Orlando Car Accident Lawyer

Did you just get into a car accident in Orlando, Florida? Ambulance chasers are all screaming money, but you know better. You are injured and just want to get better so you can support yourself and perhaps your family. Are you worried about mounting medical bills, lost wages or simply wanting to get your car fixed? You need help from a personal injury attorney but do not want to call a TV or Billboard lawyer because you are concerned you will be treated like a number. If you do not know where to begin to find a great Orlando car accident lawyer to help you with your accident, we are here to help you. Below is a step by step information you need, to start on your road of physical recovery from your car accident and getting the compensation you need to get back on track:

How to Find A Good Orlando Car Accident Lawyer Who Cares About You!

Before we give you the steps on how to find a good Orlando car accident lawyer, let’s talk about what you should be looking for in a personal injury attorney who can best help you. You will want a lawyer with the following characteristics:

  1. Experience: Have they handled car crash cases that are like your accident? Do they have the knowledge and background to know how to get you compensation, take care of your medical bills and get your car fixed?
  2. Great Results: Lawyers should list their compensation results in settlements, mediations, claims and even trials so you can view them.
  3. Well Reviewed: Great lawyers have clients who love them and will leave them reviews
  4. Reputation: Top lawyers are reviewed by their colleagues and have several distinctions that are awarded to them over time
  5. Great Teammates: No lawyer can handle your case on his or her own. The lawyer must have a team of paralegals, case managers, assistants, nurses and sometimes experts who can help you win your case
  6. Passionate, caring, and Relentless: Your lawyer should care about you and your case and should be passionate about helping people and relentless in getting results that matter to you.

Experienced Auto Accident Attorneys Serving Orlando

We have handled personal injury litigation for countless cases over the years. Here are just a few areas we have experience in:

The Umansky Law Firm is one of Orlando’s leading car accident and personal injury law firms.

Steps on How to Find A Good Orlando Car Accident Lawyer

  • Step 1: talk to your friends and family. See if any of them have been in an automobile accident. What was their experience? Did their lawyer speak to them frequently? Did the law firm team respond to texts, phone calls or emails? How did the lawyer and his team treat them? If you trust your family and friends and their opinion this is an excellent way to begin your research.
  • Step 2: Start researching the internet. Do not be fooled by content that says, “BEST or TOP Lawyer”. While that may be true, it often could be a matter of opinion or just some internet marketing trick. In order to find a good car accident or personal injury lawyer, you can start by looking up reviews. And even here you should be very careful. Look up reviews, read them carefully. Do NOT just look at the star rating and DO NOT just look at the good reviews. Look at all of them! If a client loves a lawyer, they will write multiple words about their lawyer. The best car accident lawyers have some of the longest reviews because their clients rave about them! You can check out review sites on Google, AVVO, YELP and FACEBOOK to name a few!
  • Step 3: Third, check out the lawyer’s website and research some case values. Please do not be fooled by just big trial verdicts or settlements alone. While they are very important in making a hiring decision, realize that lawyers have their largest results prominently displayed and these results are large because the injuries and damages were significant, such as paralysis, broken bones and perhaps even death.
  • Step 4: Fourth, check out the lawyer’s social media and YouTube channels. Read their posts, listen to their videos and look at their content. You will get a good idea about how the lawyer is in real life and whether that attorney is passionate and experienced enough to handle your case. Once you have talked to your family and friends, researched a lawyer on the web and verified them through social media you should have a good idea if this lawyer is the right one for you and your accident claim or lawsuit.

What to Expect from Your Orlando Car Accident Lawyer?

Once you have hired a lawyer what can you expect them to do for you and your family? We can tell you what we do. We:

  1. Open your file and let the insurance companies know we represent you. We advise them to not talk to you personally anymore unless we give them permission, so YOU do NOT need to be bothered by insurance adjusters who do not care about you at all.
  2. We directly report your claim to all the auto insurance companies
  3. We advise you how to get the best money for your car if totaled and how to get your car fixed if it is still salvageable.
  4. We check to see if your medical providers are legitimate, caring and professional and make sure you are on course with your medical treatment
  5. Investigate your claim by ordering police reports, obtaining witness statements, video recordings and photographic evidence of the crash and any injuries you sustained. In some cases, we use our private investigator to discover other fact witnesses who can help us argue that the defendant was at fault for the accident.
  6. Negotiate with medical providers on outstanding bills that may not be paid until the conclusion of your case
  7. Help you document your injuries, lost wages and economic opportunities, medical expense and anything that could negatively impact your future because of this accident
  8. We obtain causation reports from doctors to help us prove that the cause of your injury was related to this accident.
  9. Be a friendly ear to listen to you if you become frustrated as you are trying to get back to work and recover from your injuries
  10. Present a claim to the insurance company and get you fair compensation for the automobile accident you were in.
  11. File a lawsuit if the insurance company does not settle fairly and either get more compensation for you during the suit, mediate or settle your case or take your case to a jury or judge trial to get you what you deserve
  12. We advance costs to hire experts, investigate and showcase your case to a jury to give you the best chance to win at trial if needed.

What You Need to Know About Your Auto Insurance as You Are Going Through Your Claim

Florida is one of the few states remaining that have what is called No-Fault Insurance. It is often confusing and is likely to be replaced with Mandatory Liability Insurance in the future. Here is what you need to know.

Orlando Car Accident LawyerNo-Fault insurance requires drivers and or owners to insure themselves with Personal Injury Protection Coverage or PIP. If you get into an accident, your own insurance (PIP) company will pay up to a minimum of ten thousand dollars to the hospital and any of your medical providers for bills you incur. Most PIP policies will pay 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages. If you or a family member die in an accident, then PIP insurance will give the family a death benefit of $5,000 usually to offset funeral costs. You need to be aware that under Florida law, you MUST file your injury claim and see a doctor within 14 days, or you LOSE your benefits! So, it is important you get checked out immediately after an accident to preserve your PIP insurance. You can also get more than the ten-thousand-dollar minimum limits such as Medical Payments Coverage to pay the 20 percent balance that your standard PIP policy does not cover while your automobile claim is ongoing.

