Common Questions About Florida Car Accidents
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Should I wait to get medical care after a motorcycle crash?
Absolutely not! While many riders are taken to the emergency room by ambulance after a motorcycle crash, this doesn't mean that anyone fortunate enough to walk away from an accident didn't sustain injuries.
Victims may begin to develop symptoms hours, days, or even a week after the accident, and a failure to seek medical attention could affect your motorcycle injury claim.
Why It's Best to Get Medical Care Immediately After a Motorcycle Crash
Even if you didn't go to the hospital directly from the accident scene, you could still be owed payment for the costs of the injury. If you feel pain in the days following the accident, you should go to the doctor as soon as you begin to show symptoms of an injury.
By seeking medical advice, you'll be able to:
- Get the most effective treatment. Health should be your utmost priority. Early treatment allows doctors to see the full extent of your injuries and intervene in ways that reduce complications and stop pain quickly.
- Refute many insurance arguments. A gap between the accident date and the date of your treatment may spur an insurance company to claim that your injury was caused by something else—something it won't cover.
- Build a reliable medical record. A detailed medical record is vital when it comes to presenting convincing evidence to an insurance company. Even if there was a small delay, your doctor may be able to establish that your injuries are consistent with an accident that happened days before.
Our attorney Paul Cavonis is an avid motorcycle rider and is dedicated to protecting the rights of motorcyclists injured as a result of someone else’s negligence. If you're struggling after a crash, he'll advise you on your options at no cost—and our firm doesn't collect payment until we secure a recovery. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation.
Who pays for the costs of a hit-and-run car accident in Florida?
Florida laws impose strict penalties such as jail time and heavy fines for leaving the scene of an accident. However, hundreds of victims are still injured every year by hit-and-run drivers. If you are unable to identify the responsible party in your crash, you may have to seek other forms of payment rather than filing an injury claim against the vanishing motorist.
Collecting Compensation for a Florida Hit-and-Run Accident
The best way to improve your chances of getting compensation after a hit-and-run crash is to report the incident to the police.
Filing a police report not only allows officers to pursue the investigation while you're recovering from injury, it also makes you eligible to receive payment from the Florida Crimes Compensation Trust Fund if the driver is never identified.
Victims may also be able to collect compensation for hit-and-run accidents through:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. All Florida drivers are required to carry PIP insurance through their auto insurance policies. Most PIP coverage pays for 80 percent of any medical expenses related to the crash, including your own. However, your claim may be denied if you weren't treated by a doctor within 14 days of the incident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) insurance. If you selected uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage as part of your auto insurance policy, then you may be able to recover damages by making a claim with this provider.
- Health insurance. If you use your health insurance to pay for costs related to the accident, your health insurance carrier can seek reimbursement through your auto insurance provider.
The compensation options for a hit-and-run car accident vary widely depending on your circumstances, so it's a good idea to meet with us to determine the best way to get maximum coverage for your injury costs.
Attorney Paul Cavonis can offer advice on your best options and get the compensation you need to recover—and our firm doesn't collect any fees until your case is settled. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your initial consultation.
What motorcycle safety features are required by law in Florida?
Every state is allowed to set its own laws regarding motorcycle licensing, safe riding, and equipment required to legally operate a two-wheeled vehicle.
In Florida, motorcycle laws are focused on the bike itself, setting minimum requirements for all parts of the motorcycle to ensure riders can stop safely and be seen by other road users.
Motorcycle Safety Requirements Under Florida Law
Although Florida doesn't require all adult riders to wear helmets, it does stipulate that riders must wear DMV-approved eye protection in order to operate a motorcycle. In addition to Florida’s helmet and motorcycle licensing laws, the state also has regulations regarding:
- Brakes. In order for a motorcycle to legally be operated on Florida roads, it must be equipped with brakes capable of developing a brake force of at least 43.5 percent of its gross weight, with the ability to stop from a speed of 20 mph in less than 30 feet.
- Lights and reflectors. Your motorcycle must be equipped with at least one headlamp and at least one tail lamp, as well as a separate lamp that illuminates the rear registration plate. Any motorcycle in operation on a public street must have the headlight (or headlights) turned on. In addition, your motorcycle must have at least one red reflector at the rear.
- Handlebars. It's illegal to ride any motorcycle with handlebars higher than the shoulders of the person operating the bike.
