Get the Help You Need After an SUV Accident
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Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) have become more popular over the last few decades. They provide owners with loads of passenger space as well as cargo space, and sit higher than most vehicles, giving drivers and passengers a better view of their surroundings.
But SUVs also have a downside. While they can provide some additional protection for occupants, when involved in an accident with another vehicle, they often cause more serious injuries to occupants of other vehicles because of their size and weight. They also have the potential to cause more pedestrian accidents because SUVs sit higher and may obstruct the view of a crosswalk. This can cause more frequent pedestrian accidents, which are more likely to result in unnecessary death.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a car accident involving an SUV, you may pursue compensation under the law. To find out for sure, speak with our Orlando SUV accident lawyers today. If you deserve to get compensation for your injuries, our lawyers can help.
Contact the attorneys of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. for more information about your legal rights and how to move forward with an Orlando SUV accident claim.
SUVs Are Lethal
SUVs are generally more lethal than other cars on the road, but this information comes with some caveats. SUVs are more likely to be in single-vehicle crashes than other cars, and this mostly occurs at high speeds. SUVs are top-heavy, and rollover easier than a regular car. These crashes have a high rate of driver fatality.
But, when an SUV is in a multiple vehicle accident, occupants of the SUV are less likely to have serious injuries or death. This happens because the SUV is much larger and can provide occupants with more protection.
However, according to a recent study, SUVs may be most lethal to pedestrians. Because SUVs sit higher, this can obstruct the driver’s view and they may not see a pedestrian in time. SUVs also take longer to slow down because of their size and weight. So, a driver may not stop in time to avoid an accident, even if they do spot the pedestrian in time.
Given that Florida routinely ranks near the top of the most deadly states for pedestrians, SUV drivers must pay special attention to those walking and running near or across the road. As a pedestrian, you can take certain actions that may save your life. But, if you were put in a situation where you could not act fast enough, you could hold the SUV driver liable for your accident and injuries. This could give you a chance to recover compensation for your medical bills.
Just like with a regular car accident, you may suffer serious injuries in an SUV accident. Whether you were in the SUV or in a car hit by an SUV, your injuries could range in severity.
Common injuries include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Because of the size and weight of SUVs, your injuries might be more severe than they would if you were in an accident with a smaller vehicle.
This means you could face extra hardships and extra financial burdens because of:
- Extended hospital stays
- Multiple surgeries
- Time out of work
- Multiple doctor visits
- Prescription drug costs
- Rehabilitation in a facility
- In-home care
Every stage of your recovery process can weigh heavily on both you and your family. When you experience long times off of work, your family may feel a financial burden and take on extra work or additional jobs to help cover the loss.
You may not have to carry this burden alone. Pursuing an Orlando SUV accident claim can take the burden off of you and your family and place it on the liable party that caused your SUV accident.
Working with an SUV accident attorney in Orlando can give you the help that you need to hold the negligent party liable for your accident and your injuries. The sooner you contact a trusted legal advisor, the sooner you can focus all of your effort and energy on your wellbeing. Call the office of Michael T. Gibson, P.A. today for help.
As is the case with regular car accidents, the causes of SUV accidents can vary. The difference is that SUV accidents tend to commit more damage to both people and other vehicles.
Human error causes most SUV accidents, including:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Tire blowout
- Distracted driving
- Failure to yield
- Failure to stop and a red light or stop sign
- Driving too fast for the road conditions
- Inexperienced driver
The cause of your SUV accident may play a part in determining the severity of your injuries. While slower speed accidents generally result in minor injuries, remember that SUVs are much heavier vehicles. The impact can still be very forceful. This is why you should not discount any minor injuries.
Not only can minor injuries turn into something more severe if left untreated, you may also have other injuries you do not know about because your adrenaline is running high and masking the pain. That is why you need to see a medical professional as soon as possible after your SUV accident, if not at the accident scene itself. This can help ensure your physical wellbeing, which is extremely important.
Collecting Damages for Your Injuries
You file an Orlando SUV accident claim after your accident to help you recover compensation for your injuries. If you did not cause the accident or your injuries, you should not be the one who bears all of the responsibility of covering your medical expenses.
To start the process, you would need to file an Orlando SUV accident claim for damages against the at-fault driver.
