Jacksonville Car Accident Lawyer

Lou Pendas
Lou Pendas

Lou Pendas

Lou Pendas is a Florida native and he has always sought to insure that his clients are cared for througho …

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Lou Pendas is a Member of
the 1-800-Injured network.

JimmyFasig
JimmyFasig

Jimmy Fasig

Jimmy is dedicated to helping injured people come back stronger from their injuries, both physically and …

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Jimmy Fasig is a Member of
the 1-800-Injured network.

Image Of Eric Feldman
Image Of Eric Feldman

Eric Feldman

Eric is an experienced personal injury attorney with more than 40 years in practice. …

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Eric Feldman is a Member of
the 1-800-Injured network.

Marc Pacin

Prior to forming Pacin Levine, P.A., Marc handled catastrophic injury cases, trucking accident cases, wro …

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Marc Pacin is a Member of
the 1-800-Injured network.

After both major and minor car accidents, there are typically damages that lead to high costs to the victim. Florida is known as a “no-fault” state when it comes to automobile accidents, which means that for a victim to recover their initial losses (under $10,000), they will work with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, but once the cost of their personal injuries exceeds this $10,000 limit, they will need to file an auto accident claim with the insurer representing the at-fault driver (or, in certain instances, against their own uninsured motorist coverage policy). 

Regardless of how a victim must proceed, many car accident cases result in settlements far less than what they deserve because insurance companies are aggressively focused on settling for as little as possible — especially when a claimant is not working with a Jacksonville car accident attorney for a legal team. 

After a car crash, though, many victims simply file their car accident claims alone, only to realize after the fact that they were entitled to much more money than they settled for.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With Local Car Accident Lawyers With Ease

1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. After being hurt in a Jacksonville car accident, car accident victims are left facing significant impacts and losses that can be very frustrating to recover compensation for when dealing with the other driver’s insurance company. 

Personal injury attorneys are an excellent tool for victims trying to fight for car accident compensation, but unfortunately, many people overlook the importance of this partnership as they start the claims process on their own. 

1-800-Injured connects accident victims with law offices and schedules a free consultation on their behalf. During this free consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss the specifics of personal injury claims with a proven auto accident attorney and get a clear understanding of how they can support you through the insurance claims process. 

Personal Injury Lawyer Jesse Bernheim is a Member
of the 1-800-Injured network.

Insurance Claims Rarely Lead to Fair Settlements Without a Fight

At first glance, a car accident claim is a seamless process — initiate your auto accident claim, and simply wait for the auto insurance claims department to issue a settlement payment — but the reality is that insurance companies are focused on settling any given car accident claim for as little as possible. 

Fighting for what you deserve will lead to aggressive negotiations and intimidating actions taken by the auto insurance company. 

Common Types of Car Accidents

The following are just a few of the most common types of accidents, both in terms of severity and the technical aspects of the crash.

Text driving

Distracted Driving Accidents

Distracted driving is a serious problem, both in Jacksonville and throughout the United States. Everyone on the road is at risk when one driver is distracted from their responsibilities. 

Whether the responsible driver is texting while driving, eating, applying makeup, playing with their radio, or anything else that takes their attention or focus off the road, you deserve compensation for their dangerous behavior.

Speeding Accidents

Speed limits are there for a reason, but people often ignore these limits and drive at unsafe speeds. For several reasons, speed limits are determined to keep everyone safe, allow for safe travel for a range of vehicles, and account for the specific conditions of the stretch of road. 

When someone is speeding, they may come around a bend too fast, miss important yield or stop signs, or find themselves in many other situations that can cause an accident. In addition, accidents at higher speeds can cause more damage. 

