Auto Accidents: What You Need to Know

Though no one anticipates being involved in a car crash, the truth is that accidents are more common than you realize.  For example, it was reported by the Association for Safe International Road Travel that last year alone, 1.25 million people died in a road crash.  This is an average of over 3,000 deaths per day, making auto accidents 2.2 percent of all deaths globally.

These numbers increase if you consider not just fatalities, but people who are injured in an automobile accident.  An additional 20 to 50 million people are injured and/or disabled each year due to road crashes – and often, these accidents have irreversible physical and financial effects.  Road crashes are becoming so frequent that research suggests auto accidents will be the fifth leading cause of death by 2030.

Protecting Yourself Before and During an Auto Accident

Because auto accidents are so common, it’s beneficial to take preventative measures to protect yourself and your passengers.  You may not be able to combat the negligence and careless of others, but there are other forms and aspects of auto accidents that can be compensated for.

  • Wearing and Checking Your Seatbelt – Since the federal government mandated them in 1968, seatbelts have saved thousands of lives every year.  In 2017, it was projected that over 15,000 lives were saved by people wearing their seatbelts.
  • However, wearing a seatbelt is useless if yours has been damaged or destroyed in some way.  Not a lot of people consider how essential it is to check that your seatbelt is functioning correctly before you drive.  If you find that, after inspection, your seatbelt bolts are loose or find any cracks and corrosion on the belt buckle, your car may not be safe to drive.
  • Make Sure to Use a Car Seat – Car accidents produce the highest number of children fatalities nationwide, yet 43% of American parents do not restrain their child while driving.  Though car seats can be a hassle, they are indeed the number one way to save your child in the event of an auto accident.
  • Do Not Text and Drive – Smartphones can be great resources for communication, but they do not belong in the car.  Distracted driving is a widespread issue sweeping the nation; in 2016 alone, 391,000 people were injured by distracted drivers and 3,450 people were killed.  What’s worse is that this number only increases as cell phones become more popular.  Do not operate a phone while you are driving to save yourself and others from harm.

Another unfortunately common cause of injury accidents is driving under the influence. Driving under the influence can result in almost 30 deaths per day. This is about one death every 50 minutes. Though any form of distracted driving is sure to result in an auto accident and can be fatal to the driver and any other passengers in the car, driving under the influence also bears significant legal charges.

What do I do after a car crash?

Unfortunately, even people who follow all the rules and take all the necessary precautions can wind up in an auto accident.  If you are involved in a car collision or system failure, the first step (besides making sure that you and anyone else involved has received proper treatment) is to consider pursuing legal action against any person that has wronged you at the time of the crash.

There are many different routes you can take to seek damages against an offending party. In a case where another driver is at fault, you can seek compensation for medical costs, automobile replacement costs, and any wages lost during your recovery time.  The only exception to filing a claim is if you live in a “no-fault” state, but there are exemptions that you may benefit from.

Certain elements pay a role when pursuing a car accident case.  To file, you and possibly a lawyer will need to consider comparative fault, liability, and negligence and provide appropriate evidence where necessary.

Negligence – This is one of the most critical parts of an auto accident case and often is necessary to receive compensation.  To prove the negligence of another party, you must provide evidence that demonstrates:

  • The defendant had a duty to be cautious and considerate on roadways.
  • The defendant violated the above duty and behaved negligently.
  • The defendant’s negligence resulted in injury to you or a loved one.
  • You incurred damages as a result of your injuries

Proving negligence is an essential component in an auto accident case and as such is a significant focus in car crash lawsuits.

Comparative Fault – Comparative fault essentially weighs what percentage responsible is each person for causing an accident.  If a court or judge finds that you were in any way the cause of the auto crash, your damages may be reduced.  This may affect your car accident case even in the event of a settlement outside of court.

Liability – If you are in an auto accident, it is essential that you do not claim fault.  Often people will make the mistake of admitting fault instinctively (“I’m so sorry” or “It’s my fault”) which can harm your claim if you need to take legal action in the future.

