Do I Need an Attorney if a Car Accident Was Not My Fault?
Some members of the public think that if they aren’t to blame for a car accident that they can forgo hiring an attorney. We have always thought this idea a little odd. The attorney’s job is to help you maximize your compensation, not defend you from a criminal case. So hiring a lawyer often makes excellent sense when you are not at fault for a collision.
Fault still matters in Florida car accidents, even though we are a “no fault” state. What this means is that, generally, you will tap your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits after an accident. Most motorists carry only $10,000, which might be enough to cover lost wages and medical care in a minor crash. Because PIP benefits are no fault, it doesn’t matter who is to blame.
However, if you have suffered permanent injuries, then you can sue. And this is where fault comes into play. You can sue for compensation if you suffered a permanent injury so long as the driver you sue shared fault for the collision. If not, you can’t sue.
Was the Accident Really Not Your Fault?
Accidents happen very quickly, and it is not unusual to think something wasn’t your fault when it really was. For example, did you try to make a turn without using your turn signal? Or did you take a right-on-red without really checking whether traffic was clear?
Fortunately, you can sue even if you contributed somewhat to your accident. Florida recognizes comparative fault, meaning both sides could have been negligent. If so, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced by your percentage of fault. However, you might receive something so long as you are not 100% to blame.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
A lawyer can be a big benefit, especially if you have suffered substantial financial losses because of your injuries. For example, a lawyer can:
- Carefully document your injuries so that you can show you cleared the “tort threshold” necessary to bring a lawsuit.
- Find evidence that shows another driver was at fault for the collision. This evidence gathering can include talking to witnesses, observing damage to the vehicle, and studying the police report.
- If you have underinsured motorist (UM) coverage, you might make a claim if the other driver lacks liability insurance. Your UM insurance can cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- Negotiate a favorable settlement that covers as much of your losses as possible.
If you have suffered a serious injury, you shouldn’t try to settle a claim without talking to an attorney first. At Bundza & Rodriguez, we can meet with you to better understand how the accident happened. We can then discuss your financial options.
We Offer a Free Consultation
Our Daytona Beach car accident lawyers at Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. have helped thousands of people in Volusia County get compensation after a serious personal injury. We credit our success in car accident cases to our detailed approach and compassionate legal representation. If you have a question, please call us today at 386-252-5170.