Motorcycle or Truck Accidents

Car-on-car accidents are dangerous, but the risks are much higher when adding several tons of metal to the equation. The danger is also increased when you strip away the protective walls of a vehicle, as is the case with motorcycles.

motorcycle-accidents-by-agency-jacksonville
Source: ​https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

These are the average weights for vehicles that you commonly find on the Jacksonville roadways:

The differences in these masses mean that it’s possible to be hit by a vehicle that’s several times heavier than what you’re driving. If you’re on a motorcycle and you’re struck by a car or driving a car that was struck by a commercial truck, the likelihood of serious injury is greater. 

A Jacksonville car accident lawyer will recognize the increased peril and be able to present your case in a way that will garner additional damages.

Dangerous and Fatal Accidents

The city of Jacksonville experiences about 25,000 car accidents annually. Motor vehicle accidents result in some of the worst injuries that area emergency rooms, like the one at Memorial Hospital, see on a regular basis. 

Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to walk away from a crash. In addition to the 12,024 reported injuries, 187 car accident fatalities were reported in 2020 in Duval County from a total of 21,211 reported crashes. In the event of a fatal accident, surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages that go beyond the impacts addressed in non-fatal personal injury and car accident cases.

A bigger population means a greater occurrence of DUI and DUI accidents. If you’re the victim of someone else’s bad decision, you shouldn’t have to pay for your recovery. A car accident attorney will focus on helping you seek out the compensation you need to recover, both physically and financially.

duval-county-dui-rates
Source: https://www.fdle.state.fl.us/FSAC/Data-Statistics/UCR-Arrest-Data.aspx

Duval County had a total of 1,797 DUI arrests in 2019. Countless other drunk drivers were not arrested, putting everyone else on the road at an increased risk of an accident due to their reckless decision to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A 2019 study found that there were 5.60 DUI deaths per 100,000 residents of Jacksonville. According to ValuePenguin:

“Jacksonville, Florida’s most populous city, had the highest absolute number of DUI deaths within its borders — 138 over the last three years. That puts it 191% over the average among large cities. It was also the only city in northeastern Florida to be among the top 10 most dangerous cities for DUI deaths — nearby Gainesville is 71% safer. Route 1 was the most dangerous road in Jacksonville, with 15 total fatalities on the major highway between 2015 and 2017.”

Jacksonville Car Accident Statistics

Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, with twice the number of people that Miami has. With over 800,000 residents, it shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the city records tens of thousands of car accidents annually. These car crashes often involve serious injuries. In fact, according to the Department of Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 12,000 people were injured in Duval County car accidents last year.

jacksonville-crashes-graph
Source: https://www.flhsmv.gov/traffic-crash-reports/crash-dashboard/

If you are the victim of a Jacksonville car accident, it’s important to consider your options with the help of a personal injury law firm. The medical expenses from a car accident can be exorbitant, and most people don’t have the cash reserves to handle that kind of expense. 

A Jacksonville car accident lawyer will be able to help you find just compensation for any damages you suffer in an accident.

Common Accident Injuries 

The following are just a few of the many different types of injuries that may be suffered in a crash, each of which car accident attorneys are familiar with representing. 

Whether or not you see your specific personal injury mentioned below, contact us as soon as possible to be connected with a personal injury law firm for a free consultation where you can discuss the type of injuries you have suffered from an auto accident, the impact these injuries have had on your life, and learn about how vital car accident lawyers are for successful personal injury claims. 

Personal Injury Lawyer Jesse Bernheim is a Member
of the 1-800-Injured network.

Whiplash

In a rear-end collision, one of the most common injuries can be whiplash. Whiplash is a medical term used to describe neck strain and injury to soft tissues (ligaments) between the bones of your neck. 

Car accident lawyers see many people who have been injured as passengers in vehicles that were struck from behind – or hit by someone who ran into them from behind – caused by distracted drivers who are unable to pay attention while operating their vehicles. 

Seat Belt Injuries

Seat belt syndrome” is a term used by some physicians to describe specific injuries that may be suffered during an auto accident while wearing a seatbelt — which appear days, weeks, months, or even years after the car crash itself has been long forgotten. 

