Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
Florida is a no-fault state. By design, the majority of car accident claims are resolved via payouts on drivers’ personal injury protection (PIP) insurance.
The option to sue after a car accident is extremely limited. As a result, many people assume that they do not need to hire an attorney if they are hurt in a crash.
If an accident causes only property damage and/or minor injury, you may not need a lawyer to resolve your claim. However, you should absolutely talk to an attorney if you suffer a serious injury in a car accident. The same may also be true if the insurance company is uncooperative.
Reasons to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
Most people will be in at least one car accident over the course of their lives. When it happens, it can be difficult to know what to do and where to turn.
If you are unsure of the steps you should take after a crash or worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, you should not hesitate to seek legal guidance. Car accident lawyers can review your case and advise you what comes next.
Reputable car accident attorneys will review your case for free and require no commitment on your part. If you feel as though you can handle the claim on your own, meeting with a lawyer does not obligate you to hire them. However, several issues may indicate that it is in your best interest to retain a car accident lawyer:
1. You Were Seriously Injured in a Car Accident
The no-fault law in Florida does not bar all fault-based car accident claims. Specifically, victims who suffer “significant injuries” (as defined by Florida law) are permitted to file suit against the driver who caused the accident.
Bringing a fault-based claim is very different from filing a claim with your own insurance company. You must prove that the other driver was negligent, that this negligence resulted in the accident and your injuries, and that you suffered damages as a result.
If you are seriously injured, collecting evidence in the wake of a car accident is extremely difficult. Your injuries may have made it unsafe for you to move, rendering you unable to take photos, collect information from the other driver, and perform other activities at the scene.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is the best way to get “caught up.” Your attorney can perform a thorough investigation on your behalf while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will almost certainly dispute liability for the accident. Compelling evidence of the driver’s negligence, therefore, is essential. A car accident lawyer will know how to use the evidence effectively to argue that the other driver was at fault for your injuries.
The evidence must also demonstrate the losses you have sustained as a result of the car accident. Recoverable compensation in a fault-based car accident claim is much greater than what you can receive through your PIP insurance, but each dollar you pursue must be supported by the facts of the case.
Handling all of this on your own is overwhelming. When you hire a car accident lawyer, however, you will have a capable advocate who can protect your rights and act in your interests. Crucially, you will have a professional who can represent you in negotiations with the insurance company and prepare your case for trial as necessary – both of which are well outside the capabilities of most car accident victims.
2. Your Loved One Died in a Car Accident
Another exception to the no-fault law arises when someone is killed in a car accident. If you lost a loved one due to the carelessness of another driver, it is important to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible.
Wrongful death claims share a number of similarities to the injury claims discussed above. However, these cases are subject to special legal procedures that an experienced lawyer can help you navigate – particularly concerning who can bring a claim when a relative is killed in an accident.
A lawyer can investigate the accident to determine who is at fault, gather evidence, calculate the full extent of damages, and take action on your behalf against those responsible. The sudden death of a family member is a traumatic experience, and it is best to let an attorney handle settlement negotiations and, if necessary, trial preparation so you and your loved ones can focus on coping with the loss.
3. The Insurance Company Is Being Difficult
If a car accident results in no serious injuries and no fatalities, those involved turn to their own insurance company for coverage of their losses. Your PIP insurance will partially cover medical expenses and lost wages up to your policy limits, while optional policies (such as collision coverage) can help pay for damage to your vehicle.
This may sound straightforward, but dealing with auto insurance is rarely easy. Insurance adjusters want to pay as little as possible – even to the insureds who faithfully pay their premiums and have perhaps never filed a claim before.
If your insurance carrier is refusing to cover your losses after a car accident, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can negotiate with the adjuster for a fair payout.
Being involved in a car accident can upend your life. In the short term you may be suffering physically and emotionally from your injuries, as well as financially from medical bills, loss of income, and other expenses. Long-term, you may be facing permanent impairment that can affect your ability to work and live the life you enjoyed prior to the accident.
Many lawyers handle car accident claims. When your case and your life are on the line, however, it is worth getting a lawyer with the experience, knowledge, and resources to represent you effectively.
Kogan & DiSalvo has been serving clients in car accident claims for more than 25 years. The majority of our attorneys are Board-Certified in Civil Trial Law by The Florida Bar. This distinction reflects our commitment to going the extra mile for our clients – up to and including going to court.
Please call Kogan & DiSalvo at (561) 375-9500 today for a free case review. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Stuart, Delray Beach, and throughout Florida.