Being in a car accident can be a traumatic and stressful experience. You may be dealing with injuries, vehicle damage, insurance claims, and lost wages. Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side can make a big difference in getting the compensation you deserve. Here is some guidance on when to hire a lawyer after a car accident in Jacksonville.
Seek Legal Help After Serious Injuries
If you or your passengers have suffered serious injuries in a crash, it is highly recommended to consult with an attorney. Severe injuries that warrant a lawyer include:
- Broken bones
- Concussions or other head trauma
- Back and neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Severe cuts or burns
- Loss of a limb
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
These types of injuries often require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation. Victims may have large medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages. An attorney will deal with insurance negotiations and make sure you receive full compensation.
Consult a Lawyer After a Crash with Significant Vehicle Damage
While property damage alone may not require an attorney, significant vehicle damage could indicate the other driver was clearly at fault. Major collision damage includes:
- Totaled or “total loss” vehicles
- Extensive body damage, dents, or crumpling
- Damage extending to the vehicle frame or structure
- Multiple damaged parts like airbags, windows, axles
If your vehicle has extensive repairs over $10,000, it’s a good idea to speak to a lawyer. They can help prove the other driver’s negligence and recover damages like the fair market value of your totaled car.
Get Legal Representation After a Hit-and-Run Collision
One of the most frustrating accident scenarios is when the at-fault driver flees the scene. Without the other motorist present, proving fault and getting rightful compensation can be difficult. An attorney has tools to identify a hit-and-run driver, like:
- Witness statements
- Video footage
- Paint transfer analysis
- Debris from the scene
- Police reports
This evidence can help track down the at-fault party. A lawyer can then assist in holding the hit-and-run driver financially responsible.
Consult an Attorney After a Drunk Driving Crash
Accidents caused by intoxicated drivers often result in severe injuries. Drunk driving is a criminal offense, and victims have legal rights to pursue damages. A lawyer can assist with:
- Gathering evidence like blood alcohol tests
- Investigating the source that served the drunk driver
- Filing claims against the driver’s insurance
- Initiating lawsuits for pain and suffering or wrongful death
Having proper legal counsel is critical after a drunk driving crash. An attorney will fight aggressively on your behalf and deal with complex claims and negotiations.
Hire a Lawyer After an Accident with No Insurance
It’s illegal in Florida to drive without insurance, but some motorists still break the law. If an uninsured driver caused your accident, the claims process can be tough without legal help. Attorneys have experience filing claims against uninsured motorist coverage from your policy. They can also file claims against the at-fault driver personally.
Consult an Attorney After Disputes with Your Insurance Company
In some accident cases, a victim’s own insurance company may not be making a fair offer. Disputes can arise over issues like:
- Lowball settlement offers
- Delayed claim processing
- Denial of claims
- Disagreements over fault percentage
Having a lawyer work on your behalf can help resolve these situations. Attorneys know Florida insurance laws and regulations. They can negotiate disputes or even take uncooperative insurers to court if needed.
Hire Legal Counsel for a Complex Accident Investigation
Some accident cases involve complicated investigations. You may benefit from an attorney when:
- Multiple vehicles and drivers were involved
- The crash happened on city property or private property
- Government employees like police caused the accident
- Hazardous road conditions contributed to the crash
Lawyers have the expertise to conduct multifaceted investigations, determine all at-fault parties, and pursue maximum compensation through every available avenue.
Consult an Attorney After Suffering an Injury on the Job
When injured in a work vehicle, you may be entitled to Florida workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may also have a third-party injury claim against the at-fault driver. This is when experienced counsel can help navigate the legal complexities. An attorney will ensure you receive both workers’ comp and additional damages from liable parties.
Common Steps After Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
Retaining legal counsel is a smart move after a serious Jacksonville auto accident. Here are some common steps once you hire an attorney:
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
An attorney will start with an in-depth investigation into the accident circumstances. This can involve inspecting vehicles and the scene, taking photos and measurements, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing crash reports. Evidence like camera footage, cell phone records, and data recorder downloads may be obtained. The goal is constructing a compelling case regarding who caused the crash and why.
Your lawyer will handle all communications and negotiations with insurance companies. Demand letters will be sent to all liable parties detailing your damages and legal rights. Your attorney will deal with insurers, push for fair settlements, and take action if offers are insufficient. This takes the stress of claim dealings off your shoulders.
Your lawyer will help coordinate medical treatment needs and retain expert opinions. Your injuries will be fully documented and linked to the accident to support a legal injury claim. Bills, records and expenses will be compiled as evidence of economic damages. Recommendations may be provided for reputable physicians and rehabilitation specialists.
If insurance settlement offers are not adequate, your attorney can take legal action through the court system. A lawsuit may be filed against any negligent parties and companies. Extensive preparation goes into building your case like gathering evidence, conducting depositions, and selecting expert witnesses. Your lawyer will represent your best interests during any litigation, trial, and appeals processes.
Settlement or Verdict
The end goal is reaching a fair settlement or court verdict that covers your damages. Your lawyer will fight to recover compensation for medical bills, lost income, vehicle repairs, pain and suffering, and other losses stemming from the accident. Any settlement funds or court award will be properly distributed to you, healthcare providers, and other parties as applicable.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorney in Jacksonville
Not all attorneys have the same skills and track record in auto accident claims. When selecting legal counsel after an auto collision, look for:
- Extensive experience in car accident cases
- Strong record of favorable verdicts and settlements
- Resources to handle complex investigations
- Specialized knowledge of injury law and claims
- Reputation for aggressive and ethical representation
- Contingency fee options
Top car accident firms will provide a free initial consultation. This gives you a chance to have your questions answered and evaluate attorneys before committing to representation. Being prepared with details of your accident and needs will allow you to make an informed hiring decision.
With an experienced Jacksonville auto accident attorney on your side, you can have confidence your legal rights will be protected. Quality representation is critical for recovering the maximum compensation you deserve after a car crash in Jacksonville. Do not hesitate to seek out legal help.