- Seats and footrests. A motorcycle operator must be seated on the permanent and regular seat of the vehicle, and may not transport passengers unless the motorcycle is specifically designed to carry more than one person. If you are carrying a passenger, the passenger must be seated with their feet on the footrests.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, our Seminole motorcycle accident attorney is here to help. He will answer all of your questions and walk you through your legal options, helping you get the compensation you need to recover. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation.
Can I recover damages if my car struck a fixed object?
Many people are injured every year when their cars run off the road and strike a tree, sign, or light pole. Although all drivers are required to have a minimum amount of car insurance under Florida law, policies typically won't cover single-vehicle accidents unless you purchased comprehensive coverage.
For this reason, it's worth investigating whether someone else might share liability for your crash.
Potential Liability in Fixed Object Car Accidents
As the driver of the only damaged vehicle in a crash, you are generally assumed to be at fault after striking a fixed object. However, you may still be able to file a claim if someone else’s negligence played a role in the accident.
For instance, you may be able to collect compensation if your accident was caused by:
- A “bounce-off” crash. If another motorist struck you before you hit the object, such as a driver sideswiping your vehicle and pushing it off of the roadway and into a guardrail, the other driver may be liable for crash costs.
- A near-miss incident. Someone may have entered your path suddenly, causing you to overcorrect and steer your car off the road. If another driver was texting, drunk, or simply not paying attention and swerved in front of you, they could be held responsible.
- A negligent property owner. Property owners have a duty to keep roads clear of objects that could cause harm. If you swerved to avoid an unsecured animal or struck a manmade object that was built too near the roadway, the property owner may be liable.
- Hazardous road conditions. City and state governments may be responsible for accidents caused by dangerous curves or missing road signs. Additionally, trucking companies must contain their cargo to prevent car accidents due to spilled gravel or road debris.
- A defective product. Single-vehicle crashes often occur from a sudden tire blowout, brake failure, or other vehicle malfunction that causes a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Motorists may also be impaired or even fall asleep behind the wheel after taking dangerous prescription medications.
If someone else’s actions caused your injuries, attorney Paul Cavonis can advise you on all of your legal options and help you get the compensation you deserve. Simply fill out the form on this page today or give us a call to get started.
Texting and Driving in Florida
Electronic devices are the biggest cause of distractions for drivers nationwide. In 2016, Florida alone saw roughly 50,000 accidents and 233 fatalities as a result of distracted driving.
In the time it takes to glance at a text message, a driver can travel nearly 300 feet—enough to strike a pedestrian, hit the back of a stopped line of cars, or even veer off the road entirely.
Florida Drivers May Be Ticketed for Texting and Cell Phone Use
In 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law strengthening protections against electronic distractions and making texting and driving a primary offense. As of July 1, law enforcement officers may pull over drivers who are texting without any other reason for the traffic stop.
Florida detracted driving laws place specific restrictions on:
- Cell phones. While it's legal for drivers to make and answer calls, all drivers in school zones and construction areas must use hands-free systems in order to talk on the phone. Troopers from the Florida Highway Patrol troopers may begin issuing warnings for cell phone use beginning October 1, 2019 and issue citations for the practice after December 31.
- Texting. It's illegal for drivers in Florida to text while driving. This includes manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters into a virtual keyboard, hitting a button on a wireless device to send messages, or reading any data off a device while a vehicle is in motion. Drivers face a $30 fine for a first offense, plus court costs; with second and subsequent offenses within five years, there's a $60 fine and an addition of three points to their licenses. Drivers caught texting in a school zone may have two additional points added to their licenses, while motorists whose texting resulted in a crash will have six points added to their licenses.
- Truckers and bus drivers. Operators of trucks and buses are held to a higher standard than other drivers. Both truck and bus drivers are only allowed to use wireless communication devices if they're hands-free, and can be pulled over and charged if they use a handheld electronic device while driving in Florida law without committing another violation. For the first violation, commercial drivers can receive a fine up to $500 and their companies can be charged separate costs up to $2,750. If a driver commits three texting violations or more, he or she can be liable for a $2,750 fine and license suspension for 120 days, while the employer can be fined up to $11,000.
If you've been injured in a distracted driving accident, you should have the incident investigated as soon as possible. A thorough examination can reveal if a driver was using his or her cell phone at the time of the accident, which can significantly affect the amount of damages a victim is awarded.
