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Auto Accident Lawyers
I am Orlando Auto Accident Attorney Michael T. Gibson and I am dedicated to helping accident victims and their families through the difficult, overwhelming, and often frustrating process of filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim.
Whether you are looking for legal help for yourself or a loved one after a serious car accident, I will ensure your needs are met today and in the future.”
Every day, as drivers we are put in situations that can result in accidents. Though we always don’t always consider it when we get behind the wheels of our cars, we are assuming responsibility for potentially dangerous machines. Any Orlando Auto Accident Attorney can tell you, every decision we make – from yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks to driving more cautiously in the rain – while driving affects our safety, our passengers’ safety, and that of the motorists around
Orlando Car Accident Lawyer
If you have sustained injuries in an Orlando car accident as a result of another party’s careless or negligent actions, Florida law permits you to sue them for damages in civil court. Car accident victims and their families have enough struggles when it comes to doing the hard work of healing after an accident, they shouldn’t have to also cope with the financial challenges that often come in the aftermath of a severe car accident, especially when another party is responsible. The experienced Orlando car accident lawyers at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney have ample experience helping car accident victims seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries. If you live in the Greater Orlando area and have been injured in an Orlando car accident, call 407-422-4529 for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident and learn how our Orlando personal injury lawyers may be able to help you.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, the time to call an Orlando personal injury lawyer is now. We will review your case for free, with no obligation. Know your rights as a victim
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Our Results in Car Accident Claims
Car accidents in the greater Orlando area can leave accident victims seriously injured and with high medical bills and other expenses. Drivers and passengers who suffer injuries in accidents may have to seek extended medical treatment, attend physical therapy sessions, and undergo various medical procedures, including surgeries and injections. Accident victims might also need to miss an extended time from work, losing a considerable amount of wages. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an Orlando auto accident, you need skilled legal representation in your corner throughout your case. The skilled Orlando car accident attorneys at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, have been advocating for Orlando car accident injury victims for almost 20 years. The firm’s dedication to professional excellence and case preparation has resulted in millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for our clients. Our recent car accident cases have resulted in recoveries ranging from $60,000 for a neck injury to more than $3 million for surviving family members after their loved one died in an Orlando car accident. These case results are examples and do not guarantee a financial outcome for your car accident claim. Each accident claim has underlying facts and distinctive circumstances that increase or decrease your car accident claim’s worth. Those circumstances include the nature and extent of your injuries, the venue where the case is pending, and whether or not you suffered a permanent injury or impairment in the car accident. Our Orlando car accident attorneys do, however, guarantee that we will diligently pursue the best outcome for your individual circumstances.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System
Florida is one of about a dozen states with a no-fault insurance system. The state requires residents who register a vehicle to carry a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. If you are involved in a car accident in Orlando, or anywhere else in the state, you must first file a claim with your PIP carrier before filing a claim against the other driver. As its name implies, no-fault insurance coverage does not rely on establishing liability in a car accident. Florida PIP coverage can be advantageous in accidents involving minor injuries. PIP pays for 80 percent of medical treatment costs and 60 percent of lost wages related to missing work as the result of an accident-related injury. But accident victims who suffer severe injuries may struggle financially if they only carry the minimum coverage. Medical treatment costs and lost wages after a severe injury often quickly meet or exceed policy limits, leaving car accident victims with large bills. The serious injury threshold that allows injured individuals to pursue compensation through a lawsuit includes injuries that result in:
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
- Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring and disfigurement
Individuals who reach the serious injury threshold and are permitted to file a personal injury lawsuit may seek damages not only for medical expenses and lost wages, but also for pain and suffering. Car accidents are complex matters, often involving multiple sources of liability and other issues. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws increase the complexity of many cases and also leave accident victims confused as to what they’re eligible to claim and from whom they should seek compensation. The experienced Orlando car accident lawyers at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, can help take some of the confusion away by helping you understand the legal process of pursuing compensation for your injuries and help you figure out whether you are eligible to step outside of Florida’s no-fault system and seek compensation from the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
When You Should Call a Lawyer After an Orlando Car Accident
In many scenarios, you intuitively know when you need or do not need an Orlando auto accident lawyer after a car accident. Yet, other times you might question if you need legal help. Whenever you are in doubt, you should always take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. The lawyer can evaluate the details of your accident and injuries and advise you about the viability of your claim. Some car accident situations that almost always require the expertise of a qualified Orlando car accident lawyer include:
- You have suffered severe injuries. If one or more severe car accident injuries required you to ride in an ambulance, stay in the hospital, and miss weeks or months of work, you likely have suffered ample economic loss to warrant hiring an Orlando auto accident lawyer. An Orlando car accident lawyer can help you seek to recover losses related to your accident and injuries.