While this may seem simple, the legal process can be pretty complex. For instance, you must show:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to drive in a reasonably safe manner;
- The other driver breached that duty by driving in an unsafe manner; and
- The other driver’s actions caused the accident that led to your injuries.
Because of the other driver’s negligence, you have suffered a drastic and unforeseen change in your life. This change might alter your life forever, or cause a temporary inconvenience. Either way, you will face medical costs and lost income, and you should have to carry the burden of neither. That is why an Orlando SUV accident lawyer, like those at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., may be right for you.
An attorney could work to pursue compensation on your behalf for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
Many victims see the medical bills sitting on the kitchen table and vastly underestimate their future financial needs. They fail to account for the astronomical costs of medical care and rehabilitation, and do not account for lost income or other financial burdens after an accident.
Working with a knowledgeable Orlando SUV accident attorney can help give you a better understanding of your future financial needs. Your attorney could give you a better estimate of what you should pursue in your Orlando SUV accident claim.
An attorney could assess your medical prognosis and determine how much your medical procedures and rehabilitation might cost you. Then he or she could look at how much time you will spend out of work and determine the amount of lost income you should try to recover.
All of this is added together on top of the pain, suffering, and emotional turmoil you experience as a result of your injury to find a clearer picture of the true financial burden that you face. Then, you could pursue compensation that more accurately reflects what you deserve.
Settling With the Insurance Company
Understanding the full picture of your financial needs can give you a better understanding of a fair and reasonable settlement amount. Unfortunately, that may not align with what the insurance company offers. In fact, the insurance company representing the at-fault driver may try to get you to settle for less than what your claim is worth. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and may try to pay out a minimal amount or even dismiss your claim.
Take care when an insurance company offers you a quick settlement. Many victims need money quickly and want to put this experience behind them as soon as possible. Knowing that, the insurance company may offer you a low ball settlement that might not even cover the medical bills you have sitting on your kitchen table. This could result in you or your family having to pay out of pocket for your medical expenses—all from an accident you did not cause.
Even worse, if you do take a low ball settlement offer, you waive your right to bring any future claims against the insurance company for this accident. Then, when the settlement funds have run dry and there are still expenses from the accident, it will be too late. You would have no other recourse and could end up bearing a financial burden caused by someone else’s negligence.
This is why you need our lawyers to review your settlement offer before you sign on the dotted line. Otherwise, you may be waiving rights that could place you in financial hardship.
When you work with an Orlando SUV accident lawyer, you gain access to their experience with taking on the big insurance companies and helping accident victims like you get the compensation they deserve.
At Michael T. Gibson, P.A., our goals align with yours. We want to make sure the liable party pays for your medical expenses. We also want to make sure that you do not have to deal with the financial hardship from income losses you face as a result of your accident. We could take on the insurance company on your behalf while you focus your effort and energy on your health and wellbeing. Let us see what we can do for you.
Orlando SUV Accident FAQ
SUVs offer a lot of convenience for families traveling through the Orlando area, whether you came for vacation or live in the area. Unfortunately, SUVs often contain drivers who have not driven an SUV in the past or who have no familiarity with Orlando streets, which can increase the risk of an accident. Not only that, SUVs may cause severe injuries for the drivers of smaller passenger vehicles.
Did you suffer an SUV accident in Orlando? Contact an experienced Orlando SUV accident attorney at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney to learn more about your legal rights, including your right to compensation following a serious accident. Below, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions following Orlando SUV accidents.
1. Who bears liability for an SUV accident in Orlando?
To determine who bears liability for an SUV accident, an attorney will evaluate several key factors. Did the driver commit an act of negligence, including ignoring the rules of the road or driving while under the influence? Did the driver drive while distracted? If so, the driver of the SUV may bear liability for the accident.
In some cases, external factors may contribute to an Orlando SUV accident or worsen the severity of injuries sustained in the accident.
An attorney may carefully evaluate these factors to determine whether they could prove relevant to your accident and, therefore, to the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Was the driver on the clock? Some delivery companies use SUVs to help transport food or other purchases throughout the Orlando area.