No-Fault insurance PIP insurance is hardly adequate in a modern world. A 10,000 dollar limit is hardly adequate to cover medical expenses in the age of increased medical billing and cost of services. Fortunately, Florida will soon be following other states that require all owners and drivers to purchase and maintain mandatory liability insurance of $25,000 dollars or more to take care of you if you were injured in an accident. This amount may still be too low, but fortunately, it is a step in the right direction.

In addition to No-Fault and Liability insurance, Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM) is also important. As many as 20 percent of Florida drivers do not have insurance at all! In Florida, many people are struggling to make bills and very few people are fortunate enough to even carry anything MORE than the minimum limits of insurance. What does that mean to you? An underinsured person is someone who does not have high enough liability limits to cover your injuries, medical bills, lost wages or future economic loss if your accident was significant. Because so many insured drivers are driving in Florida, Underinsured or Uninsured insurance is critical to possess so you can have peace of mind.

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing with Doctors After a Car Accident

We know when you get into an accident there are many things going on in your mind. You are stressed out about who is going to pay to fix your car or take care of the medical bills. You may be in pain, confused and just downright angry and upset this accident happened in the first place. However, it is very important for you to seek medical help right away if you are in pain or injured. Failure to do so could negatively impact your potential right to recover fair compensation and even void your own insurance coverage. Here are the common mistakes to avoid when seeing your doctor, chiro, physical therapist and surgeon when dealing with your car accident claim.

Do Not Wait Too Long to Seek Medical Treatment

If you are in pain but thinking you are just going to get better, you still MUST go to a doctor, hospital or urgent care to get checked out. Why? You may only have 14 days to seek treatment or your own insurance company will not help pay the bills. Even if the other person is at fault, their insurance company may refuse to pay for your bills or lost wages because they will argue that you waited too long for treatment and that any treatment needed was not a result of your accident. Additionally, many car accident injuries are not readily observable. Many people experience an adrenaline rush after an accident. That adrenaline is great because it helps people power forward to get their car fixed and get back to work and take care of the immediate issues related to the accident. However once that adrenaline rush wears off (usually after 24 hours), you can start feeling injuries in your back, neck, wrist, knees, shoulders, legs and arms and if not properly documented by a doctor or other health care professional it will be hard to prove later if you are seeking compensation to help you pay for your medical bills and for the pain you endured. We say get better get paid! Do not tough it out. Go to the doctor and work on getting better. Once you have started treatment, you may start feeling better because you are in process of rehabilitating yourself.

Do Not Lie to Your Doctor or Forget to Address Your Prior Medical History

Do not lie to your doctor! You may be thinking you would never lie. Well, many people do not tell their doctors they have been injured or had pain in the same area of the body such as the neck and back where they sought treatment before. Some people do not think they are lying they just do not think it is important for the doctor to know. PLEASE NEVER MAKE THIS MISTAKE. If you end up developing long-term complications due to your injuries you suffered in an accident, a simple lie or failure to omit your past medical history could lead to a judge dismissing your case! Also, your treating doctor may not want to testify on your behalf because they do not want to be accused of lying for you and your medical history. Insurance companies have huge research capacities and they can see any of your prior injuries if it was related to an accident. They can also hire nurses to investigate your medical history and have a right if you file a lawsuit, to order all your prior medical records. Never be afraid to disclose your prior medical treatment or history. Being honest is always the best policy! Even if you have old injuries, be aware that Florida law allows you to recover for OLD injuries you may have aggravated as a result of your car accident. In fact, please do not hire any personal injury attorney who tells you that your case is not valuable because you had a similar injury ten years prior to your new automobile collision.

Do Not Fail to Tell Your Doctor About All Your Injuries

Sometimes you may go to a doctor after a car accident and only tell the doctor what your main complaint is when they ask. You must document all your injuries! Do not play the tough person! If your injuries and pain complaints are not reflected in the medical records, insurance companies will NOT compensate you for the pain you endured from them. Please note every area of your body where you feel pain. For example, let’s say you go to the doctor primarily for your neck, but you forget to disclose you suffered pain in your elbow. You may not feel your elbow was as important as the neck at the time, but if your elbow later leads to complications you could be out of luck trying to prove that your issues came from the collision. Make sure you detail all your pain complaints on the initial paperwork and verbally disclose those injuries in your evaluation with the physician. Also, point out and show the doctor if you have any cuts or bruising even if they are not visible.

Do Not Miss Your Scheduled Doctors’ Appointments

We all know life gets busy and getting to a doctor for medical treatment sometimes is tough to do. However, you must make your appointments if you are injured. When evaluating compensation to give to you, insurance companies evaluate whether you followed your doctor’s orders and followed through with your treatment. If you do not show up, the medical providers will mark your charts DID NOT SHOW or DNS and that can negatively impact the value of your case. Also failing to show up for your doctor’s appointments or showing up late could anger your health care providers who you need to help YOU get better and to support your case. Sometimes life does get in the way. If that happens, certainly call your doctor’s office and make sure their staff notates the reason you could not make the appointment (i.e. work) and make sure to reschedule.

Failure to Follow Through with Your Doctor’s Recommendations

If you are not getting better, your doctor may offer other medical options. For example, you may be undergoing physical therapy or manual chiropractic adjustments after a car accident, but you are not seeing results. The doctor may recommend you get an MRI, receive epidural shots or even undergo surgery. Obviously, this can be scary, and you should never jump into any health care decision about your body without careful thought. However, if you are not getting better and the doctor is making a recommendation for additional medical care, it is wise for you to consider undergoing that treatment. Consider obtaining a second opinion about your medical care and if that physician agrees you may be more comfortable undergoing the prescribed procedure. Please understand that insurance companies are evaluating your medical treatment and injuries and if they see that you are not following doctor’s orders, they will adjust your claim negatively to provide you less compensation under the theory that you are not working hard enough to get better.

