Port Salerno Car Accident Attorneys

Seat belts might save lives, but they do have their limitations. At the end of the day, no safety feature can protect all vehicle occupants in all accident scenarios.

It only takes one drunk or distracted driver to cause a devastating wreck that sends people to the hospital in critical condition. If you were hurt in a collision, a car accident lawyer may be able to protect your family’s financial security by helping you pursue compensation for your damages.

At Donaldson & Weston, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial stress an injury can place on accident victims and their loved ones. Our legal team is ready to help you and your family regain your financial footing so you can move on with life. Call 772-266-5555 to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Port Salerno car accident attorneys.

Important Elements to Prove in a Car Accident Claim

Florida follows a “no fault” insurance system, meaning that your first source of compensation after a collision will likely be your own personal injury protection policy, but there are still scenarios in which accident victims can file third-party claims. For example, you can hold the liable motorist financially accountable if you sustained serious injuries.

Under state law, injuries are typically considered “serious” if they result in:

  • Significant limitation of a bodily function or organ;

  • Permanent limitation of a bodily function or organ;

  • Significant scarring or disfigurement;

  • Bone fractures;

  • Full disability for at least 90 days; or

  • Death.

In order to secure a settlement following any of the above, the victim—or his or her surviving loved ones—must prove three elements:

  1. A Duty of Care: The defendant must have owed the injured party a duty of care. Whether this duty was established, such as the relationship between a healthcare provider and a patient, or implied, like the duty a motorist owes to everyone else in traffic, is irrelevant. As long as the liable party had some kind of obligation to the victim, the latter has grounds for an injury claim.

  2. A Breach of This Duty: After proving a duty of care existed, the claimant must demonstrate how the defendant breached said duty in some way. Breaches that might apply to car accident cases include driving while impaired, speeding, texting and driving, and street racing.

  3. Injury or Loss: The claimant must have suffered an injury or loss as a direct result of the defendant’s breach of duty. Losses for which claimants may be able to recover compensation include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of earning capacity, property damage, scarring and disfigurement, disability, mental distress, and loss of consortium.

What Factors Will Influence the Potential Value of My Claim?

A high-impact collision can result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. Fortunately, if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover a settlement that pays for your medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and other damages.

There are several factors that could influence the potential value of your claim. Examples include:

  • The Severity of Your Injuries: In the state of Florida, injured drivers cannot file a bodily injury claim against the at-fault party unless they meet the “serious injury” threshold. If you don’t meet this threshold, you won’t be able to seek compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering from the defendant. Also, the severity of your injuries will most likely correlate with the cost of your medical care and lost income, which will have a direct impact on the potential value of your claim.

  • Your Pre-Injury Wages: How much income would you have earned if the accident hadn’t occurred? That amount can vary dramatically from one case to the next since two claimants might earn very different levels of income. Also, the amount of time you were put out of work due to your injury will affect the settlement calculations.

  • The Cost of Vehicle Repairs: If you were hit by a negligent driver, he or she should have property damage liability coverage. The coverage levels of that PDL policy and the cost of your vehicle repairs will factor into your potential net recovery.

  • The Amount of Insurance Coverage Available: Although this won’t affect the cost of your damages, it could influence the amount of compensation you’re able to recover. Most people don’t have the savings or assets to pay for serious injuries they cause in accidents, so your recovery may be limited to the insurance coverage available. Our Port Salerno car accident attorneys will perform a detailed investigation to identify all options for pursuing compensation.

Can I Use Social Media to Keep My Family and Friends Informed?

For many people, it’s not easy to stay off social media after a serious accident. Your loved ones will want to know that you’re in good spirits and that your recovery is going as expected. Unfortunately, any posts about your accident, injury, or case may be taken out of context and used by the insurance company to dispute your claim.

For example, a picture of you socializing with friends might be used by the insurer to challenge the severity of your injuries. And if you post any details about your collision, it might be misrepresented to dispute liability.

The safest way to use social media is not to use it at all until your claim is resolved. In fact, it’s a good idea to deactivate your profiles for the time being. Even if you set your accounts to “private,” there may still be ways for the insurance adjuster to access your posts, so it’s best not to take the risk. Our Port Salerno car accident lawyers will explain other ways you can protect your claim during your free initial consultation.