These “syndrome-type” injuries may result from any number of factors, such as contact with hard surfaces during the impact; improper positioning of your body before or after the crash; or even a product defect in your seat belt, vehicle seats, airbags, headrests, and other car safety equipment.

Fractures

Car accidents can lead to fractured bones, especially when the impact is significant enough to deploy the airbag. Broken ribs are often accompanied by internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent. A fracture is a break or crack in a bone and can range from mild to severe depending on the extent of the injury. 

A compression fracture often occurs when the weight-bearing bones in your spine are broken due to pressure on your back. Common areas for fractures include your arms, legs, and hips.

Head Injuries/Traumatic Brain Injuries

Many of the most severe problems involve head injuries, including traumatic brain disorders (TBIs). During a crash, head contact with glass, steering wheels, or metal objects can cause traumatic brain injury; TBI symptoms include headache, memory loss, and even personality changes. Severe closed-head injury can manifest in unconsciousness or coma for days, weeks, or longer after the accident.

Heart Damage

While it isn’t easy to break your heart with an auto accident, medical research has shown that people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder after car crashes may be at greater risk for heart disease and stroke than the general population. This is because feelings of panic, fear, and helplessness increase levels of cortisol and adrenaline — both known to affect your cardiovascular system — as well as raise blood pressure. 

Lacerations/Abrasions

Any type of injury that causes you to lose skin (lacerations) or causes skid-marks across your body (abrasions) can lead to scarring, infection, disfigurement, and even nerve damage. These types of injuries are often not immediately apparent; if you have any reason to believe that you were involved in a car accident where such wounds occurred, the chances are good that they will need immediate medical attention.

Internal Bleeding

Internal bleeding is often not immediately apparent following a car accident. For this reason, among others, it is important to seek prompt medical attention — even if you don’t believe that your injuries are severe enough to warrant such action. 

A common cause for internal bleeding can be damage to the blood vessels and organs in your chest and abdomen area, especially the liver and spleen.

Bruising

Bruising is an injury typical of car accidents — and while the discoloration may fade over time, it is not a sign that you are fully healed. If any part of your body shows signs of bruising or swelling following a car accident, chances are good that you’ve suffered some sort of personal injury; but many times, such symptoms will reoccur without warning even after they’ve seemingly disappeared.

Even a bruise should warrant a visit with your doctor to ensure that this is not a visible symptom of a more serious underlying issue. 

Emotional Distress

Emotional distress from a car accident is anything but trivial. Following a Jacksonville, FL auto accident which causes car accident injuries, victims often become depressed or stressed out due to the physical ailments they are forced to cope with daily.

Among the most common symptoms of mental anguish following a car crash are severe feelings of anxiety and depression, a general sense of hopelessness, and a lack of motivation that can lead to withdrawal from family, friends, and work.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is composed of bundles of nerve fibers that transmit signals back and forth between the body and the brain. If these nerve cells are damaged (by a car accident or any other type of trauma), then it is possible to suffer long term consequences in the form of neurological deficits, including paralysis and other problems with bodily function, organ control, and even cognitive processes such as memory and perception.

Sudden-Onset vs. Chronic Injuries

Car accident injuries can manifest themselves in sudden-onset form, especially to drivers and passengers who were wearing their seat belts at the time of impact. Such individuals sometimes complain of severe neck pain and headache after an auto accident — perhaps delayed by hours, days, or weeks following the initial trauma. 

Car accident injuries can also be chronic in nature. Some sustain minor injuries during a car collision that make them more susceptible to developing other types of medical conditions over time — such as asthma, high blood pressure, and even Type 2 Diabetes. These chronic injuries are why it is crucial that you do not make official statements about your condition until working with Jacksonville car accident lawyers.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is a type of personal injury claim that arises when a person’s death is caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of another, such as a Jacksonville, FL distracted driving crash. The deceased’s family members can initiate a lawsuit in civil court to recover compensation for their losses, but to do so, they must be able to prove that the decedent’s death was caused by someone else. 

