What to Do After a Car Accident That is Not Your Fault in Florida
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Car accidents, even relatively minor ones, are frightening things to experience. An accident seems to come out of nowhere for many people, leaving injured drivers wondering what they could have done differently to avoid the accident. Unfortunately, there are many irresponsible drivers on the road and your car accident may have been the fault of another. The steps you take following a car accident that is not your fault are crucial to your personal injury lawsuit’s success. Read on to learn about what to do after a car accident in Florida that was not your fault from the Miami car accident lawyers at Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A.
What to Do Immediately Following a Car Accident in Florida
Immediately after a car accident, you should be focusing on getting help and receiving medical treatment. Many drivers and passengers are in a state of shock after an accident, so they might not notice their injuries right away. If you can, call 911 immediately after a car accident. A 911 dispatcher can send help not only for you but for any other cars and drivers at the scene who may have been hurt.
Once emergency services are on the way, you may want to start documenting the scene. Bear in mind that you should not be up and walking around if you think you are injured. However, if you or a passenger suffered only minor injuries and you can safely walk around the scene, taking pictures with your phone would be a good idea. Emergency services are going to focus on providing medical attention and clearing the scene from the road. In many cases, the scene is cleared before anyone can properly document the accident.
Some drivers are lucky enough to avoid physical harm and only have damage to their vehicle. If this sounds like your situation, you will want to stick around until the police arrive. The statements you make to the police are essential to our case against the responsible driver. It is best to avoid making statements that might imply fault. Phrases like, “I can’t believe I did that,” or, “How could I let this happen,” might sound like admissions of fault. You should definitely be honest with the police but also avoid incriminating yourself.
Proving the Car Accident Was Not Your Fault in Florida
After a car accident that was not your fault, perhaps the most significant issue will be proving exactly who is at fault. Proving fault requires evidence and proof. Otherwise, you will get trapped in a battle of he-said-she-said. If you were able, documentation of the accident scene, like pictures on your phone, is a great way to build evidence against the responsible driver. However, if you could not safely document the scene, do not worry. A car accident case depends on more than just photographs.
Our Miami personal injury lawyers can also prove fault with information from police records of the accident. The police will have gathered some information from you and the other drivers at the scene that we can use in court. There could also be documentation of the accident connected with the criminal charges of another driver. If another driver is criminally charged as a result of the accident, it might be best to wait until the criminal matter is resolved. If they are found guilty, we can potentially use that as part of our case in civil court.
Pure Comparative Negligence and Car Accidents in Florida
Florida works under a rule of pure comparative negligence. Under this rule, a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their own negligence. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for your injuries and damages, the amount of money you can receive as compensation will be reduced by 25%.
Many other states work under a modified comparative negligence rule. This rule holds that a plaintiff’s damages will be reduced in proportion to their own negligence, but their negligence cannot exceed that of the defendant’s. Under a modified comparative negligence rule, a plaintiff cannot be more than 50% negligent. If they are, they may be barred from recovery.
Florida’s pure comparative negligence rule is a bit less restrictive. You can be more negligent than the defendant and still recover damages. For example, even if you are 90% responsible for the accident and your own injuries, you could still recover 10% of your total damages if your case were successful.
In a car accident case where you are not the one at fault, your negligence should be as close to 0% as possible. The more negligent a court finds you to be, the less your total damages will be. After your accident, our Hialeah car accident lawyer will need to gather information and evidence that demonstrates your lack of negligence. For example, we need to know if you were wearing a seatbelt, speeding, or otherwise driving safely.
Assessing Damages After a Car Accident That Was Not Your Fault in Florida
After a car accident that was not your fault, you need to start assessing your damages so our Kendale Lakes car accident lawyers can prepare a complaint. First, we need to look at your medical expenses and property damage. This information can be found by looking at any bills you received from doctors and hospitals and the cost to repair your vehicle. Depending on the extent of your injuries, we can include estimated costs for future medical expenses resulting from ongoing care. Our Miami Gardens car accident lawyers will even factor in things like lost wages from time away from work and future lost wages if you will not be able to go back to work for some time.
Call Our Attorneys to Discuss Your Car Accident Case
If you were injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault in Florida, please consult with our Hialeah personal injury attorneys as soon as possible. We can work with you to gather evidence proving that another driver was responsible for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation with our Hialeah personal injury lawyers, call Rivkind Margulies & Rivkind, P.A. at (305) 204-5369.