Car accidents happen everywhere, even in our town of Lake City. From chronic pain to missing out on important life events, car accident injuries may prevent you from living your fullest life. If your injuries are severe enough, you can’t work, causing financial strain.
If you were injured in a Lake City car accident due to someone else’s fault, you will already bear enough of a burden—you shouldn’t be the one to have to pay for it. Call Steven A. Bagen & Associates today at 800-BAGEN-LAW to learn how we can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
We Get Results
The experienced legal team at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., has been fighting for Florida’s injured for over 35 years. With hundreds of millions of dollars won for our clients, we have demonstrated our ability to recover the compensation accident victims need through settlement negotiations and court litigation.
When you trust us with your Lake City car accident case, you’re not just another number. We are here to help you through an incredibly difficult time in your life. Our mission is to deliver the legal advocacy our clients in hardship deserve, fighting hard to protect your rights and getting you every dollar possible so you don’t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket for your accident injuries.
What to Look for in a Lake City Car Accident Attorney
Nearly 3,000 fatal car crashes take place in Florida every year, and many more car accident injuries. Even if your car accident does not result in death, your life could forever change. To help you and your family adjust to life after a Lake City car accident, a lawyer can work to get you the compensation necessary for your injuries.
Your sole focus during this challenging and frustrating time should be on your health, family, and learning how to live at a new pace of life. Regardless of how minor your injuries are, you will still likely have to deal with at least some pain and will need to take time to recover. It is important during this time to be able to focus your energy and not have to worry about how you pay your bills or how to deal with your financial future.
For peace of mind, you need a legal team with the knowledge and resources necessary to take on a complex car accident injury claim.
You should expect your legal team to:
- Have access to investigators who can thoroughly investigate your car accident, determining who was at-fault
- Keep you updated on your case and settlement negotiation progress
- Be your legal advocate while you focus on getting better
- Know how to take your case to trial if settlement isn’t an option
At base, you should feel comfortable with your lawyer, and be confident that they are fighting for your best interests. You put a great deal of trust in your legal representative. You can rest even more at ease if your legal team has proven success in helping other car accident victims like you recover compensation for their injuries, like Steven A. Bagen & Associates.
What to do After A Lake City Car Accident
In a normal year, Florida sees more than 400,000 car accidents. Even during the first year of pandemic shut-down, Florida saw more than 340,000 car accidents. Given their frequency, everyone can expect to find themselves in a car accident someday.
Hopefully, the damages are more minor but—regardless—what you do in the minutes, hours, and days after your car accident can affect your ability to collect the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Collecting and preserving evidence is key to giving your car accident claim the documentation necessary to be successful. Keep in mind the following steps after a Lake City car accident.
Even if your injuries are not serious, you should still call 911. When you do, the police will report to the accident scene where they will speak with you, the other driver, any passengers, and any witnesses. They will compile this information in a police accident report. While it might not provide conclusive evidence of fault, the report can provide detailed information about your car accident. This detail can prove invaluable for your legal team to conduct a follow-up investigation to show that someone else caused the accident.
Take Pictures and Video
If your injuries are serious, you might not be able to do this step on your own, in which case you may ask someone with you to assist. Getting pictures and video of the accident scene, your injuries, and the vehicles involved can help preserve evidence about what the accident looked like and how it may have occurred. With a police accident report and clear photographic or video evidence alone, you could have the leverage to begin negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Speak With Witnesses
Witnesses can often provide a unique perspective about the seconds leading up to your car accident. While the police will speak with them when they compile information for their police accident report, not all witnesses will necessarily wait around for the police to arrive. If you can, make contact with every eyewitness to the accident, asking for their contact information. Your legal team may want to speak with them to take their statement and get a better idea of what they saw that might help your case.
See Your Doctor
Even if emergency medical personnel evaluated you at the accident scene or transported you to a hospital, you should still see your regular physician after the accident. Emergency medical services might not have conducted the level of screening your regular physician can.
Furthermore, when your doctor evaluates you after your accident, they can help you chart a path for your recovery. They will also keep detailed medical records about how your body has changed after the car accident and the quality-of-life impacts it has created. These medical records can help show the extent to which your life has been impacted and prove how much compensation you deserve.
