Negligence is the main cause of car accidents across the country. Drivers have a duty to drive responsibly, not cause injuries to others, and obey all traffic laws and rules. This is what’s known as a “duty of reasonable care.” When a driver breaches their duty of care, he or she can be found negligent.
This means that a driver who causes a car accident did not act in the way in which another reasonable driver would have in a similar situation. One example is a driver who fails to stop at a red light and strikes a vehicle that had the right of way.
Examples of Negligence Behind the Wheel
With millions of drivers on the road each and every day, it may feel like getting into a collision at some point is an unavoidable risk. The truth is that most Florida car “accidents” are anything but accidents. In fact, nearly all car accidents could’ve been avoided.
Some common examples of actions that lead to Pensacola car accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Texting and driving
- Road rage
- Eating while driving
- Applying makeup while driving
All of these distractions and more can lead to injury accidents, and in some instances, they can lead to fatalities. However, there are some instances where the driver’s actions were not the primary cause of the accident. Outside factors like obstructed or missing road signs, bad weather, defective auto parts, etc., may be the primary cause of the accident.
What to Do Right After a Car Accident
It’s important to take the proper actions following a Pensacola, FL car accident, especially if the accident was not your fault. If it’s safe to do so, you need to not block the roadway and warn other drivers approaching. If you are not too injured and taken away by ambulance, try to get scene photos. Take photos of the vehicle damage, document the conditions of the road, weather, and surroundings. Get witnesses’ contact information.
You should not sign documents at the scene of the accident or admit fault in any way. Do not give the other driver’s insurance company a statement without proper legal representation by your side. Be wary of anyone who tries to approach you at the scene to offer their legal services. If you are given an offer right away by the other driver’s insurance company, don’t be quick to jump on it. They are hoping that by offering you a settlement early on, you will take it and sign your rights away in a release of all claims.
More serious accidents require time for your doctor to fully understand the extent of your injuries and how much treatment you will need. If you settle now and it turns out in a few weeks that you need three more months of treatment, you cannot go back to the insurance company and ask for more money. Once you settle and sign the release of all claims, the other side has no duty to negotiate another payment.
Car Accidents with Uninsured Motorists
In some accidents, people with legitimate uninsured/underinsured motorist claims count on this coverage to pay for their vehicle repairs, medical care, and more. Unfortunately, insurance companies avoid paying claims whenever possible, and uninsured/underinsured claims are no exception. If you are faced with this situation, contact Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon’s auto accident lawyers for legal assistance.
Our experienced Pensacola auto accident lawyers have helped many Florida and Alabama clients build effective cases against their insurance companies. We understand insurance law. In addition, when an accident occurs, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage protects you and your family beyond your vehicle. This means the insurance company will cover your valid injury claims whether you or your family members are riding in your vehicle, in someone else’s vehicle, riding a bicycle, or simply walking down the road.
What can you do if you’re a victim of a drunk driver? Of course, a suit against the driver is a first course of action. We find, however, that many of these drivers are not insured, and therefore cannot provide the compensation necessary to meet your loss. In these cases, it may be possible to pursue recovery against the persons who provided the alcohol to the driver.
In the state of Florida, establishments who serve alcoholic beverages may be liable for damages resulting from the consumption of these beverages.
Florida PIP and Your Insurance Company
Many people mistakenly believe that an insurance company will provide adequate coverage should they be forced to file a claim. Never rely on an insurance company. These agencies are looking out for their interests, not yours. While you may be offered an initial settlement, it is often not enough to cover the bills that you may incur in the future and once you accept a settlement, your case is effectively over.
Florida, and nine other states in the nation, require that drivers carry personal injury protection (PIP). The intent is to reduce the delay of payment to victims who need money to pay medical bills immediately following an accident. Unfortunately, the $10,000 payment may not be what you need. While helpful, depending on your injuries, the payment could barely make a dent in your total financial obligation.
Contact a Pensacola Auto Accident Attorney
You and your family deserve to be compensated for your losses. When you are injured through no fault of your own, our team is here to help you. At Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon, we don’t believe that any victim should be forced to make difficult decisions regarding their health care and the support of their families. We also believe that those who are negligent must be held accountable for their decisions.
If you have been injured in an auto accident in the Pensacola or Gulf Coast area, we would like to speak with you. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and advise you of your legal rights. In addition to your free consultation, it’s important to let you know that we work on a contingency basis. That means that you don’t pay for our services unless we win your case.