Ocala Auto Accident Lawyers
Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Clients In Ocala & Marion County For Over 60 Years
Piccin & Glynn provides aggressive and personalized representation in all types of personal injury cases, auto accident, insurance disputes, and wrongful death cases. Located in Ocala, Florida, our AV-rated firm has handled thousands of personal injury cases. From motor vehicle accidents to injuries caused by medical malpractice or defective products, our Ocala auto accident lawyers have the experience to help get you the money you deserve.
At Piccin & Glynn, we believe that all representation requires care and personal attention. That’s why when you hire Piccin & Glynn for your case, either John Piccin or Katie Glynn will personally handle your case. From intake through trial, you can rely on John Piccin or Katie Glynn being there every step of the way.
You do not pay any lawyer’s fees or costs until we have reached a full and fair settlement or until we have litigated your case to a final judgment.
Ocala Car Accidents
Most car accidents can be attributed to at least one person or entity’s negligence. While this negligence can often be attributed to a driver who failed to behave as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances, it can also involve other parties, such as businesses or a city or state agency. Whether a defendant is a private individual, a government agency, or a company makes a big difference when it comes to filing a claim in court. For this reason, it is critical for crash victims to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer about their legal options as soon as possible.
What to do After a Car Accident
Even car crashes that are considered relatively minor can have serious repercussions. For instance, a driver who was rear ended by another vehicle could suffer from debilitating neck problems, even if the vehicle only sustained minor damage to the bumper. For this reason, even less serious car accidents can be frightening and are doubly so when the collision involved was serious, the vehicle was totaled, or one or more of the passengers sustained an injury. Regardless of the severity of an accident, it is critical for victims to remain calm and take a few important steps, one of which is to consult with an experienced car accident attorney who can ensure that their interests are protected.
Your Next Steps
It is not uncommon for a car accident victim to feel confused and overwhelmed immediately following a collision, so having a thorough understanding of what you should do in the event of an accident is important. Although each situation is unique, there are certain steps that accident victims can take to improve their chances of recovery, such as:
- Ensuring that all injured parties receive immediate medical care by contacting emergency responders.
- Giving a coherent and detailed statement about the accident to responding police officers. These reports can later prove crucial to demonstrating who was at fault for an accident.
- Obtaining the contact information of the other parties who were involved in the crash, including the other driver and any passengers, as well as any bystanders who witnessed the collision. Collecting insurance information is also a critical step, as the other driver’s insurer could be required to pay any accident-related expenses that are not covered by the injured party’s PIP policy. Furthermore, eyewitness testimony can play a critical role in proving who was at fault for the accident if a case later goes to trial. Useful information includes names, as well as addresses, phone numbers, and drivers’ license numbers.
- Taking photographs of the scene of the accident, including any property damage and physical injuries sustained.
- Obtaining medical treatment, even for those who don’t seem to be suffering from any injuries. This is an important step because many serious injuries don’t actually manifest until days or even weeks after a collision. Going in for a check-up can give accident victims a better chance of early diagnosis and treatment and can also ensure that a paper trail linking the accident to the injury is created.
- Contacting the provider of their PIP insurance to report the accident, as Florida accident victims are required to seek compensation from their own insurers after a collision, regardless of fault.
- Keeping copies of medical records related to their injuries, including not only bills and invoices, but also test results, photographs, and doctor’s notes, all of which constitute evidence that can establish a link between an accident and a victim’s injuries.
Once these steps have been taken, injured parties should also strongly consider obtaining legal representation, especially before accepting any settlement offers from the at-fault party’s insurer.
Filing an Insurance Claim
Florida doesn’t require accident victims to provide evidence of another person’s negligence in order to recover damages. In fact, car crash victims are required to file an initial claim with their own PIP insurance provider after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Unfortunately, the limits of these policies often leave accident victims paying for medical bills and vehicle repair out of their own pockets, even when they weren’t at fault for their accident. In these cases, injured parties have the option of filing a claim against the other driver’s insurer, who will assign an adjuster to investigate the case and possibly negotiate a settlement. Many of these claims result in settlement offers, although whether an injured party should accept depends largely on the facts of the case. If settlement negotiations stall, a seriously injured accident victim then has the option of filing a claim in court.
Filing a Lawsuit
Lawsuits are initiated by filing a claim with the Circuit Court in the county where the crash occurred. The defendant will be served and have 20 days to respond to the complaint, at which point, both sides will begin the discovery process and so will have the opportunity to investigate legal claims and defenses. In car accident cases, this means that both parties will have access to photos from the scene of the accident, police officer reports, eyewitness accounts, medical records, expert testimony, and measurements from the scene of the crash. When the trial portion of the proceedings commence, the judge or jury will weigh the evidence and eventually determine who was at fault for the crash. These rulings are binding and must be complied with by both parties.