Keep Copies of Records
Keep copies of all records you obtain related to the accident. From the medical records discussed above and the police accident report to every communication with an insurance company, keeping copies of records can help your legal team build a case showing that you did not cause the accident and someone else should be held responsible for all of your medical bills and other related expenses.
Write in a Journal
Keeping a record of your accident, your injuries, and your recovery in your own words is very important. Keeping a journal memorializes everything that you had to endure on your road to recovery. As time progresses, you will not remember every hurdle and setback you faced. Writing in a journal every day thus can help preserve evidence of things like pain and suffering that can contribute to the value of your claim and for which you should be compensated.
Contact Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A.
When you are looking for a car accident lawyer in Lake City, you have options. But you need to choose a lawyer you’re comfortable with and who you can trust to have your best interests at heart. Your lawyer should have proven experience helping other car accident victims like you recover compensation for their injuries. For this, you need to look no further than Steven A. Bagen & Associates.
Keeping the evidence described above is a key piece of what’s called a personal injury claim for damages. When you file a Lake City car accident claim, you need to provide evidence that someone else has caused you harm.
The elements of a personal injury claim for a car accident require you to prove:
- Another driver owed you a duty of care—all drivers must drive legally and safely
- The other driver breached that duty of care by driving negligently or recklessly in some way
- Because the other driver breached a duty to care, they caused an accident
- The accident led to the injuries and expenses for which you are claiming compensation
It might seem simple enough to prove these elements because you were there—you know what happened and how the accident was caused. But proving this to an insurance company or court requires evidence and documentation. This is why it’s vital that you have an attorney at your side, as they will know how to build up your case, and leave you to focus on your recovery.
Your lawyer may be able to collect evidence to demand the following compensation on your behalf:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
The amount of money you may be able to recover depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries. This is why it is important to collect all the evidence of the accident and your injuries.
You must also keep in mind that you have limited time to demand compensation. While it is you might not be able to think about anything after a Lake City car accident except recovering from your injuries, you want to contact an attorney as soon as you can.
Under Florida Law, you have four years from the date of a Lake City car accident to file a lawsuit. However, you should get started on building your claim much earlier. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that evidence will go missing and witnesses will forget what they saw.
In addition, the longer you wait, the less time you have to try to settle with an insurance company without having to file a lawsuit to obtain compensation. If you have not settled and fail to file a lawsuit by the deadline, you could be barred from collecting any compensation from the negligent party.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
After a car accident, you should alert your insurance company that you were involved in a crash. But stick to giving basic, factual details about the accident. Do not get into a discussion about what you think caused the accident or give a recorded statement.
While you might think your insurance company would have your best interests in mind because you paid it regular monthly premiums, that’s not always the case. At the end of the day, even if you were not at fault for your car accident, the more your insurer has to pay out for claims, the less profit it makes.
Take care when talking to your own insurance company or at-fault driver’s insurance company. The other party’s insurer will certainly look for any excuse to deny the claim or reduce the amount of money they have to pay you. It can use even seemingly innocent statements suggesting that you looked away from the road for just a second to claim that you contributed to the accident and that you should not collect the full compensation you need to cover your expenses.
Any expense the other party’s insurance company can avoid by pinning blame on you can fall at your feet to pay. This is another reason why working with a trusted and experienced Lake City car accident attorney is a smart move. Your lawyer will speak with the insurance companies on your behalf, making sure that nothing is said that could even imply that you played a part in causing the accident.
Your lawyer can also negotiate with the insurance company to get maximum compensation for you. Without a lawyer, many insurance companies try to take advantage of car accident victims, such as by calling days after the accident to offer a quick settlement. Some victims may be eager to get the process past them and will feel tempted to accept the quick offer.
These people don’t realize that the insurance company usually only makes this offer because it’s in their best interest and saves them money. The initial offer from the insurance company is almost certainly not the best offer they are willing to make, despite whatever else the insurance adjuster may tell you.
What’s worse, if you take the initial settlement offer and then months or even years later realize you still have bills to pay related to your accident but the settlement funds have run dry, you will be out of luck. You cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. Having an attorney to advise you can help you evaluate settlement offers and make an informed decision about whether to accept or negotiate for more.
Speak With a Dedicated Lake City Car Accident Lawyer Today
The lawyer you choose can make the difference between recovering enough compensation to cover your expenses and finding in the years to come that you should have received more. With a skilled legal advocate guiding you, you can shift the stress and burden of your financial needs off to your lawyer.