If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident, it is important to understand your legal rights. There are a number of reasons accidents like these occur, and in many cases, it is the result of negligence or reckless actions of another party. Injuries can leave you and your family in a vulnerable position. With time missed from work and medical bills piling up, insurance companies often try to take advantage of the situation by making lowball settlement offers. Before accepting anything from another party’s insurance company, speak with a seasoned personal injury attorney.
Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, has more than 30 years of experience representing victims injured in car accidents in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Sandestin, and surrounding Florida communities. Attorney Spencer has a successful track record handling even the most complex cases, and she puts her experience to work to pursue full compensation on behalf of each client she serves.
Being seriously injured in an auto accident takes an enormous physical, emotional, and financial toll on injury victims and their families. Attorney Spencer understands this, and she does everything possible to make the legal process smooth and seamless. She works closely with clients, taking the time to thoroughly assess their case and explore every potential legal avenue toward a positive outcome. Attorney Spencer is a skilled litigator and a strong negotiator. Whenever possible, she looks to work out a favorable settlement with the other side without the need for litigation. If the other side is unwilling to be reasonable, however, she is ready and able to aggressively advocate for your rights and interests at trial.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
There are several common causes of motor vehicle accidents, including:
- Speeding: Many Florida drivers routinely exceed the speed limit. Driving faster than the posted speed limit is not only against the law, it is unsafe. At faster speeds, it is more difficult to control the vehicle, which can result in collisions with other vehicles or objects.
- Reckless Driving: Excessive speeding, tailgating, running stop signs and stop lights, unsafe lane changes, and making improper turns (such as turning right from the far-left lane with other vehicles in the lanes next to you) are all forms of careless or reckless driving. A reckless driver is typically in a state of mind where they have wanton disregard for the rules. This is common among younger drivers, and can often be caused by road rage, drunkenness, and other factors.
- DUI/DWI: As mentioned in the previous point, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs frequently contributes to recklessness on the road and other poor driving decisions. This can apply not only to alcohol and illegal drugs, but also to prescription drugs. These substances often make drivers sleepy and unable to function at full mental capacity.
- Distracted Driving: One of the major downsides of today’s electronic age is the increased hazards posed by distracted driving. Car phones and cell phones have been around for several decades and talking on the phone while driving has always been ill-advised, especially if the phone is not in “hands free” mode. Texting while operating a motor vehicle takes distracted driving to a whole new level. It is virtually impossible to focus your eyes on a text and watch the road at the same time. When drivers do this, they vastly increase the risk of causing an accident.
- Mechanical Failure/Product Defects: Some car accidents occur because of mechanical breakdowns that may be due to lack of proper engine maintenance or a faulty vehicle part. Examples may include tire blowouts, computer system malfunctions, break line leaks, and many others. When an accident is caused by a mechanical failure or product defect, there may be other potential parties at fault other than the driver; such as the mechanic or the product designer, manufacturer, or supplier.
Common Auto Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in numerous injuries to those involved, depending on the speed and angle of impact and other specific circumstances of the case. Some of the most common motor vehicle accident injuries include:
- Face and Head Injuries
- Brain Injuries
- Neck Injuries
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Back Injuries
- Hip Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Shoulder Injuries
- Whiplash Injuries
- Soft Tissue Injures
- Dislocations and Fractures
- Severe Burns
- Loss of Limbs
In addition to physical injuries, victims commonly suffer psychological injuries as well. This is especially true when someone suffers a serious and catastrophic injury and is faced with a severely diminished quality of life. In the most extreme cases, loved ones of victims who are killed in auto accidents are faced with the trauma of having to adjust to life after losing someone close to them in an accident that was totally preventable and never should have happened.
Pursing Damages in a Florida Car Accident Case
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that in motor vehicle accidents with relatively minor injuries, those involved are not allowed to sue the other party. Instead, each insurance company is required to pay for their clients’ expenses under the no-fault portion of their policy. When there are serious and permanent injuries, however, victims are allowed to pursue damages under Florida personal injury laws.
Compensatory damages in auto accidents may include:
- Medical Bills
- Lost Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Emotional Trauma
- Loss of Enjoyment
- Loss of Consortium
In rare cases, punitive damages may also be awarded when the conduct of the responsible party was especially egregious.
It is important to note that Florida applies the legal doctrine known as “comparative negligence”. Under this doctrine, those who are partly to blame for an accident will have their awards reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault they share. For example, if an individual is awarded $150,000 but they are found to be 10% responsible, their award would be reduced by $15,000. The statute of limitations for most Florida personal injury cases is four years from the date of the accident, so if you are considering legal action, you must do so within this timeframe.
Speak with a Skilled Pensacola Car Accident Lawyer
Being seriously injured in an auto accident can turn your whole world upside down. During times like these, you need a strong advocate in your corner fighting hard to protect your rights and interests. Crystal Collins Spencer, Attorney at Law, has the skills, resources and commitment to successfully pursue just compensation and ensure that those responsible for your injuries are held fully accountable. Contact Spencer Law today at 820-912-8080 for a free consultation. You may also send us a secure and confidential message through our online contact form.
We accept all our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you never have to pay upfront attorney fees to receive the strong personalized representation you need and deserve.