Articles & FAQ

Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity Second Runner-Up

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Jasmine Marchbanks Owel is our 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity second runner-up. Here is her essay: Essay Returning to the United States after eight months abroad and amidst the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic presented a stark reminder of the severe racial inequalities that exist in education, healthcare, employment, and housing. These realities motivated me to use my skill set and voice to advocate for Black people in my community. As a Peace Corps volunteer, learning to work with stakeholders and advocate for vulnerable groups through community activism was essential. When I returned home, I sought to collaborate with other organizers in my hometown. Upon joining local activist groups such as #RethinkPublicSafety, Congregations for Prophetic Engagement, and The Black Parent Alliance, we discovered that my former high school district had one of the highest racial disparity rates between Black and white students in Southern California. Black students are three times more likely to be expelled and suspended in the district than their white counterparts. Racialized complaints are severely underreported, and many Black students are berated by administrators, teachers, and peers. Upon review of the data, I requested a meeting with district representatives to discuss problematic teachers and racialized incidents myself and my peers endured in high school. Many of the same teachers who had terrorized us still worked in the district. During the meeting, the district refused to confront or acknowledge the ongoing prejudice and racism students experienced, despite offering restorative solutions. Feeling rejected by district administrators, I looked for other solutions. The thought process of the district had to change. The meeting served as a catalyst to reach out to current students, alumni, and teachers on social platforms to encourage them to send narratives of the racialized experiences they had endured in the district. Realizing the need to solicit support from local community activists, stakeholders, and grassroots service providers, it was necessary to work together to collect narratives. In less than a month, we collected over 200 narratives detailing racism, homophobia, xenophobia, and sexism from students, alumni, teachers, and parents all over the Inland Empire, spanning back ten years. The majority of the narratives were uploaded through an Instagram account called @ie.confessions to create a space for students, teachers, and alumni to anonymously detail their experiences without repercussions. These narratives provided insight into the racialized disparities within the district and validated my experiences and those of my peers. With this data available, we changed our strategy and scheduled an additional meeting with the school district. I authored an eight-page proposal declaring racism as a public health crisis. We presented the proposal along with data on retention, over 50 narratives from students in the district encompassing all eight high schools, and a list of demands. Some of the demands included more support for Black students, more mental health care resources, and the removal of on-campus police. With the support of stakeholders, parents, and alumni, I knew that I was no longer alone in pushing for more equitable policies. Three months after the initial meeting with district administrators, on September 15th, 2020, Chaffey Joint Unified High School District declared racism a public health crisis and publicly apologized for the adverse and traumatic experiences students endured. Through the work in my former school district, I began to counsel and collaborate with additional groups of parents, alumni, and students from neighboring school districts, counties, and cities. Working together, we created significant change and passed progressive policies throughout Southern California. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) requested to use the 200 narratives we collected for their annual school district racial equity report cards. As I reflect on my time in Costa Rica, the utilization of the education I had received and the experiences of working with various Costa Rican stakeholders to advocate for Black people led to a passion to support community leaders and activists in my hometown. This passion compelled me to apply and enroll as a student at Howard University School of Law to become a civil rights attorney and serve as a social engineer. I aspire to work hand in hand with communities and organizations that move past the performative actions many people in our society have settled to accept and focus on racial justice, equality, and inclusion.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity Runner-Up

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Natassja Urrutia is our 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity runner-up. Here is her essay: How will you use your legal education to impact your community? In 2010, my father suffered from a stroke and had to close his Peruvian restaurant indefinitely. Because of his inability to work, my father turned to drugs — forever changing my life. My father quickly became addicted to methamphetamine. My father’s addiction turned my simple life into a living nightmare I thought would never end. While my mother was the only one supporting the family working 50+ hours, my father was destroying my childhood. My father would get so high so often that he would forget about my brother and me. He would leave us in the car for hours while he was getting high, forced us to walk miles after school just to get home, and worst of all, he made my brother kneel on the ground in a women’s dress to kick the “gay” out of him. My father’s addiction led to Child Protective Services removing my brother and I from the safety of our home. The days following my removal from home were a blur. For the first time in my life, I felt as if I had lost all control over my life. During this same, maddening time, I embarked on my first year of high school. I had to mature at a much younger age than my peers because I had to take care of myself and my younger brother while navigating the foster care system amid legal battles, court dates, school, and the stress that came with it all. My mother fought day in and day out to get my brother and I back into our true home. At the beginning, my mother could afford a private family attorney, but as the case continued for months on end my mother no longer had the financial means to afford a private attorney. She was then assigned a court-appointed attorney, who could not even remember my mother’s name. In those long horrific months sitting in the courtroom, no one heard my voice, no one heard what I wanted, and no one heard where I felt safest. The social worker spent her time advocating that my mother was an unfit mother for allowing my father to continue to live in the house. She claimed that it would be best if my brother and I were apart, which was the exact opposite of what we truly needed — each other. During that time, I spent most of my time in therapy trying to piece together what was happening around me, making up schoolwork from so much class that I had missed and waiting for Sundays, where I would get supervised visitations with my mother and brother. Almost six months later, I moved back into the comfort of my home with my mother and brother and I was no longer missing class for court. Life was as it always should have been, but the moment I stepped back into my house, I vowed that I would pursue a career in which I would serve others. I vowed to myself to help others who are forced to navigate through the criminal justice system and are left feeling unheard, underrepresented and feeling left as if they do not have a true advocate in their corner. While my life got better, it did not get easier. My mother was diagnosed with clinical depression and was forced to quit her job. My mother worked as many side jobs as she could to have some income. We lived paycheck to paycheck while maxing out credit cards as soon as my mother could get approved. My family learned to take good care of our personal items in an effort to prolong their use, and it was those daily struggles that motivated me to improve my life. In my pursuit for better a future, I chose to focus on continuing my education. It was a milestone in my family to be the first in my family to have an education past high school. I was accepted into The University of Nevada, Reno. I worked and studied full-time, to not burden my mother financially. After I graduated in 2018, I took a year off from school to save money and help my mother with her bills before embarking on my higher legal education. In August 2019, I started my 1L year at the University of San Francisco School of Law. As a child, my voice was not heard in the courtroom. I remember feeling hopeless, stuck, and unable to help myself. Fueled by those memories, I continue my education. I want to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves because they do not understand how the criminal justice system works. I know what it is like to feel helpless and uncertain about how to navigate through a courtroom and I can use those experiences to show my clients compassion, gain their trust, and be a great advocate. After I graduate, I want to continue to help the indigent people in my community of Contra Costa County. As, someone who has dealt with the criminal justice system, I have felt what is to not have anyone in your corner, and as an attorney, I want to be that advocate fighting vigorously for my community. The work of a public defender is vital and important because as a right, everyone deserves the representation of a true advocate. In criminal law, people’s freedoms are always at stake and every person, regardless of their income, deserves the chance to have proper representation and a zealous advocate fighting for their rights. I want to be a Public Defender to fight day in and day out for the rights of those who are disproportionally at a disadvantage when up against the criminal justice system. We are all somehow part of the system, and as an attorney I want to be the best part of the...

