Car accidents are unexpected and can change your life in an instant. For accidents involving injuries, you will end up with medical bills to pay for treatment. If you are employed, you might need time off of work to go to medical appointments, or you might be unable to perform your job duties because of your injuries.
The aftermath of a car accident can be a confusing and challenging time for anyone. Fortunately, a Jacksonville car accident attorney can help you navigate the legal issues that arise.
If the fault of another party caused the accident, you might be able to recover compensation for your injuries. It is critical to schedule a consultation with an accident lawyer in Jacksonville as soon as you can so that you can learn about your legal options.
Jacksonville Car Accident Attorneys at The Law Offices of Randy Reep
If you were injured in a car accident in Jacksonville, FL today, you need an aggressive attorney to fight for your legal right to compensation for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Randy Reep, we handle personal injury cases due to traffic accidents in Jacksonville FL, every day.
We know what it takes to negotiate and litigate car accident cases to achieve the best results for our clients. The aftermath of a severe car accident is often a challenging time for everyone involved in the accident, including their loved ones. With the Law Offices of Randy Reep on your side, you can count on personalized representation, and rest assured that your case is in good hands.
Car Accident Information and Statistics
Car accidents happen every day in the United States. Collisions are caused by many different things, including a combination of several various factors. If you were injured in an auto accident in Jacksonville FL, a personal injury attorney could help you get the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Car Accidents
Knowing about the most common causes of car accidents can help you avoid some of these contributing factors—at least the ones you can control. Determining the cause of a collision is the best way to learn who was at fault for it.
Some motor vehicle accidents have multiple contributing causes. There might be more than one person named as a defendant or at-fault party in these cases. If you are unsure about the cause or causes of an accident in which you were harmed, a car accident attorney in Jacksonville Florida can help.
Common contributing factors or causes of motor vehicle crashes include the following:
Distracted driving is a factor in many car accidents. There are many different ways that a driver can become distracted, including taking their eyes off the road to look at a phone or their passengers. Car accidents have also been caused by drivers eating, drinking, or even doing their makeup while driving.
You probably already know that speeding is another common cause of car accidents. When you are out on a busy roadway, it usually is not too difficult to find someone around you traveling over the speed limit. This, of course, can be extremely dangerous and lead to crashes.
However, even if someone is driving under the designated speed limit, they can still cause an accident by traveling too fast for weather and road conditions. If you were harmed in an accident and the other driver was speeding, this can constitute negligence.
Rear-end collisions are pretty common, and they typically occur because a driver did not leave enough space between their vehicle and one in front of them. This tends to happen when a driver is speeding (and possibly distracted).
Some drivers can become overly aggressive behind the wheel, tailgating cars in front of them or engaging in other aggressive behaviors due to road rage. Drivers with road rage can cause high-speed collisions, resulting in catastrophic damage and injury.
When a driver is negligent and injures someone, they can be held legally liable. A Jacksonville car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation for your car accident injuries.
Driver fatigue can also cause or contribute to motor vehicle accidents. Some of these accidents are caused by people making the mistake of driving when they are too tired.
When drivers are tired, they may have a more challenging time noticing hazards or following traffic control devices properly. They may also have a tougher time recalling basic rules of the road, such as who has the right of way at a four-way stop.
However, driver fatigue tends to be a greater issue when it comes to accidents that involve trucks and other types of commercial vehicles. There are federal regulations that govern the amount of time commercial truck and vehicle drivers can drive these vehicles for work.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the federal hours of service regulations require commercial property-carrying drivers to follow the rules listed below.
- Drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 hours of driving after they have been off duty for at least ten consecutive hours
- Additionally, drivers are limited to 14 consecutive hours of work or driving time, meaning they cannot drive after they have been driving or “on the clock” for 14 consecutive hours.
- Drivers cannot drive after they have been on duty for 60/70 hours within 7/8 consecutive days. Once they have taken 34 or more consecutive hours off duty, they can restart the 7/8 consecutive day period.