Filing a lawsuit is not always the right decision for a car accident victim. However, injured parties won’t even have the option of filing suit if the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, car accident victims only have four years after an accident to initiate a lawsuit, so those who miss this deadline might lose out on their only opportunity to recover compensation for the losses that exceed their policy’s limits.
How Much Money Can I Expect from a Car Accident?
In serious injury car crashes, emergency medical costs alone often exceed $100,000. This figure is only the beginning. Follow-up medical care, physical therapy, lost wages, and other economic losses could be as much or even much more. There are also intangible, noneconomic damages to consider as well. As a result, the financial loss may be more devastating than the injury itself.
At Piccin & Glynn, our Ocala car accident lawyers are dedicated to negligence victims. We work hard to build a winning case for compensation that features both solid evidence and a compelling narrative. Then, we fight hard to help ensure maximum compensation. We are never satisfied with anything less than the best possible result under the circumstances, because our clients deserve nothing less. That result largely depends on the answer to the following three questions.
How Badly Were You Hurt?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. If the car wreck only caused property damage, victims are only entitled to economic damages, such as medical bills. However, if the accident caused a serious injury, victim/plaintiffs are entitled to noneconomic damages as well. That includes money for:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment in life,
- Emotional distress, and
- Loss of consortium (companionship).
The law defines a “serious” injury, but the definition is rather subjective. As a rule of thumb, if your vehicle is not driveable, you probably sustained a serious injury. The same conclusion usually applies if you went to the hospital. If first responders treated you at the scene and then released you, your injury may not have been “serious” under Florida law.
How Strong is the Evidence?
In Ocala, the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof. These individuals must establish negligence, which is basically a lack of ordinary care, by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). The evidence in Florida car crash cases usually includes:
- Medical Records: An attorney can work around privacy laws and quickly obtain medical records. It’s very important for victims to see doctors within the first twenty-four hours. Otherwise, the insurance company may later argue that the claimed injuries are exaggerated.
- Event Data Recorder: Similarly, an attorney must act quickly to preserve the EDR, which is basically a passenger car’s “black box flight recorder.” Most insurance companies destroy totaled vehicles within a few days. If that happens, the valuable EDR evidence is gone forever.
- Witness Statements: For a number of reasons, many people do not like talking to Florida law enforcement officers. However, they will share their stories, and their contact information, with a victim’s attorney.
At Piccin & Glynn, we often partner with private investigators and other professionals to expedite and improve the evidence-gathering process.
Are There Any Defenses?
Over-claimed injuries are just one common Ocala insurance company defense. Some other legal loopholes include the contributory negligence defense. Essentially, insurance company lawyers try to shift blame for the car accident onto the victim. In Florida, contributory negligence usually only reduces the amount of compensation the victim receives, if the defense is successful.
Some other defenses might eliminate liability altogether. For example, the last clear chance defense often arises in rear-end and head-on crashes. If the victim failed to avoid the accident, perhaps by changing lanes, the tortfeasor’s (negligent driver’s) liability might be excused.
Insurance Companies and Knowing Your Rights
As consumers, we purchase insurance to protect us in the event of an accident. We expect insurance companies to fairly compensate us for our injuries and to act in our best interest. To the contrary, insurance companies are large corporations interested in protecting their own bottom line. When you are injured, insurance companies will try to settle your claim for less than it is worth. In other cases, these companies will not honor the terms of your policy or may wrongfully terminate your policy. Knowing your rights is essential when dealing with insurance companies. Piccin & Glynn has the experience to help you understand what you are entitled to and will communicate directly with the insurance companies so that you don’t have to.
Multimillion-Dollar Verdicts and Settlements
Piccin & Glynn has obtained multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of its clients. These extraordinary outcomes are due mainly to Piccin & Glynn’s skill, experience and dedication to its clients and their cases.
Free Consultations With Ocala & Marion County Personal Injury Lawyers
If you think you have a case, you should contact the Ocala personal injury & auto accident lawyers at Piccin & Glynn immediately. Getting legal advice is the first and most important step to ensure that your rights are protected. Unsure whether you have a case? Piccin & Glynn offers free case consultations. Call (352) 351-5446 or (800) 969-5446 today.
Working with other lawyers from decades of practicing Personal Injury law and participating in Bar Association activites, John Piccin has developed working relationships with outstanding lawyers in South Florida and out of state. If you believe you need an outstanding lawyer outside North Florida or for another area of law, please call John to discuss the matter. He will be glad to assist you in any way he can, including referral to someone with proven results.