A driver on the clock at the time of an accident may share liability with his company, especially if:
- The company failed to properly maintain the vehicle
- The company forced the driver to drive in unsafe conditions, under the potential penalty of losing his job
- The company did not provide adequate training for its drivers
Did a mechanical failure cause or contribute to the accident? Vehicle owners bear responsibility for maintaining and keeping up with their vehicles: replacing tires, conducting regular oil changes, and replacing the brakes when necessary, for example. In some cases, however, mechanical failure may occur due to manufacturer error or because a mechanic failed to properly repair the vehicle when the owner brought it in. In those cases, the party that failed to properly care for the vehicle may share partial liability for the accident.
2. How much compensation should I expect for an Orlando SUV accident?
When you file a claim for compensation following an Orlando SUV accident, talk to an attorney about how much compensation you should expect.
In general, people can file for compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering related to the accident
Ultimately, the compensation you receive may depend on who bears liability for your accident. Some drivers may carry more insurance than others, and you may find that identifying more than one liable party who contributed to your accident can increase the compensation you ultimately receive. If you receive severe injuries, including traumatic brain injury, you may have grounds for a higher compensation amount.
3. If the insurance company that covers the Orlando SUV driver offers me a settlement, should I take it?
Sometimes, after an Orlando SUV accident, you will get a call or a letter from the insurance company that covers the liable driver. The insurance company may offer you a settlement for your accident.
That offer may sound great. After all, it will give you ready funds to cover your medical expenses and take care of the other bills that may pile up quickly after your accident. Unfortunately, it may not reflect the full compensation you deserve for your injuries. Often, insurance companies will issue only minimal settlement offers immediately after an accident. They may try to convince you that you have a limited time to accept the offer, or pressure you to make a fast decision to get money in your hands faster.
By accepting, however, you may prevent yourself from seeking the full compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Instead, consult an attorney before accepting a settlement offer. An attorney can provide you with a full assessment of how much compensation you really deserve and when you should accept or decline a settlement.
4. How should I handle my medical bills after an Orlando SUV accident?
You, as the injured party, will bear responsibility for paying for any medical bills sustained as a result of your SUV accident. Whether you have a single trip to the emergency room to get patched up or you need long-term care for severe injuries, including spinal cord injuries or limb amputation, you should make arrangements to take care of your medical expenses.
You do, however, have several options that can allow you to manage your medical expenses.
Your personal injury protection insurance. Florida drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance along with their vehicle liability insurance. The coverage you have will depend on your specific policy. Once you pay your deductible, however, that policy will pay the initial medical expenses associated with your injuries. Your personal injury protection insurance may also cover a percentage of the wages you lose during your initial recovery, making it easier for you to manage missed time at work and the other expenses that can pile up quickly after a serious accident.
Personal injury protection insurance kicks in regardless of who caused your accident. You can use it immediately, without needing to establish who caused your accident or what factors may have contributed to it. For many Orlando SUV accident victims, PIP insurance can prove vital in the immediate aftermath of an accident.
Your health insurance. For victims with serious injuries, health insurance may offer vital assistance in paying long-term medical bills. Your health insurance will help provide coverage for your medical expenses depending on the policy you carry.
Contact your health insurance provider after your Orlando SUV accident to ask about your specific coverage, including:
- Your copays
- Your deductibles
- Your coverage for specific services you may need, including long-term care, durable medical equipment, and physical or occupational therapy after your accident
Payment programs through the hospital. Some hospitals offer payment assistance programs that will help eliminate expenses not covered by your health insurance or your PIP insurance. Talk to your care provider to learn more about what options you have for reducing your medical expenses.
An Orlando SUV accident claim. An Orlando SUV injury claim does not pay out for your medical bills directly. Instead, it compensates you for the expenses you faced because of your injuries. You can then use those funds to pay for your medical expenses. For many SUV accident victims, an Orlando SUV accident claim provides a vital source of financial relief.
If you intend to use the funds from an Orlando SUV accident claim to pay for your medical bills, it may take time before you have those funds in hand. In the meantime, you may have trouble with medical bills piling up quickly. Your attorney can issue a letter of protection to your medical care providers, preventing you from facing collections action until you can file and receive the funds from your Orlando SUV accident claim. Talk to your attorney about your options regarding a letter of protection and how it may affect your Orlando SUV accident claim.
5. How long does it take to get the funds from an Orlando SUV accident settlement in hand?
It can take time to settle a claim of any type. Talk to your attorney about how long to expect it to take to settle your Orlando SUV accident claim, Your attorney cannot give you an exact timeline, but may give you a better idea of how long you can expect it to take to have the funds you need in hand.
