Proving liability in a car accident is difficult. One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from our clients is how to prove that they did not cause their car accidents. It might seem like an easy answer, but it’s not.
When you or a loved one get into a car accident, you will likely worry about your safety and well-being. You know the other driver caused the accident, so you don’t even think about what will happen next. However, despite how you may feel following an accident, it is not always easy to determine who was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries.
Whether a minor accident or a severe and life-threatening accident caused your injuries, you deserve aggressive representation to help you get back on your feet. The best way to prove that you did not cause the accident and to help speed your recovery is to work with a car accident lawyer whom you can rely on to have your best interests at heart. The right lawyer can help maximize your potential compensation.
Fault is not often at issue in Florida car accidents, because of the state’s no-fault personal injury protection system. Sometimes, however, you may need to bring a personal injury claim against another driver, and then you must prove that the other driver caused your accident. Most accidents happen because someone was negligent, not because another driver intended to ram into you.
To prove the other driver was at fault in your accident, you must establish the following:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care. You prove this by showing that he or she was driving at the time of the accident. In Florida, all drivers owe a duty of care to do their best to keep other people on the road safe.
- The other driver breached his or her duty of care. To show the other driver breached his or her duty to you, you need to prove that the other driver drove in such a way that it would have been reasonable to conclude that an accident could result. Examples include speeding, running red lights, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The other driver’s breach of his or her duty caused the accident. To prove this step, you need to show that the other driver’s actions caused your accident.
- You suffered an injury. To have a valid personal injury claim in Florida, you must have suffered some injury.
It may seem easy to prove the elements of negligence. You know the other driver hit you, and you know that you’ve suffered an injury. However, proving that in court is another matter. That’s why you need a personal injury lawyer who you trust to handle your case.
Common Car Accident Causes
Over 400,000 car accidents happen in Florida every year. Many of these accidents are preventable because they are caused by the actions of another driver. Most drivers do not intend to get into an accident but that does not mean they are not at fault.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running a red light
- Failing to yield
- Texting while driving
- Driving while drowsy
- Inexperienced driver
In all of these cases, the other driver could have acted in a manner that directly caused your car accident. It’s extremely frustrating when you think about the fact that you would not have been injured if the other driver had simply driven cautiously and attentively. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and proving you are not to blame is more challenging than you may realize.
One-third of all car accident deaths are caused by drunk driving. Speeding causes another third. When you are on the road, you need to be careful and aware of other drivers around you. However, there is only so much you can do.
Car Accident Injuries
Over 3,000 people die on Florida roads every year. While not every Florida car accident results in death, injuries can be extremely serious and life-threatening. Examples include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
With each of these injuries, you suffer physical and emotional pain. Do not discount what you have to go through to get better. In many cases, you may have such severe injuries that they impact your personal life and your family.
Suffering a car accident injury requires you to focus on what matters: getting better. The best chance you have to make a complete recovery from your injuries is to work with a trusted personal injury lawyer who can help maximize your financial recovery.
Steps to Take After Your Injury
Immediately after your car accident injury, you can take certain steps to improve your chances of recovering—both physically and emotionally—and securing the compensation you need to avoid financial hardship.
- Call 911 – Many car accident victims often overlook this common-sense step. Some individuals simply want to get out of the situation and go home. Unfortunately, the adrenaline pumping through you may mask some of your injuries initially. Other injuries may not show symptoms for days or weeks after your accident. This can put you in grave danger of serious and life-threatening injuries. Calling 911 allows medical professionals to examine you at the accident scene and determine if you need to go to the hospital. It also gives the police a chance to diagram your accident. While the officers may not assign fault in their report, your attorney can use this report to help show that you were not at fault for the accident.
- See your doctor – Even if the emergency medical personnel clear you at the accident scene, you should still go see your regular doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Some symptoms will not appear right away, and your doctor may tell if you have other injuries that were not spotted at the accident scene.
