Every year sees Florida roads contending with car crashes. In 2021, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department reported 401,533 road accidents, of which 3,445 were fatal collisions.
Victims are often left to deal with injuries, property damages, and lost jobs after a car accident. But with a reputable legal companion in such an overwhelming period, you can rest assured things will be back on the track.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help With Your Accident Claim?
Partner with a reputable car accident lawyer to help you collect water-tight evidence of the injuries, damages, and job losses you suffered in an accident. They can then fight on your behalf to secure your rightful compensation.
They play a crucial part in the following:
- Collecting evidence that will add weight to your claim
- Chasing after insurance companies or employers to ensure you recover your damages and lost wages
- Represent you in a court of law in case the issue goes that route
- Advise you on the dos and don’ts to safeguard your chances of getting your rightful compensation
If you or your loved one has lost a job after a car accident, you need a reliable lawyer. Auto Justice Attorney Michael T. Gibson is ready to hold your hand through the difficult process of recovering your damages. Call us now to schedule a free consultation.
What Type of Reimbursements Can You Receive After a Car Accident in Florida?
Here are job-related damages that a top-in-class lawyer can help you recover:
1. Lost wages
You may get compensation for the amount of time you cannot work due to an injury you sustained from a car accident. The extent of your injury, time lost, and your insurance company usually determine the amount of lost wages.
Suppose the accident left you with broken ribs, making you unable to work for five months. In this case, your insurance company may pay you an amount worth five months of your income.
2. Lost earning capacity
Long-term disability or more severe injury may lead to loss of ability to earn a former or standard wage. In this case, you’re entitled to lost earning capacity.
Suppose you’re a driver and lose both hands in an accident. This will reduce your ability to earn the same amount you used to bring home before the crash. Here, you may file for lost earning capacity claims.
3. Missed opportunities
If you’re an independent contractor or a commission-based worker, a car accident injury may result in loss of job opportunities or particular pay. In this case, you may qualify for missed opportunities compensation.
What are Available Options for Lost Wages, Job Opportunities, and Earning Capacity?
If a car accident injury causes you to lose the ability to work, several insurance plans and options may come to your rescue in Florida.
1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance
Every driver in Florida should have $10,000 in PIP cover for car crashes. In the event of a crash, you receive 60% of lost wages plus 80% of medical expenses up to $10,000, according to Florida Statute 627.736.
Basically, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning you cannot bring a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. So, you should approach your own PIP insurance provider even if you weren’t at fault.
But “serious injuries” warrant an exception to the no-fault rule. In the eyes of Florida’s laws, a severe injury is that which led to:
- More than $10,000 in medical expenses
- Permanent disfigurement (such as loss of limbs)
- High medical probability of permanent injury, or
In such cases, you can file a personal injury lawsuit or third-party insurance claim against an at-fault vehicle operator. If you lost wages, missed job opportunities, or lost earning capacity, the suit may help you recover them.
2. Florida Personal Injury Claim
Suppose you lost a job due to an injury from an accident that falls outside the PIP claim and isn’t related to your work. In this case, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party who caused your injury.
You must provide evidence that:
- The at-fault driver’s negligence directly resulted in the car accident
- The accident caused your injuries
- You suffered injuries due to the crash
This option is also available if a third party caused your work-related injury, such as a general contractor or site owner.
3. Workers’ compensation claims for work-related injuries
Did you sustain an injury while performing a work-related task such as doing errands driving a company vehicle? You’re entitled to a workers’ compensation claim from your employer whether you or someone else was responsible for the accident.
Typically, you’ll get about two-thirds of your lost wages. Did the accident leave you with permanent or long-term occupational disability? The employer should compensate you for this too.
4. Wrongful termination claim
You’re entitled to periodic benefits until you attain Maximum Medical Improvement. If an employer terminates your job for claiming workers’ compensation or benefits, you can file for a wrongful termination claim.
Proof of Lost Wages after a Car Accident in Florida
The insurance company or court will require proof of lost wages, missed job opportunities, or lost earning ability. Excellent evidence include:
- Proof of injuries and medical treatment
- Copies of documents showing your income, such as W-2 statements, pay stubs, income statements, and tax returns
- Employer’s statement proving your wages and the period you didn’t work due to the injury
However some insurance companies may deny your claim or refuse to pay the amount you deserve. That’s why it’s crucial to first contact a personal injury lawyer before speaking with your insurance company.
What to Do after a Car Accident to Secure your Rightful Compensation
Your action after a car accident can make or break your claim. The following steps will boost chances of recovering lost wages.
1. Dial 911 immediately
A car accident can throw anyone into a whirlwind of shock. Some injuries might go unnoticed until later due to numbness.
So call 911 as soon as possible and inform the operator about the accident’s location. Be as specific as possible- for example, you can describe the landmarks or mile markers.
The operator should inform police and medical personnel immediately. Avoid moving your vehicle from the scene of the accident unless it’s blocking traffic.
2. Call police
Under Section 316.065, Florida Statutes, you should call law enforcers to file a crash report if the accident caused:
- Property or damage of $500 or more
- Injury or death
If the accident doesn’t satisfy the above conditions, you can complete Driver Exchange of Information or Driver Report of Traffic Crash (Self Report).
It’s recommended to call the police, especially if the other driver was negligent, driving under the influence (DUI), or caused a hit-and-run accident. That way, the police report can add weight to your claim. Remember to request the police’s name, contacts, and badge number.
3. Document what you can remember
Meanwhile, document anything you can remember before the crash, such as:
- Traffic light’s color
- Your direction
- Signs of DUI
- Driving while on the phone
Exchange vehicle, personal, and insurance information with the other driver. If the driver didn’t stop, record as many details as possible about their vehicle. Police can use prominent details (such as make, model, plate number, color) or even minor ones (such as bumper dents and stickers) to find them.
4. Collect evidence
For your claim or lawsuit to sail through, you need rock-solid evidence. So, take videos and images of the vehicles at different angles. If possible, include other relevant details in your videos or photos, such as:
- Traffic signs
- Street markings
- Obstacles on the road
- Weather conditions
- Audio such as other driver’s slurred speech or admission of fault
You can also ask available and willing witness to give their accounts of the accident. Record them in a video if possible and list down their name and contact details.
5. Call your personal injury lawyer
Your own or other driver’s insurance company will rarely have your interest at heart. Their goal is to reimburse you as little as possible or avoid paying altogether.
So avoid calling or speaking to them, as your words can work against you. Instead, call your personal injury lawyer to handle them from the beginning to the end.
A great lawyer will fight for you, not against you. They have experience in personal injury cases and understand the best the tricks of insurance companies and at-fault drivers. So you can rely on them to improve your chances of recovering all your lost wages.
Our Experienced Lawyers are At Your Service
A car accident can throw you into a spiral of sustained injuries, damaged properties, skyrocketing medical bills, trauma, and lost wages. Battling large insurance companies to get your rightful insurance coverage can be an uphill battle.
That’s why we are here for you. Our team of car accident attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies of all sizes. Did the accident leave you with more severe injuries, disability, or death of a loved one in Orlando or Florida? Let’s help you fight for your total compensation in the court of law.
Every case is unique. So we offer a listening ear to every person who calls us or walks through our doors. After that, we tailor the most suitable solution to lost job after car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.