What injuries did you sustain in your SUV accident? Some injuries, like broken bones, have a relatively clear prognosis and a fairly quick healing time. Within six to eight weeks after the accident, your doctors may have a solid prediction of how much you will recover and what your recovery will look like. You may also have a clear blueprint for what your medical bills will look like.
For other injuries, including traumatic brain injury and incomplete spinal cord injuries, your doctors may need time to fully predict the progress you will make and what your recovery will ultimately look like. Some victims will recover more than others. Others may face additional complications during the recovery process. Not only can those complications impact ultimate recovery, they can increase your medical expenses.
Your attorney may advise waiting to file your Orlando SUV accident claim, since it can take time for you to fully understand what limitations you will face due to your injuries.
How much compensation did you ask for? The amount of compensation you ask for may depend on the extent of your injuries and the financial losses you sustained as a result of your injuries. If you ask for substantial compensation, the insurance company may take longer to issue the compensation you need for those injuries. Talk to an attorney about how to file your Orlando SUV accident claim and how to determine the compensation you need for your injuries.
How much do you have to negotiate with the insurance company to reach an agreement? An attorney cannot predict ahead of time how many rounds of negotiation you will need to go through to reach an agreement with the insurance company. You may need to go through several rounds of negotiation to achieve a level of compensation that fits your needs while still adhering to the insurance company’s standards. Each one can add to the time it takes to finally receive the funds you need.
If you need to go to mediation or court, it can further extend the time needed to settle your claim.
6. How long do I have to file a claim after an Orlando SUV accident?
You have until you reach the statute of limitations following your accident to file an Orlando SUV accident claim. In Florida, you have four years from the date of an accident to file a claim. However, several exceptions exist that may extend the statute of limitations: for example, if you need to file a claim on behalf of a minor child.
On the other hand, if you suffer an SUV accident with an SUV driven by a government entity, you may need to act faster to file your claim. Consult an attorney to learn more about how long you have to file an Orlando SUV accident claim.
7. When should I get in touch with an Orlando SUV accident attorney?
Ideally, get in touch with an attorney as soon after your Orlando SUV accident as possible. You do not want to put off filing your Orlando SUV accident claim, nor do you want to let valuable evidence that could establish who caused your accident to disappear. The sooner you connect with an Orlando SUV accident attorney, the sooner that attorney can start working on your behalf.
8. How much does it cost to hire an attorney after an Orlando SUV accident?
Following an Orlando SUV accident, you may have a lot of expenses to worry about. Hiring an Orlando SUV accident attorney may sound like one more expensive proposition added to the list. In reality, however, we make hiring an Orlando SUV accident attorney often proves more affordable than you think.
Our Orlando SUV accident attorneys will start with a free consultation, which may give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve for your injuries and whether you want to work with a specific attorney. If we accept your case, we do so on a contingency fee basis: Instead of you paying upfront for legal services, the attorney will take his payment out of a percentage of your claim. For many accident victims, this makes pursuing the full compensation you deserve much more affordable.
Our SUV Accident Attorneys Can Protect Your Rights
Your ability to recover the compensation you need can depend on the legal representation you choose. Do not trust this responsibility to just anyone. Choose your legal representation wisely.
You also need to act fast. You cannot miss the filing deadlines or you cannot file an Orlando SUV accident claim. Working with a car accident injury attorney in Orlando can meet filing deadlines and move your claim forward.
An attorney can investigate your accident, review police and medical records, speak with witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent your best interests at trial. While most Orlando SUV accident claims do settle out of court, insurance companies sometimes refuse to settle for a fair and reasonable amount. When that happens, your attorney could take your case to trial to get you the compensation you deserve.
We know you want to put this behind you quickly, but we also do not want to see you have to pay for your medical expenses out of pocket. That is why it is important to align with a legal representative who not only has your best interests at heart, but who has proven Orlando SUV accident trial experience.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries after an SUV accident in Orlando, contact our trusted Orlando SUV accident lawyers today or speak with us at (407) 490-1271 to get started. Let our attorneys at Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney work for you to help you get every dollar you deserve.
Michael T. Gibson, P.A., Auto Justice Attorney
2420 S. Lakemont Avenue
Orlando, FL 32814