A motor-vehicle crash can be a life-altering event. The resulting injuries could impact you not only physically and emotionally but also financially. Our car accident attorneys in St. Augustine can help you pursue the compensation you need to pay for medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
We offer free case evaluations, and we don’t charge any attorneys’ fees unless we prevail. Call (877) 428-4177 to learn more.
Qualities That Set Our St. Augustine Car Accident Attorneys Apart
Between the time-consuming medical procedures, new limitations, and unexpected costs, it may feel like you’re struggling to stay afloat in the wake of a serious accident. Finding an attorney who has the time, resources, and experience to provide tenacious representation could help lighten the burden and give you peace of mind during these challenging times. Here are a few qualities that set our auto injury lawyers apart from other law firms:
- We Are Accessible: Unanswered phone calls, unread texts, and emails that seem to disappear into thin air—dealing with an attorney who isn’t available to take your questions will only ramp up your stress levels. At Emerson Straw PL, our goal isn’t just to help you win your case but also to ease your anxieties during this stressful period. Your attorney will provide you with a direct line of contact and return your calls, texts, and emails promptly.
- We Are Skilled Litigators: Proceeding to litigation is a time-consuming, resource-intensive undertaking. As such, some attorneys are reluctant to take that next step, even going so far as to encourage clients to accept an unfair settlement offer to avoid the headaches of litigation. However, if the insurance company or opposing party refuses to come to the table, it may make sense to file a lawsuit. Our auto accident lawyers in St. Augustine have a track record of success in and out of court, and we relish the chance to go to trial if it is in our client’s best interests to do so.
- We Offer Personalized Representation: While personal injury cases share many of the same traits, due to the number of factors at play, each claim is ultimately unique. As a result, it’s impossible to provide effective representation without thoroughly investigating and building each claim individually. At Emerson Straw PL, not only will we give your case the attention that it deserves, but we will also treat you and your family with compassion and professionalism.
Types of Car Crashes Resulting in Personal Injuries
Thousands of car accidents happen every day nationwide and many of them result in significant injuries to drivers, passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. While accidents sometimes occur as a result of vehicle malfunctions or defects, a large percentage of motor vehicle accidents occur as a result of human error.
Drivers may disregard a stop sign, stoplight, fail to signal an intent to turn, or commit other traffic violations. Drivers may also be distracted by text messaging, phone calls, and GPS directions. Many individuals also continue to drive when they are impaired by drugs and/or alcohol.
All these actions can directly contribute to accidents that may cause catastrophic injuries. However, they may also indicate negligence. When this negligence causes an injury, the responsible party can be held liable and responsible for providing compensation. A St. Augustine car accident lawyer can help those injured by negligent drivers obtain the compensation they deserve.
Negligence and Auto Injury Claims
Most car accident-related personal injury claims in St. Augustine arise from the negligent or careless behavior of drivers. Negligence occurs when a driver acts in a manner that is in careless disregard of others’ safety. Drivers have a duty to drive safely, obey traffic rules, and reasonably take precautions to protect others. To establish a claim based on negligence, individuals must prove the following elements:
• The driver had a duty to act in a reasonably safe manner while driving
• The driver breached that duty in acting negligently
• That breach in duty directly led to the accident at issue
• The plaintiff would not have suffered injuries if the driver had not breached the duty of care and the accident had not occurred
Comparative Negligence and Injury Claims
Motor vehicle accidents often involve multiple vehicles, and in some cases, injury victims are also partially at fault for accidents that occur. Florida is purely a comparative negligence state, which means that even if injury victims bear some responsibility for the accident that led to their injuries, they still can recover compensation from those who also bear responsibility for the accident.
Under the legal principle of comparative negligence, however, accident victims who are partially at fault for an accident generally can only recover damages in a reduced amount. For instance, if they are adjudged to be 30 percent at fault for an accident, then their compensation is usually reduced by 30 percent.
Can I Use Facebook or Twitter While My Claim Is Pending?
In the digital age, many of us stay connected with friends and family through social media. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become places to share life’s bright moments, seek advice, or vent your frustrations. However, in the aftermath of a serious accident, you need to take a moment to think before hitting “post.”
It’s not just your friends and family reading your posts; the insurance company could also be watching. As such, anything you post—whether it’s an image, a comment, or a new line in your bio—could be used as ammunition to dispute your case.
