Do I Need an Attorney for My Florida Auto Accident Case?

Auto accidents often occur in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. These collisions can leave those involved with different kinds of injuries and property losses. As a result, victims may be able to file an action to recover damages from the party responsible for the accident. This is their legal right, especially if the accident led to the loss of a body function, is permanent, or resulted in significant scarring or disfigurement.

Pursuing a compensation claim is never straightforward. It is more than bringing a claim before the at-fault party’s insurance carrier and automatically receiving a settlement offer. Rather, it is more challenging in Florida, where the no-fault car accident system exists.

However, a crash victim might still choose to handle their auto accident claim alone despite the limitations. They could also decide to hire an attorney. Wavering between both choices may delay their claim, especially if they wait too long and surpass the 4-year time limit they have to take action. 

This article discusses whether a victim needs a Palm Beach Gardens car accident lawyer to handle their case. It also discusses when to hire one and the qualities an excellent lawyer should have.

Do Accident Victims Need a Palm Beach Gardens Auto Accident Attorney?

Indeed, a crash victim can choose to handle their claim without involving an attorney. However, this is not without risks. Insurance adjusters and insurance defense lawyers can detect inexperience from miles away. They know the right buttons to push to keep a third-party claimant from being awarded the compensation they may deserve. 

These adjusters and lawyers also know how to set traps to catch the victim in a lie or try to misconstrue statements. If this happens, they use such distortion to outrightly deny the claim or bring in the comparative negligence doctrine to reduce how much the victim is offered. The claimant goes from being the victim to a co-contributor of the events that led to the accident. 

Another risk with self-representation is legal knowledge. Most people hope never to get into a traffic collision, so they don’t see the benefit in learning about Florida auto accident laws. Legal knowledge and experience are vital when seeking compensation.

Non-lawyers also don’t know about the claims process procedure, documents to file, and the Statute of Limitations. Hence, while the at-fault party’s insurance carrier employs delay tactics, the victim is unaware that they are running out of time. When the Statute of Limitations expires, a victim’s right to sue is forever statute-barred.

All these issues can happen when the victim has little or no legal knowledge. The story is different for when victims choose to work with an accident attorney in Palm Beach Garden, Florida. 

What will an attorney do that an accident victim can’t do for themselves? Below is a rundown of services offered by a competent auto accident attorney:

  • Provide straightforward answers to legal questions and explain any jargon the victim cannot understand.
  • Provide trustworthy and unbiased legal advice. This includes whether the case is likely to succeed and an estimate at how much the victim may be awarded in  compensatory damages
  • Investigates the case and puts together the evidence needed to prove the victim’s claim. In addition, they contact expert witnesses and bring them to testify, if needed. 
  • Communicates with the at-fault party’s legal team and insurance provider on the victim’s behalf.
  • Devises a legal strategy for the case and conduct extensive research on disputed points of law or fact.
  • Examines the facts of the auto accident case to ensure you are not partly to blame. They also identify all the at-fault parties if there is more than one.
  • Provides an in-depth overview of the case and lays out the legal options for the accident victim.
  • Sits in on negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance carrier.
  • Files a lawsuit and represents the victim in court.

Keep in mind that the service provided by an auto accident lawyer also depends on the facts of the case. Therefore, the legal strategy that works for one person, may not work for another. The best thing an accident victim can do is discuss the facts with their lawyer and follow their recommendations. 

When Should an Accident Victim Hire an Attorney? 

Having seen why accident victims should hire a car accident lawyer, when should they hire one? Below, we discuss different instances where it is of utmost importance to obtain legal counsel. 

Life-Altering Injuries

As mentioned earlier, Florida is a no-fault car accident state. This means that generally, parties to an accident must rely on their auto insurance coverage to cover their losses unless they suffered life-altering injuries. A life-altering injury (also called traumatic or catastrophic injury) is a wound that results in some form of permanent disability, long-term health problems, and/or a reduction in a person’s life expectancy.

An auto accident victim with this type of wound should turn to a lawyer to represent their best interests. Victims may seek compensation (if applicable in their case) for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages 
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Denied Insurance Claim

The bottom line is that the goal of insurance companies is the make a profit. As a result, they are more likely to reject claims. While there are legitimate reasons for denials, there are times when there aren’t. An attorney can differentiate between a legitimate insurance claim denial and one that is cheating a victim of their merited compensation. Therefore, accident victims should speak with a lawyer immediately after the fault party’s insurer denies their claim.

The Expiration Date of Statute of Limitations Is Close 

Suppose the accident victim knows about the Statute of Limitations. They need to hire a lawyer to file a lawsuit if the expiration date is near and they haven’t settled with the insurance company. Under Florida law, a personal injury victim has four years to file a lawsuit. A car accident case qualifies as a personal injury action. 

What Qualities Should a Car Accident Lawyer Possess? 

Before hiring an attorney, there are some qualities an accident victim should look out for. Below is a compilation of some of these qualities:

  • Experience: research past reviews and ask if the lawyer has successfully helped victims in similar scenarios as yourself.
  • Communication skills: a lawyer should explain matters in the clearest way and without excessive jargon.
  • Sound judgment: a lawyer needs to make decisions as the case progresses, so they must have good judgment. 
  • Legal knowledge: as an accident victim, avoid working with a lawyer who isn’t familiar with Florida auto accident laws.
  • Specialization: the right lawyer should be one whose practice area is personal injury law. Note that personal injury law is broad, so work with an attorney that has experience with auto accident cases. 

Contact Us Today

The Palm Beach Gardens car accident lawyers at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers have the experience and legal knowledge to help car accident victims seek the compensation they deserve for their losses (by appointment only). In addition, we work on a contingency fee basis and offer free initial consultations. Were you or a loved one injured in an auto accident? Contact us for a free case review at (561) 800-8000.

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