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity Winner

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Rya Nelson is the winner of our 2021 Law School Scholarship To Promote Diversity. Winning Essay: My name is Rya Nelson and I am a rising second year law student at the University of San Francisco. I desire to purse law to empower and bring justice to immigrant lives. As a result of growing up with a single mother, I spent a majority of time with my immigrant grandfather. My grandfather was an early retiree because he had sustained an injury at work which was further compounded by his polio. He has been grappling with this crippling disease, pain, and paralysis since he contracted polio at six months old. Seeing the unfair treatment he received due to his disability and observing unfair treatment of immigrant workers at a restaurant I worked at, a fire was lit inside me. Despite this passion and personal connection, I entered college unsure of how exactly to translate this into a career. In my second year, I was approached by a professor to join the newly forming debate club on campus. I joined the club with curiosity and nervousness and I found a whole new appreciation for argumentation and public speaking. After conversing with my professor about my desire to work with immigrants, he connected me with an immigration attorney who was working on a pro bono affirmative gender-based asylum case. I had the opportunity to prepare research by reading and summarizing hundreds of pages of Honduran human rights law in addition to my 21-unit semester. I had never felt such a degree of passion for learning in all of my years in school. The attention to detail, the new vocabulary, and the feeling of wanting to provide justice for immigrants confirmed that law is the profession I wanted to pursue. I also interned at the International Rescue Committee where I received hands on experience assisting refugees and asylees with petitions for naturalization, permanent residence, and work authorization. Through direct client contact, I aided diverse refugees and asylees in handling their highly time sensitive and personal documents and gained familiarity with the fast pace of the legal profession. This position allowed me to utilize my bilingual abilities in interpreting and translating documents while making clients feel safe and comfortable. This upcoming year at USF, I will serve as a co-president for the Latinx Law Students Association (LLSA) where I will act as a liaison between the administration and LLSA. This leadership experience will allow me to effectively problem solve, motivate others, and provide a safe space for Hispanic individuals whose families have immigrated or have personally immigrated to the United States. Every immigrant’s story is unique. The sacrifices and struggles my grandfather and many immigrants have made when coming into the United States are felt through subsequent generations. I want to provide justice for individuals, acting as the advocate and educator for those who are fearful to stand up for their rights or do not know their rights. For these reasons, I know I will succeed in my future career ambitions by developing the necessary skills to serve effectively as an immigration attorney. This upcoming school year I will not be receiving any scholarships or additional funding through USF and a gracious scholarship like this could truly help with the financial burden I will have as I begin my next year.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2021 Distracted Driving Runner Up

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Noelle Stephens is our 2021 distracted driving essay runner-up. She’s a Florida Atlantic University freshman. Here is her essay: Getting My Full Attention I’ll always remember the afternoon of September 19th, 2019. On that day, I received my driver’s license and my parents allowed me to drive a short distance, alone, for a smoothie. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, I’d just joined the more than 815,000 teenagers licensed to drive in the state of Florida. For most 16-year-olds, the driver’s license is a passage to a form of freedom. That’s exactly what I felt as I drove to the Planet Smoothie and parked the car — a privilege to travel on my own, even if it meant a drive of just a mile or two. At the same time, my parents had instilled in me the fact that being a driver carries responsibility for the safety of self and others. So, when I first started driving alone, I wouldn’t dare look away from the route ahead and the cars around me. It was always two hands on the wheel and two eyes on the road. I was cautious and defensive because that’s how my parents taught me to drive. However, it only took a few weeks for me to become too comfortable in the driver’s seat. Studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that one in five teenagers are involved in a car accident within their first year of driving. One of the primary reasons for this chilling statistic is that teen drivers are four times more likely than adults to succumb to the temptation of texting while driving. Teenagers like me are especially susceptible to frequently checking our phones because apps, and even the phones themselves, are designed to be addicting to young eyes. I know the feeling, the urge, to reach out and check my phone every time a notification dings or vibrates — and even when it doesn’t. The desire to check my phone at stoplights began to pique by October, a month after receiving my license. It seemed harmless to look down while stopped. Like so many young people, I don’t like to leave friends “on read.” We’ve grown up in a culture where instant responses are expected. So I began to rationalize that it would only take a few seconds to respond to texts and that I could use my peripheral vision to check the traffic at stoplights. My friends must have had the same mindset at the wheel. Whenever I would ride with them to volleyball practice or to grab a snack after school, I’d notice frequent glances toward their devices. Those glances gradually became longer and longer. It turns out, six of my friends were involved in car accidents in a matter of six months. They were fortunate to not suffer any serious injuries, though they did incur the cost of repairs and insurance increases. To me, it was obvious that the accidents coincided with a frightening pattern of behavior: they’d allowed phone-use habits to distract their driving. My friends weren’t the only sources of my growing fear. While driving, I’d look around and see people checking their phones and paying no attention to the road — or to me. I’d see this not only at stoplights, but also while driving on the highway. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, it takes less than three seconds for a distraction to result in a car accident. Sending the briefest text message takes at least five seconds. This tells us that you don’t have the ability to send a message, post a Snapchat, or comment on TikTok before braking in time to avoid an accident. To help my own distracted-driving habits, I decided to set some self-imposed phone rules that my friends have witnessed and implemented as well. First, as soon as I sit in the driver’s seat, I turn on the Do Not Disturb feature, which mutes all notifications and sounds. Then I put the phone inside the console next to my seat and close it so the phone is out of sight. These simple habits make me feel safer and, ironically, more free because I’m able to react immediately when the unexpected happens. I’ve also become more aware of reckless drivers, which enables me to keep my distance from them. This is what people have known about driving for decades: defensive driving saves lives. Distracted driving does just the opposite. I’ve also created safety habits when riding with others. I offer to read texts to them or put their phone away completely. My friends have come to appreciate the gesture. It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it? Two years after receiving my license, I’m driving like I did when I was just learning to drive. I’m back to two hands on wheel and two eyes on the road — and being more cautious than ever. I’ve learned how easy it is to give into deadly temptations and to be too comfortable while driving. It feels good to have my focus back. There’s absolutely no harm in allowing Snapchat, Instagram, and iMessage to wait, especially knowing that the opposite can be so painfully true.

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2021 Distracted Driving Essay Winner

