Howell & Thornhill

Lake Wales Car Accident Lawyers

Your Home Team Since 1975 - We Got This!

Getting into a car accident can be daunting, especially with the injuries and legal process that can follow. Thankfully, with the help of a Lake Wales car accident lawyer, it can be less overwhelming. Having legal representation on your side can help you throughout the process.

Common Types of Car Accidents

Car accidents are a common occurrence in Lake Wales, just like anywhere else. There are several reasons why accidents happen. Some of the most common scenarios include:

Rear-end Collisions

A rear-end collision often happens when someone does not slow down in time and crashes into the back of another car. This can happen for many reasons, like tailgating or being distracted.

In most cases, the rear driver is at fault for a rear-end collision. This is because they are supposed to leave enough space between their car and the car in front of them so they can stop safely, but there are some exceptions. For example, if the lead driver stops suddenly and unpredictably, the rear driver may not be at fault.

If you are in a rear-end collision, it is important to prove that the driver in front stopped suddenly and unpredictably. Otherwise, you will likely be found at fault. This would be the type of case witnesses could help tremendously with.

Head-on Collisions

An example of a head-on collision is if someone is driving on the wrong side of the road or trying to pass another vehicle, and the oncoming driver cannot slow down and hits right into the front end of the car. This type of impact can lead to serious injuries.

These accidents often occur when a driver leaves their lane. Reasons include distraction, intoxication, or improper passing on two-lane roads. Drivers may negligently drive into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on crash.

Determining fault requires looking at why the driver left their lane. It is important for the experts to ask if they intentionally passed unsafely or drifted over unintentionally. A thorough investigation is needed to establish liability in these accidents.

Side Impact Crashes

Side impact crashes occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another. The front or rear of one car collides with the middle of the other. Side impact crashes often lead to serious injuries due to the lack of protection on a car’s side.

These accidents often happen because of reckless driving behaviors. For example, someone could be driving too fast through traffic signals or stop signs and end up crashing into the side of another vehicle. Drivers who do not check intersections often get hit on the side by crossing traffic.

Liability is typically clear with side crashes based on which the driver acted negligently. Investigating the reckless actions that led to the collision will identify who is at fault. The careless driver who caused the side impact faces responsibility.

Single Vehicle Crashes

Single-vehicle crashes involve only one vehicle, with no collision with another car. These accidents may involve hitting a stationary object, running off the road, or rolling over. Single-vehicle wrecks often result in serious injury to the occupants.

Various factors can cause single-vehicle crashes. These include intoxicated driving, drowsy driving, speeding, distraction, vehicle defects, and hazardous road conditions. Determining the cause requires a thorough investigation.

Sometimes, it is because of the roadway conditions for this type of accident to happen. However, sometimes it could be someone parked in the roadway wrong, causing obstruction of view. A lawyer can help determine if the driver was at fault or not.

When to Seek a Car Accident Settlement

Settling a car accident claim means agreeing to a specific sum as compensation for your damages. It avoids having to file a lawsuit and go to trial. There are certain times when settlement negotiations tend to happen:

After Your Treatment Ends

It is often optimal to wait until medical treatment concludes before seeking settlement. This allows time to fully assess all costs of care and procedures. Rushing a settlement may leave out future care expenses.

By waiting until treatment ends, the total costs can be definitively calculated. This ensures you receive compensation for the complete care required. It prevents having to cover further treatment bills yourself.

However, exceptions exist in some cases where early settlement makes sense. An experienced attorney can advise if settling before treatment finishes is strategically recommended. Their guidance helps maximize compensation.

When Negotiations Reach a Plateau

If you try negotiating an injury settlement yourself, discussions may hit a standstill. Despite multiple counteroffers, the insurer’s offer may barely budge. This indicates it is time to bring in an experienced negotiator.

When talks plateau, the insurer is likely not budging for strategic reasons. They may be taking advantage of an unrepresented victim’s lack of leverage. A seasoned negotiator can assess the situation and push past the standstill.

An attorney who specializes in these cases knows how to move negotiations forward. They have the skills to convince insurers to raise offers to reasonable levels. Their involvement can break the plateau and achieve fair compensation.

Before Trial

Many injury cases are settled just before the trial date. Defendants often make their best offers to avoid jury uncertainty. They may offer more than previously to finalize pre-trial.

Settling before trial provides guaranteed money while avoiding trial risks. But it forfeits the potential of a bigger jury verdict. Experienced attorneys weigh many factors when advising clients at this stage.

Accepting or rejecting a pre-trial offer requires strategic analysis. An attorney will consider verdict chances, defendant assets, settlement details, and more. Their guidance puts clients in the optimal position before trial.

Deadline to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Lake Wales

Under Florida law, you have normally have two years from the date of a car accident to file a lawsuit seeking damages. This statute of limitations applies to both injury and property damage claims. If you fail to take legal action within this timeframe, you forfeit your right to recover compensation through the court system.