Our attorneys can help you build a strong injury case and advise you of all of your legal options. Simply fill out the form on this page today to make an appointment in our offices, or call the number on this page to speak to an attorney.
Will insurance pay for OEM parts after a rear-end car accident?
If you're involved in a crash that wasn't your fault, you have the option of repairing your vehicle with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. However, even if your car is fixed using OEM parts at an authorized dealership, it won't be worth the same as it was immediately before the crash.
The damage to your vehicle might be undetectable and it may run perfectly, but its resale value will always be lower simply because it was involved in an accident. The only way to make up this difference is by filing a diminished value claim against the driver who struck you.
Our attorneys only represent clients with diminished value claims when handling a car accident case that caused personal injuries.
Types of Diminished Value Claims in Florida
Florida's negligence laws require an at-fault party to pay for any damages needed to make the victim whole again. Even if your car is back to normal due to repairs, you'll still suffer a loss when you sell or trade your vehicle in the future. In an effort to make victims truly whole again, Florida allows victims to recover the difference between a car's pre-crash value and its value after repairs, known as diminished value.
Compensation for the diminished value of a vehicle may include:
- Immediate diminished value. This is the difference between the vehicle’s pre-accident value and its post-accident value after the insurance company files the claim. It may also include losses from the insurer’s involvement in the claim, such as if your insurer will only pay for repairs at certain auto shops.
- Repair-related diminished value. Repair-related diminished value includes losses that result from the quality of repairs. Noticeable differences in paint colors, installation of generic parts, or improper installation of panels or bodywork that creates a rattling noise or impacts aerodynamics may all qualify as repair losses.
- Inherent diminished value. The most widely-recognized form of diminished value is the amount lost merely because the car was involved in an accident. When you attempt to sell the vehicle or trade it in for a new car, potential buyers will have access to the vehicle's crash history, significantly diminishing the amount you may be offered. Inherent diminished value pays for owning a “crashed” vehicle, even if the vehicle was repaired to its original condition.
Attorney Paul Cavonis works one-on-one with every injury client, giving you the clarity and attention you need after a crash. Your case will never be passed off to paralegals or other team members, and we always return calls promptly to answer your questions. If you were injured in a crash, simply fill out the brief contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our car accident law firm.
Is there a difference between a motorcycle accident lawyer and a car accident lawyer?
Yes! Personal injury lawyers often handle a variety of accident cases, even if they focus their practices on car crash victims. However, there's a big difference between a motorcycle accident lawyer and a general injury lawyer.
Although a car crash may have some similarities to a motorcycle accident, the details of the case and the extent of injuries can be vastly different.
Without the right representation, bike crash victims may be underpaid for their suffering.
Choosing the Right Injury Lawyer for a Florida Motorcycle Crash Case
Under our state law, any attorney licensed to practice here can represent an accident victim. Most law firms don't take every type of case, limiting their knowledge and expertise to the cases and injuries they handle regularly. If you wouldn't hire a tax attorney for your claim, why would you hire an injury attorney who doesn't have motorcycle crash experience?
Our motorcycle accident attorneys can:
- Provide legal advice from a fellow biker. Attorney Paul Cavonis is a motorcycle rider and is familiar with state motorcycle laws as well as the kinds of injuries these accidents can cause. His passion for riding makes him a dedicated advocate for you if you were injured or know someone who was killed in a motorcycle accident.
- Fight against biker bias. Unfortunately, insurers often try to paint motorcycle riders as reckless or irresponsible, implying they are somehow to blame for an accident. Our firm gathers evidence to prove to a jury that you're a safe rider, such as showing that you were properly licensed to ride a motorcycle in Florida, and wore a helmet and proper riding gear. We'll also examine and perhaps present your maintenance and repair records to demonstrate you took care of your machine.
- Accurately estimate your losses. Motorcycle accidents frequently result in much more severe injuries than car wrecks, resulting in long-term lost income, steep hospital bills, ongoing medical care, loss of your motorcycle, and even permanent disability. The effects of a crash can cause a rider to suffer depression, chronic pain, an inability to continue riding, and overall lost quality of life. Our attorneys calculate the total amount of your pain and suffering losses, and go all the way to trial if necessary to secure a financial recovery that will last the rest of your life.
