Choosing a Florida Automobile Accident Attorney
It is estimated that each and every one of us will be involved in some type of car accident at some time during our driving career. Hopefully, for most, that will mean only a minor fender bender or slow-moving rear-end collision. Unfortunately, however, many people lose their lives in serious automobile accidents each year. Even worse in many cases, those accidents could have been avoided.
You probably want to know about your attorney’s education, training, experience and results. Michael V. Barszcz, M.D., J.D., is an attorney who is also a medical doctor. Mr. Barszcz has handled thousands of personal injury claims and has recovered over $100 million dollars for his clients.
Here are some things to look for when choosing an automobile accident attorney:
- Proven track record
- Familiarity with local, state, and federal law
- Personal attention
- Medical knowledge
Injured in a Florida car accident? The Orlando car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael Barszcz, M.D., J.D. are here to help. Give us a call at (407) 305-6088 or contact us online to get started on your case!
Most Common Car Accident Injuries
A car accident can result in many different types of injuries to many different parts of your body. A high-speed, heavy impact collision may cause major physical injuries and lower-speed, minimal impact collisions or fender benders usually cause lesser injuries. However, there are instances when people walk away uninjured from a totaled car and instances when a seemingly minor collision causes a lifetime of pain and disability.
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
- Face and head trauma
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Leg and foot injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Wrongful death
- Whiplash injuries
Not all car accident injuries are obvious immediately following the incident. Traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries such as whiplash may not manifest themselves until hours or days later.
In a majority of car accidents that cause injuries, negligence is a contributing factor. Negligence is defined as a person’s failure to use necessary care. Negligence in the form of aggressive and reckless driving behaviors is the primary cause of thousands of car accidents every year that result in injuries and wrongful deaths.
The Importance of Seeking Medical Attention After a Car Accident
Injured car accident victims should seek medical attention immediately after the accident so their injury and treatment is accurately and completely documented. Medical records from first responders, physicians and hospitals will be gathered as evidence if there is a claim or lawsuit related to the car accident. Accurate documentation is extremely important and may increase your ability to recover the maximum financial compensation for your injuries. On the other hand, if the documentation is untimely, inaccurate or incomplete, your chances to recover a fair settlement may be reduced.
What Are the Most Common Types of Car Accidents?
Head-On Collisions are the result of two vehicles moving in opposite directions and hitting each other through direct frontal impact. The force of this type of accident often results in serious injury and property damage. This type of accident is caused by one or both vehicles crossing the center line, a vehicle traveling the wrong way on a one-way street or a vehicle passing another at an unsafe moment.
Rear-End Collision is caused by one vehicle hitting another one from behind. Although this type of collision can cause fatal injuries, the most frequent injury is whiplash. A sudden slowing or stopping by the vehicle in front, or the lack of attention to surroundings by the driver of the second vehicle are the most common causes of this type of accident.
Side Impact Collisions are the result of one vehicle slamming into the side of another. This type of collision often results in very serious injury to the occupants of the vehicle that was hit because most vehicles do not have sufficient protection from this type of collision. The most common causes of this accident is the failure of the driver of the offending vehicle to stop at a red light or stop sign.
Multi-Car Pile-Ups generally occur on busy highways with fast-moving traffic when one vehicle suddenly slows or stops and the driver of the following vehicle does not have sufficient time to avoid hitting the rear portion of that vehicle. This causes a domino affect that continues until it reaches a driver that has allowed themselves enough space between their vehicle and the one in front of them to safely slow or stop as necessary.
Rollovers most often involve a single vehicle with design flaws, faulty tires or an unstable height profile. SUV’s, vans and pick-up trucks are the most susceptible to rollover accidents and the resulting injuries often prove to be fatal.
Frontal-Impact Collisions involve a single vehicle striking an inanimate object. This object may be something in the road, or it can be an object or barrier that the vehicle has struck after leaving the road.
An experienced auto accident lawyer can help you through the process, but here are some things you should do if you or a loved one is ever involved in an auto accident:
- If you or another person is injured, seek medical attention immediately. It is obviously important that your welfare, and those of anyone else involved, are looked after. However, you should not discuss the accident with anyone, even if it may have been your fault. Any admission may become valid in a court of law at a later date.
- Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident. Though police will do this, if the information is lost, you will have it on hand. Be sure to write down this information as soon as possible since not all witnesses will wait for the police to make a statement.
- Take pictures of the accident scene from many angles. Pictures of all vehicles and damage, skid marks, and those that prove what the weather or angle of the sun during the accident may be important to your claims.
- You may be called by the other party’s insurance company to discuss a claim. Do not discuss anything with the insurance company. Any contact or interviews should be done with your auto accident attorney present.
How Common Are Automobile Accidents?
According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 250,000 auto accidents in Florida annually.
Most of these are low-impact collisions with no injuries; however, there are many serious accidents that result in catastrophic injury and loss of life. Whether minor or serious, car accidents are extremely stressful events that can lead to physical, emotional and financial harm.
Is It Necessary to Call the Police After I’m in an Accident?
Even if the accident seems minor to you, it is often a good idea to notify the police, file a report, and call your insurance company. Doing so will provide proof that the accident actually took place, and it will allow for an immediate investigation at the scene of the accident.
The police can get the names and addresses of witnesses and may test the driver for substances that may have impaired perception. If you speak to the police, it is frequently recommended that you not admit fault. An admission of fault by the negligent driver can ordinarily be used as evidence in the personal injury trial.
An Insurance Company Offered Me a Settlement. What Do I Do?
It is usually not prudent to accept an insurance settlement, especially from the other driver’s insurance company, without the advice of an experienced accident attorney. Keep in mind, the goal of the insurance company is to pay as little as possible to resolve a claim.
An experienced auto injury attorney can meet with you and explain what your legal rights are after an automobile accident. If you or a passenger was injured, or if you believe the insurance company is claiming you are not covered or have inadequate coverage, please contact our office immediately.
You should also not give an oral statement to any insurance company before first consulting an attorney. Insurance claims adjusters are professional negotiators who can be very charming in order to get the information they need to settle a claim. Be aware and don’t fall for these tactics.
What Should I Do at the Scene of the Accident?
It would be very helpful to a future personal injury claim to have as much information as possible about the accident, road condition, weather, witnesses, etc.
At the scene of an accident you should also:
- Take down the names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone who can describe what happened.
- Take photographs of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, any road hazards, and weather conditions that may have played a part in the accident.
- If there are skid marks, take pictures of those, also. These will give an accurate record of what exactly took place in the accident..
My Loved One Was Seriously Injured in a Car Accident Through No Fault of Their Own. What Damages May They Collect?
Of course, all automobile accident personal injury claims are different, but, generally speaking, victims may collect monetary damages for any of the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future loss of wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Funeral expenses (in cases of wrongful death)
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages (only in some cases)
Our Orlando car accident attorneys are here for you.
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