Providing Wrong Information About How Your Accident Happened

Sometimes your medical provider will ask you what happened in the car crash. Make sure you tell the doctor accurate details about the crash. If asked, you want to make sure you tell them how the accident happened and explain if any part of your body was impacted by the crash. For example, did your knee hit the steering wheel? If yes, tell the doctor. Do not guess at any of the details. IF the doctor asks how fast the other person was driving and you do not know, tell the truth and say you do not know. If you give the doctor incorrect information about how the accident happened, the insurance company can use that to refuse to pay you on your claim or lawsuit.

Situations Your Orlando Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Prevent

Your Claim Is Denied Because You Gave an Incorrect Accident Statement

After you get into an accident, insurance companies may contact you to obtain from you a recorded statement. If you give a recorded statement, you need to understand it can be used against you to deny your claim. For example, what happens if you make a mistake in explaining how the accident happened or told the injury adjuster you were not hurt on the day of the crash but then you go to the hospital the very next day? Insurance companies will pressure you to get a statement under oath so they can trap you on certain facts, commit you to your prior medical history and try to find a reason to deny or underpay your claim. Lawyers can prevent that from happening. We will not allow the negligent party’s (at-fault person) insurance company to question you. We do NOT allow them to waste your time so they can use that information against you. We prepare our clients for any recorded statement they must give. For example, you are required to provide your PIP insurance company with a statement.

Settling Too Quickly

Bodily Insurance adjusters love to offer quick cheap money to resolve your claim. Sometimes they know you are scared, desperate or perhaps you are not in immediate pain. They will offer you five hundred to five thousand dollars and make you sign a release! This is bad for many reasons. Many injuries do not appear to be major in the beginning, but we can tell you from experience that is just not true. When you get an injury to your spine from a car accident it sometimes takes months or longer to degenerate to a point you are suffering from major nerve pain that might require surgical treatment. If you take the quick cash, you will not have any future compensation for future lost wages or medical bills or for the pain and aggravation you could suffer from. Additionally, if your health insurance company paid some of your medical bills or you had a short or long-term disability policy that paid you for your lost wages, they will want reimbursement. If the health or disability insurance company finds out you settled without paying them first, they will sue you to recover what they paid you. Absolutely crazy but true!

Missing the Statute of Limitations

Some cases settle very quickly. Others take time to mature. If you are unable to settle your claim and you fail to file a lawsuit within a specific period in Florida, you may forever be barred from seeking compensation for injuries related to your crash. It is important to have a legal team who can amass the evidence quickly and efficiently and provide information to the insurance company to get your case settled or a lawsuit filed before that deadline runs out.

Making Sure You Get Fairly Compensated

An insurance company has one job to do. Pay the claim for as little as they must pay to get a release for their insured who hurt you in an accident. Insurance adjusters know that if you represent yourself, they can pay you less because the insurance company is at no risk of being sued by you or having to expend a lot of costs defending the claim. Hiring a car accident lawyer changes that entire calculation. Now the company is aware that a great personal injury attorney will bring a lawsuit, expend costs, create more work for the insurance company to do to get the case resolved. When that occurs an insurance company will usually pay more out on the claim to avoid those extra fees and costs.

Common and Not So Common Injuries After a Car Accident

Most people know that people suffer neck and back injuries in an accident. However, there are many more injuries that people suffer that the public does not know about. You can sustain other injuries from bracing, being struck by other objects in the car, making an impact with the interior of the car, or taking any evasive actions to avoid the accident such as slamming on the brakes. The following are some of the types of injuries you can sustain:

  • Neck and back: Of course, the most common injuries, most people may suffer are whiplash injuries to the neck from the violent nature of your head snapping back and forth or side to side in a car accident. You can also sustain spinal cord injuries such as soft tissue tears, ligamentous tears, disc ruptures, disc bulges and herniations, cord impingement, nerve damage, and joint and facet tears. You may face surgery such as fusion, reconstruction, discectomies, laminectomy or a laminotomy to name a few. You can aggravate an old injury that was either asymptomatic or symptomatic and degenerative. Yes, a car accident can make an old neck and back complaints worse! In the worst cases, the impact from a crash can cause spinal cord injuries such as paralysis, quadriplegia, tetraplegia and paraplegia and require someone to be rehabilitating their entire life.
  • Shoulder injuries: You can hurt your shoulder by bracing for impact on the steering wheel or your shoulder hitting the door panel. Seat belt restraint systems can also hurt the shoulder depending on the force of impact. Often people suffer from shoulder tears, impingement syndrome and torn rotator cuffs in many accidents. Additionally, you can also aggravate an old shoulder injury resulting in making an old shoulder complaint worse.
  • Knee injuries: You can fracture or bruise your knees if they strike the dashboard. Additionally, you can tear your meniscus or ligaments if your knee is twisted or turned in the crash.
  • Elbow injuries; You can often sustain force to your elbow when you brace in an accident or if the elbow strikes any part of the interior of the car. Again, you could suffer bruising, tearing and lacerations to the elbow.
  • Wrist and hand: You can suffer from distal radius fractures from a crash resulting in a broken wrist. In many cases, those injuries may require surgery. In other cases, you can sustain or aggravate a carpal tunnel in your wrist that may require a release for you to resolve your pain.
  • Foot injuries: This injury is so common, yet many doctors do not diagnose this injury. If you slam on the breaks to avoid an accident, you can sustain injuries to your Achilles, tendons, and other ligaments in the foot. If you are wearing high heels, you may be even more prone to some foot injury as a result of the force of impact because you are driving your heel down to avoid impact.
  • Fractures and broken bones: You can break any bone in your body as a result of your car accident. People usually break their bones from the impact but can also be hit by external objects that are in the car and even from the car crushing interiorly. The more common fractures are:
  • Vertebrae fractures: These vertebral fractures often result from a rear-end or head-on collision where your body is impacted by the seat belt or airbags. In some cases, they can be fatal.
  • Clavicle: The clavicle is one of the weaker bones in the body and because it is exposed is always at risk of being broken. You will see this often in intersection accidents or what is commonly referred to as side-impact or T-boned collisions.
  • Leg: Leg fractures commonly seen in a car accident are breaks of the tibia and femur. In rarer cases, your clients have also had fibula fractures. The tibia is in the front of your shin. Tibia fractures usually result from direct force impact and typically are seen in side-impact collisions. Because your tibia is so strong, it rarely is broken unless a high-speed auto impact or collision with a truck or tractor-trailer. You can also fracture your fibula, a small bone located on the outside part of your lower leg. The most common fibula fracture is an ankle fracture and “tib-fib” fractures that happen in conjunction with the tibia. Treatments can be serious. Many people who break their legs in car accidents face closed or open reduction procedures to stabilize the broken bones. A Closed Reduction means setting the bone without surgery and then immobilizing the fracture. Surgeons perform Open Reductions to surgically correct the bone and then stabilize the bone with internal fixation (seating the bone with screws, plates and rods that stay forever in the body). If an open reduction will not work, surgeons will perform external fixation using pins, clams and rods to stabilize the broken bone from the outside of the leg.
  • Wrist: You can sustain a fracture of your wrist usually in high-speed impacts. This often occurs when a person braces their hands against the dashboard or the ceiling or side of the car. In some cases, you can hit the window, steering wheel or even the rear-view mirror with your hands resulting in a fracture of your wrist. Most injuries involve the distal radial or your ulna.
  • Ribs: Broken ribs are one of the most painful injuries you can get in a car crash. The good news is that usually, people recover successfully without permanent restriction.
  • Ankle: In head-on collisions, the front of a car is designed to crumple on impact. If you are hitting your breaks as you see the oncoming car, you stand a chance that if the collision is hard enough, that the interior of the car will crush your foot and lead to an ankle fracture. Most ankle fractures will require surgical repair by an orthopedic surgery team at the emergency room.
  • Pelvis: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over fifteen percent of collisions result in injury to the pelvis. Although seat belts save lives by preventing you from being flung forward, the force of impact can still push back onto you especially where you are strapped in. Unfortunately, that pressure may be applied to your pelvic region which can crush, fracture and break the bone. Additionally, in head-on accidents, the airbag, steering wheel and even the dashboard could implode in your pelvic region causing horrible injury. Fractures are serious and, in most cases, you will require casting, physical medicine, physical therapy and surgery to address the damage to the bone. If your bones do not heal or fuse after treatment for a car or truck accident you may face permanent injuries. If you have broken or fractured a bone in a car collision it usually will be classified as:
  • Transverse: Basically, your bone snapped into two pieces.
  • Compound: Compound fractures are horrible. The broken bone will stick out from the skin and as a result, there is a very big risk that infection will ensue.
  • Comminuted: If you have a comminuted fracture, you likely broke your bone in more than three pieces. These injuries often require surgery and they are very difficult to repair
  • Avulsion: Avulsion fractures happen when the ligaments and tendons of soft tissue separate from the bone. Avulsion fractures can be painful and often need surgical intervention.
  • Stress fractures: Usually seen in kids, their fractures are partial breaks and usually not as serious as the fractures above.
  • Hairline: hairline fractures are small cracks in the bone. Many accident victims do not realize they have a hairline fracture. If left untreated, the fracture can heal on its own or get worse resulting in the weakening of the bone.
  • Burns: You can sustain burns when a car catches on fire or even if your body encounters hot interior surfaces of auto, steam, chemicals or very hot fluids. You may sustain minor burns such as first or second degree or major ones like third and fourth-degree burns that may require skin grafting and surgery. Some of these burns are bad enough that they can lead to shock, sepsis and tetanus along with scarring and nerve damage.
  • Scarring: You can get cuts from glass shattering, striking the window or steering wheel or from objects flying around the car during the collision. If these cuts are deep enough you may sustain scarring including permanent disfigurement. Some of our clients have had to go through major plastic surgery to remove scars or try to reduce the permanent reminder of the crash.
  • Chest injuries: We have seen sternums crushed by head-on collisions unfortunately and cases where people fracture their clavicle. These injuries are serious and usually involved head-on-car or truck accidents. Many clients who have breast implants also could have complications from the airbag or impact with the interior of the car. In some cases, clients have had to have breast implants repaired or removed and replaced.
  • Internal injuries: You can sustain internal bleeding from car accidents. Sometimes a closed or open injury to your head can result in a brain bleed. We have seen where clients have ruptured their spleens that require surgery to fix almost all the time.
  • Organ injuries: You can hurt any organ in a car crash especially in high-speed impacts. We have seen liver lacerations and kidney damage and if not addressed immediately could result in permanent damage.
  • Traumatic brain injury: Some injuries are not easy to see. If you hit your head in the accident either by bumping it on the mirror, side window or banging it hard on the headrest, you could sustain a brain injury. Some people suffer from concussions and brain injuries that can be minor or have a long-lasting impact on brain functions. Depression, impaired memory and cognitive function, personality disorders, and decreased movement and sensation may be prevalent.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder: Ever been in an accident where you saw your life pass in front of you or you saw a loved one get hurt badly? PTSD or Post-traumatic stress disorder is commonly found in people who have been in bad car accidents. You can be afraid to even get behind the wheel of a car and suffer so much anxiety you need to be placed on medication.

How Long Will Your Car Accident Claim Take?