- Multiple parties were involved in the accident. If you were involved in a chain-reaction accident or a multi-car pileup, insurance companies will generally struggle to determine liability in the accident. In fact, they often shift blame around amongst one another. A qualified Orlando car accident attorney can ensure your voice is heard and defend you against the victim-blaming that often occurs in multi-car accidents.
- Your insurance claim against the at-fault driver was denied. If you met your PIP limits, you might have already filed a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. Insurance companies, especially when you are not the policyholder, will go the extra mile to deny or devalue your claim. They may argue that you filed your claim late, made errors, or find some other obnoxious reason for denial. An Orlando car accident attorney can fight to attempt to ensure that the insurance companies involved with your car accident claim act in good faith.
- A loved one suffered a fatal injury. If someone you love suffered a fatal injury and died as a result of an Orlando car accident, you might be eligible for compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Florida law permits surviving family members to sue the at-fault party for damages related to the loss of their loved one. Eligibility depends on your relationship with the person who died.
Recouping Losses After an Orlando Car Accident
If you chose to take legal action against the party who caused your car accident within Florida’s four-year statute of limitations for lawsuits, you may receive compensation for damages you incurred because of your car accident and injuries. Jury awards and settlements can include compensatory and punitive damages. Florida law reserves punitive damages for cases of gross negligence or willful harm. It’s more likely you will receive compensatory damages after a car accident. If you reach an agreeable settlement or the court rules in your favor, you can recoup economic and non-economic losses such as:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance and emergency room services, hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, surgery, physical therapy, follow-up care, doctor’s visits, and medication.
- Future medical expenses when an injury from a car accident requires a long recovery, requires a victim to undergo surgery, or leads to a permanent injury that requires full-time care. To anticipate the costs of a future medical procedure, such as surgeries or ongoing therapy, a health care provider must ordinarily be on board to estimate those costs in your case.
- Expenses for rehabilitation such as visiting a physical therapist, occupational therapist, mental health specialist, or any other specialist who treats the accident victim during their recovery.
- Expenses for assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, crutches, and prosthetic limbs.
- Lost income for time away from work related to the car accident, injuries, hospitalization, rehabilitation, and recovery. In cases where an accident victim can no longer work at the same job or in the same profession due to injuries they suffered in a car accident, the accident victim might assert a claim for loss of earning ability or capacity.
- Physical pain and suffering damages to compensate the accident victim for all of the physical pain, suffering, and inconvenience they had to endure because of injuries suffered in the accident. Damages may compensate the accident victim for the pain and suffering they experienced while treating for injuries, as well as after treatment was completed when an accident victim claims permanent injuries.
- Emotional pain and suffering to compensate the accident victim for all of the mental distress and emotional anguish that they had to endure because of injuries suffered in the car accident. For example, if the accident victim sought counseling services or psychological treatment for mental anguish that they experienced following the car accident, they might pursue and recover monetary compensation for that mental distress.
- Loss of consortium (a physical relationship) with a spouse. Sometimes, car accident victims suffer injuries to such an extent that it limits their ability to have sexual relations with a spouse. When that is the case, the accident victim could file a claim for loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
- Decreased quality of life. When Orlando car accident victims sustain severe injuries in an accident, they can suffer severe limitations. For example, maybe they cannot participate in activities that they once enjoyed before their accident, such as engaging in sports and other recreational activities. In addition, they may suffer severe limitations at home, including the inability to cook, clean, or take care of daily living activities—such as getting dressed or taking a bath—on their own. These limitations are especially apparent when a car accident victim suffers a permanent injury in the accident.
