Do I Need a Lawyer for My Car Crash?
Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash can be a trying experience. Nothing is as simple or quick as it should be and, despite what they say on television, the insurance companies are not on your side. Given these challenges, it may be in your best interest to hire a lawyer to represent you.
But do you need a lawyer for your car crash? Or are you better off struggling through the process on your own?
7 Reasons to Hire a Lawyer for Your Car Crash
The simple truth is that if you have been involved in a serious auto accident, you have no reason not to talk to a lawyer. A reputable lawyer will provide an honest assessment of your legal rights, explain your options, and only take your case if the lawyer believes he or she can help maximize your take-home recovery.
Here are seven specific reasons to hire a lawyer for your car crash in Orlando, FL:
1. You Need to Maximize Your PIP Coverage
If you were injured in the crash, recovering your losses will start with filing a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. If you have auto insurance, you have PIP (it is mandatory coverage under Florida law).
While car insurance companies in Florida are required to provide PIP coverage regardless of fault, many car crash victims find that securing full PIP coverage is a challenge. An experienced lawyer will be able to help with your PIP claim while investigating what other options you may have available.
2. You Need to Determine What Other Coverages Apply
In addition to PIP coverage, you may be entitled to a variety of other types of auto insurance coverage as well. For example, property damage liability (PDL) coverage is also mandatory under Florida law. If the other driver was at fault for the accident, you are entitled to coverage of property damage losses under his or her PDL policy.
In addition, if the other driver was at fault and he or she has bodily injury liability coverage (which is not mandatory), you may be able to file a claim to recover additional compensation for your accident-related injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of your car crash and the coverage you have under your policy (or the coverage other members of your household have under their policies), you may also have claims for comprehensive, collision, and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. A lawyer can determine what coverages apply and file all available claims on your behalf.
3. You Need to Determine If You are Entitled to Injury Coverage Outside of PIP
While PIP coverage is available regardless of fault, BIL and UIM claims require evidence that the other driver is responsible for the accident. They also require proof that you suffered a “significant” or “permanent” injury in the crash. An Orlando car accident lawyer can determine if you are entitled to injury coverage outside of PIP before you go through the trouble of trying to file one or both of these types of claims.
4. You Need to Determine If You Have Any Claims Outside of Auto Insurance
In many cases, car crash victims will have claims outside of auto insurance. For example, this could be the case if the other driver was working at the time of the crash, your crash involved an issue with the road, or the crash (or your injuries) resulted from a vehicle defect. Pursuing these types of claims could significantly increase the amount of your financial recovery, but you will need a lawyer to fight for the compensation you deserve.
5. You Need to Calculate Your Economic and Non-Economic Losses
Speaking of the compensation you deserve, you need to make sure you seek full compensation for the damages you have sustained – both economic and non-economic (assuming you have a claim outside of PIP). A lawyer can help you accurately calculate the value of your medical care, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other recoverable losses.
6. You Need to Calculate Your Current and Future Losses
When calculating your recoverable losses, you need to focus not only on the losses you have incurred to date, but also the losses you will incur in the future. Forecasting the future costs of a car crash requires the knowledge and insights of an experienced lawyer. Your attorney may need to enlist the services of medical experts, financial planners, and other professionals as well.
7. You Need to Know When (and If) to Settle
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to know whether a settlement is fair and if it is right for you. If you settle for less than you deserve, you won’t get a second chance.
A car crash lawyer can help you carefully evaluate any offers you receive from the insurance companies. If you do not receive a fair offer, your lawyer can take your case to court.
If you have questions about hiring a lawyer for your car crash, we encourage you to contact Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter for a free, no-obligation consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer. To schedule an appointment, please call (407) 712-7300 today. Our firm serves clients in Orlando, Florida and other nearby areas.