In Orlando or anywhere in Florida, most car accident lawyers will tell you there is a four-year deadline (with some exceptions) to resolve your case. While that is legally true in most cases, some people who are injured may take over ten years to resolve their matter and others could settle within weeks or less! Every case is different. If someone has ongoing treatment that may last for more than four years, it may be advisable for a lawyer in some cases to file a lawsuit thereby tolling the statute of limits beyond four years. In this scenario, a client may end up getting the treatment they need and then later settle their case for the most amount of money after they have gotten ALL their treatment conducted. Most smaller cases usually resolve within six months to a year. Once the client has finished treatment and the lawyer has collected all the records, bills, evidence the case may be ready to be resolved. Once you finish treatment, an attorney will write a letter to the insurance company called a demand or offer to settle and begin to negotiate the case on your behalf. Good lawyers will never settle a case quickly unless they are sure they are getting maximum value for their client in an auto case.

How You May Mentally Feel After A Car Accident and How You Can Respond

If you are in a car or truck accident, you may be in complete and total shock at first. Your adrenaline is in hyperdrive and you may not fully comprehend what has transpired and the potential impact it may have on your mental health. In fact, if you sustained a serious physical injury it is more likely than not, you are just processing how to get immediate help to stop your pain or to figure out how to get emergency help to the scene. After three decades of helping car accident victims, we have noticed a pattern among people who have been injured. Here are some of the common mental and emotional issues related to car accidents along with some of our suggestions on how to cope:

Shock: Boom!! You just got hit from behind or perhaps you saw the car coming at you! You may have seen it coming and braced or you may not have seen it coming at all. However, under either scenario, you are not likely mentally prepared for the actual noise of impact, the feeling of your neck whiplashed back and forth, or side to side, and watching time slow down to almost a crawl for that split second. Many people in serious vehicle crashes report their “life passing by” in the moments leading up and directly after the collision. You may be sitting in your car and just trying to process what happened. If you have other passengers in the car you may be wondering if they are ok and you may be worried about the drivers and passengers in the other cars involved in the accident. Being in shock is the most normal emotion you can have at this time. If you are injured, you may not even feel any pain or discomfort immediately as your mind is just trying to take it all in. Do not worry the shock will wear off almost immediately.

Heightened anger: Once the shock wears off, you may start to become angry. If the other side is at fault, you may really be angry at them because deep down inside you know that this incident may have altered your life temporarily or even permanently. You may be upset because you believe that if the other driver was just following the rules of the road or paying attention, this would never have happened. You may be angry because you know you now must miss work because you need to get your car replaced or repaired, take care of your medical injuries and deal with insurance adjusters, lawyers and medical providers. All things you never asked for before this crash.

Anger is tough. Usually, anger is related to fear. If you find yourself getting angry, ask yourself “what am I afraid of”. Starting with that question may diffuse your anger a little bit and help you start coping with getting angry. For example, if you get upset about the person who injured you, ask yourself why you are afraid. You may find that you are afraid that you will not recover from your injuries one hundred percent or that you are afraid you will not be your best at your job or in your personal life. You can begin to understand your anger, and now start dealing with your fears. By understanding your fears, you may start taking proactive steps to help you rehabilitate or focus on your job. Maybe you will feel less anger at the person who caused the accident. Lastly, learning to forgive may be healing. If you remain positive, be thankful for what you have and learn to forgive the person who caused this mess in the first place. Sadly, life is random, and an accident is just that… an accident. In most cases, the other driver did not intend to hurt you or to cause the accident in the first place.

Anxiety: Over the next few days you may begin to feel uncertain about many things. You may ask the following questions:

  • Will their insurance pay for my car?
  • Can I get a rental car”?
  • Will my car need to be repaired or replaced?
  • Will the mechanics fix my car?
  • Is my car going to run as well as before?
  • When will I be able to get back to work?
  • Who is going to help pay my medical bills and lost wages?
  • When will I be able to be out of pain?
  • What injury did I sustain?
  • Where do I find a doctor to help me?
  • Who is going to help me dig myself out of this financial hole I am in?

Your anxiety is well placed and is a sign that you have some major concerns and issues to be addressed. Usually, anxiety will go away once you have your car fixed and find a doctor to help you. Sometimes hiring a personal injury lawyer will reduce your stress as well. However, some people can not shake the feeling. They have a hard time focusing, paying attention at work, being present with their families. If your anxiety persists it may be a sign of a more serious condition, so seek professional guidance from a mental health expert as soon as possible.

Fear of driving: If you were in a high-speed impact crash where your car was crushed, flipped over or spun out of control you may have a serious fear of driving. Some people report that they are afraid to drive after they saw their friends, kids or other family members hurt as a result of an auto crash.

Feeling guilt: After a crash, you may begin to feel guilty even though the accident was not your fault. Perhaps you feel guilty because you believe you could have avoided the crash if you just paid a little more attention. Maybe you may feel that you are not quite the same person anymore and you are not there enough for your friends, family or spouse. Understanding that none of this is your fault will go a long way to your healing from your car accident. Take time to love yourself and show yourself compassion. If you believe in a higher power such as God, then pray and ask for guidance and understanding. Remember you did not cause this car accident. You just were in the wrong place at the wrong time and it is out of your control what happens.

Depression: Often when a person is hurt from a car wreck, they hope they will recover soon so they can go back to their normal lives. Fortunately, for many people that is true. You however may be struggling with your rehabilitation and finding you are not getting better. Sometimes going to all the doctor appointments, missing work, and not being there for your loved one is just too much. You may feel hopeless. Hopelessness and anxiety can lead to Depression. Please know you are not alone! Share your feelings with people you trust and if you are not feeling better seek professional help with a mental health counselor or Psychologist. Remember there is no shame in seeking help for Depression. Eating healthy, communicating your feelings and taking care of your needs are in your control even if you are suffering physically after a car accident.

Coping with The Hardships After Your Car Accident

Let’s face it, you may be having a difficult time rebounding after your accident. You may go through the whole range of emotions from feeling sadness, anxiety, fear, guilt, anger and mental anguish. You know you cannot live with these negative emotions forever because they will destroy the very fabric of your existence. Sometimes when we have done all we can do to try and deal with the pain and physical injures we endure from a crash, we just need to sit back and accept the situation before we can proactively stake steps to put it behind us. We do not mean you should just give up the fight or remain negative forever! NO, but you should not be so hard on yourself all the time. Some days you will be angry and upset and instead of judging yourself, it may be better to just say “I accept the way I am feeling today, and tomorrow is a new day!”.