However, there is an exception to the consecutive maximum hour rule. Drivers are allowed to extend these driving limit windows by up to two hours if they encounter poor driving conditions or bad weather.
Another reason for car collisions is drunk driving. Some people may get behind the wheel after having a couple of drinks, thinking they are sober enough to drive. They may not realize how impaired those couple of drinks actually made them—until it is too late.
Accidents caused by drunk driving can be severe for everyone involved. An accident attorney in Jacksonville, FL can help you if you were injured in an accident involving a drunk driver.
Motor Vehicle Defects
Motor vehicle defects can also cause or contribute to a car collision. In cases where a manufacturing defect causes an accident, your car accident lawyers in Jacksonville FL can pursue a product liability claim against the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Additionally, a driver can be negligent and liable for your injuries if they caused the accident because they did not keep their vehicle maintained properly. For example, if the other driver had breaks that were wearing down and did not replace them when necessary, causing an accident, this can be considered negligence.
Bad weather can cause slick conditions on the roadway and visibility issues due to fog, rain, or snow. Even if drivers are used to traveling in inclement weather conditions, they may overestimate their confidence, drive too fast for the weather conditions, and cause serious accidents. A car accident lawyer in Jacksonville Florida could assist you with your accident case if you were injured in an accident in which bad weather was a factor.
Hazards on the Roadway
Another common cause of car accidents is a hazard on the roadway. Suppose you were injured in a car crash because of inadequate highway maintenance. In that case, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries from the entity responsible for the maintenance or construction of the road.
In cases involving possible legal liability for cities or municipalities, it is important to speak with a car accident lawyer in Jacksonville, FL, as soon as you can. There may be shorter filing deadlines for these types of cases, so you do not want to miss your opportunity to recover damages.
Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics
Each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiles driving and traffic safety statistics. The Administration gathers extensive data yearly to assess trends and find areas to improve safety issues.
Collision Injury Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks the number of accidents with injuries throughout the country each year. In 2019, the most recent year with available data, the number of accidents involving injuries totaled 1,916,000. This figure represented a slight increase from the number of accidents with injuries in 2018—1,894,000.
Motor Vehicle Accident Fatality Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that in 2019, there were 36,096 deaths due to motor vehicle accidents. This number represented the third year of a slight decline in accident-related fatalities.
In 2020, the number of fatalities rose for the first time in recent years to a total of 38,680 estimated deaths. If you or a loved one was involved in a fatal accident in Jacksonville FL, a Florida accident attorney can help you file a wrongful death case or personal injury case.
Notably, the 2020 increase in car crash fatalities happened even while miles traveled fell just over 13% that year due to the pandemic and states issuing stay-at-home orders. When taking the factor of the pandemic into account, the rise in fatalities is even more concerning.
The fatality rate for every 100 million miles traveled in vehicles rose from 1.11 in 2019 up to 1.37 in 2020. This is the highest level since 2007. According to the Insurance Information Institute, faster driving caused an increase in traffic fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributed this increase to more accidents involving alcohol and intoxication, more rollover accidents, and faster driving.
What Should I Do After a Jacksonville Car Crash?
After getting into a car accident, the most critical step to take is to get emergency medical care if needed. After you have taken care of any urgent medical concerns, there are a few other things that you can do to protect yourself in case you want to pursue a claim for compensation for your injuries.
Document Everything That You Can
If possible, be sure to take pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident and the accident scene. You should also try to get contact information for any potential witnesses to the collision. If you end up filing a personal injury case, these witnesses may be able to help you prove your case down the road.
It can also be helpful to take photos of your injuries. When possible, take pictures of your injuries immediately or shortly after the accident.
Additionally, it can also be helpful for your car accident attorney in Jacksonville FL if you take pictures after some time has passed. For example, if you have scars from a car crash in Jacksonville, having pictures of how the scars look after a few months have gone by can show the lasting impact of your injuries and can help you recover greater compensation.
