It only takes a moment for the actions of a careless, reckless or impaired driver to change your life forever. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision that was due to the negligent behavior of another driver, don’t look to the insurance company for help – you need the services of an experienced Winter Haven auto accident attorney, one who cares about your needs and is willing to fight to protect your rights.
Types of Winter Haven Auto Accidents and What Causes Them
Rivas Law Group has a proven track record for helping victims of car accidents in Winter Haven and surrounding communities get the maximum compensation they deserve for the damages resulting from their injuries. We have helped our clients secure large settlements in many different types of accidents, including:
- Head-on collisions
- Rear-end collisions
- Roll-over accidents
- Side-impact accidents
- 18-wheeler accidents
- Accidents caused by defective parts
- Road debris accidents
- DUI/DWI related accidents
How Did Your Car Accident Happen?
Car accidents are almost always caused by negligent or reckless behavior. The most common causes of car accidents include: distracted driving, such as texting while driving; failing to obey traffic laws, such as speed limits or stop signs; impaired driving, such as under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and fatigue-related errors due to exhaustion or lack of sleep.
- Distracted Driving: This can include talking on the phone, texting while driving, fiddling with the radio or GPS, eating or drinking while driving, or simply daydreaming.
- Failure to Obey Traffic Laws: Reckless driving behaviors and failing to observe traffic laws are major factors in many car accidents. Speeding and running red lights are especially frequent contributors to collisions.
- Impaired Driving: This includes driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but can also include any kind of impairment that reduces your reaction time and affects your ability to make split-second decisions.
- Fatigue: Fatigue can dramatically affect your judgment and reaction time, making you more likely to make mistakes and less able to avoid potential hazards.
- Hazardous Road Conditions: Potholes, wet or icy surfaces, poor visibility due to fog or rain, insufficient lighting, and other unsafe conditions can lead to accidents.
- Defective Vehicle Parts: Faulty brakes, tires or other parts can also cause accidents.
Proving Liability for Your Car Accident
The amount you collect will depend on two things: the extent of your injuries and how much proof you can provide pertaining to the amount of pain, suffering and other losses resulting from these injuries. Getting a satisfactory outcome means proving that the injuries you suffered in a car accident occurred due to the actions of another. At Rivas Law Group, we possess the skills and expertise to gather the evidence needed to establish the important facts in your case. Accident scene investigation, eyewitness accounts, police reports, medical records, expert testimony – we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to uncover the truth.
This evidence will be crucial when it comes to deciding how much, if any, liability you have in the accident, determining a settlement amount that will fully compensate you for your damages, negotiating with the insurance companies and arguing your case in court. Remember, the longer you put off seeking legal help for your pain and suffering the harder it will be collecting the evidence that will be needed to prove your case.
How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Winter Haven Car Accident Claim?
Under Florida’s comparative negligence doctrine, the amount of compensation you receive may be reduced based on your own degree of fault in causing the accident. For example, if it is found that you were 10% at fault for the collision, then any settlement award or jury verdict will be reduced by 10%.
However, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, then you will be ineligible to recover damages. That’s why it’s so important to have a skilled legal professional advocating on your behalf, who can use their knowledge of the law and relevant facts to ensure you receive the full amount of compensation you are entitled to.
What Is the Deadline for Filing Car Accident Lawsuits in Winter Haven, FL
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your case within this time frame, then you may be barred from recovering damages for any injuries or losses suffered as a result of the collision.
However, it’s important to note that the sooner you retain a lawyer, the better your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome will be. This is because it takes time to investigate and build a strong case, so waiting until the last minute can hurt your chances of success.
How to Deal with the Insurance Company After an Accident
Dealing with the insurance company after an accident can be a stressful experience. However, knowing what to do and expect when filing a claim can make the process easier.
Your Insurance Company
The first thing you should do is contact your insurer as soon as possible and provide them with the details of the incident. Florida is considered a “no fault” state when it comes to car accidents. This means that each driver’s insurance company is financially responsible for any damages or injury they sustained, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, drivers must be insured with Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance at the time of vehicle registration. The minimum coverage for PIP is $10,000 and for PDL is also $10,000.
In addition to these requirements, drivers in Florida must also comply with the 14 day rule. This rule states that if you are involved in an accident where there was property damage or injury, you must report it within 14 days or else your insurance company may deny your claim. It is important to note that this rule applies even if you were not at fault for the accident.
The Other Driver’s Insurance Company
While you have a legal obligation to contact your own insurance company after a car accident in Florida, there is no such obligation to contact the other driver’s insurer. In fact, it is recommended that you not speak with them. The other driver’s insurance adjuster may try to get you to admit fault in the accident. Additionally, they may use any information that you provide against you in court if a lawsuit arises in the case.
What to Say When an Insurance Adjuster Calls
Here’s the most important advice we can give to someone who has been injured in an automobile accident: Don’t agree to any kind of settlement with an insurance company until after you’ve had a chance to speak with a Winter Haven car accident lawyer at Rivas Law Group.
