Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident? | Ask Our Lawyers

Do I Have to Go to Court After a Car Accident? | Ask Our Lawyers

What Might Happen After a Car Accident in Florida?

Personal injury lawyers represent clients who’ve suffered several different types of accidents, from slip and fall injuries to nursing home negligence, from boat crashes to workplace incidents. But most of us, thankfully, will never be the victim of such accidents. However, many of us are familiar with the frightening nature of being in a car wreck, or know someone who is.

Suppose you’ve unfortunately been in a car accident. In that case, you will need to quickly familiarize yourself with how to file a claim and recover expenses for your medical bills and property damage. But what about other concerns, such as whether your case will need to go to a Florida courtroom? Will you need to hire a lawyer? Do you need to build a case?

With a few notable exceptions, it is unlikely that a car accident case will ever go to court. Most Florida car accidents are settled out of court with the driver’s car insurance company. However, if the injuries sustained in the accident were serious or if the crash resulted in death, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the other driver, which may bring the case to court.

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Is Florida a No-Fault State?

Florida is one of a small handful of states that operates by a no-fault car insurance policy. This means that a lawsuit can only be filed against any driver if the injuries sustained in the crash meet a certain threshold as determined by the state of Florida.

Failing that, a car accident victim must turn to their personal injury protection (PIP) car insurance to help with any medical bills or property damage. If the PIP insurance does not cover all the medical expenses, please speak with a car accident attorney about how to proceed.

Are There Any Steps You Could Take to Help You Avoid a Courtroom Appearance?

Man on cellphone standing on Miami roadYou may have your reason as to why you do not want to appear in a courtroom, and we can respect that. There are certain steps you can take which may reduce your chances of needing to appear in court following a motor vehicle accident.

You must contact law enforcement after your car crash. Fleeing the scene of the crash will not only complicate your case, and it may likely be an illegal act. By filing a police report soon after the collision, you’re starting things off right and helping to make things easier for yourself going forward. Then, make sure to get examined by medical professionals.

In addition to contacting the police and seeking medical aid, you should also take the time to document any other evidence as soon as you can after the accident. This may include taking pictures of the vehicles and injuries as well as speaking to any eyewitnesses. This evidence will be extremely important to your case.

The sooner you hire an experienced car accident lawyer to represent your case, the better. Your lawyers can use the evidence you’ve gathered to build a strong case and limit the need to go to court if that’s what you desire.

What if You Want to Take Your Case to Court?

If you or a loved one have been seriously injured – or worse, if the accident has resulted in wrongful death – you have the legal option to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver(s). If you have a strong case, the other driver’s insurer may seek to settle the case right then and there. However, car insurance companies are not often quick to offer a satisfactory settlement, so it may be necessary to continue with the lawsuit by taking the other party to court.

When it becomes necessary to take your case to court, it is wise to hire an attorney. Doing so represents your most solid chance of concluding your case satisfactorily. With a successful court case, you could recover the compensation for your injuries, emotional distress, and lost wages where your car insurance coverage fell short.

How Long Do You Have to File a Car Accident Claim?

All parties involved in a car accident need to file a claim with their insurance company, regardless of who is at fault for the crash. The amount of time you have to notify your insurer will vary depending on your policy. But insurance companies are not the only parties who must be notified.

In Florida, you are required to notify the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Department of the accident sometime within ten days of the crash.

If your case meets the criteria to file a lawsuit, you must do so within two years of the car accident.

Should You Speak with a Car Accident Attorney After a Car Crash?

Many minor car accidents will not require going to court or entering the complex legal arena. However, it is recommended that you seek legal guidance to discuss your case in more detail before dismissing the need for counsel out of hand. Many law firms offer free consultations to prospective clients.

Your lawyer may advise you to simply settle things with the insurance company. But if it would make more sense to take legal action against the driver responsible for your accident, then a professional legal team represents your most assured chance of recovering the maximum compensation for your case.

Last updated Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

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