Do Some Research to Find a Car Accident Lawyer in Jacksonville
After getting necessary medical care and documenting whatever facts or information you can for your case, the next step is to conduct some research to find accident attorneys in Jacksonville Florida. While it can be stressful to do research to find the best accident lawyer in Florida, it is well worth it to choose an accident lawyer that is the best fit for you and your case.
What Should I Consider When Looking for an Auto Accident Lawyer in Jacksonville, FL?
As you begin your search for a car accident lawyer in Florida, there are a few main things to think about. First, it is essential to choose a lawyer who has experience and is skilled in handling car accidents in Jacksonville, FL. In a case involving a fatal accident in Jacksonville, FL, for example, it is essential to hire a lawyer with the ability to handle a wrongful death case from start to finish.
Reputation and Track Record
When researching accident lawyers in Florida, you want to be sure that the lawyer you ultimately end up hiring has a good track record and a positive reputation. You can look up reviews of Florida car accident lawyers online, as well as speak to trusted friends and family to find out about their experiences with any lawyers you are considering.
Location of the Florida Auto Accident Lawyer
Another thing to consider during your search is where the Florida car accident lawyer and their law firm are located. For example, if you were injured in a Jacksonville car accident today, you will most likely want to limit your search to local attorneys who are within traveling distance to your home or where you work. If you need to visit the office of your accident lawyer in Florida, it will be much easier for you to choose a car accident attorney in Jacksonville that is easier for you to get to.
Whether You Feel Comfortable with the Lawyer and Law Firm
Most importantly, you should choose an auto accident attorney in Jacksonville, FL that you feel comfortable with. Your personal injury case is important to you, and it should be important to the Florida car accident attorney that you choose to represent you.
To get a feel of whether the attorney is a good fit for you, scheduling an in-person or virtual consultation can help you make this critical decision. At The Law Offices of Randy Reep, we believe a close client connection is crucial. We care about our clients and their personal stories—and we fight aggressively to get our clients the results that they deserve.
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Car Accident?
After getting in a car accident, you may be wondering whether it is truly worth getting a lawyer to handle your case. There are many benefits to hiring an auto accident attorney in Florida.
The Benefits of Having a Personal Injury Attorney on Your Side
The aftermath of a serious car accident collision can be a difficult time for everyone involved. Hiring a Jacksonville auto accident attorney takes some of the tasks and stress off of your plate, allowing you to focus on what is important—getting better and healing from your injuries.
In serious collisions, for example—a fatal car accident in Jacksonville FL today—a wrongful death claim can be made by the deceased person’s family. Wrongful death cases can be complex, so it is critical to hire an accident attorney with experience in these types of cases.
Some other benefits of hiring a lawyer include the following:
The Benefits of Experience and Skills
Unless you also happen to be a personal injury attorney, it is unlikely that you have more experience and greater skills when it comes to litigating car accident cases. Choosing to hire a lawyer to represent you in car accidents in Jacksonville, FL cases is typically the best way to go to get the maximum value for your case.
No Fees Unless You Win
One of the major benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney in Jacksonville, FL is that car accident cases typically do not involve any upfront payment or fees. Most often, attorneys are paid with a contingency fee—meaning that they are paid a percentage of any settlement or award that they recover for you.
This percentage will be agreed upon beforehand, and any associated costs that you could owe will also be explained to you prior to signing a formal representation agreement. At The Law Offices of Randy Reep, we charge a contingency fee and are only paid when you get paid.
Additionally, we offer free consultations for many different types of cases. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you pursue compensation for your injuries in a car accident case.
Even if you are not an emotional person, it is hard to remain completely objective about a car accident case in which you were injured. It is perfectly natural to feel angry, upset, and sad about what happened to you. A substantial benefit of hiring a car accident attorney in Florida is that your attorney will be able to focus on the facts of the case, remain objective, and be able to negotiate a settlement or litigate your case without emotions clouding their judgment.
