Port Charlotte Car Accident Attorney
At Hale Law, P.A. we know that it can only take a second of inattention by another driver to change your life. Our Port Charlotte accident attorneys understand that better than anyone. We believe in you and your case, you are not just a number in a file to us. Each of our Port Charlotte car accident attorneys are available to discuss your case in person, and will help you through what can be a very difficult time. You can rest easy and focus on getting your life on track while your case is being handled by our highly capable team. They are ready to give you helpful and candid counsel regarding any situation that may arise during your case.
Common Causes of Car Collisions
Almost all motor vehicle collisions are caused by human error. Drivers who cause crashes often fall under one, or multiple, of the following categories:
- Distracted or careless;
- Intoxicated or high; or
- Drowsy/fallen asleep.
Some of the most common types of traffic collisions occur in the following ways:
- A driver does not check their mirrors or turn their head when they change lanes, merge, or make a left or right turn;
- A driver tries to fit into a spot where there is not enough room on the highway while trying to change lanes or “make up” time;
- A driver pulls out in front of cross traffic failing to yield the right of way;
- Crossing over into oncoming traffic due to distraction, intoxication, or falling asleep and causing a head on collision;
- Lane drifting;
- Running a red light or stop sign;
- Trying to beat oncoming traffic while making a left turn across the oncoming lane;
- Backing up too quickly and/or without looking over a shoulder;
- Speeding and losing control of their vehicle; and
- Driving the speed limit during inclement weather when speed should have been reduced due to low visibility, hydroplaning risk, etc.
Distracted Driving is on the Rise
Traffic deaths have risen in recent years from a previous all time low in 2011. And unfortunately, it does not look like the roads are getting any safer. More than 3,700 people were killed in traffic collisions in 2016, as well as over 37,000 in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The surge in fatalities and serious injuries is caused by more people driving due to cheap gas and a strong economy following the Great Recession, as well as more people using phones while they drive. In fact, a recent study found that 88 percent of drivers use their phones on every car trip they make, according to Wired. For every hour of driving, the average driver on their phone spends three and a half minutes on it. This is time that their mind is not focused on driving, their eyes are searching through contacts or sending texts, and only one (or none) hand is on the steering wheel. Cell phone use while driving is a growing epidemic, as this study and the increase in traffic collisions both prove. It may be difficult to prove, however, that the negligent party who caused your crash was on their phone. A subpoena can be issued to search through their phone records, but this is only necessary in rare instances. Even if we cannot prove that they were texting or talking on the phone, we can prove that their actions or maneuvers were the cause of the collision.
What to Do if You Have Been Injured in a Car Accident in Port Charlotte
Getting hurt in a car accident is not only painful but traumatic as well. It can be a very confusing time while you struggle to figure out what to do with your car, how to get medical help, and how to deal with the other driver. This is understandable, so no matter what you do after a car accident, just be sure and call Hale Law, P.A. for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys in Port Charlotte. If you have just been in an accident and aren’t sure what to do, consider any of the following tips which may be applicable to you.
- Get Medical Help: If you or anyone else has been seriously injured, your first concern should be with getting medical help. Seek First Aid, or call 9-1-1. Whether you are treated at the scene or taken to the hospital or not, be sure and follow up with your doctor soon after the accident. Some serious conditions may not be immediately apparent, but symptoms can arise days later. Remember that unless you seek treatment for an emergency medical condition within 14 days of the accident, you can be limited to receiving only $2,500 in PIP (no-fault) benefits.
- Call the Police: The police should be notified in any accident where there is an injury or significant property damage. If possible, don’t move the vehicles so the police can make an accurate report. If you do need to move the vehicles out of traffic, please be careful. Don’t leave the scene until the police arrive, so you can give them information about yourself and the accident. Leaving the scene of an accident can get you in trouble with the law and damage your case.
- Exchange Information: Exchange information with the other driver such as your name, insurance policy number, driver’s license number and contact information. It is best to otherwise limit your conversations with the other driver. For instance, don’t get into details about your insurance coverage, and don’t get into a discussion about who was at fault.
- Gather Evidence: Take several pictures of the scene, including the damage to both vehicles or other property. If there are witnesses, try to get their contact information and a description of what they saw.
- Call Your Insurance Company: To protect your rights under your insurance policy, it is usually necessary to report the accident as soon as you can after the accident.
Port Charlotte Car Accident FAQs
Car collisions occur so suddenly that victims are often forced to navigate the situation while in shock. Not only do you have to deal with physical injuries, but you must also make informed decisions about what next steps to take to receive compensation for all of the damages. If you have questions about how to get the responsible party to pay for your bills, the Port Charlotte car collision attorneys at Hale Law, P.A. can help. If you, or a loved one, were involved in a car collision, we are available to handle your case, making sure you get the best outcome possible.
Should I Contact the Other Party Directly?
It is never in your best interest to talk directly with the other party or parties involved. This also applies to the other party’s insurance company. The first step you should take it to contact a personal injury attorney, who can then speak on your behalf. Anything you share with the other party can be used against you in your claim and often, because of the shock, people unknowingly hurt their chances of a good outcome.
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
An experienced attorney can assist you in filing a lawsuit or “personal injury claim” against the at-fault driver. First, an attorney will need to know the extent of your injuries. According to Florida statute 627.733, you must receive medical care for any injuries sustained within 14 days of the accident.
Who is Responsible for Paying My Medical Bills?
The at-fault party should be held accountable for paying any associated damages. Depending on the crash, this could be the driver of a single vehicle, multiple drivers, or a commercial company. It is not uncommon for multiple insurance policies to be involved and each policy may have multiple types of coverage.
Can I be Blamed For a Collision Even Though I Didn’t Cause it?
In Florida it is possible for multiple parties to be found at fault for a car collision. According to Florida Statute 768.81, Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that the degree to which you are considered at fault will be deducted from your overall claim’s value. Examples where you may be found partially at fault would include if you were speeding when someone side-swiped your vehicle or if you didn’t have your lights on when someone rear-ended you.
How Much Compensation Will I Receive?
Each case is dependent on the damages sustained and the quality of the insurance policy held by the negligent party. Your claim’s value will increase for higher medical expenses, if you lost wages, for your pain and suffering, and any property damage.
When Will I Be Paid?
This process will vary anywhere from a few months to several years depending on the severity of your injuries and the extent of damages. For instance, if you need ongoing medical attention for a head trauma resulting from the car collision, the case will be ongoing until the full medical expenses can be ascertained. Cases settled through negotiation or mediation will always be resolved quicker than a case needing to go to court.
Our Port Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys are Here when You Need Us
When you choose us to represent you in your time of need, we do our best to treat you like you deserve to be treated. Call or e-mail the Port Charlotte car accident attorneys at Hale Law, P.A. today for a free consultation.