities during your recovery. If you’re trying to obtain compensation for a car accident injury, you shouldn’t do anything to make others think that you’re not truly hurt. For example, if you suffered whiplash during the accident and post a photo of yourself at an amusement park on Facebook, the insurance company could see that and argue that you aren’t actually injured.
- Pre-existing conditions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the insurance company could argue that it caused your current injury. If this is the case, don’t let them convince you to accept a low settlement. Have your lawyer speak with the insurance company.
6 Things Not To Do After a Car Accident
Car accidents can be frightening. You may feel disoriented for some time afterward. Here are six actions a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, such as Tuttle Law suggests that you absolutely should not do after an accident.
Leave the Scene of the Accident
In many jurisdictions, leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense. Depending on the severity of the car accident and injuries to people or property, you could be facing anywhere from two months to 30 years in jail, with hefty fines, long probation and license suspension thrown into the mix. Whenever you are in an accident, give the other party your name, address, registration and insurance information.
Decline Medical Attention Because You Feel Fine
Oftentimes, injuries from car accidents don’t show themselves for hours or even days. The hormone adrenaline, which your body releases during times of stress, can mask pain for up to an hour. Internal bleeding might not reveal symptoms for days. If you are involved in a car accident, Tuttle Law recommends you seek immediate medical attention.
Think You Don’t Need To Call the Police
Even minor car accidents can cause injuries that would merit a personal injury claim filed by a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL. Calling the police to have them file reports on what happened is a crucial step in your car accident case.
Whatever you say, don’t say anything that might be construed as admitting fault. Don’t even say, “I’m sorry,” because that has been used in court as an admission of fault. A car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, would tell you it’s best to keep your mouth shut, no matter how much at fault you might feel.
Tell Everyone You’re Fine
If you tell the other driver, law enforcement personnel or insurance claims agents that you feel fine, that could reduce the damages you could receive when you file a personal injury claim. People are conditioned to say, “I’m fine” when asked how they are; suppress this conditioning and be honest about how you are feeling.
Talk to Insurance Agents Without Consulting Your Attorney
Insurance agents may not always have your best interests at heart. They may want to minimize the amount of money they have to give you. Anything you tell them could be used to say that you were at fault for the incident. Your car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, can help you figure out what you can tell insurance agencies and what to keep to yourself.
Schedule a consultation with a car accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL to discuss your case in detail. At Tuttle Law, P.A., our lawyers are ready to help you.