The Burden of Proof in Orlando Car Accident Cases
In a Florida car accident case, the accident victim, or the plaintiff, has the legal burden of proof as to all elements in the case. The at-fault driver, or the defendant, does not need to prove anything in the case. Moreover, the defendant does not need to show that they were not negligent for causing the accident. Rather, the burden of proof in a car accident claim rests solely with the accident victim plaintiff. For an Orlando car accident case to recover monetary compensation, an accident victim has to satisfy several legal elements. First of all, the accident victim must prove that the other driver owed them a legal duty of care. Motor vehicle operators owe a high duty of care to other drivers and their passengers to operate their vehicles in a safe, prudent, and careful manner at all times while they are on the roadway. In addition to establishing the duty element, the accident victim must demonstrate that the at-fault driver violated the duty of care in some way. In other words, the at-fault driver must have operated their vehicle in a reckless, careless, or unreasonable manner under the circumstances. Operating a vehicle above the speed limit, failing to yield the right-of-way, and violating other Florida traffic laws and regulations amount to a driver’s breach of the duty of care. A breach also occurs when a motor vehicle operator engages in distracted driving, such as by texting or calling while on the road, or by engaging in drugged or drunk driving. After establishing the duty and breach elements of a car accident claim, an accident victim must then demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident—and that the accident was a foreseeable result of that breach. Finally, the accident victim must demonstrate that they suffered injuries and damages as a direct and foreseeable result of the car accident. An Orlando car accident lawyer at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney, can assist you with establishing all of the legal elements of your car accident claim and pursuing the monetary damages that you need.
Injuries That Car Accidents Cause
Nearly every part of the body can suffer an injury in a car accident, depending on the circumstances of the accident. Car accident injuries can happen when a motor vehicle driver’s body moves around and about inside the vehicle at the point of impact. This whiplash-type motion can result in a severe neck or back injury. Serious car accident injuries can also happen when the force of the impact causes a part of the driver’s body to collide with something in the vehicle. For example, the driver’s body could collide with the:
- Front console
- Driver or passenger’s side window
- Steering wheel
Some of the more serious injuries that individuals may suffer when an accident occurs include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: occur when you experience a sudden jolt or blow to the head, which causes bleeding, bruising, and damage to the brain. A forceful impact on an accident victim’s head can affect the brain’s neurons and axons, which serve as the nervous system’s ‘internal wiring system.’ When these neurons and axons are severed, complications to brain functioning can result. This type of injury can be mild, resulting in only minor symptoms and healing within a couple of weeks, or it can be severe, resulting in life-altering impacts that may include loss of memory, loss of balance and coordination, the inability to control one’s emotions, loss of hearing or vision, or the inability to communicate.
- Spinal cord injuries: Spinal cord injuries are one of the most life-changing types of injuries to suffer due to the limited ability of the spinal cord to heal and the high likelihood of permanent damage that involves loss of sensation and function below the site of the injury. The higher up on the spine the injury occurs, the more widespread the damage will likely be, with injuries to the neck portion of the spine—known as the cervical region—often resulting in tetraplegia, which is paralysis of the arms, hands, shoulders, diaphragm, torso, hips, legs, and feet. When a car accident victim suffers some type of paralysis, they may have limited or no feeling in the affected body part. Moreover, the accident victim will have limited or no ability to move the affected body part(s).
- Internal injuries: Internal injuries are common in car accidents and can result in damage to organs, such as the liver, lungs, kidney, or spleen. These injuries can also cause internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.
- Broken bones: Broken bones not only limit an injured individual’s ability to move and function, but they can also cause permanent damage if the bones fail to heal properly. Infections are common when the break causes the bone to protrude from the skin. Bone fractures can also cause the accident victim to experience a tremendous amount of pain. Even after the fracture heals (usually following a surgical procedure), the accident victim might need to undergo weeks or even months of extensive physical therapy. A second surgical procedure may also be necessary for a surgeon to remove bolts, clamps, and other internal hardware that they inserted during the original surgery.
Types of Car Accidents in Orlando
Nearly every type of car accident imaginable takes place in Orlando and throughout Central Florida. Even when relatively minor car accidents occur, such as rear-enders, drivers and their passengers can still suffer serious injuries that are legally compensable. Some of the most common types of car accidents include:
- Rear-end: Rear-end injuries occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of the vehicle in front. Rear-end collisions are often the result of distracted driving and tailgating, which occurs when one vehicle is following another vehicle too closely. This is the most common type of two-car crash, accounting for nearly one-third of all traffic accidents in the United States. While some people often refer to rear-end accidents as “fender-benders” or “whiplash crashes,” this type of accident can be anything but minor. Rear-end accidents cause about 1,700 deaths each year across the nation.