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Ciara Lusnia is our 2021 distracted driving essay winner. Here is the winning essay: Winning Essay: Admit It To Quit It Distracted driving delivers devastating data. I personally know three individuals whose lives have been changed due to a distracted driver, and that is only in the past calendar year! All injuries were to different degrees resulting from different distractions, but the bottom line is that there should be no excuse for anything of the sort; especially not with how advanced our technology is and how vocal society is about the dangers of distracted driving. Yet, it happens, and the results are unreservedly uncalled for. Something needs to change, and that change must happen now.  Distracted driving kills about 8 people a day. There is not any text in the world that would justify taking someone’s life. Of course, no one ever thinks it will be them – there is a significant invincibility almost innate in the human race. Between 80-90% of drivers believe they are “better-than-average”, and this statistic is clearly impossible. What may be the root to distracted driving is thinking we are capable when we are not; and just to be clear, none of us are actually capable. It can be theorized by a psychological term, “optimism bias” which dictates that we think we are above the rest and the negative consequences could never happen to us. What is interesting, is that the complete opposite self-position is taken each time someone plays the lottery or gambles – they believe the positive effect will be their result. The main take away is that there are psychological reasonings for why some continue to drive distracted, regardless of knowing they shouldn’t and understanding what they are risking, but that is not to say that with a change in the way safe driving is spread that things may be able to improve through society’s driving.  Having such close individuals to me having their lives affected by distracted driving has been a wakeup call I wish no one else to have to suffer through in order to change their distracted driving habits. My old personal excuse for having a phone within reaching distance was to access a map application as I am horrible at directions. I figured, this was acceptable as all Ubers, Lifts, and taxis have always had such a system. I copied what I saw. However, I have taken time to research the statistics of distracted driving and I have taken physical steps to eliminate my superiority-stance and admit that I am not more likely than anyone else to cause and accident. Now, when I am behind the wheel, I have completely removed my phone and place it in the middle console. Out of sight, out of mind – in theory. Although I am a visual learner and did enjoy the time when I had a map image guiding my path, I know each time I glanced at the screen for the next step was a second both my and other individual’s lives could have been changed forever. Now, with my phone in the middle console I utilize the audio version of maps and have been keen to improve my listening skills. I have a larger awareness for where I am and truly have noticed how much more I can react to.  I am proud to honestly say I practice what I preach. My phone is in my car’s middle console when I am behind the wheel, not to mention in silent mode whenever in the car to prevent second-handedly distracting the driver. I would encourage others to do the same, but clearly this notion doesn’t reap the highest rewards. However, I know that other members of society and myself can take it one step further and hold each other accountable through a second level – technology. Technology has revolutionized much of society today – our bread is sliced, it can be toasted, people can go to space and 5G is coming. Why can’t we utilize this abundant and ever evolving realm of technology to combat distracted driving? What I envision is live tracking when driving (like Maps, Google Maps, Waze, etc.) with connection to the phone’s internal accelerometer or gyroscope as a mechanism to see if the phone has been picked up when driving. If the phone has been picked up, the application will blast your followers with a “Fail”. Psychologists have proven how powerful social pressure could be, and having your friends, colleagues, family and other in-app connections all be alerted that you failed in your focused driving pledge can be more powerful than perceived on paper.  What motivates people (perhaps more than we wish to admit)? Money! To take this distraction-free accountable driver app one step further, a system could be composed rewarding those abiding by their pledge. This financial incentive would come out of other member’s “self-betting” fee to biannually reward those participants who met the distraction-free benchmarks. It is a great financial punishment or reward system. If there is a gap between the collected fees and the amount of successfully distraction-free individuals, which I hope there would be, it would be worth writing a governmental grant to make up for this financial gap.  In summary, there is no excuse for distracted driving, especially not to the frequency it occurs today! I am proud to say I have made changes in my habits and am trying to get my friends and family to do the same. My friend’s two toes have literally been severed as a result of such a scenario! So, how can we change this human behavior? A technological app on everyone’s phones where a pledge to drive distraction-free is accompanied by social pressure with notifying your social network if you fail coupled with a financial punishment/reward system to further incentivize your hands on the wheel! This app could be the next sliced bread! References: https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/distracted_driving/index.html https://psychonline.eku.edu/insidelook/%E2%80%9Cit-won%E2%80%99t-happen-me%E2%80%9D-optimism-bias

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Florida Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Quick Facts

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How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Florida? When someone suffers severe injuries, the consequences can be enormous. These injuries are life-changing, often resulting in expensive medical bills, property damage, loss of income, and other hardships. If someone else is at fault for your injuries, you shouldn’t have to bear these costs. Once an injury occurs, time is of the essence in bringing your case to court. That’s because, like all states, Florida has a statute of limitations for personal injury claims. What is the statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury claims? In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury actions depends on the claim type. The statute of limitations in Florida is usually two (2) to four (4) years and sometimes five (5) years, after an incident. The following list breaks down the statute of limitations for each of our practice areas.  What does “Statute of Limitations” mean? A statute of limitations is sort of like an expiration date on when a lawsuit can be brought. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to pursue a legal claim after an incident. If you do not file your case before the statute of limitations expires, your claim will be forever barred. The statute of limitations is different depending on the state and the type of case.  Why does Florida have a statute of limitations? The purpose of the statute of limitations is to make sure that parties bring their cases to court on time. In this way, potential defendants don’t have to worry about litigating something that happened decades ago. Imposing a time limit also ensures that important evidence isn’t lost over time, which is good for each party. The time limit just has to be “reasonable,” which is why the statute of limitations is different in each state. JUMP TO PERSONAL INJURY CASE TYPE Florida Statue of Limitations for: Automobile Accidents Motorcycle Accidents Bike and Pedestrian Accidents Slip and Fall Injuries Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Nursing Home Abuse Dog Bites Construction Accidents Products Liability Other Types of Cases FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Automobile Accidents Someone who suffers injuries in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident may have multiple options in bringing their case. The statute of limitations for car accidents in Florida depends on who is at fault and whether the accident resulted in death. Injury lawsuits against another driver have various deadlines. If another driver is at fault for carelessly injuring someone, the injured person has four years to file a lawsuit. However, if you have a claim against an uninsured motorist insurer that timeframe might be extended to 5 years. Also, there are tricky deadlines within which you must utilize your PIP coverage (no fault benefits) and these deadlines can be as short as 14 days. If a person is claiming that another driver damaged their car, they have four years to bring Property damage lawsuits. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Motorcycle Accidents For motorcycle accidents, the statute of limitations is four years for personal injury claims. In the event that a Florida motorcycle accident results in death, the law allows two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Bike and Pedestrian Accidents For bike and pedestrian lawsuits, the injured party has four years to bring suit against the person or organization that causes the accident. If the accident results in death, the statute of limitations is two years. If there is a case against an uninsured motorist insurer, the statute of limitations may be extended to five years. Finally, limitations apply the PIP (no fault) claims that can be as little as 14 days. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Slip and Fall Injuries For slip and fall injury lawsuits, the statute of limitations is four years for injury claims. For death claims, the limitations period is two years. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Wrongful Death If a loved one dies in an accident, the family has two years from the date of death to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Medical Malpractice The statute of limitations for medical malpractice is complicated in Florida. It generally runs two years from the date when you knew or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known that the injury was caused by medical malpractice. Florida also has another law, called the statute of repose, which sets an outer time limit of four years regardless of when you knew or should have known of the malpractice. The statute of repose begins to run on the date that the malpractice occurs. It is important to remember that the two-year statute of limitations will cut off a claim if you knew or should have known of the malpractice even though the four-year repose period may not have expired. There are two exceptions to the rules above. The first exception applies where the healthcare provider commits fraud, misrepresentation or concealment of the malpractice. In these rare cases, the statute of repose is extended to seven years. In such a case, the two-year statute of limitations still runs from when you knew or should have known of the malpractice. If the statute of limitations runs before you file your claim, even if the repose period has not expired, you will be barred. The second exception involves claims for children. The law says that the ordinary statute of repose will not cut off a child’s claim before the child’s eighth birthday. Again, however, the two-year statute of limitations is not extended, and will cut off a claim two years after the child’s parent or guardian knows or should know of the malpractice. FLORIDA STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR: Nursing Home Abuse The statute of limitations for nursing home abuse is essentially the same as the statute governing medical malpractice. The only differences are that the repose period for cases involving fraud and misrepresentation is six...