Experience with Negotiation and Litigation
While it is possible to negotiate your own settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company, it is not usually the best way to maximize the value of your case. An auto accident lawyer in Jacksonville, FL will have experience negotiating these types of cases. If your case must go to trial, your attorney will know what to do to move forward with litigation and present your case in the best light.
Is It Worth Getting a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
If you were injured in a minor car accident, it is often still more beneficial for you to hire an attorney. Although the accident may seem minor—with minimal damage to the vehicles—it can still cause serious injuries that may not be immediately noticeable.
When you hire an accident lawyer in Jacksonville to take on your case, the lawyer will take over the responsibilities of dealing with the insurance companies. They will work hard to negotiate a settlement that is a fair amount for your injuries. In most cases, even in minor accidents, hiring a personal injury lawyer will result in a higher payment than you would have been able to get on your own.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Florida?
As a general rule, it is always best to get a lawyer after a Florida car accident as soon as possible. However, even if you opt to deal with the insurance companies and try to negotiate your own settlement, you can still hire a lawyer down the road.
Why You Should Hire a Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Although you can hire a lawyer at any stage in the process (unless the statute of limitations has passed), it is usually best to hire one as early as possible. Most people are not familiar with the process of negotiating and settling personal injury cases, and by attempting to do so, you might dig some holes that are hard to get out of.
If you try to negotiate your case on your own, you might agree to a settlement that is much less than your case is actually worth. Additionally, you run the risk of pursuing your case against the wrong defendant, or you might fail to pursue your claim against all of the at-fault parties.
Finally, you might be in a rush to get your case settled and wrapped up, causing you to agree to a settlement before you know the full extent of your injuries. In some cases, what may seem like a minor backache from a car accident can end up being much more severe, like a herniated disc. A more serious back injury could cost more money to treat, which you would need to pay on your own if you had already settled your car accident case.
Following The Statute of Limitations in Florida
As you may already know, there are time limits on when you can file a personal injury case to recover damages from an at-fault party. This time limit in which your case must be filed is called the statute of limitations.
It is critical that your case is filed in time before the statute of limitations for your case runs out. In order to avoid a scenario in which you are barred from filing your case and are unable to get compensation for your injuries, it is essential to hire an auto accident lawyer in Jacksonville, FL quickly. If a loved one was involved in a Jacksonville, FL car accident fatality today, it is crucial to hire an attorney who can pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf as soon as you can.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases with negligence claims is four years in Florida. This clock for this time limit begins running on the date of your accident.
There are shorter deadlines for some personal injury cases, such as those in which a defendant is a city or municipality. Additionally, there are also some unique exceptions to the four-year statute of limitations in particular circumstances. Your car accident lawyer in Florida can let you know if any of these apply in your case—but the best thing to do is avoid this situation entirely by getting an attorney as soon as you can.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault in Florida?
You may be wondering if you should hire a lawyer for a car accident in which you believe you were at fault. Typically, you do not need to hire a personal injury lawyer if it was your fault.
However, you might be able to recover up to $10,000 of compensation for your injuries—even if you were at fault for the accident. An accident lawyer in Jacksonville, Florida can help you learn more about whether you are eligible for this type of compensation.
When You Have Car Insurance and You Are at Fault for An Accident
If you cause a car accident and carry insurance, your insurance company should defend you if the other driver sues you. In most cases, your insurance company will provide the defense for your case since it is one of your insurance benefits.
Additionally, if you were at fault for the accident and were injured, it is very unlikely that you can make a claim against anyone else. So, in that situation, hiring a personal injury lawyer will not get you very far.
Questions of Fault
However, there is a genuine dispute regarding who is actually at fault in some cases. While the other driver may point the finger at you—you might see it differently and believe that the accident was the other driver’s fault. Additionally, there may be other potential causes for the collision, such as manufacturing defects or poorly maintained roadways.
In cases where there are questions regarding fault, it can be worth a visit to an attorney to see if you have a case against the other driver. A Florida auto accident lawyer can help you determine whether you have a valid claim for personal injuries.