This is best done by having a personal injury attorney skilled with cases involving motor vehicles on your side when you take the first steps toward filing your wrongful death claim.

What to Do After an Accident

The following are some of the most critical steps to take, starting from the moment you are first in an accident. 

Remember that every accident is unique, so the following advice is intended to give you a general sense of important steps to take and is not meant to be used as a comprehensive guide for getting through the days and weeks after a crash.

Call 911

In Jacksonville, FL, and Duval County, both police and fire rescue are dispatched to all accidents with injuries as a matter of policy. However, someone needs to alert 911 of the auto accident so that they can send first responders who can resolve any issues at the scene of the accident, write an accident report, provide emergency medical care, and more. 

Call 911 after your accident to ensure that you get the care you need and that there is an official record of the situation. It may be in your best interest to call 911 before exiting your vehicle to avoid the possibility of the at-fault driver pressuring you into handling things directly without alerting the proper officials.

Document Your Jacksonville Car Accident

As much as we don’t believe it, our memory is fallible and unreliable. As such, a Jacksonville car accident attorney will rely on immutable records like police reports, photo and video evidence, and medical records to paint the full picture. Car accident lawyers appreciate any additional evidence they can use to support personal injury cases, so if possible, take a video of the accident scene and narrate over the top of it. 

In the video, discuss your actions leading to the crash, any relevant details about the location, and what the other driver was doing to cause your auto accident. Document your injuries at the time, as well as damage to your vehicle and other vehicles. 

After a car accident, there are often eyewitnesses who stop to provide their account of the situation. Be sure to get their contact information and encourage them to make an official statement to the attending officer. These additional perspectives can provide insight into determining fault and liability in car accident cases.

Get Medical Attention

If you’ve been injured, allow the paramedics to examine you on the scene. If they don’t transport you to the hospital, see your doctor at your earliest convenience. Internal injuries are common in car accidents, and they aren’t always apparent with a cursory examination. You need to identify and treat all of your injuries—not just the ones visible at the time of the accident.

A complete medical examination can uncover internal bleeding, minor fractures, and concussions. In addition, a medical report can be used by your car accident lawyer to establish a timeline for your medical recovery history. A complete medical examination is the first step in what could be a long road to recovery.

Follow Up With Your Doctor

Regardless of how you handle your injuries immediately after the car accident, you must continue to work with your doctor throughout your recovery. While many people choose not to in order to reduce their medical expenses, this decision can lead to additional complications and long-term injuries that can cause significant disruptions to their quality of life. 

Ignoring Injuries Can Complicate Your Case

In a personal injury case where a victim chose to ignore their injuries, leading to more complications, an insurance company will work aggressively to pin the fault on the victim since they did not take the appropriate steps following a major vehicle collision. Working closely with a doctor after motor vehicle accidents is essential for your physical health and the strength of your personal injury case.

Call a Car Accident Lawyer

Many people will file an insurance claim as soon as possible in the hopes that they can resolve the claims process as quickly as they can, collect their settlement money, and move on with their lives. While this sounds ideal, the reality is that trying to speed through this process only results in the victim getting much less than what they are entitled to, and your situation will be no different.

Professionals Suggest Hiring a Lawyer Before Initiating A Claim

Contact a car accident attorney BEFORE filing a claim so that you can have experienced legal advice through every step of the way. Simple, innocent statements will be used against you if at all possible. When your attorney is acting as an intermediary between you and the insurance company, they can ensure that these types of mistakes are avoided so that you can maximize your chances of a fair settlement.

Working With a Jacksonville, FL Auto Accident Attorney To Navigate Your Financial Issues 

In a car accident with injuries, medical bills and other expenses are inevitable. Healthcare is expensive, and the cost of your recovery will accrue as you go to doctors’ appointments, pay for medications, and attend physical therapy sessions. If you’re unable to work, it can be even more challenging to keep ahead of the mounting medical expenses. 