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[ STUDY ] The 10 Florida Counties with the Highest Drunk Driving Fatality Rates

Category: Original Research |

Putnam County tops the list with a devastating 24 drunk driving deaths per 100,000 people annually. In the United States, drunk driving is a deadly scourge. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving claims a life every 48 minutes. As personal injury attorneys we regularly bear witness to the tragic aftermath of drunk driving. Many of our clients are those who are left behind to pick up the pieces after someone’s decision to drive drunk ends in destruction, injury, and death. Despite the efforts of legislators, educators, law enforcement, and countless advocacy groups, the problem of drunk driving persists in Florida, with some regions of the state being particularly, tragically, afflicted. Given their size it’s easy to understand why some large Florida cities – Miami, Tampa, Orlando, etc. – would experience the most total drunk driving crashes and fatalities. However, if you look at the numbers on a per-capita basis the results are surprising. For complete details on the methodology used to come up with these rankings, click here. The 10 Florida Counties with the Highest Drunk Driving Fatality Rates View full size #1 Putnam County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 23.75 Putnam County has a modest population of 73,252 residents and is between Jacksonville, Gainesville, St. Augustine, and Daytona Beach. Its location might explain why it tops the list with a drunk driving death rate of 23.75 people per 100,000 people. #2 Columbia County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 19.44 Columbia County has even fewer residents, with an estimated population of just over 69,968 people and a lower five-year average for drunk driving deaths than Putnam County. Its rate is about 19 fatalities per 100,000 people, putting it in second place on our list. #3 Marion County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 11.65 Marion County is our first highly populated county on the list, with 353,526 people, and a more robust public bus system. There were 39 drunk driving deaths in 2020, a decrease from 54 deaths the year before. The five-year average places it as third worst for drunk driving fatalities. #4 Nassau County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 10.59 Nassau County is the most northeastern county in Florida, close to Jacksonville and several military bases. With a population of 83,098, its drunk driving fatality rate, based on its five-year average, comes out to about 10 deaths per 100,000 people. #5 Alachua County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 8.36 Alachua County also has a larger population and is home to Gainesville and the University of Florida. It saw a high of 44 drunk driving deaths in 2019, but the five-year average is 22 deaths annually. It’s the first county on our list to have a rate below 10 per 100,000 people. #6 Highlands County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 8.12 Highlands County has a modest population of 103,437, and its biggest cities are Avon Park and Sebring, with about 10,000 people each. Its five-year average is eight deaths per year. Despite fewer deaths than in Alachua County, it has a similar drunk driving rate. #7 Flagler County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 7.47 Seventh on our list is much like the sixth. Flagler County has a population of 109,801, and its largest city is Palm Coast. This county also has a five-year average of eight drunk driving deaths each year, with a rate of just over seven deaths per 100,000 people. #8 Duval County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.73 Duval County has over 936,000 people, making it the most populous county on our list. It boasts Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach, and Neptune Beach and sees more drunk driving deaths each year than these other nine counties. In fact, its five-year average is 63 drunk driving deaths annually. Despite this total, the overall rate is fewer than seven per 100,000 people. #9 Citrus County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.61 Citrus is a mid-sized county with a population of just over 145,000 people. Its largest community is Homosassa Springs, despite being an unincorporated area. Citrus County averaged fewer than 10 drunk driving deaths the past five years, but its rate per 100,000 people is similar to Duval County. #10 Martin County Drunk driving deaths per 100k: 6.41 Martin County rounds out our top 10 list. It’s similar to Citrus County, with a slightly larger population of 159,000. It averaged 10 drunk driving deaths annually over the past five years, resulting in a rate of six deaths per 100,000 people. Methodology Using FDOT’s Traffic Safety Dashboard we obtained county-level Florida crash data for all Impaired Driving crashes over five years, from 2016 to 2020. We narrowed the list of counties down to only those with a population of over 50,000 (41 counties). We calculated the average number of drunk driving fatalities per year, per county over the five year span. To determine the number of drunk driving fatalities per year, per 100k people we used the following formula:Average annual drunk driving fatalities ÷ (total population ÷ 100,000) = Drunk driving fatalities per 100k

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Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Whether you choose to ride your motorcycle as a hobby or as a commuter vehicle, you know that riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car or a truck. Exposure to the elements, greater maneuverability, finding your inner zen, the health and fitness benefits—riding a motorcycle has it all. Despite the fun of riding a motorcycle, however, doing so is objectively more dangerous than riding in a car. The fact that you don’t have a metal cage surrounding and protecting your body and the fact that you are harder to see than other vehicles on the road are just two elements that increase the rate of motorcycle injuries compared to driving cars. Knowing that riding a motorcycle can be dangerous, you naturally want to know how to be safer as a motorcyclist. If you know the most common motorcycle injuries, you can take specific steps to avoid those types of injuries. As with driving a car, your safety is never a guarantee when you are on the road, but this makes the things you can control yourself all the more important. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk cares about your safety, so we’ve compiled a list of the most common motorcycle accident injuries. Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most common motorcycle injury is a lower leg fracture. While a lower leg fracture itself is the most common motorcycle injury, taken as a whole, the leg and foot area are the most common areas of motorcycle injury. These include foot and ankle fractures and road rash on the leg and foot. Some of the other motorcycle accident injuries include things like: Fractures of arms, wrists, and hands; Road rash of arms, wrists, and hands; Back muscle injuries; Neck muscle injuries; Spinal injuries and fractures; Traumatic brain injuries; and Internal injuries like internal bleeding or organ damage. None of these injuries are uncommon in a motorcycle accident. While all these injuries can be significant, the most serious possible injury in a motorcycle accident is any injury to your head.  How to Ride Safely To avoid any injury, the best thing you can do is to ride as safely as possible. Following these safety tips doesn’t entirely remove the danger inherent in riding a motorcycle. However, it will reduce your chance of injury, severe or otherwise. Best of all, these are proactive steps that you can take. Wear a Helmet In 2016 alone, helmets saved an estimated 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives in the US. Wearing a helmet helps reduce the risk of death in motorcycle accidents by nearly 40%. In addition, motorcyclists riding without a helmet are three times more likely to suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI) than their helmeted counterparts. Wearing just any helmet isn’t enough to save your life, though. First, make sure your helmet fits well. Your helmet should be the right size and shape for your head. If your helmet does not fit well, it might fall off in an accident. A helmet that is too big will allow your head to bounce around in an accident, which will increase the risk of TBI. Ensure that your helmet is NHTSA certified, and after five years of use, be sure to get a new one. Check out the NHTSA’s guide on choosing the right helmet for you. Use Other Safety Gear On top of wearing a helmet, you can make your ride safer by wearing other protective gear. To help reduce the risk of ankle and foot injuries, wear a sturdy pair of boots whenever you ride. To avoid road rash, be sure to wear pants and a jacket that are designed to protect. A pair of jeans will rip almost immediately if you skid across the road, which is sure to cause road rash. Some motorcycle jackets, pants, and suits offer extra padding or armor, which also reduces the risk of muscle damage. Whatever you do, don’t go out for a ride in shorts and sandals.  Ensure Visibility Since a motorcycle is smaller than a car or truck, you are at a visibility disadvantage whenever you ride. To make sure you are as visible as possible, always check every one of your motorcycle’s lights to ensure they are in working condition. Consider carrying a couple of spare lights with you when you go out for a ride so you can replace them on the go if necessary. If you ride your motorcycle at night, consider purchasing a reflective vest or other reflective material to enhance your visibility to other vehicles on the road. If they can’t see you, they can’t avoid you. Don’t Drive in Bad Weather If You Can Avoid It Driving in the rain makes it easier for you to skid out even if another vehicle does not strike you. It also makes it more difficult for you to see your surroundings, which is also true for other vehicles on the road. Drive Carefully Perhaps most importantly, drive carefully. Don’t ride in other vehicles’ blind spots, focus on the road, and avoid distractions, never drive if you are intoxicated, and follow the rules of the road. Driving carefully is entirely in your hands. Don’t increase the danger level of riding a motorcycle; drive carefully. Have You Suffered from a Motorcycle Accident Injury in Florida? At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have helped motorcyclists fight for their legal rights for over 30 years. Florida motorcycle accidents are one of our firm’s focus areas, so we have the experience necessary to help you through any type of motorcycle accident. We have proudly served over 20,000 injured clients throughout Florida and are proud to have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau along with a “Best Law Firm” rating from US News & World Report. If you have suffered from a motorcycle accident injury, don’t hesitate—contact us today for a free consultation and get the legal help you deserve.

