Car Accidents

Have you been injured in an car accident, motorcycle accident or truck accident?  Are you looking for a car accident lawyer that will give you the personal attention that your case deserves?  If so, you have found the right law firm.  Drucker Law Offices is focused on giving its clients personal attention and that is the basis of the motto: “Personal Injury Deserves Personal Attention.”. Call us today for a FREE consultation. The firm does not collect attorney fees or costs unless there is a settlement or verdict in your favor.

Motor vehicle drivers are generally required to know and follow the rules of the road while operating their car. When a driver fails to follow the rules of the road and causes an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Special laws apply to motor vehicle accidents in Florida. The Florida legislature passed the Florida Motor Vehicle No Fault Act, which covers most accidents involving cars or motor vehicles. The laws that apply to motor vehicle accident differ in part from the laws that apply to other types of accident cases, like workers’ compensation cases and premises liaiblity cases.

In terms of the damage to property (generally to the cars themselves but this also could include damage to other property like fences or a house if the car would crash into a house), the party found at fault in an accident is generally responsible for any resulting damage. This includes paying for the repair to the car as well as loss of use (rental car bill) resulting from the accident.

In most instances, on the other hand, your own personal injury protection insurance (PIP) pays for a significant portion (80 percent generally) of the medical bills, regardless of fault. Similarly, your PIP insurance also pays for a percentage (60 percent generally; although this wage compensation can be excluded from the insurance to lower premiums) of any proven lost wages, regardless of fault.

Most importantly, the Motor Vehicle Act generally provides that in order to recover non-economic or pain and suffering type damages, an injured victim must prove death, significant scarring, permanent disfigurement or permanent injury. This is the most significant difference between automobile accidents and other types of personal injury actions in Florida.  Death, significant scarring and permanent disfigurement are somewhat rare so the “catch all” provision is the permanent injury provision and this is called the permanent injury threshhold in the industry.

Things to do following an accident: Call your insurance agent as soon as you can after the accident happens.
Read your insurance policy and/or consult and attorney to read your policy before talking to your agent or the company, including the sections called Coverage and Exclusions. This will make you well-informed in dealing with your insurance company. When talking with insurance representatives, it is considered a good idea take clear and detailed notes. You may want to consider getting names, job titles, phone numbers, and each person’s supervisor’s name.

Things to avoid: Do not give any written or recorded statements to anybody at your insurance company until after you have retained (hired) an attorney. You do not have to let your insurance company record your phone conversations with them.  Indeed, the law requires anyone to give notice of recording a conversatoin.  While you are required to give you own insurance company a recorded statement, generally, you are NOT generally required to give the other vehicle’s insurance company a recorded statement. If you start to feel too pressured or doubtful, contact an attorney to give you legal support and advice.

As a general matter, you do not sign any waivers or releases without consulting an attorney for legal advice. Do not hurry to agree to anything with your insurer. After an accident, many people are upset and anxious and may be physically injured as well. Even if your car is totaled and you must pay for a rental car, allow yourself some time before fixing any agreements in black and white with your insurance company. Remember that they do not work for you. They do not make money by paying you.  This is particularly true of the other vehicle’s insurance.  They are looking out for themselves and for their insured and not for you.

What to do after a Car, Motorcycle, or Auto Accident, generally: The moments immediately after a car, motorcycle, or auto accident require thinking to protect yourself and your personal property.  Again, the person that caused the accident and their insurance company is looking out for themselves and not for you, so it is important to bear that in mind. There are a number of steps you can take to increase your chances of financial recovery and the amount of that recovery in your auto accident case. I generally recommend the following:

Insist that a report for car or motorcycle accidents be filed with the Police.  This is a generally a mistake that is made that is easily preventable.  Document as much as you can about the car, motorcycle, or auto accident or injury itself.  You generally will help the process by detailing in writing about your injuries and any other losses (such as wages, loss of income, pain and suffering, medical bills, etc.) you have suffered as a result of the accident, and any conversation you had with anyone involved in the accident.