Proving Personal Injuries in a Car Accident Case
If you cannot settle your car accident case out of court, your car accident lawyers in Florida will need to formally file your case in the applicable civil court. Once your case is filed, the litigation process will begin to unfold.
The Litigation Process
As the first step in litigating your personal injury case, your lawyer will file a complaint against the at-fault driver (the defendant) in civil court. The at-fault driver, usually through their attorney, will need to file an answer to the complaint. The defendant will admit or deny the facts and allegations stated in your complaint in their answer.
The next stage in litigation is called discovery. During this stage, you and your attorney may send the defendant questions that they must answer under oath, called interrogatories.
You may also send the defendant requests for the production of documents, which they must provide to you if the items are in their possession or control. The defendant will most likely also send you interrogatories and requests that you must answer and respond to under oath.
During discovery, the attorneys may also take depositions of the parties. This includes you and the defendant. They may also take depositions of any witnesses. You will be asked questions that you must answer under oath at a deposition. Depositions generally occur in person, but they can also be conducted virtually.
Following the conclusion of the discovery stage, the judge presiding over your case will set the case for trial. There will likely be a few preliminary matters to be taken care of before your case moves forward to trial, such as pre-trial motions.
When the day of the trial arrives, you and your attorney will present your case to the fact finder or finders—either a judge or a jury. The defendant will also have an opportunity to put on their defense and introduce testimony and exhibits. After they put on their defense, you and your attorney will have a final chance to present testimony and evidence in rebuttal to their defense.
Ultimately, your trial will conclude, and either the judge or the jury will determine whether the defendant is liable for your injuries. If the verdict is in your favor, damages will be calculated and awarded to you. Your damages—losses you incurred because of your injuries and the accident—will be calculated as a dollar amount.
The Elements of a Negligence Claim
To successfully win your case and recover damages for your injuries, you will need to prove the necessary elements of your personal injury case at trial. Generally, the goal is to show that the other party was negligent, which caused the accident and your injuries. You will need to prove each of these elements of negligence to win your case.
Duty – First, you must show that the defendant owed a legal duty to you under the circumstances of your case.
Breach – Next, you must prove that the defendant breached their legal duty by either acting or failing to act.
Causation – You also need to prove that the defendant’s actions, or their inaction, actually caused your injuries.
Damages – Finally, you must also prove that you were injured or suffered harm due to the defendant’s actions or inaction.
Comparative Fault and Negligence
The laws regarding the concept of comparative fault vary from state to state. If you share some part of the blame for the car accident and your injuries, your ability to recover compensation depends on your state laws on this issue.
The state of Florida follows the rule of pure comparative negligence. Under Florida law, the amount of compensation you can receive for your injuries will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you.
Comparative Fault and Your Car Accident Case
Here is an example of how comparative fault might impact your car accident case—and the amount of compensation that you recover. Suppose that you were injured in a car accident in which the other driver ran a red light and collided with your vehicle. As the accident occurred, you happened to be speeding a few miles over the speed limit.
If your case goes to trial before a jury, then the jury will hear both sides of the case and determine whether you share any of the fault for your injuries. While the primary cause of the car accident was the defendant’s failure to stop at the red light, a judge or jury could also determine that you were partially at fault for the accident since you were also disobeying traffic laws by speeding.
In this scenario, if the jury were to find that you were 15% at fault for the accident and the defendant driver was 85% at fault, then the damages awarded to you for compensation for your injuries will be reduced by 15% in accordance with your share of the fault. This means that if the jury here returned a verdict in your favor of $100,000, you would receive $85,000 instead.
Damages In Car Accident Cases
You probably already know by now that if you are injured in a car accident, and the other driver (or some other party) is at fault for the accident, you may be eligible for compensation for damages. However, you might not know exactly what damages mean in this context or what specific types of damages you may be able to recover.
The two main categories of damages for Florida personal injury cases are compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are supposed to compensate a plaintiff for their losses and make them whole again.
Compensatory damages include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are costs that are directly related to the accident and can be calculated or quantified. Non-economic damages are more personal and not as easily quantified into a dollar figure.