If you're struggling after a Florida motorcycle accident, the attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis will lay out your options and advise you on how to receive proper compensation. Use the brief contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our injury team.
Who can be held liable if an animal causes a car accident?
Florida's diverse ecosystem gives the state a wide variety of wildlife, from deer and flamingos to bears and alligators.
Unfortunately, these animals often cross roads, wander over bridges, and even scamper through parking lots to look for food. To make matters worse, auto insurers might not cover the damage when your car collides with an animal.
Compensation for Animal Strikes to Vehicles in Florida
An animal darting into the road can cause serious injuries and extensive damage to your vehicle. Although Florida requires minimum insurance coverages for all drivers, these policies usually don't apply when an animal causes a crash.
Potential payment for these crashes depends on whether the accident involved:
- Domestic animals. Accidents caused by pets, farm animals, and other domesticated creatures fall on the animal's owner. You could seek payment under the owner's homeowner's insurance, or another liability policy.
- Wild animals. Wild animals don't have owners, so payment for a wildlife crash falls under your comprehensive auto policy. This optional coverage pays for damage caused by something other than a collision with another car, such as vandalism, slippery roads, and animal strikes.
- Near-miss crashes. If you manage to avoid hitting the animal, but run off the road or strike a fixed object, you may seek reimbursement for repair costs under your collision coverage. Collision insurance is also optional in Florida, and covers repairs to your vehicle after a single-vehicle crash (such as hitting a tree or veering into a ditch).
- Swerve collisions. Sometimes swerving to avoid an animal can cause you to sideswipe cars in the next lane—or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle. Your state-required personal injury protection coverage can be used to pay medical bills and lost wages for these accidents, while collision coverage may also apply if you're considered to be partially at fault.
If you're struggling after a Florida car accident, the attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can advise you on possible options and secure the compensation you need to move on with your life. Simply fill out the brief contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our injury team.
Can I afford a motorcycle accident lawyer?
Our legal team knows how a crash can suddenly increase both physical and financial costs. We have spent many years as motorcycle injury attorneys and experienced riders, and want to relieve the pressure placed on victims. That is why DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis always represents motorcycle accident clients on a contingent fee basis.
How Contingent Fees Benefit Motorcycle Accident Victims
If you have been forced out of work or into hospital care after a crash, you probably don't have the resources to hire an hourly attorney. Fortunately, the state of Florida allows us to charge a contingency fee, only collecting payment for legal services if and when we recover for you. As our client, you must agree on the percentage of the amount in writing before the case begins.
Contingent fees make it easier for you to pay for:
- Upfront expenses. Throughout an injury case, there are many out-of-pocket expenses, such as copying and filing costs, records requests, hiring investigators, taking depositions from eyewitnesses and expert witnesses, storage fees, and creating trial exhibits. We cover all upfront costs of the case, and you reimburse us once the case settles.
- Legal representation. Without the burden of ongoing legal costs, you can focus on your recovery. If we don't win the case, you won't be responsible for any legal fees.
- Injury costs. Paying for legal services with a percentage of the settlement allows you to continue care while your case is pending. It also allows you to pay for legal services only after you have the funds to do so.
- Court battles and appeals. The percentage we charge depends on the amount of damages, whether we are able to reach a settlement in negotiation or go to court, whether the case is tried more than once, and whether the case is appealed to a higher court.
Our injury attorneys also take away the burden of paying for legal advice after an accident, providing free consultations to all injury victims.
If you're struggling after a Florida motorcycle accident, the attorneys at DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis can advise you on your options and secure the compensation you need to move on with your life. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation with our injury team.
Do I need insurance to ride a motorcycle in Florida?
Florida motorcycle laws can be slightly confusing, especially when it comes to insurance.
In our state, riders aren't required to carry insurance to register or even to ride a motorcycle. However, they can be held financially responsible if charged with negligence in a motorcycle crash.
High Costs of No Motorcycle Insurance
Much like the state's motorcycle helmet law, Florida motorcycle insurance laws require you to carry only minimum coverage to pay for injuries sustained in a crash. Instead of any specific coverage or policy, Florida motorcycle riders must carry at least $10,000 in medical benefits to protect you against liability in crashes. This coverage can come from a dedicated policy or from your regular health insurance.