The insurance companies — yours and the other driver’s — are in business to make a profit. The less money they have to pay out in claims, the more money they make. They aren’t concerned about your needs and will often try any tactic to get off the hook as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Recovering Damages in a Winter Haven Car Accident Claim
Injuries resulting from an automobile accident in Winter Haven can be severe, even fatal:
- Concussions and other brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Spinal Cord and back injuries
- Bone fractures
- Cuts, scrapes and bruises
- Torn and sprained ligaments
- Damage to internal organs
- Physical disfigurement
We know the devastating impact these injuries can have on the victims and what a difficult time this must be for you and your family. Such injuries often take a financial toll far beyond what PIP covers. The important thing is not to give up hope – we’re here to take the burden off your shoulders and safeguard your future.
Our clients know they can depend on experienced Winter Haven auto accident attorney Tania Rivas and Rivas Law Group to defend their rights and obtain the compensation they deserve for all the expenses related to their wreck, including:
- Medical bills
- Ongoing medical treatment
- Car repairs or replacement
- Lost wages
- Rental car fees
- Towing and impound fees
- Damage to personal property
- Loss of personal property
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful Death
At Rivas Law Group, our goal is to make sure you are fully compensated for the losses and damages you and your family have suffered due to the negligence of another person or company. We will work diligently on your case to ensure that you get the compensation you need and deserve so that can move forward with your life.
How to Protect Your Rights After a Car Crash in Winter Haven, FL
After a car accident in Winter Haven, Florida, it is important to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you are rightfully owed. Here are a few steps to take:
- Call the police. A police report to document the accident can be used as key evidence in any potential legal proceedings.
- Collect information. Gather the other driver’s contact and insurance information. Take pictures of the accident scene if possible.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you don’t feel any immediate pain, have a doctor evaluate your condition as soon as possible.
- Keep records. A detailed record of all your expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills, car repair costs, etc., can help ensure that you are properly compensated for all damages.
- Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company. They may attempt to pressure you into admitting fault.
- Do speak with a Winter Haven auto accident attorney. An experienced car accident lawyer will help protect your rights and ensure that the insurance companies give you a fair settlement.
How A Car Accident Lawyer in Winter Haven Can Help You
After you hire a car accident lawyer, they will begin to take the necessary steps to build your case. This includes gathering evidence and documents related to the accident, such as:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Witness statements
The attorney will also conduct research into relevant laws and precedents that could affect your case. The lawyer will then work with you to develop a comprehensive legal strategy tailored to your particular situation. This may involve identifying additional parties who may be liable for damages, filing notices or motions in court when needed, negotiating with insurance companies or other third parties on your behalf, and representing you in court if necessary.
Your Winter Haven auto accident attorney will also remain in communication with you throughout the entire process of your case. They will advise you on any potential options available to you, explain any potential risks or decisions that need to be made, provide their opinion on any settlement offers received from insurance companies or other third parties involved in the accident, and answer any questions that you have about the progress of your case.
Why Should I Hire a Florida Auto Accident Lawyer?
At Rivas Law Group, Winter Haven car accident lawyer Tania Rivas has nearly 20 years of experience handling auto accident cases and fighting for the rights of clients who have been injured in an automobile crash. She will take the time to listen to your story, answer all your questions, and explain every step of the process.
Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Accident Claims
Should I See a Doctor After an Accident, Even if it Was Minor?
We always recommend that you see a doctor, even in the case of very minor accidents. Though it may seem silly seeking treatment after what may be a minor fender bender, several injuries are very common, such as lumbar spine strains, thoracic spine strains, and slipped discs. This is because cars are big and very heavy machines, and even a crash at 10 mph can cause an impact force up to 5.6 tons!
Also, your best chance at receiving the maximum settlement will come only if you have documentation of any and all injuries sustained in the accident.
Am I Required to Give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company After an Accident?
No matter what an insurance adjuster tells you, you are not required by law to give a statement to a defendant’s insurance company.
Insurance companies are trying to pay out as little as possible in each accident, so while they may claim that they are only gathering facts about your case, they are really looking for holes and inconsistencies that will allow them to pay less.
It may eventually be necessary for you to make a recorded statement, but always make sure you have an attorney present, and only answer the questions they ask; don’t provide any additional information.
Who is Liable if I am in an Accident in a Rental Car?
In most ways, an accident in a rental car is just like an accident in any other vehicle. This means that in most cases, rental companies cannot be held liable for accidents in their vehicles. There are some exceptions, however, like if the rental company failed to maintain the vehicle properly, and you can prove that the vehicle’s condition was not what it should have been. This could be things like bad tires, bad brakes, or even lights that need to be replaced.
Connect with an Experienced Winter Haven Auto Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident in Central Florida, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Winter Haven personal injury attorney Tania Rivas and Rivas Law Group. We are eager to get started on your case.
Call us at (863) 213-1457 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We are fluent in both English and Spanish. After-hours and weekend appointments are available. If your injuries have made it difficult to travel, we can arrange to meet with you in your home or hospital room.