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Gainesville Car Accident Lawyer

Were you recently involved in a car accident in Gainesville, FL? You may have the right to pursue damages from the parties at fault for the crash. You should not bear the financial consequences of your injuries when you didn’t cause them. Let a Gainesville car accident lawyer from Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A. assist you with recovering the compensation you deserve.

The Types of Gainesville Car Accidents

There are several types of car accidents in Gainesville, each with its unique circumstances and outcomes. Frequent types of accidents include rear-end collisions, T-bone accidents, rollovers, side-swipe accidents, and single-vehicle crashes.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Gainesville Car Accidents?

Some of the most common causes of car wrecks in Gainesville include:

  1. Distracted driving
  2. Speeding
  3. Drowsy driving
  4. Driving while impaired
  5. Tailgating
  6. Aggressive driving/road rage
  7. Reckless driving
  8. Running red lights and stop signs
  9. Failing to yield the right of way
  10. Making unsafe turns and lane changes
  11. Not using indicators or mirrors
  12. Inadequate vehicle maintenance
  13. Vehicle defects

Common Car Accident Injuries

Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries, varying in severity from minor to life-altering. The force and impact of a collision can lead to injuries affecting different parts of the body.

Back and Neck Injuries

The force of impact in a car accident can strain and injure the delicate structures of the back and neck. Whiplash is a common injury, occurring when the head is jerked forward and then snapped back suddenly. This can lead to soft tissue damage, neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. More severe accidents can cause herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, and chronic back pain that may require ongoing medical treatment.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are amongst the most severe injuries one can sustain in a car accident and can have life-altering consequences. These injuries occur due to the damage to the spinal cord from a sudden blow or impact, leading to the disruption of nerve signals. Victims may experience varying degrees of loss of motor function, sensation, or even paralysis. Spinal cord injuries often require extensive medical intervention, including surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing therapy. These injuries can require significant adjustments to one’s life, including modifications to living spaces and long-term medical and personal care.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is another serious consequence of car accidents. The impact can cause trauma to the nerves which can lead to symptoms like pain, numbness, weakness, or paralysis. Nerve injuries can be long-lasting and may require extensive medical treatment, including medications, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most severe injuries that can occur in a motor vehicle collision. TBIs can result from a sudden blow to the head. This blow can cause the brain to collide with the inside of the skull. Symptoms can range from mild concussions to more severe cognitive impairments, affecting memory, concentration, and even personality.

Broken Bones

Fractures and broken bones are prevalent in car accidents due to the impact and force involved. Arms, legs, ribs, and the pelvis are particularly vulnerable. These injuries can vary in severity, from hairline fractures to compound fractures that require surgery. Recovery may involve immobilization, physical therapy, and potential long-term complications depending on the extent of the injury.

Facial Injuries

The face is susceptible to various injuries during a car accident due to airbag deployment, broken glass, or impact with the dashboard or steering wheel. Facial injuries can include lacerations, contusions, fractures, and damage to the eyes, nose, and jaw. Reconstruction surgeries and ongoing medical care may be necessary to address both the functional and cosmetic aspects of these injuries.

Amputation

In some catastrophic motor vehicle accidents, severe trauma to the limbs can result in the loss of a body part, requiring amputation. This life-altering injury has profound physical, emotional, and psychological implications for the victim. Amputation injuries often necessitate extensive medical care, rehabilitation, and the use of prosthetics to regain functionality and independence.

Burns

Accidents involving motor vehicles can lead to fires or explosions, causing burn injuries to drivers and passengers. Burns can range from minor first-degree burns to severe third-degree burns that damage multiple layers of skin and tissue. Burn wounds from a car accident often require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries, skin grafts, and long-term rehabilitation to restore function and appearance.

No-Fault vs. At-Fault States

When it comes to determining liability and seeking compensation after a car accident, the legal framework can vary based on whether you’re in a no-fault or an at-fault state.

In an at-fault state, the driver who is deemed responsible for causing the accident is financially liable for the damages suffered by the other parties involved. This typically means that the at-fault driver’s insurance company would be responsible for compensating the other driver(s) for medical bills, property damage, and other losses.

In Florida, a partial no-fault state, each driver’s insurance company bears the responsibility for covering their medical expenses up to $10,000 and certain other financial losses, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This means that after a car accident, you would file a claim with your own insurance company first, seeking compensation for medical bills and other related costs up to the limits of your policy.

To avoid losing your $10,000 benefit, you must obtain treatment within 14 days from the date of the accident from a medical doctor or chiropractor.

How Insurance Companies Calculate the Value of a Claim

Insurance companies use a systematic approach to assess the extent of your losses and determine an appropriate settlement amount. Factors like medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering are taken into account when determining compensation. However, it’s important to be aware that their interests may not always align with yours, which is why having a car accident attorney by your side can be invaluable.