Economic damages are those expenses and costs directly related to and result from motor vehicle accidents in Jacksonville, FL. The most common kinds of compensatory economic damages include the following:
Medical expenses are the most common form of economic damages in car accident cases involving injuries. As the plaintiff in a car accident case, you can and should pursue compensation for all of your medical expenses incurred due to the car accident.
Your medical expenses include any costs for doctor visits, physical therapy, specialist consultations, procedures, and medication prescriptions that were medically necessary and reasonably related to the injuries suffered in the car accident. In addition, you may also be entitled to future expected medical expenses, depending on the recommended treatment and facts of your case.
You may also be entitled to economic damages in the form of lost wages. If you need to take time off work to attend doctor visits, therapy appointments, and other medical appointments, you may be able to claim these lost wages.
Lost wages can also be recoverable for the time you have taken off from work according to your doctor’s instructions to recover from your injuries. If you were severely injured in the accident and permanently disabled or otherwise unable to go back to work, you may also be able to recover future lost wages.
Another form of economic damage is property damage. You can claim damages in the amount of the costs incurred to repair your vehicle or the vehicle’s fair market value if it was totaled in the collision. In addition, you can also claim property damage for items that were inside your vehicle and destroyed in the accident.
Non-economic damages are losses due to the car accident that you suffered on a personal level which cannot be easily calculated in a monetary sense. The most common forms of compensatory non-economic damages include the following:
Pain and Suffering
In nearly any car collision resulting in injuries, the plaintiff can make a claim for the pain and suffering they endured because of the accident. While it is difficult to assign a dollar value to pain and suffering, your Jacksonville car accident attorney will be able to include this in your claim for damages based on a few different factors, depending on your case. Damages for pain and suffering can include the past (at the time of, and immediately after the accident), present, and future.
Physical impairment is another form of non-economic damage. In a serious accident, you can suffer long-term consequences, like losing the ability to do certain things.
If you have lasting restrictions because of your car accident injuries, this can be considered a permanent impairment. Compensation for physical impairment depends on how severe your restrictions are, the likelihood of recovery, and how substantial of an impact the impairment is expected to have on your future.
If you suffered scarring or any form of disfigurement due to the car crash, you may be able to recover compensation for the impact that this has had on you and will have on you in the future. Your accident lawyer in Jacksonville, FL can help you get monetary damages for permanent scars and disfigurement because of the accident.
Emotional Distress and Mental Anguish
Damages for the emotional distress and anguish suffered because of a car crash are also available in some cases. These damages include anxiety and stress that the injured party suffered and continues to suffer.
For example, someone severely injured in a car crash might have extreme anxiety when getting into a car, impacting their lives significantly. If you are injured in a car accident and require mental health treatment resulting from it, be sure to let your lawyer know.
Punitive damages are awarded as a penalty to punish the at-fault party if gross negligence was involved in the accident. However, punitive damages are not commonly awarded in car accident cases. In Florida, punitive damages are capped at three times the amount in compensatory damages or limited to $500,000—whichever is greater.
Accident Attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida
When you need the assistance of a car accident attorney in the Jacksonville, Florida area, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Randy Reep are here for you. We understand the difficulties that car accidents can bring into the lives of those injured.
The attorneys at Reep Law have a proven track record of success. Over the years, we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients who were victims of car accident collisions. Our lawyers are in the courtroom almost every day, and we have extensive litigation experience.
Our legal team also has a unique combination of military training and pilot experience. These life experiences have shaped us to always strive to be the best of the best—and we bring our tenacity and dedication to every case we take on. We aggressively fight for our clients’ rights, and we are not afraid to take your case to trial if you do not get a satisfactory settlement offer.
If you recently suffered injuries in an auto accident, give us a call today. We look forward to the opportunity to meet with you and help you begin to navigate the legal issues involved in your car accident case. We offer free consultations and work for a contingency fee, so there are no fees until we get you compensation for your injuries—either with a settlement or an award at trial.