Certain conditions can alter the statute of limitations, such as uninsured motorist coverage.

Additionally, merely submitting an insurance claim does not stop the clock. You must officially file your lawsuit before the two-year deadline to still have the right to sue. Make sure you do not miss this deadline.

An experienced Lake Wales car accident attorney will know all relevant statutes and ensure your lawsuit is handled promptly. Time is limited to recover what you deserve. Working with a lawyer can help you make sure you are on the right track to meet the deadlines.

What You May Recover From Your Lake Wales Car Accident

If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence, Florida law entitles you to recoup both economic and non-economic damages.  This can look different for each person. The damages you may recover can include:

Medical Expenses

If injured, collect compensation for all accident-related medical costs. These include ambulance fees, emergency treatment, hospital bills, surgery, medications, devices, therapy, rehabilitation, and ongoing future care. Thoroughly document all treatment expenses and provide evidence to the insurer.

Getting full compensation for medical costs requires complete documentation. Gather all bills, records, receipts, and forecasts of future expenses. An attorney can help ensure nothing is left behind when identifying every recoverable medical cost.

Do not settle without being compensated for the entire scope of medical expenses. Ongoing treatment needs may arise long after settlement if injuries do not properly heal. You should be sure to consider all treatments.

Lost Income

Recover all wages lost if you missed work due to injuries suffered in the crash. Also, collect damages for potential permanent impairment that reduces future earning capacity. Provide evidence like pay stubs, employer letters, vocational assessments, and economist reports.

Proving lost income requires documentation like tax returns, payroll records, time cards, and testimony from employers. Obtain evidence both of past earnings and forecasts of future diminished earning capacity. A car accident lawyer in Lake Wales can help demonstrate the full financial losses.

Settlements should cover all past and future lost wages. The settlement will only pay out what is related to crash injuries. Do not underestimate the lasting impact accidents can have on victims’ earning potential over their lifetime.

Property Damage

You can receive payment for repairs or replacement costs for your vehicle and anything inside the vehicle. If there was any property damage, that should be included as well. Gather repair estimates, appraisals, valuation reports, receipts, and thorough documentation.

Demonstrate the amount through written evaluations. This can be through repair invoices, documentation of the extent of damage, and dollar amount of property losses. Photo and video documenting the damage also support the claimed losses.

You should only settle if the offer covers the total property damage losses suffered. You should never take less, as you have the right to full compensation. This includes both vehicle repair and replacement and damages to the contents inside.

Pain and Suffering

Get compensated for any physical pain, mental distress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and reduced quality of life resulting from crash injuries. These non-economic damages significantly impact victims.

Document pain levels at medical visits, therapy notes about mental impacts, prescription records, and testimony on lifestyle effects. This evidence bolsters claims for substantial pain and suffering awards.

No amount of money can undo what crash victims endure. However, fair pain and suffering compensation provide recognition of their struggles. Do not underestimate these very real damages when settling.

Maximizing Compensation

Extensive losses often far exceed liable parties’ insurance policy limits. A dedicated attorney can identify all potential insurance policies. They can also review assets available so you can receive maximum lawful compensation.

Identifying additional coverage requires investigation. The investigation will play into multiple factors surrounding the accident circumstances, parties involved, insurance policies issued, and any umbrella or excess insurance. A lawyer can handle all of this.

Do not just accept an insurer’s policy payout if far below actual damages without investigating all avenues available. Pursue the full recovery you deserve for the negligence you experienced. You can get maximum compensation through additional policies, assets, or even out-of-court structured settlement negotiations.

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim For a Car Accident

Losing a loved one in a fatal car crash is devastating. Florida law allows certain family members to bring a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. This can help to cover burial costs and compensate for their loss.

The family members who can file a wrongful death claim include a surviving spouse, children, parents, or blood relatives who are dependent on the victim. Damages may include funeral expenses, loss of companionship, lost financial support the deceased would have provided, and your pain and suffering from the loss. These claims must be made within two years of the date of death.

A wrongful death case can be complex. An attorney will handle the litigation process. The litigation involves evidence gathering and settlement negotiations to recover fair compensation.

Being Partially At Fault for the Accident

You can still pursue injury compensation even if you were partially to blame for the accident. Florida’s laws have a comparative negligence system. Your percentage of fault will reduce your damages award.

For example, if you are 20% at fault for the crash, your final verdict or settlement will be reduced by that same 20%. This prevents you from recovering losses directly caused by your own actions. However, it will still compensate you for the portion you did not cause.

Having legal representation can help to maximize your payout. It helps to have a lawyer to ensure any negligence allocated to you reflects only the minimum you actually contributed, if any, based on sound evidence. You may be leaving money on the table if you attempt this without a lawyer.

Get a Free Consultation from a Car Accident Attorney in Lake Wales

You do not have to go through the legal process alone. A car accident lawyer can help build a strong case. Contact us for a free consultation. We are eager to help you prove your case so you can heal and take the legal worries off your back.