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Compensation for Death in a Car Accident

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. When a loved one dies in a car accident caused by a negligent party, the grief is not any less. Though it may do little to ease the pain, depending on your relationship to the deceased, you may be entitled to a car accident death insurance payout. Wrongful Death in a Car Accident In 2019, there were 401,867 total vehicle crashes in Florida that resulted in 3,185 fatalities according to the Florida Highway Safety and Transportation annual report.  Florida wrongful death as it relates to car accidents entitles certain survivors the right to recover damages against the party that caused the accident. A personal representative named in the will or estate plan of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The court will appoint a representative if one was not chosen by the deceased. The representative must represent all survivors who have an interest in the lawsuit and insurance payout for car accident death. These survivors may include the deceased person’s: Spouse, Parents, Children (biological or adopted), and Blood relatives and adopted siblings who were dependent on the deceased. In Florida, a child born to unmarried parents can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. A child can recover damages for an unmarried father’s death only if the father had a recognized responsibility for the child’s support.  Compensation for Death in a Car Accident An insurance payout for a car accident death depends upon the policy limits of the party that caused the death of your loved one. However, these policies are often not enough to provide fair compensation. In that case, your wrongful death attorney can advise you on options for filing a wrongful death suit to recover additional compensation. Economic Damages for Wrongful Death  Economic damages take into consideration the financial contribution the deceased would have made to survivors if not for the accident. Current wages, future earning potential, and benefits such as health insurance are taken into consideration.  Compensation for expenses is also a part of economic relief. Medical expenses from the accident, property damage, and funeral expenses may be recovered in a car accident death insurance payout or relief from a wrongful death lawsuit.  Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death There is no amount of money that can truly compensate for the loss of life, but non-economic damages are as close as you will get. This form of relief takes into consideration mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of care, and other means by which survivors suffer due to the loss of their loved one.  Options for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim There are several things you can do to receive compensation for death in a car accident. You may opt to first explore insurance payouts, which means filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance. This assumes that they have insurance. If they do not, you may be able to file a claim with the deceased’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. The biggest concerns with an insurance payout for accident death is that the insurance company will try to offer less than a fair settlement and that there may not be enough coverage on the policy to compensate for the death of your loved one.  It is important not to accept a settlement for less than what you reasonably deserve. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney is a valuable resource for determining the best course of action to receive fair relief.  Proving Wrongful Death in a Car Accident To recover compensation in a wrongful death car accident case, you must establish that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused your loved one’s death. In Florida car accidents, the wrongful action is typically the defendant’s negligence. Negligence  Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances but fails to do so, and as a result, causes injury. When it comes to driving, every driver owes a duty to others on the road to use reasonable care and obey traffic laws. Examples of behavior that may support a wrongful death claim include Driving recklessly; Violating traffic rules; Distracted driving, such as texting while driving; and  Driving under the influence.  In 2019, Florida had 342 confirmed deaths linked to drug and alcohol consumption while driving.  Cause of Death To prove wrongful death, you must also show that the accident that caused the death was the result of the defendant’s negligence. In other words, you need to show that if not for the wrongful action of the defendant, the death would not have occurred. How an Attorney Can Help Achieve Compensation for Death in a Car Accident When your world has been turned upside down from the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to do is fret over your legal rights. Some of the ways an attorney can fight for your rights include: Negotiating with your insurance company; Negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company; Filing legal paperwork; Gathering and evaluating evidence to prove wrongful death; Interviewing witnesses; Preparing legal arguments; Evaluating settlement options; and Representing you at trial, if necessary.  Hiring a wrongful death attorney in Florida can help you have a better understanding of the value of your claim and pursue the compensation you can expect.  The experienced car accident lawyers at Abrahamson and Uiterwyk has helped Florida survivors find fair compensation in their wrongful death cases for over 30 years. We understand the hardships of losing a loved one and give you space to heal while fighting on your behalf. Contact us today for your free case consultation.

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Most Common Types of Head-On Collision Injuries

