After you’ve been hurt in a vehicle accident, you and your loved ones will face several challenges. Even if you believe that you have a potential personal injury claim to recover payment for your medical costs, lost wages, property damage and other compensable losses, it can be difficult to know how to get started. At my Jacksonville Beach firm, Bruce A. Gartner, P.A., I draw on 20 years of legal experience to assist victims of auto accidents and other types of harmful incidents. From the moment you’ve been in a car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle collision, my firm will deliver knowledgeable guidance, providing in-depth answers to questions such as these:
Protect yourself against being coerced into a resolution that doesn’t reflect the harm you’ve suffered. I offer a free initial consultation so that you can assert your legal rights promptly and effectively.
Bruce A. Gartner, P.A. assists northeast Florida clients after they’ve been hurt in a car, truck or motorcycle accident. Please call 904-395-5032 or contact me online to make an appointment for a free consultation at my Jacksonville Beach office.
If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, you should always seek help immediately so that anyone who’s hurt can get necessary medical attention as quickly as possible. Once you’ve called the police, you can take important steps that will bolster your eventual legal claim. Take pictures of the accident scene, and record your observations regarding the weather, road conditions and any other relevant information. Get the other driver’s contact, license and insurance information. No matter what occurred, don’t discuss who’s to blame. You won’t win your case at the scene and could make a harmful admission inadvertently.
Each vehicle collision is unique, and the determination of fault for a particular auto accident is often based on a range of factors. At the scene, a police officer might make an evaluation based on the available information. While this might be persuasive to an insurance adjuster or a jury member, key facts are often missed or omitted. The best way to prevent an unfair assessment from prejudicing your case is to hire an accomplished personal injury attorney as quickly as possible.
Under Florida law, there is a presumption that the driver of the trailing car is responsible for a rear-end collision. This is why it’s important to maintain a safe distance behind a vehicle that’s driving ahead of you. However, if an unusual circumstance exists, this legal presumption can be overturned, so it’s important to obtain assistance from a qualified attorney no matter what side you’re on in a rear-end collision case.
Florida follows a pure comparative negligence standard, which means that even if someone bears some responsibility for the accident, they can seek damages from others who are also partly at fault. The amount of the recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the plaintiff. For example, if a collision results in $100,000 worth of damages and the jury determines that the plaintiff was 20 percent responsible for the crash because they were slightly distracted, the recovery would be $80,000.
Legally, a driver making a left turn is required to yield to vehicles that are in his or her path. This means that the operator of the car or truck that is turning typically is considered at fault when that driver collides with an oncoming vehicle. Each case is different, however, and a thorough investigation might find that at least some liability should be assigned to the nonturning driver.
Under Florida’s no-fault auto insurance law, most injured drivers seek reimbursement for accident costs from their own carrier, regardless of who caused the collision. This makes it important to have a skillful advocate to represent you in negotiations with your insurer should a dispute arise. In cases involving certain serious injuries, plaintiffs are permitted to seek compensation from the at-fault driver and the liable driver’s insurer. Legislative efforts have been launched to change this rule, so you should consult a dedicated auto accident attorney to ensure that you have the up-to-date information that you need.
Bodily injury liability is an additional type of auto insurance coverage that is optional for most Florida drivers. It covers the medical costs associated with injuries that stem from vehicle accidents. Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Projection coverage, so it’s easy to understand why additional protection might be needed to cover medical costs, even if the injury is not catastrophic. Motorists who are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be forced to purchase bodily injury liability coverage due to the risk they present to other drivers and passengers.