Focus on the positive things going on in your life no matter how small they may seem. Try to wake up each day and discipline yourself to express thanks and appreciation for at least three things going on in your life. Practice gratitude with intention. Look forward to taking the hard steps to get better. Use your mind to see surgery and rehabilitation for instance as a challenge to make a new and better version of you even if you may never be physically the same. Look for the small victories and build trust and confidence, you will continue to improve over time. Never give up the fight to physically heal, improve your mental state and remember you are here to live the best life you can live even after being injured in a car accident.

Some of The Common Questions People Ask When in a Car Accident

Why Do We Have to Make A Claim With The Insurance Company After a Car Accident?

If you have been in a car accident you must report the claim to your insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Many people assume that if they are not at fault, they only need to report to the other person’s insurance company. That is not true for several reasons. First, you have a policy with your auto insurance company. That policy is a contract. Every Florida auto insurance contract has a clause making it mandatory for you to report your accident. The insurance company wants to know if you have been in an accident because they use that information to adjust your insurance rates in the future. Second, your insurance company may have to pay medical bills that you incur under the current state of Florida Law called PIP. You need to report the accident to them, so the insurance company can get in touch with your medical providers, order records and bills and pay off your medical bills pursuant to your policy. Third, you may have Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage. If the other side does not have insurance or adequate coverage, you must put your carrier on notice of the accident so they can potentially pay you out for injuries and lost wages you sustained and then go after the uninsured at-fault driver and owner who caused your accident.

What Happens if the Insurance Company Totals Out Your Car and You Do Not Have GAP Insurance?

Once you buy a car and take it off the sales lot, your vehicle has lost value. If you finance the car, you will want to get insurance called GAP that covers the depreciated value and the loan amount, so you do not owe money if your car is in a wreck. For example, let’s say you buy a car for 10,000 dollars and take it home. You financed the entire ten thousand dollars because you did not want to put any cash into the deal. After you have been driving the car, the car is no longer worth 10,000. Even in a few months, your car’s value could be 7500 dollars, however, you may still owe 9500 dollars on the car because of the interest, principle and taxes. If you get into an accident, the other party at fault only must pay you the value of the car which in the example above is $7500 dollars. What are you going to do now? Your car is totaled, and insurance is only giving you $7500 and you owe $9500 to pay the loan? The difference between the loan amount and the actual cash value of your car is 2000 dollars. You are screwed unless you have GAP insurance. You can get insured for that difference, called the “GAP”, in advance of any potential accident so you do not owe any money for your car. Unfortunately, many people do not buy GAP insurance and they are surprised to learn that they can not get that “GAP’ from the person who caused the accident.

How Long Does This Process Take?

Most people ask this question. They assume the process will be quick and easy when often it is not. In many cases, it depends on how badly injured you are from a car accident. In Florida, there is a four-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit. Yet a small case can sometimes take a month or two to resolve and a very serious one may take four years or longer! On average if you do not require surgery or major intensive treatment, your case should take no longer than six months to a year to settle. However, if the insurance company is not trying to resolve your claim fairly, your lawyer may have to file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can sometimes take 18 months to three years to resolve on average due to the court system being overburdened and many other cases like yours filed in front of you waiting to be resolved. Most importantly you want to get on with your life and not let this case hang over your head.

Who Pays for My Medical Bills And Lost Wages From Work?

Under Florida law, if you own a vehicle you will be covered under your PIP auto insurance policy for up to 10,000 in medical bills and lost wages. Your insurance company will typically cover up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages. Your auto insurance is typically primary meaning, your insurance will pay first. The remaining balance of medical bills can be paid by your health insurance if you have otherwise met your deductibles. If you do not have health insurance, you can go after the at-fault driver or owner for the outstanding medical expenses. After you finish treating, your lawyer will submit a demand to the negligent driver and/or owner’s insurance company to either reimburse your health insurance company or your medical providers for any of the outstanding bills. Additionally, your lawyer will try to recover future damages for you, so you do not have to pay future medical bills related to your treatment.

How Do I Get to The Doctor’s Appointments Without A Car?

First, if you are in an accident you may be able to go to the negligent party and ask their insurance to put you into a rental car so you can get to your doctor’s appointments. Second, you may have rental insurance on your own policy and your insurance company can provide you money for a rental car. If you cannot obtain a rental, some medical providers provide transportation free of charge. In the worst case, you can use a taxi, Uber, Lyft or other public transportation. Then your lawyer will fight to get you reimbursed for what you paid out of pocket. It is very important that you log all your out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to transportation including mileage. Please realize that you do not get to have a rental car forever. The insurance companies will usually give you one to two weeks and then you will have to fight them to extend the rental in cases where you can not find another car or if repairs are taking longer than usual.

Why Do I Have to Use My Health Insurance if the Accident Was Not My Fault?

Your auto insurance pays first. However, you have health insurance that covers medical treatment regardless of how or why you got injured. If you do not use the medical insurance, your bills could go unpaid, ruin your credit and cause you to file for bankruptcy in the worst situations. You paid for health insurance to cover you no matter how you got sick or injured. Once health insurance does pay for your medical treatment, they will file a lien so they can be reimbursed if you collect settlement money from the other side. If you do not win or settle your case, then you will not owe your health insurance company any money. They only get paid if you get paid! A lawyer can negotiate the health insurance lien so you can put more compensation in your pocket.

How Much is an Orlando Car Accident Lawyer Going to Cost Me?