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Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of accidents. This is because in a head-on collision, there is nowhere for the car’s energy to go except into the other car. Compared to a sideswipe or a fender-bender, head-on collision injuries are usually much more serious. Passengers can suffer fatal or life-threatening injuries, even with airbags and seatbelts. Every day, tens of thousands of people drive on Florida’s roadways. With so many drivers, traffic accidents are inevitable. In 2019, there were more than 400,000 traffic crashes in the State of Florida. After one of these accidents, the cost of medical care can skyrocket. Hiring a personal injury attorney can help you obtain damages to pay for these costs and more. If you were injured in a head-on collision, Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is here to help. Common Head-on Collision Injuries Head-on collision injuries can be far more severe than other types of car accidents. When two cars are speeding toward one another, a collision between them will involve much more force than other types of crashes. As a result, drivers and passengers may suffer a greater number of injuries. In a head-on collision, common injuries occur to both the body and the head. Broken Bones, Bruises, and Lacerations In a head-on collision, common injuries that occur include broken bones and lacerations. During the crash, it isn’t uncommon for victims to suffer broken bones. For the driver and front passenger especially, severe injury to the legs is possible as a result of a head-on collision. Severe bruising may occur as well. All these injuries happen as a result of the extreme force exerted on your body during the crash. For example, a person properly wearing a seat belt may suffer from internal bruising and even organ damage when the seat belt tightens during the crash. Internal Organ Damage The blunt force during a head-on collision may be enough to cause bruising or other damage to your internal organs. Broken bones can cause organ damage as well. When drivers or passengers are thrown around in a head-on collision, they frequently suffer chest injuries, including broken ribs, which can puncture lungs or other nearby organs. Double Impact Injuries Finally, victims of a head-on collision may experience a “double impact.” This occurs when they suffer trauma first during the crash and again when they strike the ground after being thrown from the car. Fortunately, the risk of a double impact and the resulting secondary injuries is greatly reduced by wearing a seat belt. Concussions Concussions are one of the most common head-on collision injuries. In a head-on collision, the sudden impact may cause you to hit your head on the steering wheel, the dashboard, or even the windshield. Even if you think you only suffered whiplash, the violent back-and-forth head motion can be enough to cause a concussion. A concussion can be mild or severe depending on the force of the impact. Mild “Grade 1” concussions are usually short-term and do not result in loss of consciousness. Severe “Grade 3” concussions, on the other hand, may result in long-term brain damage. Although a person may experience headaches and other symptoms as the result of a concussion, they may go unnoticed. Confusion and memory loss especially may not be apparent to the person with the concussion. Other common symptoms include: Blurry vision, Dizziness, Trouble concentrating, Nausea, and Trouble sleeping. Symptoms may not appear until days after the concussion occurs. Thus, it is very important to seek medical care right away so that you can properly treat your head injuries. Other Head Injuries Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most common injuries in a car accident. According to the CDC, car accidents are responsible for 18.7% of all brain-injury related deaths. Head injuries are particularly serious because they may not always be immediately apparent. Head injuries may also have more permanent effects. A person who survives a head-on collision with only minor physical injuries may still have a serious head injury. For example, a coup-contrecoup brain injury involves bleeding on both sides of the brain caused by external trauma and the brain’s own movement within the skull. What to Do After a Head-On Collision The first thing you should do after a head-on collision is seek medical treatment. When possible, you or someone you know should start gathering information. Document the scene and collect records of your medical treatment. Then, hire a Tampa car accident attorney. The information you collect will help them build your case. Can I Get Compensation for My Head-on Collision Injuries? Yes, you may be able to obtain compensation after a Florida car accident. Serious head-on collisions usually do not occur unless one or both drivers acted negligently in some way. As a result, you may be able to recover damages or a settlement from the insurance company. Depending on the nature and severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to damages for: Current and future medical expenses, Pain and suffering, Emotional distress, Lost wages, Reduced future earning potential, and Disability. The exact amount of damages available varies from case to case. Our Tampa personal injury lawyers will assess your case and advise you how much it may be worth. Photos of Head-On Collisions Involving Our Injury Clients Should I Hire an Attorney? Even if you feel that your injuries are relatively minor, it is a good idea to hire an attorney. We work on a contingency basis, which means you won’t pay a cent, no fees or costs, unless we win or settle your case. Hiring an attorney is the only way to make sure you obtain proper compensation for your injuries. Insurance companies are difficult to deal with and will not make a fair offer. Things are only more complicated if the other person doesn’t have insurance. In either case, our attorneys will help you build a strong case to maximize your recovery. Hire a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’ve recovered hundreds of...

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Most Common Fatal Injuries in Car Accidents

Category: Articles & FAQ |

While automobile manufacturers and policymakers worldwide take steps to reduce fatal car crashes and road traffic accidents, the numbers are still staggering. Consistently, car accidents remain a leading cause of death in the United States and elsewhere. For certain age groups, car accidents are the leading cause of death. Each year more than 38,000 people die in car accidents on US roads. Vehicle accident fatalities rose in 2020. This is surprising given that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced the number of cars on the road at any given time. Experts attribute 2020’s rise in car crash fatalities to increased speeding rates that came alongside fewer cars being on the road.  Even if you take extra precautions as a driver or passenger, safety is unfortunately not a guarantee. Despite any steps that you may take, road traffic safety depends on other motorists’ actions, and you cannot control the actions of other road users. Knowing this, you may find yourself wondering, what are the most common fatal injuries in car accidents? While road safety is never a guarantee, if you know the most common fatal injuries in car accidents, you can take proactive steps to avoid them. The Most Common Fatal Injuries in Car Accidents Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other types of head or brain injuries are some of the most common fatal injuries in car accidents each year. Although protected by our skulls, our brains are also one of the organs most susceptible to injury. While not all TBI is fatal, there are more than 50,000 cases of TBI each year. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that automobile accidents cause roughly 20% of all TBI cases. Other internal injuries are the other leading cause of fatalities in car accidents. Internal injuries encompass a broad range of specific injuries, including TBI. Other internal injuries that can be fatal include things like: Organ injury, Aorta aneurysm, Internal bleeding, Ruptured spleens, and Collapsed lungs. Many of these internal injuries are treatable. However, sometimes internal injuries go unnoticed and untreated. When this occurs, the likelihood of death increases significantly. Leading Driver Death Causes There are many different causes of car accidents. In turn, there are many different causes of fatal accidents and some are more prevalent than others. A US Department of Transportation (DOT) study of over 51,000 driver fatalities in 2018 revealed the following top 10 accident causes and their respective rates (from highest to lowest): Driving too fast for conditions, over speed limits, or racing (16.7%); Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medication (10.1%); Failure to stay in the proper lane (7.2%); Failure to yield right of way (7.0%); Driving carelessly (5.4%); Distracted driving (5.2%); Failure to obey traffic control devices (3.9%); Reckless, erratic, or negligent driving (3.8%); Overcorrecting or oversteering (3.1%); and Driving with low visibility (rain, fog, snow, lights) (3.0%). From this data, you can see that while some of the fatal accident causes exceed others, no one category comes close to encompassing a majority. Taken as a whole, we can identify some dangerous driving behaviors that one should always try to avoid to protect their life. Conversely, there are other safe driving practices that one can take to protect themselves and others on the road. The Best Way to Protect Yourself from Car Accident Fatalities Wearing a seat belt while in a car as a driver or passenger is by far the most important step you can take to protect yourself from dying in an automobile accident. Why is this? Because wearing your seat belt helps protect your head. Without a seat belt, the impact of a car accident can throw you against the interior of the car, where you can strike your head. In other situations, without a seat belt, you may be thrown from the vehicle where you are very likely to hit your head. Consider these statistics from the CDC on seatbelt use:  More than half of all car accident fatalities happen to people who are not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident; A seat belt can reduce the risk of death or serious injury in car accidents by 45-50%; People not wearing a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a crash compared to those wearing seatbelts; and Seatbelts saved nearly 13,000 lives in one year alone (2009). Wearing a seatbelt is far and away one of the easiest ways to prevent car accident fatalities. Consequently, it’s one of the most important safe driving and riding habits you can take every time you get in a car. If You Are in a Car Accident If you are injured in a car accident, contact us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today for a free consultation regarding your injuries. We help clients through just about any type of personal injury, but car accidents are one of our firm’s primary focus areas. We have helped more than 20,000 clients throughout all of Florida over the past 30 years get the compensation they deserve after suffering from personal injuries. If you suffer a personal injury after a car accident, don’t wait. Contact us today and let us help you! If a Loved One Dies in a Car Accident If your loved one dies in a car accident, the person who caused the accident owes you compensation. We know how hard it is to have a loved one’s life cut short and are here to help you go through the grieving process without worrying about legal details. Our goal is to guide you through the legalities so that you don’t have to worry about the ins and outs of filing a wrongful death claim. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk’s wrongful death attorneys are compassionate, experienced, and here to help you with your unique needs. We want to make the process as pain-free for you as possible, so contact us today for a free consultation, and we’ll take care of the rest.