There are also third-party defendants that may be liable for your injury:

  • Construction Companies: If a construction company fails to address a road hazard appropriately, they may be responsible for your auto accident.
  • A Vehicle Parts Manufacturer: Sometimes no party is responsible for a car crash.  If you suspect that your accident resulted because of a defective part, an installment error, or a vehicle design issue, you may pursue a case against the manufacturer.
  • An Employer: If a company vehicle is at fault for your accident, the driver’s employer may bear some of the blame for your injuries.  In this circumstance, you may pursue compensation from the driver and their associated company.

An auto accident is traumatic enough without added uncertainty of the situation.  Though hopefully, you will never have to use the information, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with the risks of driving and find ways to prevent injury or death. It’s also important to know what to do following an auto accident so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.

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What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Recovery Limits in Florida

Personal injury recovery limits are important for victims of personal injuries to understand as they will affect the amount of compensation they are able to recover for the damages they have suffered. Understanding how these limits can affect your claim will help you to better understand your lawsuit, and at Glover Law Firm, PLLC, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injuries as the result of a personal injury accident, nothing beats a consultation with an experienced Ocala personal injury lawyer at Glover Law Firm, PLLC

Let us explore how personal injury recovery limits can affect your specific case.

What Are Personal Injury Recovery Limits?

Personal injury recovery limits — also known as damage caps — are essentially what they sound like. They are statutes that set a limit on the amount of money a victim of a personal injury can collect for certain types of cases or losses.

These recovery limits are generally set for victims who are seeking to earn compensation for non-economic damages (e.g. pain and suffering).

To clarify, Florida has three types of damages that can be awarded depending on the circumstances of your personal injury. These include:

  1. Economic Damages – This refers to compensation that can be objectively verified such as lost wages, medical bills, loss of use of property, costs of repair or replacement, loss of employment, and other damages.
  2. Non-Economic Damages – This refers to subjective losses such as pain and suffering, as well as other forms of mental anguish.
  3. Punitive Damages – Compensation awarded to the victim that also acts as a punishment to the party that behaved poorly or acted unethically.

Statutes used to exist that placed a damage cap on non-economic damages, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled that unconstitutional in 2017.

How Do Personal Injury Recovery Limits Affect Floridians?

 One key takeaway from this post is that in the state of Florida, personal injury recovery limits only affect a small number of cases.

For example, for economic damages under standard personal injury cases – which includes medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, etc.— there are no damage cap statutes that exist.

As stated earlier, non-economic damages like pain and suffering and mental anguish had statutes that placed limitations on payouts. However, these statutes were ruled unconstitutional in the Florida Supreme Court in 2017.

In the state of Florida, Fla. Stat. Ann. section 768.73 states that punitive damages are subject to certain limitations based on certain situations:

  • The defendant clearly intended to inflict harm upon the plaintiff (no limitation).
  • The defendant didn’t mean to harm the plaintiff, but was aware that harm was highly likely to happen and acted in an unreasonably dangerous manner solely for financial gain (limitations exist up to four times the value of the economic damages plus the non-economic damages — a.k.a. compensatory damages — awarded to each claimant, or $2 million).
  • All other cases of punitive damages are calculated at a rate of three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit

Individuals who have faced catastrophic damage as the result of personal injury have four years starting from the date of the incident to file a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for harming them.

It is absolutely vital that you do NOT fail to file your personal injury claim within this time frame as failure to do so essentially guarantees that your case will be thrown out of court and dismissed. This means you will forfeit your right to seek damages for your injuries, regardless of how serious they may be.

Have you or someone you love fallen victim to a personal injury and need more clarification on whether or not personal injury recovery limits will affect your case? The dedicated and experienced Florida attorneys at Glover Law Firm, PLLC are ready to hear your story and provide you unmatched legal guidance.

Find comfort in knowing that the Ocala accident lawyer at Glover Law Firm, PLLC is here to help you if you need any more clarification about your particular personal injury case. As complex as these types of claims can be, our expert personal injury lawyers have the legal knowledge and experience necessary to earn your full compensation from the negligent parties that caused you harm.