Stay Current With Your Creditors and Debts

Car accident lawyers can act as intermediaries to medical billers, employers, insurers, and other interested parties by finding ways to defer your payments until you are able to complete the car accident claims process or receive a judgment in your case. 

Working with a Jacksonville car accident lawyer who can act as a liaison between you and your creditors is one of the best ways to stay focused on your recovery while a personal injury professional manages these complicated issues on your behalf.

Personal Injury Lawyer Jesse Bernheim is a Member
of the 1-800-Injured network.

Know And Defend Your Rights As an Employee

Employers are required to try to accommodate you during your recuperation period, but they don’t have to pay you or hold your job indefinitely. Your car accident attorney can assist you in getting forbearance at your job while you work on your recovery and will fight to recover any lost wages through your personal injury case. 

With a car accident attorney’s assistance, you’ll be able to fully explore many of the options legally available to you and have a clear understanding of how your finances can be handled by following Florida law and using personal injury law to your benefit.

Calculating Economic Damages 

Economic damages make up the basis of a personal injury claim, as they apply to any impact or loss that has a set or measurable dollar value associated with it. These include things like a victim’s medical bills, lost wages, the cost to repair or replace damaged property, the cost of a rental car, as well as the cost of goods or services that a victim needed to purchase to assist them with their daily routines after suffering a personal injury. 

While it is simple enough to add these different totals up to reach a final amount, it takes skill and experience that car accident attorneys have to identify the many different damages that can legally be included in personal injury cases. 

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more complicated than economic damages in personal injury cases for various reasons, namely because these damages seek financial compensation for impacts that have no set dollar values associated with them. 

These damages are typically very subjective and difficult to quantify, such as the emotional suffering or pain that a victim endures, the loss of quality of life, and more. 

Reaching a dollar amount for these damages can be accomplished with several methods, including either a multiplier or per diem method. 

A multiplier method uses a scale to indicate the severity of the damages and then multiplies this number against the total economic damages, while a per diem method assigns a daily rate that a victim is owed and multiplies it by the total days the victim suffered these damages.

An insurance company is more likely to fight against non-economic damages because they are so difficult to make sense of, but car accident attorneys have years of experience with Florida law and fighting to get fair settlements for their clients.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jacksonville, FL Car Accidents

The following are just a few of the most common questions that an attorney will be able to help you work through as soon as you connect with them.

To answer this question, you and your attorney will need to take a deep dive into all of the ways that your accident has impacted your life financially, emotionally, and physically. Compensatory damages are divided into economic and non-economic, and each requires extensive work to ensure that you consider all of the impacts and quantify them appropriately.

Economic damages apply to things that come with measurable financial impacts, such as your medical bills and lost wages, and are easier to calculate. Non-economic damages seek compensation for things that do not have economic implications, such as your pain and suffering, depression, suffering, or trauma you may endure following your accident. Each is important but requires very different methods to calculate.

There is nothing to guarantee that you will not be able to get a fair settlement without a lawyer, but the reality is that insurance companies have spent decades working on tactics to limit the amount that gets paid out for claims against their clients. Your situation will be no different. 

Auto accident attorneys will be able to negotiate on your behalf with years of experience while you are able to focus on your recovery from your injuries — as well as the steps necessary to get your life back on track — without being weighed down by these additional stressors that can have severe impacts on your recovery.

Fortunately, Florida uses a rule known as pure comparative negligence, which allows a victim to seek compensation for an accident even if they are partially responsible. Through this rule, your contributory fault is determined as a percentage, and then your final award is reduced by the percent that you are at fault. 

For example, if your award is $100,000, but you are 15% at fault, your settlement amount will be reduced by 15% for a final settlement of $85,000.

While this is a crucial way to ensure that a victim gets what they deserve, insurance companies use this rule to their advantage by trying to add additional percentage points to your own fault, whether or not they are justified. Your attorney will be able to fight back, though, and make sure that you get what you truly deserve. 