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What Happens When Someone Dies in a Car Accident?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Every year, around 35,000 people lose their lives in traffic accidents in the United States. Fatal traffic accidents happen for a variety of reasons, many of them beyond the control of the victim. For the survivors of a fatal crash, left with their own injuries and the emotional trauma of losing a loved one, it can be difficult to know where to turn. What happens when someone dies in a car accident? Can I recover compensation? These are common questions we receive from clients trying to figure out what to do next. If one of your loved ones died in a car accident, we can help you figure out the next steps. What Happens When Someone Dies in a Car Accident? Immediately after an accident, and after everyone has received medical attention, there are a couple of things that happen. First, depending on the circumstances of the accident, police may investigate the cause of the crash. In some cases, this may lead to criminal charges against the at-fault driver. Meanwhile, the victim’s family makes funeral arrangements and manages the deceased’s estate. Those tasks alone are difficult, especially when a family is grieving. As a result, we understand that it is difficult to consider the time and cost to file a lawsuit. However, obtaining a settlement is an important option that may be available to help pay for end-of-life medical care and other expenses after the fatal accident. The At-Fault Driver May Go to Jail When it comes to the at-fault driver, it isn’t always clear what happens when someone dies in a car accident. Whether anyone goes to jail after a fatal accident depends on the facts of each case. Usually, an at-fault driver will not go to jail if factors outside their control caused the accident. For example, a driver probably won’t face criminal charges if bad road conditions cause an accident and both drivers were following all road laws. Similarly, a driver likely won’t face criminal charges for vehicle issues like a brake failure if they properly maintained their car. If criminal behavior is present, like negligence or recklessness, then the state may press charges against the at-fault driver. Ultimately, it will depend on whether the district attorney believes the driver was culpable in causing the death. In most cases, the DA will consider whether: The driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the wreck; The driver was speeding, driving aggressively, engaging in road rage, or otherwise engaging in reckless behavior; and The presence of flukes or “acts of God” outside either driver’s control. A DA will also consider whether the driver was distracted (e.g., by texting) or failing to obey road signs, like a stop sign. Failing to follow driving laws may be evidence of negligence or impairment that increases a driver’s chances of going to jail. The Deceased’s Estate Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action Traditionally, when a plaintiff died, their causes of action died with them. However, when someone dies in a car accident, Florida law permits the estate of a deceased person to bring a wrongful death claim. A “wrongful death” is one caused by the negligent or wrongful actions of another person, and a wrongful death action allows the estate of the deceased person to recover damages as compensation for the loss of life. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida? In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate is the only person eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. A person’s will usually appoints a personal representative. If there is no will or the will does not appoint a representative, the court will appoint one. Elements of Wrongful Death Claim in Florida Section 769.19 of the Florida Statutes provides the right of action for wrongful death. To succeed on a wrongful death action in Florida, the personal representative must prove three elements: Conduct constituting a wrongful act or negligence; The wrongful conduct caused the person’s death; and The wrongful conduct would have created a legal claim by the deceased person if they had not died. In other words, the deceased person must have had a cause of action to bring a lawsuit, even though they were unable to act on it themselves. Damages Available When Someone Dies in a Car Accident If you get into a car accident and someone dies, you may be able to recover a settlement through a wrongful death action. In Florida, there are several types of damages available after a fatal car accident, including: Medical bills, Funeral expenses, “Loss of support” and “loss of companionship” damages, Lost wages, and Loss of estate value. In some cases, the family may elect instead to pursue a survival claim. Rather than compensate the family for their losses, a survival claim provides compensation for the deceased person’s losses. The victim of a fatal car accident may not die at the scene. In some cases, they are given medical treatment and maybe on life support for days or months. The cost of the ongoing treatment and hospital stay can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this occurs, a survival claim may be more appropriate than a wrongful death claim. Your attorney can help you determine which claim makes the most sense in your case. Should I Hire an Attorney When Someone Dies in a Car Accident? The short answer is yes. Obtaining a fair settlement from an insurance company is impossible without an attorney. Having an experienced attorney negotiating on your behalf shows the insurance company you are serious. An attorney can also help you understand what happens when someone dies in a car accident. If there is no insurance involved, a Florida car accident attorney can help you figure out who is liable and how to maximize your recovery. Handling the legal process is complicated and can be overwhelming in the aftermath of a fatal accident. An attorney is someone you can trust to handle your...

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What Is a Major Cause of Death in Motorcycle Accidents?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Driving and riding on a motorcycle is a fun and exhilarating experience. Many individuals who ride motorcycles also have cars or trucks but also ride motorcycles as a hobby. Riding a motorcycle can give you an adrenaline rush similar to the one you may experience through other recreational activities like surfing, climbing, or skiing. Like these other activities, riding a motorcycle requires concentration. With that concentration and adrenaline, many motorcyclists, like skiers and surfers, report a feeling of calm, oneness, and freedom as they ride. This feeling of oneness is similar to the feelings one may achieve through meditation. In a lot of ways, riding a motorcycle is a form of meditation. Despite the fun and exhilaration of riding a motorcycle, doing so is more dangerous than riding in or driving a car. Motorcycle fatality rates greatly exceed those of driving cars, as do injury rates. Even when a motorcyclist is careful, accidents can happen, and injuries are often more severe than those resulting from similar car accidents. To ride a motorcycle more safely, it is important to ask the question, what is the most common cause of death in motorcycle accidents? By knowing the most common cause of motorcycle fatality, you can take steps to protect yourself as a motorcyclist. And if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence it is worth speaking with an experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney near you about the possibility of pursuing a personal injury claim. Motorcycle Fatalities at a Glance In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recorded 4,985 motorcyclist deaths on U.S. roads. The 4,985 fatalities were 5% lower than 2017’s number. Put another way, this number put the fatality rate of motorcyclists at 24.83 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2018. To put this in perspective, compared to car occupants, the 24.83 fatality rate in 2018 was 27 times higher than the same fatality rate for cars. The major cause of death in motorcycle accidents and these higher numbers show the big difference in risk between driving a motorcycle, which does not have the safety features of a car, versus riding in a closed-cabin vehicle. Why Are Motorcycles More Dangerous Than Cars or Trucks? The main reason why motorcycles are more dangerous to drive than conventional automobiles is that motorcycles offer little or no physical protection to their riders. Cars and trucks are literal metal cages. In an accident, the metal cage surrounding occupants absorbs much of the force of impact. The more of the impact the car absorbs, the less its occupants are subject to. Furthermore, each year, manufacturers redesign their cars and trucks to better absorb such shock and better protect their occupants. Conversely, when you’re riding a motorcycle, you are exposed directly to the force of impact. Absorbing the force of such an impact means injuries are more severe. The continuous redesign of cars to reduce occupant impact in a car accident just isn’t possible for motorcycle manufacturers.  Get A Free Case Evaluation 866-201-8701 What Is the Main Cause of Motorcycle Accidents? One major reason for motorcycle accidents is that they are harder to see on the road. This is why lack of visibility is the main cause of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are obviously much smaller than conventional cars or trucks. Motorcycles also have smaller and fewer lights than cars or trucks. As a result, your visibility while riding a motorcycle is much less than that of a car or truck. If other drivers can’t see you, it is harder for them to avoid a potential collision. If someone is in a semi-truck or other vehicle high off the ground, your visibility as a motorcyclist decreases even more. The size of trucks and their impact on motorcycle visibility combine to create even more danger for motorcyclists than small or midsize cars. The Most Common Cause of Fatalities in Motorcycle Accidents By far, the major cause of death in motorcycle accidents is head injuries. Your head is the most important part of your body. Also, it is one of the easiest parts of your body to injure. Because your head does not have the same protection on a motorcycle as it does in a car, riding a motorcycle puts your head at a higher risk of trauma and injury. The impact of your head colliding with a metal vehicle or the impact of hitting the road when you fly off your motorcycle exposes your head and brain to great danger.  How to Ride a Motorcycle More Safely The most important step you can take to protect your life as a motorcyclist is to protect your head. The best way to protect your head is by wearing your helmet. The NHTSA estimates that helmets prevented 1,872 motorcyclist deaths in 2017 alone. Furthermore, the NHTSA estimates that for every 100 motorcyclist deaths, more than one-third (37%) would be preventable if all motorcyclists wore their helmets. To help choose a safe and effective helmet that fits your needs, check out some reviews on pages like Revzilla. Having the right helmet could save your life. Because lack of visibility is the most common cause of motorcycle accidents, a second step you can take to protect yourself as a motorcycle rider is to make sure you are as visible as possible on the road. Most motorcycle crashes are caused by a lack of visibility. To avoid this, make sure your lights are in good working condition every time you ride your motorcycle. Consider keeping a couple of replacement lights with you when you ride in case one of your lights goes out.  Another step you can take to improve your visibility is to wear clothing that makes you more visible to other drivers. Consider purchasing a reflective vest for when you ride, especially if you plan to ride your motorcycle at night. A reflective vest like one of these is an inexpensive and easy way to improve your visibility on the road. Also see our...