Plus, we’ll make sure to provide you the information you need through clear and straight communication.

Contact us today at 352-484-0775 for a free case evaluation from one of our Ocala personal injury lawyers today.

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Red Flags that an Insurance Company May Act in Bad Faith

You sign up for insurance to be “assured” that you have some form of support when the need arises. It is meant to give you some sense of protection from life-changing events like poor health, natural disasters, accidents, and even death. Most financial problems arise from unexpected medical bills or accidents. It Bad Faith Insurancewill cost you an enormous amount of money to pay for expenses related to a vehicular accident or sudden hospital confinement. Without insurance, you have no protection against the curve balls that life throws at you—the situations that are impossible to prepare for and makes it impossible to survive without the financial protection that insurance provides.

However, there are times that the insurance you invested good money on falls short of the promises they made in their insurance policies. What then? Is there anything that can remedy the situation?

The best step you can take is to call an experienced insurance bad faith attorney in Kentucky who is well-versed on “bad faith insurance” claims.

Reality bites

When you purchased a policy and pay your premiums on time, you expect to be treated fairly when you file your legitimate insurance claim. But let us face it. These insurance companies are not charity groups. They are not there to dole out money. They intend to make profits out of the insurance policyholders. As such, their goal is to pay you or settle your claims with as little expense to them as possible.

Because Insurance companies are businesses, they need to make a profit. They do so by collecting millions of dollars worth of premiums each year and, at the same time, paying out much less than they collect. It is the awful truth on how insurance companies work, even though they have plenty of money to pay out on legitimate claims. Watch out for insurance companies that deny or delay payments on your legitimate insurance claims.  That means they acted in bad faith and you have every right to demand what you rightfully deserve.

However, it can be challenging to establish if indeed your insurance company acted in bad faith. In such scenarios, you need to work with an experienced legal team.  There are many complexities involved in bad faith insurance claims. The documentation alone is time-consuming, let alone building up your case against the insurance company at fault. Sometimes, it can be virtually impossible to get the money owed to you by an insurance company without an experienced bad faith attorney on your side.

How do you determine if your insurance company acted in bad faith?
Here is a list of what to watch out for if your Insurance company acted in bad faith:

➤Denied the insured individual, family. or company the complete benefits listed in the policy
➤Offered less compensation than what is due under the policy
➤Delayed payment to an insured without reason
➤Engaged in deceptive practices (For example, revising the policy without advising you, putting you through too much red tape, requiring an unreasonable amount of documents to push you against the wall, enough to frustrate you and force you to drop your claim)

These tactics will cost you more because you are left without money as you wait for the insurance company to pay up.

If your claims adjuster or insurance company failed in fulfilling the following duties to you as their policyholder, they may also be held liable for acting in bad faith:

✔The Duty to Investigate – If your insurer failed to conduct a proper investigation of your claim and provide their findings (and a valuation). Unreasonable delays may also constitute bad faith.
✔The Duty to Indemnify – If your insurer failed to pay a settlement agreement or judgment entered against the policyholder, up to the limit of their coverage, or has failed to meet their duty of indemnification.
✔The Duty to Defend – If your insurer refused to defend you against a claim, even if most of the lawsuit is not covered by the policy. The exception to this duty is when a policy explicitly includes the costs of defense in calculating policy limits, though in most situations the insurer must cover all defense costs regardless of the coverage limits.
✔The Duty to Settle Reasonably – If your insurer refused to support you in a  settlement which would be advantageous to you, only because they hope to reduce their liability at trial or because a lawsuit would expose the insurance company to damages beyond the limits of the policy,

If you or anyone you know is presently dealing with an insurance company, make sure to maintain a file of all communications with the adjuster or any other representative, whether in the form of recorded phone calls or notes after each call. Keep copies of all documents required of you and save all emails related to your case. Take care not to delete voicemails from your insurance adjuster and file all expense receipts to support your claim. Maintaining all these documentation may eventually help you in building a case against your insurance company.