- Get witness information – If you can speak with witnesses, then you should. However, if you cannot do so, then you should at least get their contact information. Some witnesses to your accident will not stick around for the police to arrive and will not be available to give a statement for the police report. Witnesses are crucial to your case. They can provide a different perspective and help you prove that you did not cause the accident.
- Call your insurance company – You need to alert your insurance company that you were involved in a car accident, but do not give them a statement until you have spoken with a personal injury lawyer. You may think your insurance company looks out for your best interests, but they are really just looking out for their own profits. When you speak with the insurance company, it will ask you for a statement. Many people say seemingly innocent statements, such as “I looked away for a second” or “I may have been going too fast.” When you say things like this to your insurance company, it can use these statements to hold you partly responsible for your accident and deny your claim.
- Keep a journal – As you recover, you will not recall the day-to-day struggles that you’ve encountered on your road to recovery. By writing in a daily journal where you describe how you are feeling, your pain level, and any roadblocks that you experience, you can help paint a picture of your suffering. This journal can play an important role in helping to maximize your financial recovery.
After all that, you want to hire a lawyer whom you trust. When you work with a skilled and experienced lawyer, he or she can lift the legal stress off your shoulders, allowing you the chance to focus on your physical (and mental) recovery.
After a car accident injury, focusing on your recovery is what’s most important. You do that by working with a personal injury lawyer who works hard to get you compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
- Lost earning potential
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
Consider your future medical needs when seeking compensation for your injuries. Depending on their severity, you may have to miss temporarily or even permanently. This places great strain on your ability to pay bills, not to mention places extra stress on your family, as well.
When you suffer a car accident injury, accounting for your future medical needs is important. A car accident lawyer can help you create an accurate estimate of your future needs by evaluating your injuries and your medical prognosis. You may not realize the high medical costs that you face in the future. If you have multiple surgeries or medical procedures that are necessary for your recovery, that can greatly increase your financial costs.
Two-thirds of all United States personal bankruptcy filings are because of medical costs. Many times, this happens to victims of car accident injuries. Through no fault of their own, they may face financial ruin because of someone else’s negligence. Don’t let this happen to you.
Settlements May Hurt You
As a car accident injury victim, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. You are likely ready to put this experience behind you, and settling your case is one way to do that. Unfortunately, what the insurance company will not tell you is that its settlement offer likely will not include enough settlement funds to cover your future medical expenses. This is why you need to work with a trusted lawyer who can help you create an accurate estimate of your future needs and associated costs.
When you sign a low-ball settlement offer, you will waive your right to bring any future claim against the insurance company for your injuries. You may realize that the funds you received are not enough to cover your future medical expenses. However, if you have signed the low-ball settlement offer, it’s already too late.
Your best chance to avoid having to pay out of pocket for your medical bills is by working with a seasoned Florida personal injury lawyer who can help you maximize your recovery. By letting someone else focus on your financial recovery, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery, which is exactly what you should focus on.
Your attorney can negotiate with the insurance company, so you don’t have to. It’s a time consuming and emotionally draining process, but a car accident lawyer knows how to handle these claims. While it is true that most personal injury cases settle out of court, you will want a car accident lawyer with the resources to take your case to trial, if that’s what is required to maximize your recovery. You want to put this behind you as quickly as possible, do not end up in financial ruin because of an accident that you did not cause.
Contact a Lawyer Today
Working with the right personal injury lawyer in Florida can give you a leg up. When you work with a lawyer who has the resources to take depositions, investigate your accident, work with experts, negotiate with insurance companies, and handle your claim at trial, you give yourself the best chance of making a full and complete recovery.
After your car accident, calling a lawyer might not be the first thing you think to do. However, you need to do it sooner rather than later. In Florida, you only have four years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. You might think four years gives you tons of time, but it doesn’t. The time will fly by, especially if your injuries are serious, and you are spending lots of time in and out of hospitals. Your medical bills will not stop, either. The longer you wait, the more challenging it becomes for you to put this terrible experience behind you. Don’t delay another day.
Orlando, FL 32814