Unfortunately, a $10,000 policy is likely to be far less than what you may need after a collision, especially considering the severe injuries bikers suffer in a crash. Florida’s accident and insurance laws also provide a lower standard of protection to bikers than to drivers, including:
- No PIP coverage. In our state, operators of motor vehicles with four or more wheels are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) to guarantee payment of their medical bills in an accident. However, PIP payment isn't available to motorcycle riders injured in a crash—even if you carry PIP on another vehicle.
- Lack of no-fault protection. Florida's “no-fault” laws for motor vehicle accidents only apply to vehicles with four or more wheels, excluding motorcycles and their owners. If you have more than $10,000 in motorcycle crash injury costs, you must pursue compensation for outstanding medical bills and lost income from the other driver.
- Penalties for causing an accident. Even though motorcycle insurance isn't required, Sunshine State riders can still face penalties if involved in crashes without insurance. If you're found to be at fault for an accident and don't have liability insurance, you may have your license suspended, lose riding privileges, and face civil fines.
Although it's not required, you should definitely get motorcycle insurance if you're riding a bike in Florida. Some insurers offer a multi-policy bundle—and often a discount—for insuring both a car and motorcycle and may offer additional uninsured motorist coverage to protect a rider from a wreck with an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, our personal injury attorney can counsel you on available options and get the compensation you need to recover. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up a consultation and get answers to your questions.
Can I receive damages for pain and suffering after a Florida car crash?
Under the state’s injury laws, Florida victims may be awarded payment for their medical bills as part of their economic losses. However, this isn't what is meant by “pain and suffering.”
Pain and suffering is the legal term for an additional amount of damages that are paid on top of medical and disability costs, and it's up to a jury to decide how much should be awarded in each case.
When Can Florida Victims Be Compensated for Pain and Suffering?
Florida has rules regarding who may and may not be awarded pain and suffering damages in an injury case. As Florida is a no-fault insurance state, drivers are required to file claims with their insurers to collect the costs of an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. If these claims aren't sufficient to cover the costs of injury, an accident victim may sue the at-fault driver or another negligent party whose actions led to the injury.
Under Florida law, victims who seek pain and suffering damages in car accident cases must meet the state’s “injury threshold.” Simply put, in Florida, if you have been in a car accident, you cannot sue for pain and suffering damages unless the crash has resulted in one or more of the following:
- Significant loss of ability to perform a necessary bodily function
- Permanent injury or a permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- Significant and irreversible scarring or disfigurement
Types of Pain and Suffering Damages That Can Be Recovered After a Crash
Victims may be awarded two kinds of damages in car accident cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic losses are costs that can be totaled, such as medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering awards are a form of non-economic damages, and aren't easy to quantify. Depending on the degree and severity of the injury, the extent of medical treatment, and the impact of the accident on the victim’s life, non-economic damages may range from a few thousand to several million dollars.
Pain and suffering damages may be awarded to compensate a victim for:
- Physical suffering. This is meant to compensate a victim for the trauma at the time of the injury; the pain throughout the recovery process; and any discomfort he or she will suffer in the future.
- Mental anguish. Victims suffer a wide range of psychological effects after an accident. The stress of paying medical bills, the fear and embarrassment of living with physical restrictions, the anger of having to deal with a new problem every day, anxiety and depression throughout recovery, and lingering symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can all qualify as emotional pain and suffering.
- Other non-economic loss. Accident victims may sue for the injustice of the accident and inconvenience of having portions of their lives taken away. Common effects of a sudden and traumatic crash include disability, loss of fertility, loss of a family member, and lost enjoyment of life.
A jury has to consider many different factors to determine how much should be paid to an accident victim for his or her suffering. Two people injured in the same crash can be awarded vastly different amounts, depending on their personal circumstances.
For example, a victim who is retired to a wheelchair after the crash, may be awarded a significant sum, if he or she was very active before the accident. On the other hand, a victim who had suffered a pre-existing injury to the same part of the body, may see a reduced award, unless his or her attorney can prove that the damage from the accident played a significant role in her suffering.
We Help Minimize the Difficulties
At DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, P.A., we can examine all of the details of your case to maximize the amount of your pain and suffering award. We'll carefully review the change in your activities, career path, medical treatments, family situation, and future prospects, securing the rightful compensation fo you, to put the accident behind you. And we don't collect any fees until your case is won.
Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation.
What do I have to prove to get compensation for a pedestrian accident in Florida?
It may seem relatively straightforward who is at fault in a pedestrian accident. The driver of a car travels much faster and is far less likely to be injured in a crash, so there's often no question in the victim’s mind that the driver of the car will be seen as responsible for the accident.
Unfortunately, these injury claims are rarely open-and-shut cases that offer quick compensation to pedestrians.
In order to get payment for medical bills and lost income, pedestrians are required to prove that someone else’s actions directly led to their injuries and losses.
What Injured Pedestrians Have to Prove to Recover Damages
In all injury cases, the victim is responsible for providing clear evidence of negligence. Negligence is a legal term that describes an action that a reasonable person in a similar situation wouldn't have done. If someone's negligence caused or contributed to an accident, he or she can be held liable for the costs.
The injury victim must prove four elements to legally establish negligence in a pedestrian crash case:
- The person at fault owed the victim a duty of care. This tenant of an injury case establishes that the negligent party was responsible for acting as safely as possible under the circumstances. If the person at fault is a driver, proof of this duty is contained in state traffic laws that require drivers to be capable and alert at all times.
- The person at fault breached the duty of care. Many actions that fail to uphold the duty of care constitutes negligence, such as driving distracted, speeding, ignoring traffic signs or signals, and driving while intoxicated.
- The at-fault party’s negligence caused the victim’s injuries. Negligence in itself isn't enough to win a claim. The breach of care must have directly led to the injuries the pedestrian suffered. For example, texting at the time of the crash may be a direct cause, but sending a text three minutes before the accident is likely not a cause of the crash.
- The victim suffered actual harm. Victims must provide evidence of the economic losses they suffered as a result of their injuries, such as financial hardship, increased medical bills, permanent disability, and other costs.
Who Should Be Held Liable for a Pedestrian’s Injuries?
The legal process for proving negligence can go a long way to determining who's at fault for the accident. In the majority of cases, pedestrians file injury claims against the driver of the car that struck them. However, there are many other parties who could have played a role in the accident, including:
- The local municipality. In some cases, a city government may share responsibility for a crash. Public entities may be liable for accidents involving poorly-placed crosswalks, malfunctioning traffic control devices, ineffective sidewalk or parking lot maintenance, and other safety hazards.
- A product manufacturer. You may be able to file a product liability claim if a malfunctioning device caused you to veer into the path of oncoming traffic, such as a scooter or skateboard.
- Insurance companies. Victims often rely on their insurance providers to pay for medical bills after a pedestrian accident. As Florida is a no-fault insurance state, the pedestrian may exhaust his or her policy and pursue a claim on the driver’s insurance policy. These claims are often met with resistance, and may require a lawsuit to get proper compensation.
- Another person or entity. A pedestrian usually doesn't have a right to enter the street outside of a crosswalk. If someone was struck because he or she couldn't use the crosswalk, the case may name additional parties that made safe sidewalk travel impossible. For example, you may take action against a driver or passing cyclist that forced you off the curb, a restaurant owner whose tables blocked the sidewalk and forced you to walk in the road, or a construction company that didn't reroute pedestrian traffic during road repairs.
- The pedestrian. Pedestrians who contribute in some way to their injuries may be assigned a portion of negligence. In Florida, victims can share negligence and still win the injury case, but their damages will be reduced by their percentage of blame for the crash.
If you're struggling after a pedestrian accident, we can help you get the justice and compensation you deserve—and we don't collect any fees until your case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation with an attorney.
What should I do if I was hit while walking and the driver took off?
Florida is one of the most beautiful places to walk and bike in the nation. While pedestrians can enjoy the health benefits of traveling without a vehicle year-round, they are also at particular risk of hit and run accidents. Thousands of people are struck and injured every year by drivers who speed away, leaving the victim to pay for his injury costs.
Steps to Take if You Were Hit by a Car While Walking in Florida
Any accident that involves a driver failing to stop after striking someone else can be considered a hit and run collision. Cars may collide with pedestrians, and also people traveling on scooters, bicycles, skateboards, or other modes of non-vehicular transport.
Unfortunately, Florida sidewalks are often built close to the roadway, placing pedestrians at risk of accidents when they are next to the road as well as in crosswalks.