- Head-on: While head-on collisions only account for around 2 percent of all accidents, more than half of the fatalities in passenger vehicle accidents result from this type of accident. Head-on collisions, also known as frontal impact collisions, occur when the front of one vehicle strikes the front of another vehicle. This type of accident often happens due to drivers who are traveling the wrong direction on an interstate ramp or roadway or who swerve into oncoming traffic in an attempt to avoid another collision or because of another collision. The reason this type of accident produces so many fatalities is that the forward motion and speed at which both vehicles are traveling dramatically increases the total energy of the collision.
- Sideswipe: Sideswipe collisions occur when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another. Sideswipes are often the result of unsafe passing maneuvers when a driver attempts to enter a lane of travel without first ensuring that the travel lane is clear.
- Broadside: A broadside or T-bone collision, also known as a T-bone accident or a side-impact crash, is an accident that involves the front of one vehicle colliding with the side of another vehicle. This type of accident generally takes place in an intersection and involves one driver failing to yield the right-of-way to another by failing to stop at a stop sign or a traffic light. Broadside accidents occasionally happen outside of the intersection, such as when a driver attempts to make a U-turn without properly gauging the gap in traffic or when pulling out of a private driveway or parking lot. T-bone accidents are a major source of injury and death, with the highest risk of injury being to the occupants sitting on the side of the vehicle involved in the collision. This is particularly true when there is a big discrepancy in size between the two vehicles involved in the accident.
- Single-car: Single-car collisions account for nearly 40 percent of vehicle occupant deaths, with more than half of the deaths in pickups and SUVs occurring from crashes that only involve a single vehicle. Unfortunately, this type of accident results in a high percentage of deaths to pedestrians and bicyclists.
- Chain-reaction: Chain-reaction crashes involve more than two vehicles. Often, these situations begin as a two-car accident, with additional vehicles crashing into the initial accident scene, or the force of the initial accident pushing one or more of the cars into other vehicles in the area. Chain reaction crashes often take place on roadways with higher speeds, and inclement weather conditions, such as low visibility and wet roads, can be a factor in this type of crash.
Accidents by the Numbers
Florida experiences around 400,000 car accidents each year, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). More than 30,000 car accidents have occurred in the Orlando area each year for the past several years. We see more than 3,000 fatalities statewide, and more than 250,000 injuries arising from those accidents, with the Orlando area accounting for nearly 200 fatalities and 23,000 injuries. The Orlando area is notorious for heavy traffic, so you may not be surprised by these alarming statistics. Some of the crashes are minor accidents that do not lead to injuries or fatalities, but close to half of the accidents result in injuries for drivers, occupants, or others on the road. Many of those injuries and fatalities involve pedestrians and bicyclists trying to enjoy the abundant sunshine and beautiful scenery in the area. Recently, the law enforcement agencies in central Florida launched a new initiative, Vision Zero, which aims to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists through education, enforcement, and engineering. In the first hours of this new initiative, dozens of individuals had been stopped for traffic violations. Among the dangers to travelers of all types on the roadways were distracted drivers, as well as pedestrians who attempted to cross busy roadways outside of the intersections.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are an average of 6 million car accidents in the United States each year. With 15,368,695 licensed drivers on the road in Florida, accidents happen every day. In just one year, 403,626 crashes took place in Florida, resulting in 3,135 fatalities and 19,196 incapacitating injuries. Of these, 31,917 crashes happened in the Orlando area. Car accidents are harrowing. Following an auto accident, injured persons may have the following questions and concerns.
Cant Find Your Question?
Speak with one of our experienced Orlando car accident lawyers today. We can help navigate you through your car accident claim and answer any questions you may have during the legal process.
- All related medical bills and medical records pertaining to the injuries you suffered in your accident
- Copies of any lost wage documentation provided by your employer, along with authorizations from your healthcare provider allowing you to be off work for a specified time
- A victim impact statement that explains the impact that the accident and your injuries have had on your life and overall well-being
- Photographs of the property damage to your vehicle as well as photographs of your injuries, if any
- A copy of all investigative reports, including a copy of the police report if an officer prepared one
- Check yourself for injuries. Also, check on the well-being of your passengers and others involved in the accident. If anyone is injured, call emergency services.
- Get to safety. If possible, move to the side of the road or a safe area.
- Call 911. Even if it is a minor accident, it is important to call the police. In some states, the law requires you to report the accident. The police can document the scene and file an accident report, which may be useful later.
