Florida’s great weather and recreation opportunities attract visitors from all around the world. That’s also why many Americans choose to retire in the Sunshine State. One of the negatives of living in a desirable location is the congested roadways. With 17 million drivers on the roads, many of whom are unfamiliar with the area, it should come as no surprise that more than 395,000 accidents occur each year.
The days and weeks following a car accident can be intense. The victim of the car crash must deal with both their injuries and other important matters, such as filing insurance claims. Here at Shiner Law Group, we’re ready to connect you with an experienced Fort Myers car accident lawyer who can help you through this difficult time. Your lawyer’s guidance will ensure you make all the right moves to support a successful personal injury case.
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What a Car Accident in Fort Myers Could Cost You
The worst consequence of a car wreck is the loss of one or more lives. Nonetheless, even a minor car accident can leave you with serious costs or injuries.
Lost Wages and Employment Status
Even something like a broken finger can stop you from doing your job. If you need to take time off due to your injuries, not only will you miss out on wages, but you could also lose your standing at work. Some jobs require regular attendance. An extended leave of absence could lead to someone else taking over your position out of necessity. You might have to change jobs because of limited mobility, or you could become disabled.
When working on your case, your Fort Myers car accident attorney will consider how the accident affected your current wages, potential future wages, and overall job performance.
Even minor injuries often require a trip to the emergency room after an accident. This usually includes an ambulance ride, X-rays, stitches, prescription meds, and other treatments. In 2022, the average cost of a visit to the emergency room is $2,200, and that doesn’t include additional treatments. Costs can be much higher depending on the type of care you need.
There are also ongoing medical costs to consider. If you have any serious injuries, you’ll most likely need months of physical therapy. You might need an assistive device, like a wheelchair or crutches. Your doctor will want to check on your condition at regular intervals for some time to come. The cost of these things can add up fast.
Permanent scarring from an accident can change your life forever. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, society is superficial. Something like a facial laceration or burn scar can hinder future opportunities in romance or employment.
Emotional and Mental Distress
Post-traumatic stress disorder is common after a car accident. For some, the stress of the experience can lead to lasting mental-health problems. Handling your daily responsibilities will be tough if you fear getting in a vehicle. You might need therapy to cope with the emotional difficulties of the situation. This can also add to the financial cost.
The physical pain after an accident can be severe. Even in a minor wreck, the seatbelt can cause bruising to the sternum, making it difficult to breathe. The pain often worsens 24 hours after the crash because adrenaline and shock wear off. It may last for weeks, adding to your mental anguish and making it difficult to return to everyday life.
Determing Fault in a Fort Myers Car Accident
Fault in a car accident is determined by whether one party demonstrated negligence. There are crashes where no one is at fault. For example, someone might lose control on an icy road and rear-end the car in front of them.
In other situations, the at-fault party is obvious. Common negligent behaviors include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for current conditions
- Driving while under the influence or severely fatigued
- Texting or browsing the internet while driving
- Failing to check blind spots or make use of turn signals
When Should You Contact a Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer?
File a Police Report
Contacting the police is an important step after a wreck. If you were unconscious at the time of the crash, a friend or bystander most likely contacted the authorities for you. If that didn’t happen, you still have 10 days following the crash to file your report.
Florida law requires a police report after car crashes that:
- Cause more than $500 of property damage
- Involve a commercial vehicle
- Cause any bodily injury or fatality
- Require a wrecker to remove the damaged vehicle or vehicles from the scene
- Involve one or more drivers who are under the influence of substances
- Involve a driver who left the scene
Seek Medical Attention
You must see a doctor after your wreck. It’s important to make sure you receive proper care. You also must document the extent of your injuries and the associated costs.
Due to adrenaline, many people can walk away from a crash, assuming their injuries are minor. As the shock wears off, the pain will often begin to set in, revealing the extent of the damage. If you wait too long to receive medical attention, you could miss the opportunity to prove your injuries resulted from the crash.
File an Insurance Claim
Insurance is an important part of the process when it comes to accident lawsuits. Florida law requires every registered driver to carry at least $10,000 in property damage liability and $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). Even if the other party was at fault, you must file a claim for your personal injury.
Your PIP insurance covers 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of wages lost because of your injuries. This coverage might be suitable for a minor car accident, but any crash that causes serious injuries will push your expenses over the limit. Once that happens, your attorney can seek compensation from the other party’s insurance company to cover the damages.
Reach Out to an Attorney
You can contact a lawyer immediately after your crash if you wish. It’s especially wise to do so if it’s obvious you’re badly injured. Any severe injury, like a broken bone or torn ligament, will likely result in expensive medical costs. Your lawyer will provide guidance, and you might feel better knowing you’ve already secured legal representation.
If you haven’t yet contacted an attorney, you’ll want to do so when you realize the cost of your crash is exceeding your PIP coverage. Contacting the other party’s insurance company and negotiating a settlement is also possible, but this isn’t advised. Insurance agents know every trick in the book regarding getting out of paying a settlement. An experienced lawyer will know how to get you the compensation you deserve.
Follow the Doctor’s Orders
When involved in a lawsuit, it’s important to appear like you’re taking your health seriously. Show up for all medical appointments. The costs of each will be documented for the case. If you’re lax about treatment, it will be harder for your lawyer to prove the severity of your pain and injuries.
Know that it might take a while, sometimes up to a year or more, to receive a settlement for your car crash. First, you must complete the bulk of your medical treatments and physical therapy. After that, there will likely be a long period of negotiations. This is when your lawyer gets the chance to fight for you.
The other insurance company may offer a settlement amount your attorney considers too low. In that case, negotiations will continue. You may need to give a recorded statement describing your experience of the crash and the pain and suffering it caused during this stage.
When your attorney agrees with the insurance company, they will work on finalizing your settlement. You may have to wait a few months after this point as it can take a great deal of time to gather all the medical bills and paperwork.
Protecting Yourself in Fort Myers After a Car Accident
An unfortunate aspect of being on the road is that not every fellow driver will behave responsibly. This goes far beyond reckless driving. Some drivers are illegally operating vehicles, so they likely don’t have the required insurance coverage. Although it’s unfair, if such a driver hits you, you’ll be on your own when it comes to medical costs that exceed your PIP.
In this unfortunate scenario, working with an attorney is still wise. With the help of your attorney, you can sue the uninsured driver. What you must consider is the type of person who behaves irresponsibly is unlikely to have the money or resources to pay your compensation. You may never see a penny if your lawyer wins the case. For this reason, we recommend making uninsured motorist coverage a priority.
Speak With A Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyer Today
Every Fort Myers car accident attorney at Shiner Law Group is dedicated to success. We’ve helped many Florida car crash victims get appropriate financial compensation, and we are ready to fight for you. No case is too challenging for our experienced team. If we don’t win your case, there’s no fee for our services.
Please contact us now to begin your free consultation. We’re available to take your call or chat online 24 hours a day.