Well here is the good news. Lawyers who do this work do not charge flat or hourly fees. If you go to a lawyer for a family matter, you may need to pay them by the hour, or a flat amount called a retainer. You also need to pay the costs and expenses of litigation as it goes along. In a car accident case, you do not need to worry about paying any lawyer fees or costs upfront. The lawyer advances the costs and his or her time upfront without you paying anything out of pocket. If the case settles, then the lawyer typically will charge a contingency fee of 33 percent if a claim, and 40 percent if a lawsuit has been filed and litigated. The lawyer also pays your costs and fees to order medical records, hire experts, and conduct investigations. You pay nothing unless the attorney can settle your case. If you lose, the lawyer also loses his fees and costs! This type of fee is called a contingency fee and the lawyer only gets paid and reimbursed if he or she wins your case!

How Much is My Case Worth?

This is a loaded question. You can look up that question on the internet and many law firms will have a “calculator” to help you determine what your case is worth. Hold on! Does that sound too good to be true? YES!! Each case has a different value. Yes, there are some typical settlement ranges depending on what type of injury you suffer from, but it is so different from case to case. If you have a broken bone, traumatic brain injury or surgery, your case is going to be valued higher than if you treated with a chiropractor or a physical therapist alone. Cases involving future economic loss also drive up higher values. For example, perhaps you cannot drive a truck or do your job because your injuries prohibit you from functioning well at your job or maybe you will be forced to take early retirement. Economic losses can be calculated using experts and often are worth in excess of a million dollars or much more. If you lost a loved one or suffered paralysis from a truck or car crash and will require lifetime care, those cases can be worth even more than seven figures depending on the insurance coverages available. What is often unsaid to clients is that the values of cases may not matter if the driver or owner who caused the accident does not have adequate insurance coverage.

Why Will My Primary Care Doctor or PCP Refuse to See Me After My Car Accident?

This is unfortunate because you likely trust your primary care doctor to take care of you. PCP docs are the first to see you for many medical conditions and injuries. Why not after a car wreck? The truth is that most primary doctors in Florida do not like or understand how Florida law works for car accident cases. These great doctors usually bill out health insurance and already have a tough time getting reimbursed in many cases. The primary doctors do not know how to bill the auto insurance and believe that car accident patients may only be looking only for money or have some greedy ambulance chaser or lawyer working with them. Let’s be honest who loves lawyers? However, doctors do exist who are willing to face lawyers and deal with the complex medical-legal issues involved in these types of auto crashes. They will treat car accident patients in order to help them get better. Sometimes you need to know where to ask.

Is My Insurance Going to Go Up Because Of My Car Accident?

Many people believe in error that if they get into an accident and their insurance company pays their medical bills, they will face increased insurance rates. If you were not at fault for the accident your insurance company or any other one licensed in the state of Florida may not raise your rates! Too many injured people do not get the medical care they need because of this lie that is floating around the internet! If an insurance company raises your rates due to an accident wherein you are not responsible, you can report them to the Department of Insurance!

What Makes Orlando, Florida Unique About Car Accidents Cases?

The number one reason Orlando is uniquely different than many other towns or cities regarding motor vehicle accidents is the number of tourists that come visit each year from every state in the USA and country in the world. In some years, over 75 million visitors come to Orlando to visit Disney World, Universal Studio, SeaWorld, Lego, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Volcano Bay, and many other places. There are over 120,000 hotel rooms in Orlando and tourists do not like to use Florida’s mass transport because we are sadly lacking in great train options. So, people drive, and they are not familiar with our laws and sadly many accidents occur. Tourists are often:

  1. Distracted looking at their navigation systems
  2. Not familiar with the areas they are going
  3. Not familiar with local driving customs
  4. Distracted by the constant building and construction
  5. Texting and driving

Second, Orlando is one of the most desired places in the United States to live and raise a family. As a result, you have over 300, 000 thousand people move to Florida each year and many of them come to live in Orlando. New people from other states have the same issues as tourists. Additionally, to accommodate the increased population growth, Orlando is in a constant state of growth. Growth means construction and construction mean new and changing traffic patterns including new and modified roads and highways. Constant construction and changing traffic patterns are a recipe for increased automobile accidents as drivers are not familiar with the changes that come almost weekly in Orlando.

Orlando is a great place to live, work and play. As a result, we have a tremendous number of tourists, new visitors and residents alike using our roadways. As Florida does not have a good train system, we rely upon motor vehicles to get around and therefore it is likely we will continue to have problems with motor vehicle accidents until we develop more alternative transportation options.

How A Car Accident Claim Is Investigated

If you get into an accident in Orlando, a police officer may have written up a report and even gave the other side a ticket. However, the police are busy and never do enough to document fault or liability in an accident. Many clients complain that the Florida Highway Patrol, Orlando Police Department or Orange County Sheriff is too busy to fully investigate the car accident scene. They complain that the police try to wrap up their investigation sometimes in less than fifteen minutes!

Even if police find the other side at fault, insurance companies sometimes still argue over who caused the accident. Those arguments can lead to delay in getting your car fixed or getting compensation for the injuries you suffered. Good law firms will use investigators to obtain witness statements, photograph scenes of large crashes and even go out and examine and videotape the vehicles involved in a crash. In some trucking cases, an investigator will go out to gather the following information:

  • The exact location where the accident occurred
  • The time and date of the crash
  • Find out who called in and reported the crash
  • Document the weather conditions that existed at the time
  • Photograph the property damage to the vehicles involved
  • Document any debris in the location of the accident such as tires and other parts of the automobile
  • Take pictures of tire treads or skid marks or any signage in the area
  • Measure distances
  • Interview any witnesses of the surrounding business
  • Obtain any street or business video of the crash or scene

In larger cases, experts will be retained to examine commercial vehicles and trucks that have caused serious injuries. These experts may take measurements, perform advanced mathematical calculations and identify and evaluate crash evidence. In some cases, lawyers will buy the vehicles if they are scrapped to preserve the evidence in serious cases. Lawyers and their investigators will often videotape and photograph client’s injuries including bruising, cuts and scarring. In more serious cases, an investigator may be employed to video document a client undergoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. Often a good investigation is the difference between winning your case or getting no compensation at all.