- Exchange information. If possible, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Information collected should include the full name and contact information, insurance company and policy number, driver’s license and license plate number, type, color and model of vehicle, and location of the accident
- Document the accident. Most people have cell phone cameras, so it is relatively easy to take pictures from several angles, showing the damage to both cars, the other car’s license plate, the area of the accident and surrounding debris.
- If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information.
- Contact a car accident lawyer for advice and assistance or if an insurance company representative asks you to provide a statement. Try to avoid discussing the question of fault with anyone until you have had an opportunity to speak with a lawyer.
- Contact your insurer
- Speeding – According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is a primary factor in accidents in the United States. In just one year, speeding killed 9,378 people. For decades, speeding has contributed to approximately thirty percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Speeding accounts for more than a quarter (26 percent) of all traffic fatalities. Some crashes result from breaking the speed limit. Other drivers were going too fast for conditions.
- Distracted driving – 2,935 fatal crashes occurred on U.S. roadways in 2017 that involved distraction, which amounted to 9 percent of all fatal crashes. Some crashes involved more than one distracted driver. Whether you are eating, fooling around with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system or doing anything that is distracting you from your driving, it is hazardous. For example, a driver who is texting is 23 times as likely to crash.
- Driving while impaired – Alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents. Drunk driving accidents led to 10,511 fatalities in one year alone. Despite all efforts to reduce these accidents, alcohol-impaired driving accounts for about 30 percent of all traffic fatalities. Drunk driving is preventable. However, drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs still get behind the wheel after drinking, putting themselves and others at risk.
- Tailgating and aggressive driving – Safe driving requires patience, focus, and a calm mind. There are many aggressive drivers on the roads. They tailgate, weave in and out of lanes, change lanes without signaling, run red lights, or drive recklessly. A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that about 78 percent of drivers in the U.S. reported expressing aggression or road rage in the past year.
- Drowsy driving – Everyone is busy and under pressure. Therefore, driver fatigue is no surprise. Approximately 7.5 million drivers in the United States admit to having fallen asleep at the wheel within the past month. Drowsy drivers may experience cognitive impairment similar to a driver who is impaired by drinking or drugs. One of three (33 percent) wandered into another lane or onto the shoulder, while 19 percent say they crossed the centerline. In one in ten (10 percent) cases, the driver ran off the road. Researchers report that approximately 292,000 drivers were involved in some type of crash within the past six months because they fell asleep at the wheel.
- Failure to yield – These accidents happen in many types of situations, such as when a driver making a left turn fails to yield to oncoming traffic, a flashing yellow or red light, or a driver is entering the street from a private driveway. Often the injury victim drives into the car that failed to yield.
- Vehicle defects – We expect our cars to keep our families and ourselves safe, but with a system of hundreds of moving parts, it is not uncommon for something to fail, often with dangerous results. Some vehicles or parts are defective because of improper design or manufacturing. If these defects caused the accident, the manufacturer and others in the chain of distribution might have liability.
- Back and neck injuries. These range from slight neck pain to catastrophic spinal cord injuries such as paralysis. Serious back and neck injuries can result in long-term or permanent disability.
- Head injuries. Accidents can cause a wide range of head injuries. Victims are sometimes not aware of head injuries or traumatic brain injuries at first, but they still are potentially devastating. It is important to get prompt medical care.
- Internal injuries. These injuries may also go undetected at first, but they can be serious and difficult to treat.
- Rib and torso injuries. People have a total of 24 ribs in their body, which protect our vital organs. Therefore, injuries such as fractured ribs, soft-tissue rib injuries, and flail chest can be extremely painful and make it difficult for the injured person to breathe.
- Lacerations and burns. Car accident injuries such as cuts and burns are not only painful; in some cases, they leave the victim with disfiguring scars.
- Broken bones. Broken bones are common car accident injuries and may need surgery or long-term treatment.
- Seat belt injuries. There is no doubt that seat belts save lives, but in some circumstances, they cause or contribute to injuries, including whiplash.
- Wrongful death. The family or heirs of someone killed in an accident might be eligible for compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
- The cost of current and future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damages
- Cost of household services, if, for example, your injuries mean you need to hire a lawn service or house cleaners while you recover; and
- Physical and mental or emotional pain and suffering
- Disfigurement or physical impairment
- loss of enjoyment of activities
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Loss of consortium or companionship
- In some cases, punitive damages