Florida Car Accident Compensation
Obtaining Compensation For The Injured Since 1982
Car Crash? What Kind of Damages Can You Recover?
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident involving a negligent or drunk driver, Florida law provides that you can recover damages, including financial compensation such as:
reimbursement for medical expenses (care, therapy, equipment);
paid your lost wages from your job;
money for your pain and suffering;
money for your mental anguish;
financial coverage for any physical impairment;
financial coverage for any permanent disfigurement.
Even if your injuries are relatively minor, damages may still be available to you. You may also be able to recoup your property losses for things like your totaled or wrecked car (or truck or van or SUV, etc.).
Injuries to Drivers and Passengers in Accidents That Get Sometimes Get Ignored
At the scene of an accident, drivers and passengers may not feel or demonstrate any kind of hurt or damage: they may be more worried about how much it will cost in time and money to fix their cars than about any injuries to themselves. Usually, this is because they don’t feel any pain at the time and there is no obvious hurt, like blood or broken bones or bruising. This doesn’t mean they aren’t injured.
Alan’s Tip: In any collision between vehicles with any amount of force, it's prudent to go to a physician as soon as possible if you have any symptoms of pain or discomfort that you believe is related to the accident. Under the 2012 PIP Reforms, you have a 14 Day Deadline to seek treatment by certain medical care providers to qualify for PIP benefits.
Whiplash - Neck Muscle and Ligament Injuries
Your neck is vulnerable to sudden movements, and there are all sorts of situations where an unexpected, unprotected, and forceful movement of the neck, either backward or forward, can result in damage to both muscles within the neck as well as ligaments and nerves. Car crashes, particularly situations where the accident victim is a driver or passenger in a vehicle that is rear-ended, are notorious for causing whiplash injuries.
So much so, in fact, that there are periodic news stories of criminal schemes where con artists slam into unsuspecting vehicles and then attempt to claim whiplash injuries in a quick fraud settlement claim. The Florida “no fault” insurance laws have been targets for fraud.
In fact, Florida became so notorious for staged accidents that Florida insurance law was reformed in 2012 to deal with the high amount of insurance fraud; accordingly, legitimate claims for whiplash and other soft tissue injuries may be unjustly questioned by insurance carriers. (For more on Florida insurance on accident claims, see our Car Accident FAQ page.)
Read our Articles About Car Accident Compensation (From Our Injury and Accident Blog)
What is whiplash?
Whiplash is the common name for any injury to the human neck resulting from the neck moving as if it has been snapped, or lashed, like a whip. It’s a fast and forceful movement of the neck that causes harm to neck muscles and ligaments as they are pushed and stretched beyond their normal range of motion.
Whiplash injuries can be minor: some soreness, a few uncomfortable days (and nights) as muscles heal, but nothing serious or life-altering. These are the lucky injury victims, where health care providers treat the whiplash patient with over-the-counter pain relievers and a time of rest, with ice packs placed on the sore neck muscles.
Some whiplash injuries, however, can be severe neck injuries that have serious consequences. Serious whiplash victims can have their lives changed forever from their accident: their neck pain can be chronic and incapacitating, and they may be in treatment for a long period of time that will include physical therapy, prescription pain medications, and loss of quality of life.
2. Concussions – The Brain is Shaken Inside the Skull From the Force of the Crash
Concussions are injuries to the brain that may not be obvious to either the person suffering from the concussion or those around them for a long while after the concussion has happened. Concussions are caused by a forceful blow to the head that literally shakes the brain inside the victim’s skull.
What is a concussion?
Accident victims who suffer a concussion may not pass out or act strange at the time of the crash. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t hurt and in need of medical care. Other victims of concussion may appear dizzy or disoriented or even faint at the accident scene, and this is a sign that they need immediate medical attention.
Concussions are traumatic injuries to the brain; however, they can be minor and with bed rest and health care treatment, the concussion victims can fully recover without any permanent injury to their brain function.
Concussions, however, can sometimes be serious brain injuries that will need surgery or long-term health care. Some concussions from car accidents can result in permanent or very long term problems with speech or walking or ability to remember or learn. In other words, some concussion injuries in car crashes can mean permanent brain damage.
Serious, Life Altering Permanent Injuries to Drivers and Passengers from Crashes
Some accidents cause injuries that are immediately apparent because the victims are obviously hurt and in need of emergency care. Serious and severe injuries in crashes usually involve harm to the brain and/or the spinal cord. The most severe injury from a car accident, of course, is the wrongful death of the accident victim.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are serious injuries that can permanently injure and sometimes kill the person who has suffered a head injury. Many accident victims suffer from hits to their head which result in traumatic brain injuries. Motorcycle wrecks and accidents involving bicycles often involve traumatic brain injuries, particularly when the motorcyclist or bicycle rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
“TBIs” can be open or closed. Open TBIs occur when the skull has been fractured: there is actual opening in the skull. Closed TBIs are not head fractures, but they can be even more serious because of hidden dangers, like blood clots silently growing beneath the skin.