Insurance Company Obligations

After a car accident in Gainesville, Florida, insurance companies are bound by specific obligations in handling your claim. These responsibilities are designed to ensure that you, as an accident victim, are treated fairly and receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Insurance companies must promptly investigate the accident details, handle your claim transparently and fairly, and provide timely responses to your inquiries. During an evaluation, they should assess medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and emotional impact.

However, while settlement offers should reasonably cover your losses, insurance companies frequently do not evaluate these factors fairly. This can lead to initial settlement offers that may not cover the full extent of the damages incurred. If you find your claim unjustly denied, you have the right to appeal the decision with solid evidence.

What You Can Expect From Our Car Accident Lawyers in Gainesville

With over 100 years of combined legal experience, our experienced car accident lawyers in Gainesville can provide assistance if you were injured in a car accident. Our law firm can help gather evidence, negotiate and settle with insurance companies, and ensure your rights are protected throughout the process.

What to do Immediately After An Accident in Gainesville, FL

Taking the right steps immediately after an accident in Gainesville, Florida can make all the difference in your case. First and foremost, you should stay at the scene of the crash. If you leave the accident scene, you could face serious consequences, including criminal charges. Follow these steps immediately after a car accident:

Call The Police

Depending on the severity of the accident and whether there are injuries, you should call the appropriate authorities. If there are injuries that require immediate medical attention, call 911. If the situation does not require urgent medical assistance, you should still contact the Gainesville Police Department or Florida Highway Patrol to report the accident. Having an official record of the incident is essential for insurance claims and potential legal actions.

Document The Scene

Gathering evidence at the accident scene is vital for building a strong car accident case. Take clear photographs of the vehicles involved, their positions, and any visible property damage. If possible, photograph skid marks, road conditions, and traffic signals. These visuals can provide valuable context for understanding how the accident occurred.

Exchange Insurance Information

After ensuring everyone’s safety, exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. Obtain their insurance company name, policy number, and contact details.

Get a Copy Of Their Driver’s License

In addition to exchanging insurance information, it’s a good idea to request a copy of the other driver’s driver’s license. This information can help verify their identity and ensure accurate record-keeping for your insurance claim and potential legal proceedings.

Once you’ve taken the initial steps to address the immediate aftermath of the accident, contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Damages Available to Gainesville Car Accident Injury Victims

Gainesville car accident injury victims may be entitled to three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive. These damages can help cover the financial, physical, and emotional toll of the accident.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are the tangible financial losses directly resulting from the accident. These can include medical expenses, both immediate and ongoing, as well as costs related to rehabilitation, therapy, and necessary medical equipment. Lost wages due to missed work or diminished earning capacity can also be included in this category.

Personal injury protection (PIP) or no-fault insurance in Florida only covers up to $10,000 for economic damages. This leaves any additional costs to be covered through other means, whether through further legal action or other available insurance coverages.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are less tangible but equally significant. These damages account for the physical and emotional impact of the accident on your well-being and quality of life. Pain and suffering, emotional distress, and mental anguish fall under this category.

It’s important that these damages have a degree of permanency to reflect the lasting impact on your well-being and quality of life. While harder to quantify, these damages can provide a comprehensive view of the damage you’ve suffered.

Punitive Damages

In rare cases where the at-fault party’s actions are deemed particularly reckless or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer. These damages are typically only awarded when the at-fault party’s actions were willful or grossly negligent.

Contact Our Gainesville Car Accident Lawyers Today

Contact Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., today for a free consultation. You’ll learn what a Gainesville car accident attorney from our firm can do to help you secure the compensation you need for your recovery. Let our firm advocate on your behalf and demand accountability from the negligent driver who hit and injured you.

FAQs

What Happens If I Am Partially at Fault?

You still have the right to pursue money for a car accident you were partially responsible for causing. However, Florida law specifies specific limitations for cases where the plaintiff holds a significant share of fault.

If the plaintiff is found to be more than 50% responsible for the accident, they are ineligible to recover any compensation. This means that even if you bear some of the responsibility for the accident, as long as your share of fault is 50% or less, you can still file a compensation claim.

What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Florida?

Under Florida Statutes §95.11, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit after a car crash. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires, the court can permanently dismiss your case. If that happens, you will lose the opportunity to pursue compensation from an at-fault driver or other liable parties in court.

For those with a claim against an uninsured motorist, the statute of limitations extends to five years.

How Is Liability Proven for Car Accidents in Florida?

Various kinds of evidence can help establish fault for a car crash. This includes photos and videos from the accident scene, surveillance/traffic camera or dashcam footage of the crash, police reports, eyewitness testimony, driver cell phone logs and records, car event data recorder (“black box”) logs, driver drug/alcohol test results, and accident reconstruction reports or recreations.