If you or someone you love is struck by a car while walking, it's vital you do the following as soon as possible:
- Report the crime to the police. Florida law carries high penalties for offenders in hit and run injury cases. A driver who leaves the scene of an accident, and has caused an injury, may be charged with a felony, face jail time, heavy fines. The sooner the collision is reported, the better chance a police officer will tracking down the driver—improving the odds of getting compensation for your injuries.
- Get medical attention. Don’t take the risk of going home after the accident: go to the hospital immediately. Even at low speeds, a pedestrian accident can result in significant physical, financial, and emotional losses. Adults may suffer broken bones or head injuries that cause them to lose months away from work, while accidents involving children or the elderly may result in permanent disability or death.
- Speak with an accident lawyer. The best way for victims and their families to get compensation after these kinds of accidents is to speak with a personal injury attorney. In order to prove your case, you will need to gather evidence, give statements, and total your medical costs and financial losses accurately. We can examine the circumstances of the crash, tell you what to expect in your case, and work to protect your rights as you take the time you need to heal.
Ways to Pay for Medical Costs After a Pedestrian Accident
If the driver who struck you is never found, there are still many payment options available to you. Other ways to get compensation after a pedestrian accident in Florida include:
- The Crimes Compensation Trust Fund. This fund is paid to victims of crimes, or their survivors, who are struggling financially after an injury. In order to be eligible, victims must have reported the crime to police within 72 hours of the event. Individuals must also apply to the Florida Bureau of Victim Compensation within one year of the accident.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Victims of pedestrian accidents may claim compensation from their auto insurance, even if they weren't driving at the time of the crash. While all Florida drivers are required to carry PIP insurance, the coverage usually only provides up to $10,000, which may not be enough to cover the costs of a pedestrian’s injuries.
- Uninsured motorist insurance. Drivers who have selected uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of their auto policies can get additional compensation if they are struck while walking.
As the options for compensation in these cases will vary depending on the individual circumstances, it's a good idea to meet with an attorney after a hit and run pedestrian accident. Your lawyer can go through your various insurance policies to determine the best way to get maximum coverage for your injury costs.
Our law firm works on a contingency-fee basis, so we do not collect any fees until your case is won. Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page to set up your consultation with an attorney.
What evidence can be used in a Florida car accident case?
Most people aren’t thinking about protecting their injury claims in the moments after a car accident. Victims are often shaken and just want to go home, or are taken away from the scene by an ambulance while they're not yet conscious.
While receiving medical treatment is the most important thing you can do after a crash, collecting evidence to help your case should be the next thing on your agenda.
7 Pieces of Evidence You Need for Your Florida Crash Case
Whether you're filing a case in court or filing a claim with the insurance company, it's vital that you gather as much evidence as possible. The more documentation you have to support your losses, the more likely you are to get a settlement that covers your injuries and property damages.
Strong evidence in a car accident case includes:
- Police reports. Law officers are required to fill out an accident report whenever they attend to an accident scene. You may have to pay a fee for a copy of the police report, but the cost is usually minimal—and it's worth it, if the police officer made any observations that help your case. Insurers know that it's difficult to refute the word of a police officer at the scene, so if the officer’s report says you aren’t at fault, you have a good chance at compensation.
- Photographs. Pictures are invaluable to your case because they present an impartial view of the facts. There's no limit to the items that may be photographed, but common photos include the position of the vehicles after the crash, the damage done to both vehicles, the appearance of skid marks, the position of road signs and traffic lights, and photos of your injuries.
- Eyewitnesses. If you were unconscious at the time of the crash, the police report may include the names and contact information of the other driver as well as any witnesses that were at the scene. Any one of these people may be called to give their testimony regarding what they saw at the crash scene.
- Medical records. Your medical information is key to getting fair compensation for your injuries. You should have copies of all of your medical bills, including receipts for amounts both due and paid. You should also have copies of medical procedures, scans, tests, and treatment beginning on the day of the crash to the current date.
- Work absence records. If you've been unable to work as a result of your injuries, you will need proof of the days you have taken off of work as well as proof of lost benefits, such as lost sick days, bonuses, or opportunities for advancement.
- Property damage estimates. It's important to have all records relating to the damage to your vehicle, not just a repair estimate and car rental receipt. Some supporting evidence many people overlook is documentation of the condition of the vehicle before the crash, such as recent upgrades or improvements that increased the value of the car. Car maintenance records can also help prove that your car was in good working order and the crash wasn't caused by a problem with your vehicle.
