No matter how careful Ocala drivers are, sometimes car accidents are simply unavoidable. From lane changes to missed lights, collisions are known to happen on quiet streets and busy highways alike. Some end in nothing more than a dent or two, but others can end in tragic injuries or even wrongful death.
A car accident claim in Ocala can be filed by either the victim or a loved one. No matter who files, the claims process can be difficult to tackle if you’re unfamiliar with the Florida court system.
Florin|Roebig wants you to know more about the nature of car accident claims before you make your next move. From how damages are filed to which factors determine your compensation, we’ll give you the information you should know before you move forward and aid in the claims process when you’re ready to file.
Common Causes Of Car Accidents In Ocala
Car accidents may stem from any number of causes.
Here are the most likely reasons:
- distracted driving: A distracted driver may not see a slow-down in front of them because they’re checking a text message. They may run lights or make hasty lane changes. These seemingly minor actions can have severe consequences on the road.
- speeding: Going 15, 25, or even 30 miles over the limit will put the driver in a dangerous situation if anything unexpected happens.
- weather: Unpredictable fog, winds that shake the car, and torrential downpours can all add up to the conditions that cause an accident.
- flat tires: A blowout at 65 miles-per-hour can quickly cause a driver to lose control on a busy highway.
- substances: From alcohol to cocaine to prescriptions, substances can impair the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle.
- time of day: Nighttime can present a challenge to drivers who may struggle with failing eyesight.
You likely recognize at least one of these common reasons as a contributing factor in your accident. While some of these reasons may be based on honest mistakes, all can be a potential reason for filing a claim. For example, even if a person didn’t anticipate a flat tire, it doesn’t mean they’re not at-fault for the accident. A qualified attorney can help determine how the law will respond to each individual situation.
Reasons To File A Car Accident Claim
Car accident lawyers in Ocala often see people file a claim for multiple reasons. While the primary reason may be to collect sufficient compensation after sustaining their injuries, their motivation often goes further than the need for a substantial settlement.
Accidents are sometimes caused by safe drivers who experienced nothing more than bad luck. But some drivers are putting themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. If they’ve established a pattern of poor driving habits, they may need to be taken to court before they start making better decisions.
Filing a car accident claim will not only hold the at-fault party responsible, it can also make the roads safer. The Ocala community is only safe when residents and visitors speak out against reckless drivers.
Factors That Affect Car Accident Claims
Ocala courts will analyze the following factors before deciding on a claim:
- bodily injury: Car accidents can result in anything from a broken leg to incapacitation to death. The more severe your injuries and the longer they last, the higher your settlement amount will likely be.
- fault: Florida depends on comparative negligence to determine who was at fault. This means that fault is divided based on how the accident occurred. Even if it seems clear who was at fault, the victim may still be assigned a very small portion (e.g., less than 10 percent) of blame.
- disruptions: A car accident can interrupt your relationship with your children, your boss, your spouse, and your friends. If the accident severely impacted the course of your life, the courts will factor this into the settlement.
- type of claim: Car accident claims are usually categorized as either personal injury or property damage. A personal injury will take into account your mental stress from the accident while a property damage claim will generally argue for the repair or replacement costs of the property lost.
The Florida courts have a statute of limitations of four years for most car accident claims. This is because some people may not realize the true extent of their injuries until many months after the accident occurred. Alternatively, you may have also spent many years fighting with an insurance company for additional compensation.
How Much Compensation Can You Win?
The compensation you receive depends on how your life was impacted by the accident, and this comes down to how you were personally affected. A young person in their prime will lose more in terms of career opportunities than a retiree will. A person with a pre-existing condition may take years to heal whereas a healthy person may recover in just a few weeks.
There’s no way to accurately predict what you’ll receive for a car accident claim down to the penny, but an attorney can give you a better idea of how the courts will calculate your settlement. In addition to medical expenses, compensation can include nearly all costs related to the accident. Lump sums can be exceptionally high for some people, especially if they can prove negligence was involved and the injuries caused long-term damage or highly negative effects to their life.
Types Of Damages Awarded In Car Accident Claims
Damages refer to the types of costs you can claim in relation to your accident. Compensation is awarded based on the costs you incurred due to the accident and how each of these costs impacted your life.
You can file for the following damages in Ocala, Florida:
- medical costs: These damages can include your co-payments, ER visits, follow-ups, and surgical costs. Medical damages can cover long-term care if the accident caused a permanent condition.
- incidental expenses: These include costs relating to the accident, such as chiropractor visits, babysitters, and cleaning services. If you require services to fully recover, you can ask for reimbursement or for ongoing assistance with these expenses.
- pain and suffering: These costs cannot be calculated based on your receipts because they’re a financial representation of the mental and emotional stress you faced due to your accident. An attorney can give you a better idea of how to determine a specific figure for pain and suffering.
- lost wages: You can file for the wages you would have received had you been able to continue working. This includes projected future wages in your industry.
- punitive: These damages are rarely awarded in the case of car accidents because the victim has to prove that the driver was intentionally trying to cause the accident.
- loss of consortium: Only a spouse or partner can be awarded these damages, and the amount is based on both financial and emotional stress on a partner. For instance, if your spouse needed to find full-time daycare services while you were in recovery, they may be able to file for damages.
Car (Auto) Accident Rates In Ocala
Marin County has compiled the following statistics regarding car accidents:
- There were 3,386 property-damage accidents in 2017.
- In the same year, there were 6,691 total accidents, 5,135 injuries, and 90 fatalities.
- There were 138 confirmed crashes involving alcohol in Marion County in 2017, up from 91 in 2016.
List Of Car Accident Attorneys Serving Ocala
Being injured in a car accident can be stressful and financially draining. To seek compensation, it’s best to file a claim as soon as possible with the help of a knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced attorney. Florin|Roebig has the car accident lawyers who understand how to use the laws to your advantage.
Our legal team serves clients throughout Florida and includes the following personal injury attorneys, along with many others:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Matthew L. McMullen (MN)
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
Find Help Filing A Car Accident Claim
If you need help filing a claim in Ocala, there are professionals who can help. There’s no way to right every wrong in your case, but the right attorney can go a long way toward putting your life back together after the accident. Contact Florin|Roebig today for help filing your claim. Your initial consultation will give you valuable insight into the next steps you can take.