What Do Next If I Was Injured in Car Accident By A Drunk Driver

If you were in a car crash that is bad enough. If you were in a car accident caused by a drunk driver that is worse. Drunk Drivers usually had a choice before getting behind a wheel of a vehicle. They can use uber, call a friend or a taxi to get home. In Orlando, we have a booming nightclub business where our professionals and college kids like to party. Additionally, we have plenty of places in Orlando where Tourists come to hang out and have fun. Unfortunately, all that partying sometimes comes with tragedy.

If you are a victim of a car accident case caused by a drunk driver, you may suffer emotional, physical, and economic damages. You also may get stressed out because you not only have to deal with insurance companies to get your car fixed, medical providers to start healing from your physical injuries but now you may need to deal with prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers in the criminal justice system. In most DUI accident cases, the defendant is arrested and he or she will seek the help of a lawyer right away to help minimize the damages or get the DUI case dropped. The victim, whether a driver or a passenger in a car involved in a drunk driving accident has no lawyer to help represent them as a victim in the criminal justice system. As a result, you may get calls from the state or district attorney and be confused about what they want from you. Usually, the prosecutor wants:

  • To discuss how the accident happened
  • To determine if you observed if the defendant was drunk
  • To find out if you are able and willing to testify against the defendant
  • To determine if you are entitled to restitution

The prosecutor is very busy handling other cases and may not be able to spend much time with you at all. Often the prosecutor will not tell you what the court process involves, leaving you anxious and scared even though you are not the one charged with a crime! The DUI prosecutor may not have time to prepare you for the defendant’s hearing or trial and then you are facing the criminal defense lawyer, judge and jury without adequate preparation! You may just be confused about the whole process because you are not the one in trouble, yet you have no idea what is going to happen to the drunk driver.

To make matters worse, the drunk driver’s criminal lawyer may contact you. They may call you to ask questions about whether you observed their client drunk, driving or how they performed on the roadside tests. The criminal lawyer may ask you if you agree to charges being dropped!!

You are already likely stressed out about medical bills, lost wages and dealing with insurance companies and then you add onto that the criminal justice system and it’s no wonder you may start getting upset and angry! Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) were formed to support victims of drunk driving but often they are very busy and may not always be available in your time of need. However, there are some fine MADD advocates and you should reach out to them if you need services to help you through this time.

A car accident lawyer who focuses on drunk driving car accidents can also be helpful to you. We have former prosecutors who have handled criminal DUI cases and are now suing drunk drivers for the injuries they cause. A Lawyer who sues drunk drivers can:

  • Obtain the police report
  • Obtain the video evidence the defendant was drunk
  • Work with prosecutors to get you restitution
  • Work with the criminal defense lawyers to negotiate more money for you
  • Investigate the crime scene and collect witness statements
  • Document your injuries
  • Make sure the prosecutors tell you about the defendant’s upcoming court dates
  • Make sure your car gets fixed or properly valued if totaled out
  • Make sure you get medical treatment
  • Protect you from nasty criminal defense attorneys who like to harass you
  • Make sure that the insurance company does not try to offer you a low cash settlement
  • Putting all insurance companies on notice of the claim and your intent to recover losses
  • Gathering all insurance information so you are aware of the policy limits
  • Represent you at a sentencing hearing and tell the judge how this accident impacted your life
  • Obtain compensation for your lost wages
  • Get your medical bills paid
  • Obtain punitive damages so you can put more compensation in your pocket
  • Explain the civil and criminal process so you do not have to stress anymore

How Can a Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

Is that even possible? We have lawyers who represent drunk drivers in criminal cases and sue other drunk drivers in personal injury matters. How does that help you? You may be asking why would I hire a personal injury lawyer who represents other drunk drivers? The same reason you would hire an ex-president to lobby for your company or an ex-prosecutor if you were in trouble with the law! If a lawyer understands both sides because they have been on both sides, they are able to think about what the other side wants and needs and that helps you get compensated more! When you are injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver you want justice, and you want to be fairly compensated for the physical injuries and mental anguish you suffered. The person who caused the accident usually wants to get a better deal and stay out of jail. We know this and we use our experience to your benefit. If the drunk driver’s insurance company wants to lowball us, they stand to risk a lot during the criminal process because we know our clients will not be happy until justice is done. By understanding both sides we can aggressively pursue getting you compensated fairly and making sure that any justice given to the defendant will consider whether you were rightly made whole from your accident.

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, consult with an attorney who can discuss the legal rights you have as a victim. Your lawyer can deal with all the insurance companies and lawyers involved and act as a liaison between you and the prosecutor to get the justice that you deserve.

I Was A Passenger in A Car Accident and Injured What Can I Do to Get Help?

You may not have been driving a car but simply just a passenger minding your own business when either your driver or another person driving another car caused an accident. You are entitled to the same rights as a driver of a car who was injured as a result of a horrible car accident. If you own a car, you will first need to notify and open a claim with your automobile insurance company. Why? Yes even if you were not driving or in your own car, you still have to open a claim with your company so they can begin to pay your medical expenses if you are injured as a passenger in a car accident. If you do not have a car or live in a family who has a vehicle you can open a claim with the driver of the car you were in. You are not suing that driver now, but Florida law allows for that driver’s insurance company to take care of some of your medical bills. If you were riding in a friend’s car do not worry about their insurance rates. If they were not at fault you can make a claim for medical and lost wages under their insurance PIP policy and not worry about your friend’s insurance rates going up. You stand an even better chance at recovering just compensation for your injuries because no one can blame you for the accident because you were not driving! You can go after the other driver’s insurance if they were at fault or even against the driver and owner of the car you were in if they were at fault. Remember you did nothing wrong and now must deal with pain and suffering due to injuries you sustained in the car accident as an innocent passenger.

Sometimes you may be in a difficult situation and may not be able to
defuse the situation without going to court.