Our attorneys may advise you to disable your social media accounts until your case has concluded. However, if you’re not able to unplug entirely, here are a few tips for the next time you login:
- Switch to Private: Most social media sites now give users the option to set their profiles to private. In this setting, only those in your circles can see what you post. However, this isn’t a foolproof strategy for hiding your posts from prying eyes. For instance, one of your connections could screenshot comments you make and share these with an opposing party. As a result, you should not post anything on social media until your case has concluded.
- No Tagging: Images of you engaged in any activity, whether it’s exercising, gardening, or partying with your friends, could be dangerous in the hands of a claims adjuster looking for any reason to reduce or deny you compensation. For instance, the insurance company could assert that you ignored your doctor’s instructions to rest and thus aggravated or exacerbated your injuries. Or, an opposing party may use these images as evidence that your injuries are not that serious. Not only should you avoid posting pictures of yourself until your claim is resolved, but you should also ask those in your circles to abstain from tagging you in any pictures they upload.
- Do Not Accept New Friend Requests: Maybe you’ve received a new connection request. You think, “What’s the harm in accepting it?” However, opposing parties may use many different tactics to gain access to your social media feeds. One tactic may involve sending you a connection request, which, once accepted, would give an investigator free rein to comb through your posts and pictures.
How Much Is My Auto Accident Case Worth?
You may have been sidelined from work, left to watch as weeks of earnings go down the drain. Meanwhile, you’re picking up the tab for sky-high medical expenses and trying to keep up with your regular bills. Suffering even a minor injury can put a serious strain on many people’s finances, leaving them desperate for a cash windfall that can help lighten the burden.
Unfortunately, no attorney can guarantee a specific outcome in a personal injury case. At Emerson Straw PL, however, we can conduct a thorough investigation and use tried-and-tested methods to approximate a fair settlement based on the specific circumstances of your case. Here are a few factors that could influence the value of your claim:
- Are Your Injuries Serious? Typically, severe or permanent injuries warrant a higher financial award than minor or temporary injuries due to the added medical expenses and increased pain and suffering commonly associated with such conditions. And in Florida, certain kinds of non-economic damages are only recoverable if a car accident victim’s injury meets the “serious injury” threshold.
- Did You Make Any Mistakes? Even if you have strong evidence to prove liability, causation, and damages, it’s still possible that the opposing party has grounds to dispute your case. For instance, if you posted about your accident on social media, what you say might bring fault or the severity of your injuries into question.
- Were You Unable to Return to Work? If you were prevented from doing your job due to your injuries, these lost earnings may be recoverable as part of your claim. If you sustained a permanent injury or disability, you may also be able to seek compensation for future lost wages.
- Are You Seeking Compensation for Non-Economic Damages? There are no invoices for pain and suffering or receipts for emotional distress, but the impact of these non-economic damages is very real. Our auto accident attorneys can help determine whether any non-economic damages may be recoverable and use widely accepted formulas to approximate a fair settlement for such damages.
Elements of a Personal Injury Journal
Those terrifying moments of your accident may still be burnt into your memory. You would probably give anything to shake those grisly thoughts and get on with your life. But if you plan to file a personal injury claim, remembering every detail could help you in your fight for a fair settlement.
Instead of making mental notes, grab a pen or a laptop and start writing. A personal injury journal not only will help preserve your memories of the accident but could also assist in keeping track of your pain levels, limitations, doctor’s visits, and other important elements of your recovery. Below are a few details you may want to include in your journal:
- Describe the Accident: You should make your first entry as soon as possible after leaving the accident scene. Include any details you can remember about the moments preceding and following the car accident. What did the other party say? Did you or anyone else admit fault? Were there surveillance cameras nearby? What were you doing when the collision happened? This first entry can help guide your attorney’s investigation.
- Doctor’s Visits: Whether you’re sitting down with your GP or consulting with a specialist, take notes on what they say, instructions they give you, and any medication they’ve prescribed.
- Day-to-Day Recovery: Whether it’s a minor injury or chronic condition, keeping track of your recovery could help your attorney build a stronger case and prove damages. You should record your pain levels, keep records of any limitations, note new symptoms, and jot down medication side effects.
Set up a Free Consultation with a Car Accident Lawyer
Our St. Augustine car accident lawyers offer no-obligation consultations and accept personal injury and wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. Call (877) 428-4177 today to get started.