Every time you pull out onto a public roadway, you are at risk of being involved in an accident. Fortunately, tens of thousands of drivers make it safely to their destination every day throughout Florida, but there are accidents nonetheless. Oftentimes, the accident is caused by one driver who was acting recklessly, negligently, or even maliciously, meaning that the other driver is the victim in the accident and not at fault for the collision at all. In these instances, the victims have a right to file an insurance claim against the responsible driver’s insurance policy to get compensation for the injuries and the damages that they incur as a result of their client’s dangerous behavior.
However, filing an insurance claim is not as simple as it may first seem to be. Once you initiate a claim, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case who will spend the next few weeks investigating all aspects of the crash before, ostensibly, returning to you with a check meant to pay for all of the damages you have incurred. The reality is that the offer they make will be far less than what you deserve because the insurance company is not interested in paying you what you deserve — their primary focus is to save themselves as much money as possible while settling the claim.
Find a Car Accident Lawyer in Sarasota Today
Inevitably, hiring an attorney is a decision that you will probably want to make after an accident, but even the process of searching for a car accident law firm, connecting with an attorney, and hoping that they are available to take your case can be overwhelming while you are trying to come to terms with the reality of your accident and injuries. This is why many people choose to go through the claims process on their own, and ultimately walk away with far less money than they deserve or even need to recover from the financial impacts of their crash.
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. Instead of taking on the process of searching for an experienced car accident attorney who will take your case, contact us and we will do the legwork for you. Once connected with an attorney, you will be able to discuss your situation with them during a free initial consultation as you get a better understanding of how they can help you, what your rights are, and what you can expect moving forward.
Read more below about car accidents in Sarasota, and contact us now to get your legal process started as soon as possible.
Determining Fault After a Car Accident in Sarasota
One of the first questions that will need to be answered after a car accident is that of fault: who caused the accident, and therefore, who is responsible for paying for the damages? Florida uses a rule known as pure comparative fault to assign blame to an accident, which allows for multiple parties to accept partial fault, and a victim—even if they contributed to the crash—will receive compensation. In some states, even accepting 1% of the blame is grounds to dismiss the entire claim, leaving the victim with nothing.
With pure comparative fault, the final settlement amount is reduced by the percentage that the claimant was at fault. This means that if you accept 10% of the blame for the crash and your damages are $100,000, then they will be reduced by 10% for a $90,000 settlement. This is extremely helpful in cases where the victim is partially responsible, but the insurance company will use this rule to their advantage as often as possible, whether legitimate or not. Something as simple as an apology will be twisted into an admission of guilt, and therefore a reason for the insurance company to push to lower their client’s fault. Your attorney will need to fight to ensure that you do not accept any more blame than you contributed to, ensuring that you get the money you deserve.
Calculating Damages After a Car Accident in Sarasota
In tandem with the question of fault, you and your attorney will need to determine the damages you have suffered, and therefore the amount of money that you are owed in either a settlement or that you will seek in a lawsuit. As with assigning fault, the insurance company will do everything possible to limit your damages as much as possible.
Economic damages are the basis of an insurance claim and include any damage that has a dollar value (if this doesn’t make sense, it will after learning about non-economic damages). Your hospital bills tend to be a major portion of these damages, as do impacts on your income depending on how much work you miss and whether or not your injuries affect your earning capacity. In addition, economic damages include repayment for any services that you may need to hire in order to help with tasks that you would have normally done on your own, such as home chores, driving, grocery shopping and more.
Non-economic damages seek compensation for damages that do not have a financial value associated with them. They include things like the pain and suffering of your injuries, the emotional and psychological impacts of your traumatic experience, and feelings like depression, fear, or anxiety that you must deal with in the aftermath of a car accident.
These damages are more complicated than economic damages and are more aggressively contested due to how difficult it is to quantify them. There are a variety of ways that a Sarasota car accident attorney will calculate these damages, including a per diem intended to pay you for each day that you have dealt with damages, or a multiplier that quantifies the severity of these damages and then multiplies against your economic damages.