Even if the car accident report states that you are partially responsible for a crash, though, your Jacksonville, FL accident attorney may fight to reduce or eliminate the amount of fault you take responsibility for depending on the specifics of your situation.

While many claims stemming from automobile accidents are settled before making it to trial (or even before a lawsuit is filed), a victim (or a victim’s family in the event of wrongful death) should never accept the initial offer from the insurance companies without first discussing their option with a Jacksonville, FL attorney. 

Insurance companies are focused on settling claims quickly and inexpensively. When reputable law offices do not represent victims, the adjuster assigned to the case knows they have a better chance of achieving this goal.

Your attorney and their law firm may very likely settle your case, but not before going through an in-depth series of negotiations designed to get you the money you deserve while avoiding a costly and time-consuming court case.

Many accident victims will work directly with insurance companies without consulting with law offices, mistakenly believing that they will not benefit from the combined legal experience of a personal injury firm unless they need to file a lawsuit. 

However, the reality is that many Jacksonville car accidents and their resulting claims are resolved through direct out-of-court settlements, as both attorneys and insurers often prefer to forgo the legal process to save both time and money. 

However, while many cases are settled without lawsuits, this does not guarantee your situation won’t require additional work. During your free consultation with a proven law firm, you will be able to discuss your situation and get a better sense of how past cases similar to your own have been handled by the law firm. 

While they will not be able to give you an exact answer about what you can expect, they will be able to help you understand when and why a law firm will move to file a lawsuit against an insurance company.

Under Florida law, vehicle owners and drivers must have $10,000 worth of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. PIP benefits are paid by your insurance and not the at-fault party. That’s what’s meant when Florida is referred to as a “no-fault state.” 

PIP will pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000. The rest is recovered from the at-fault driver and their insurers.

Florida uses a law known as Pure Comparative Fault for personal injury cases, which allows a victim to accept partial fault for the accident while still being allowed to seek compensation. While this rule is highly beneficial for many, the insurance company may attempt to pin fault on you to reduce their financial obligations, whether or not you are responsible at all for the crash. 

When working with a proven law firm, your attorney will be able to present all of the details of your case and then determine whether or not you should accept any fault, and if so, how much. Your attorney will not be able to tell you during your free consultation with their law firm whether or not this law will be relevant to your case, but as you begin your work together, these details will become more and more clear.

Many people become understandably distressed when they discover that the police report from their accident has incorrect information that may lead to the victim being incorrectly blamed for some fault in the accident. Fortunately, an accident report is not set in stone, and a victim or their Jacksonville accident attorney can contact the police department to discuss any necessary amendments to the report. 

Knowing what to amend and how to do so is intimidating for a victim as they try to be sure they follow the appropriate steps and do not violate the law, but your lawyer will be able to handle this process and ensure that the information presented to the insurance companies is accurate.

If you were involved in a car accident as a passenger, you will still need to identify the at-fault party to file a claim with their insurer. Depending on the specifics of your accident, it may be the driver of your vehicle, the driver of another vehicle, or even a manufacturer or auto company. Identifying and proving fault is still the first step in the legal process, regardless of your involvement with the crash.

In some cases, a passenger may need to seek compensation from more than one party, especially in crashes that involve significant comparative fault where two or more parties accept partial blame. Again, your car accident lawyer will help you navigate this complex situation and identify the most effective course of action.

Typically, a victim has four years to file a lawsuit in the Florida Courts after a car accident under the Florida statute of limitations. This seems like a long time, but the reality is that a personal injury attorney will use this time to carry out direct settlement negotiations in an attempt to avoid going to court.

Four years seems like plenty of time in the days and weeks following an accident, and people may not rush to hire a lawyer immediately. Remember that your lawyer will need ample time to perform an in-depth investigation and to carry out their negotiations, so hiring an attorney as you near the expiration of your case means they will need to rush through the process and may have to forgo important steps meant to get you the money you deserve.