As mentioned earlier, it is in your best interest to work with a bad faith insurance lawyer if you suspect your insurance company to be acting on bad faith, as described in this article, starting with delaying negotiations or outright denial of your claim. Once you have presented your files to the bad faith insurance lawyer, you may be surprised to find out that you have a legitimate claim. Call one of the best bad faith insurance attorneys in Kentucky.  At Mehr, Fairbanks, and Peterson Trial Lawyers, we will do the best we can to help you the get the settlement you are entitled to. Call us for a free case evaluation.

 

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Auto Accidents: Steps You Should Take After a Collision

As of 2010, there were 1.015 billion motor vehicles on the road, making it 10 times likelier for someone to end up in a car crash than in previous years. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2016 alone, there was an average of 102 auto accident related deaths per day. That’s about 37,461 deaths for the entire year.

To make matters worse, the number of car crash fatalities was higher than the total amount of motor vehicle crashes in 2016. Not only are you at more risk of an auto accident in the year 2019, but your fellow passengers are as well.

Auto accidents can be traumatic, especially because they can happen at any time, without warning. People can be seriously injured and find themselves saddled with extensive medical bills, vehicle repair o replacement costs, and other expenses. That’s why it’s important to learn the precautions you can take before an auto accident and know what steps you should take if you’re hurt in a crash.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

There are multiple, necessary steps to take after a car accident:

Check for Injuries and Get Medical Help if Necessary – Though this step is obviously a given, it’s still worth mentioning. After a collision, pull over immediately and render assistance to anyone who may be hurt. Be cautious, and don’t hesitate to contact emergency assistance before trying to move someone who seems badly hurt. If you need to head to the emergency room, do not worry about skipping the following steps; your health is most important.

Exchange Contact Information – If you’re involved in a car crash, it’s in your best interest to stay level-headed and simply exchange the necessary information, without becoming apologetic or argumentative. Drivers should ask each other for their full name and contact information, driver’s license and phone number, insurance company and policy number, and any other information you think your insurance might want. You might also want to record the exact location of the accident and the make, model, and color of the other driver’s vehicle. The more information you can collect about the accident (eye-witness accounts, police statements, pictures) the better off you will be. Be careful during this process that you do not apologize for the accident or make any kind of statement about your injuries, including saying you are “fine.”

Document the Accident – Acquiring the above information is only the first step in documenting the accident. Once the police arrive at the scene of the crash, you will want to write down their name and badge numbers so that you can identify them later if necessary. Afterward, you will also want to ask for a copy of the accident report for insurance purposes. Then, take pictures of anything and everything at the accident scene, including any injuries, vehicle damage, skid marks, road conditions, weather, and more. This step is essential, especially if you decide to pursue a lawsuit or file a claim later on.

Notify Your Insurance Provider – You may call your insurance agent while you are at the accident, or you may wait until you have received medical attention and contacted a lawyer. Most insurance policies require that you report an accident within a certain timeframe, so be sure not to skip this step.

If you were so badly hurt in your accident that you were immediately transported to the emergency room, don’t panic. If possible, ask a friend or family member to travel to the accident site to take these measures for you. You can also contact a lawyer and have them take these steps on your behalf.

How Do I File a Personal Injury Auto Accident Claim?

There is no reason that you should have to pay for all your medical expenses or vehicle damage if you are not responsible for the crash. Plenty of people pursue personal injury claims so that they do not end up in unnecessary debt and so that they can recover any damages they incurred because of another driver’s carelessness.

The first step for filing a personal injury claim is to prove the negligence of another driver. There are four components of negligence. You must first demonstrate that the driver had a duty to care for your safety on the road. This step is easy, as all drivers have an inherent responsibility to keep all other drivers safe on the road. Then, you must provide sufficient evidence that the driver failed to uphold this duty. Careless or reckless behaviors such as texting while driving, drinking, and disobeying traffic laws can all demonstrate a violation of the duty of care. Next, you must prove that the driver’s violation directly caused your injuries. You can usually prove this step with medical records and evidence from the accident scene. Finally, you must show that your injuries resulted in significant damages. Your bills from the hospital, vehicle repair, and more can demonstrate this aspect.