- Items from the day of the crash. If your case goes to court, personal items may be admitted as evidence to show the extent of your loss, such as clothing you were wearing at the time of the accident, or the recording of your 911 call.
Strong evidence in your case is not only required to prove you weren't at fault, but also impact how much you're awarded in your claim. A forgotten out-of-pocket expense will leave you with less than you deserve for your medical costs, while doubt regarding fault may cost you thousands in pain and suffering damages.
Your Best Asset: An Experienced Attorney
The best way to gather evidence after a car accident is to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. Our legal team can preserve information that may otherwise have been destroyed, work with accident reconstructionists to recreate the scene, or call expert witnesses to give testimony on your behalf.
Fill out the contact form on this page today to set up your consultation with an injury attorney. We work on a contingency-fee basis, so you will not have to pay our firm anything until you receive compensation.
What are the most common causes of Florida car accidents?
Nearly every American will be involved in a car accident at some point in his or her life. While it's the responsibility of every driver to stay safe on the road, many people engage in risky or even outright dangerous behaviors that place them and others at risk.
By learning the most common threats to road safety, drivers and passengers can recognize danger early on, and maybe even prevent an accident before it happens.
Driver Actions and Other Common Factors in U.S. Road Accidents
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has performed numerous studies on car accident causes over the years. Each year, driver error is by far the biggest single cause of car accidents nationwide, with a much smaller percentage of accidents caused by vehicle malfunction or adverse road conditions.
Those statistics are right in line with what happens on Florida's roadways as well. The most likely factors that lead to car accidents include:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving has been on the rise since the invention of smartphones, with as many as one in four auto accidents involving some level of distraction. Cell phone use is the biggest distraction, including talking on the phone, checking email and social media, or texting while driving. If a driver doesn't notice the lights change, hits the brakes suddenly, or is holding one hand up to his face, stay well clear of his vehicle in traffic—and of course, resist the urge to use your phone.
- Impaired driving. While alcohol and drug use is less prevalent than distracted driving, it's still a leading factor in accidents that involve fatalities. Drinking and use of illegal drugs or prescription medications can decrease reaction times, impair judgment and vision, and even cause hallucinations. If you see someone acting erratically on the road, always report the behavior to police. Your actions could stop the impaired driver from causing a crash.
- Drowsy driving. Drowsy driving carries many of the same risks as driving under the influence. While it's not illegal to drive while fatigued, tired drivers place both themselves and others at risk if they fall asleep while driving. Even if they don't fall completely asleep, their comprehension and motor skills are still impaired. Beware of drivers who “drift” in and out of lanes, as this is a common sign of fatigue.
- Reckless driving. Reckless driving is a combination of risky or illegal maneuvers that increase the likelihood of an accident. Aggressive actions such as speeding, tailgating, or “chasing” other cars due to road rage can be considered reckless, as can running a red light or engaging in street racing. A driver can be held liable for an accident if he or she was traveling too fast for weather conditions, such as a downpour or heavy fog, even if the driver was within the posted speed limit.
- Unsafe lane changes. Many accidents on the freeway are a direct result of unsafe lane changing, such as late merging or failing to signal a lane change. These types of accidents can also occur on city streets, in traffic circles, and anywhere two lanes of traffic flow in the same direction. The majority of these accidents can be prevented by leaving plenty of space between vehicles, leaving enough time to complete the lane change safely, and checking mirrors and blind spots before proceeding into the desired lane.
- Road conditions. Even if all road users are driving as safely as possible, they're still at the mercy of the road surfaces and driving conditions around them. City and state governments have a duty to make all public areas as safe as possible, including the roads drivers use every day. Potholes, oil slicks, spilled gravel, dangerous curves, road debris, and other hazards can easily cause a driver to blow out a tire or lose control of the vehicle.
- Car defects. From the design of your vehicle to the different components installed in its many systems, automobiles have an almost limitless potential for malfunction. If your car wasn't performing properly before or during a crash, the manufacturer could be held liable for selling a dangerous or defective product.
We Can Help
If you need help after a car accident, we can get you the compensation you deserve—and you won't have to pay our firm anything until you receive compensation. Fill out the contact form on this page today to set up your consultation with an injury attorney.