I generally recommend that you talk to no one about the car, motorcycle, or auto accident or injuries other than your attorney or physician. You especially do not want to speak with an insurance adjuster from the other insurance company and you certainly do not want to give them any recorded conversation regarding the accident or your injuries. You may want to consult an attorney that concentrates in accident cases about assisting you.

It is also highly recommended take photos of the car, motorcycle, or auto accident scene, including any visible injuries and the vehicles involved and also to take pictures of any scars, bruises or any visible sign of injury on your body.   It is difficult to understand but insurance companies are very skeptical about injuries and showing visible scars or even bruises that ultimately heal up is very convincing to a jury and very convincing to an insurance company to prove injuries.  In today’s world where most cellular phones having camera, this is generally easy to do and should be done as often and early as possible.

I also generally recommend that you get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident who may be able to help prove your case.  Obviously this has to be done at the scene of the accident but write down any information you have about the witnesses that you did not get their information as this can be used later to track them down.  This advice  pertaining to witnessess can sometimes be the difference between recovering money or not recovering money in a case.

I also generally recommend that for your injuries, you should immediately seek medical attention following a car, motorcycle, or auto accident. You should treat no differently than if you were injured and it was no one’s fault but you certainly need to be sure to have your injured documented and treatment is critical to this.  I advise that you be sure to explain how the injuries occurred to your doctor or surgeon. You should mention any sensations of disorientation, confusion, memory lapses, scars, bruises, etc. or other conditions you have sustained.

There are many types of insurance coverage that apply in motor vehicle accidents and an accident lawyer or law firm like this one can help you collect from these insurances. I summarize those types of coverage below.

No Fault/Personal Injury Protection(PIP) coverage: Florida law requires owners of vehicles to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This coverage pays 80 percent of your medical bills to a total of $10,000.00. Effective January 1, 2008, the physician bills are paid pursuant to a Fee Schedule connected to medicare rates. The PIP insurance also pays 60 percent of any lost wages, although this coverage can be excluded. PIP coverage pays regardless of who is at fault, hence the term No-Fault. It is advisable to consult an attorney or lawyer following an accident to help the processing of PIP claims for medical bills or wages.

Property Damage Coverage: Property damage coverage pays for the other person’s vehicle in the event that the policyholder/insured causes an accident.  I generally get the client’s cars fixed through the other person’s property damage coverage if this is possible.

Collision/Comprehensive Coverage: You may have collision coverage on your policy and this coverage fixes your car REGARDLESS of fault. It is important to have your policy or declarations on hand, so that in the event of an accident you can know exactly what insurance you have. While generally it is advisable to have your car fixed through the other person’s insurance if they caused the accident, in some circumstances you may have to get your car fixed or totaled out through your own insurance company. Consult an attorney or law firm like this law firm regarding the best means of getting your car fixed after an accident.

Bodily Injury Coverage: Bodily injury coverage pays the injuries caused by the policyholder to the injured person. In order to obtain monies for the clients, claims are made against the at-fault driver’s bodily injury policy and attempt are made to get the client fairly compensated for their injuries based on these policies.  I cannot control how much insurance the other vehicle has but I try to find out this information as early as possible so that I can advise the client about the available insurance.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage:  Unfortunately and especially in today’s difficult economic times, many people in Florida have little or no motor vehicle insurance.  Many people forget to pay their insurance, so their insurance is cancelled, or they have the minimum coverage which does not have bodily injury coverage.   Some people have too little insurance to cover any major damage they may cause by their negligent driving. Uninsured/Under-insured motorist coverage is intended to help you pay for any injury or damage incurred from an uninsured driver or an under-insured driver whose negligence causes you harm. Be careful not to waive your legal rights in any situation that involves an uninsured driver. Consult an experienced car accident attorney like Drucker Law Offices for legal protection.

At Drucker Law Offices, total representation is offered to the automobile accident victim. This includes helping clients present their claim for medical bills and wages to their insurance carrier. Their rental car claims are processed and the repair of their cars after an accident is arranged. A free initial consultation is provided for clients who have been injured as a result of a car accident. The contract is a contingency fee contract so clients only pay a lawyer fee if the case is satisfactorily resolved.