A lawyer will be able to help you gather all the necessary evidence to prove all four components of negligence. From there, they can help you file a successful claim with the other driver’s insurance.

What Damages Might I Receive?

You can receive compensation, or damages, for any losses you incurred as a result of your accident. These may include:

  • Medical expenses, past and future
  • Lost wages from missing work
  • Property damage to your vehicle and other belongings
  • Rehabilitative costs
  • Disfigurement and disability
  • Pain and suffering
  • In cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of consortium

An experienced attorney can help guide you through the appropriate steps to make sure that you are not stuck paying out of pocket for anything after an auto accident caused by someone else’s negligence.

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Truck Accidents: The Major Causes and How to Deal with a Crash

Accidents involving commercial trucks are some of the most devastating collisions on the road. Because trucks weigh more and are larger than your standard automotive vehicle, they are harder to control and can deal much more damage in an accident.

Research from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows that in the year 2016, there were 4,440 large trucks involved in fatal crashes. The number of total truck fatality crashes had also increased 39 percent since 2009.

Despite government regulations concerning truck and car safety, more and more people are involved in truck accidents every year. That is why it’s important to understand the major causes of truck crashes and precautions to avoid them. It also is beneficial to become familiar with the steps and measures you can take if you are involved in a truck accident, so you aren’t caught off guard if one occurs.

What Are the Major Causes of Truck Accidents?

Accidents involving trucks tend to be very complicated, because they involve many more factors than regular two-vehicle car accidents. Some common causes of truck accidents include:

Truck Defects Sometimes a truck accident occurs not because of the negligence of the driver, but because the truck was poorly maintained, or a part was defective. The most common type of truck defect is failing brakes. Other mechanical errors such as engine or transmission problems, defective steering wheels, and problems with tires and wheels have also resulted in truck accidents. If a truck is not up to code or has not been regularly inspected, the truck manufacturer, mechanic, or trucking company may be at fault for an accident.

Driver Fatigue Truck drivers often work long, grueling hours and must drive for extended periods of time with little to no break. Anyone driving that long would be exhausted and, unfortunately, many truck accidents occur because of truck driver fatigue. There are government regulations about how long drivers can drive before taking a break, but due to truck driver shortages, many drivers and trucking companies violate these laws. If an accident occurs because a driver fell asleep at the wheel, the driver or their employer may be at fault.

Employer Negligence Trucking companies have a responsibility to hire responsible, capable drivers, train them properly, maintain their fleet of vehicles, load their trucks properly, and comply with any and all government regulations. Many truck accidents can be traced back to employer negligence, if they failed in these responsibilities in any way.

Driver Error – Commercial trucks are difficult to control, so drivers should be very cautious while operating them. If a driver fails to monitor their no-zones (blind spots), drives while drunk or drugged, or drives recklessly, aggressively, or carelessly, they can cause serious accidents.

You may not be able to tell why an accident occurred or who was responsible in the immediate aftermath. For this reason, it’s smart to hire a lawyer to investigate your crash on your behalf. By looking at truck company records and the black box on the truck, they will be able to determine why your crash occurred and who was responsible.

What Should I Do After My Truck Accident?

Immediately following a truck accident, you should immediately call emergency services and check for injuries. After ensuring your safety and the safety of any passengers in the vehicle, you will need to contact the authorities. When they arrive, be sure to take down their names and badge numbers. When speaking to authorities, stick to the facts. Do not speculate about the cause of the accident, apologize in any way, or make any kind of statement about your injuries.

Next, you will want to document the accident as much as possible. Take plenty of pictures, collect eye-witness statements, and note the location and time of the accident. The more proof and documentation you can provide about the specific details of the crash, the better.

Be sure to seek medical attention even if you do not think you were hurt. Some injuries involve delayed symptoms and waiting to seek treatment can damage your ability to recover compensation later.

Finally, be sure to contact a lawyer. While you focus on recovering from your injuries, they will be able to investigate your crash, gather the necessary evidence, and negotiate with the trucking company’s insurance to get you the compensation you deserve.

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