Traumatic brain injuries can result in wrongful death all too often. TBIs can also cause permanent life-altering injuries including loss of brain activity and bodily functions.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries occur when there is severe damage to the neck or back during a crash or accident that results in harm to the victim’s spinal cord. The spinal cord itself is made of a mass of nerves that coordinate the brain’s instructions to the rest of the body: it is the human body’s communication system. Impairment or injury to the spinal cord means a loss of movement and possible loss of use of arms, legs, hands, bladder, sexual organs, feet, as well as the ability to chew or digest food and water.
Spinal cord injuries all too often result in paralysis of either legs or arms and legs either for an extended time period or permanently. Spinal cord injuries are very common in wrecks where the two vehicles involved in the crash are very different in size and weight, such as:
Big rig trucks and any other motor vehicle
SUV and sedans, motorcycles, bicycles
Cars and motorcycles, bicycles
Buses and SUVs, cars, pickups, motorcycles, bikes
Trains and any other motor vehicle
Wrongful Death – When Your Loved One Dies in a Fatal Accident on a Florida Roadway
Special state laws have been passed by the Florida Legislature to provide financial remedies to the heirs of a person who died because of the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another. Many wrongful death cases are brought because of car accidents, big rig semi-truck wrecks, motorcycle crashes and the like. Many are filed in civil court as criminal actions based upon violations of drunk driving laws proceed in the criminal justice system.
Those that can claim wrongful death damages are defined by law, not everyone who is a family member can file a wrongful death action based upon an accident fatality. Damages are also defined by the Florida Wrongful Death Statute. Wrongful death damages may include economic damages (projected lifetime income) and non-economic loss (e.g., the enjoyment of living), and medical and funeral expenses.
Accident Insurance Claims: Cars | Motorcycles | Bicycles | Trucks | Vans | SUVs
Insurance companies in Florida, as well as the rest of the United States, are companies designed to make a profit and their efforts are focused upon their bottom line, and keeping the amount of monies paid each year in claims as low as possible. After all, in years where insurance carriers have been hit with large numbers of claims, such as a bad hurricane year, they can risk going out of business in their efforts to make good on paying out legitimate claims on insurance policies.
This means that insurance companies and their agents and adjusters are expert at dealing with claims on a daily basis. Their goal is always to keep the home office and ultimately their company shareholders happy: it is not to do justice for you, the injury victim. Sometimes, they may even go over the line so far that they are guilty of insurance bad faith.
All too often after a serious accident or car crash, insurance company adjusters appear on the scene and are on the job, aggressively attempting to resolve claims quickly – particularly if there has been a tragic fatality. Fast settlements of serious injury accidents and wrongful death claims are seldom in the injury victim’s best interests.
Alan’s Tip: It is very important to have an experienced legal advocate on your side that understands how insurance company representatives negotiate claims. Insurance employees, no matter how friendly and nice, are not looking out for the injured person's best interests: please be aware of this at all times (are you being recorded?). This is especially true after the 2012 PIP Reforms, where Insurance Company Fraud Specialists are allowed to put you under oath and interrogate you (and it’s up to you to get a lawyer to be present during questioning here).
Having Florida lawyer Alan Sackrin at your side, with his years of experience dealing with insurance adjusters and savvy insurance defense attorneys, not only levels the playing field but it helps to lessen the stress levels of family members having to deal with the aftermath of a major accident or crash.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash or accident involving serious injury or death from a collision between vehicles including semis, big rigs, 18 wheelers, cars, sedans, pickup trucks, SUVs, minivans, motorcycles, bicycles, ATVs, Jet Skis, or other motor vehicles, please feel free to contact Alan for a free initial consultation. Alan Sackrin and his legal team are very experienced in representing crash accident victims and their families, and they’re ready to help.
For further information:
Experienced Board Certified Trial Lawyer - AV Rated by Martindale-Hubell
Alan is a Board Certified civil trial specialist with an emphasis in car and truck accident matters. If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of another person, contact Alan Sackrin, an experienced South Florida Auto Injury Attorney, today for a free consultation.
Get A Free Case Evaluation - Call (954) 458-8655
To find out more about whether or not Alan Sackrin can help you or your loved one, you can contact him by phone at 954-458-8655 or by e-mail through this web site to schedule an appointment and learn more about your rights in a South Florida car or truck accident.
Your initial consultation is free, and if you and Alan do form a lawyer-client team, then Alan will not be paid until you have successfully resolved your claim by trial or settlement.
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