After being injured in a car accident, you may be scared and confused. On top of significant damage to your vehicle, you may be dealing with serious physical injuries, missed time at work, and severe pain.
Despite all of this, the insurance companies involved in the claim may be of little help. The at-fault driver’s company may pressure you to sign statements that are not in your interest or to take a token sum to settle the claim. This could lead to you forfeiting thousands of dollars in recoverable damages.
A St. Petersburg car accident lawyer could help to prevent this from happening. From the moment you hire a legal professional for your personal injury case, all insurance company communication must go through that attorney. Your lawyer could then work to ensure your rights are protected and pursue your claim for maximum compensation.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident Case
The vast majority of collisions between vehicles in St. Petersburg and throughout Florida are accidents. The at-fault driver did not mean to cause any damage, but due to their actions, damage still occurred. As a result, an injured person must pursue their case through the legal theory known as negligence.
Negligence applies specifically when an individual is injured in an accident. In order to recover, plaintiffs in St. Petersburg car accident cases must prove that:
- The defendant owed them a duty to care for their wellbeing
- Something done by the defendant—or possibly a failure to act—violated this duty
- This violation of duty resulted in an injury
As applied to car accident cases, all drivers assume a duty to care for all other drivers. This duty also extends to passengers and pedestrians. If any motorist drives in a way that places anyone else in jeopardy, they are responsible for any damages that result. Accordingly, evidence of a defendant speeding, failing to yield, driving while drunk, or texting while driving is also evidence of negligence.
A plaintiff must also be sure to file their case within the time limits provided by law, also known as the statute of limitations. If they do not meet this time limit, the court may refuse to hear the case and the defendant’s insurance company would almost certainly no longer negotiate a settlement. According to Florida Statutes §95.11, plaintiffs have four years from the date of the injury to bring their civil case forward.
Potential Sources of Compensation
At the center of any car accident case is a physical injury. No matter how damaged a plaintiff’s car may be or how mentally shaken they are, their case cannot go forward without a physical injury. This injury can be almost anything, ranging from cuts and scrapes to severe spinal cord injuries or broken bones. A claim can demand compensation for all the medical costs associated with treating these injuries.
However, a comprehensive claim should examine the total impact of the accident on the life of the plaintiff. This may include payments for any time lost at work, any permanent loss of future earning ability, as well as any loss of enjoyment of life and mental suffering endured by the plaintiff. A car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg could work with clients to ensure that every aspect of their case is accounted for in settlement negotiations.
How a St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorney Could Help
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident is difficult enough, especially if you are dealing with severe injuries and mental anguish. Insurance companies love to take advantage of plaintiffs in this vulnerable position, and they often try to get them to settle valuable claims quickly and for a fraction of their value.
A St. Petersburg car accident lawyer is ready to stand up for your rights. They could work from day one to properly value your case, develop a strategy designed to protect your rights, and bring cases to a fair conclusion quickly. In fact, many cases end with a fair settlement without going to court. Call today to schedule a consultation.