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Florida Punitive Damages Overview

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As the name suggests, punitive damages are meant to punish a defendant or to act as a deterrent.  But not every plaintiff in a civil case (such as a personal injury claim) can ask for punitive damages. In fact, the requirements for eligibility are fairly strict. Florida Statute Section 768.72 allows punitive damages only when “there is a reasonable showing by evidence in the record or proffered by the claimant which would provide a reasonable basis for recovery of such damages.”  Understanding when a court can award punitive damages is important for anyone who may be involved in a lawsuit. Here is a short guide to how punitive damages in Florida work and who may be eligible for them. Damage Categories in Florida Civil Cases When someone suffers injuries or other losses due to the negligent or wrongful act of another, they are entitled to seek compensation. In Florida, there are three basic categories that a plaintiff may receive in a lawsuit or settlement. Economic Damages Economic damages are used to financially compensate a plaintiff for the direct losses the plaintiff suffered due to the accident/incident. These include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and more. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages compensate the plaintiff for less concrete losses like physical pain and suffering, emotional and psychological damage, loss of quality of life, and more. Punitive Damages Unlike the first two types of damages, which are compensatory, punitive damages are put into place to punish the individual or entity responsible for the incident. They are available only in the most egregious circumstances. Florida Punitive Damage Statute As mentioned above, Florida Statute Section 768.72 dictates when punitive damages are available in a lawsuit: “A defendant may be held liable for punitive damages only if the trier of fact, based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.” The language of the law indicates that this is a pretty high bar to clear. Only a trier of fact (the jury) is allowed to award punitive damages and only under exceptional circumstances. The onus is on the plaintiff not just to ask for these damages but also to prove them. The “clear and convincing” standard is higher than the normal personal injury-proof standard, which means that the plaintiff needs strong evidence to back their damages claim.  The fact of the matter is that punitive damages aren’t awarded very often. Generally, punitive damages claims are not meant for a plaintiff to recover extra damages for themselves. Instead, they are intended to punish a defendant for a particularly heinous act or to provide a warning to future defendants to avoid similar conduct. Intentional Misconduct v. Gross Negligence Under the Florida punitive damages statute, there are two situations where punitive damages are appropriate. These are when the defendant’s actions are grossly negligent or the defendant commits intentional misconduct. Both are expressly defined by Florida law: Gross negligence exists when the defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct (Florida Statutes 768.72 (2)(b)); and Intentional misconduct exists when the defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage (Florida Statutes 768.72 (2)(a)). Only if the defendant or possible at-fault party committed acts that fit either of these will the court consider awarding punitive damages in addition to the other categories. The Process of Asking for Punitive Damages There is a specific way that a personal injury attorney must seek Florida punitive damages in a trial setting. First, there is a hearing before the judge. This determines if there is sufficient evidence to allow the plaintiff to present a claim for punitive damages to the jury.  If the judge approves, the plaintiff must then present enough clear and convincing evidence to the jury that punitive damages are appropriate in your case. An attorney may not just randomly ask for punitive damages at the end of a trial, nor can a jury tack these onto a damages award once it has reached a verdict. If the process is not followed, a jury cannot award any punitive damages. Limits on Punitive Damages Most states place limits on the amount that a plaintiff can receive in compensation for a personal injury claim. Most states do not place limits on economic damages, as long as the losses are supported with evidence. Some states limit non-economic damages, but Florida does not. The only category that Florida limits (or caps) is punitive damages. A plaintiff can only receive up to three times the amount they receive for compensatory damages (economic and non-economic damages combined). Anything above is capped by law. Injured in Florida? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! If you are seriously injured due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful actions, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. You may be unable to work and struggling both physically and emotionally to recover from your losses. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we are here to help. Based in Tampa, our personal injury attorneys also handle cases in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and throughout the state of Florida. For over 30 years we have fought for the well-being of our clients and are proud of our case results. We have received an A+ rating from the BBB, an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, and a “Best Law Firm” rating from US News & World Report. When it comes to serious injuries, the team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provides excellent advocacy as well as personal service. For a free consultation, call us at 813-223-5295 or contact us on our website to schedule an appointment.

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Florida 14-Day Accident Law

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If you are in an accident, you need to familiarize yourself with the Florida 14-day accident law. This law states that injured victims must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident for their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to apply. PIP coverage is your no-fault insurance that covers medical expenses and some of your other damages. If you have questions about PIP and the 14-day accident law, let the experienced Tampa auto accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk help. Failure to adhere to this 14-day rule could mean trouble for your personal injury protection claim. It could adversely affect your ability to get reimbursed for your damages, which means you would be paying for your expenses out of pocket. Deciphering the 14-Day Rule Seeking medical treatment after an accident is always a good idea. Even if you don’t think you are seriously injured, you should get checked out. Some injuries are not visible, so you want to rule out any internal damage as well. Florida’s 14-day PIP rule says that you must at least have an initial medical examination within 14 days of the accident. If you don’t, your insurance company has the right to deny any subsequent claim that you present under your personal injury policy. There is no specific type of doctor you need to see, which means almost any kind of medical care with a qualified health care provider could meet the requirement. For example, you might visit an: Emergency room physician, Medical doctor, Chiropractor, or Dentist. It’s crucial to note that health care providers that are not listed in the specific law may not qualify. Massage therapists and physical therapists are two examples that may not be eligible. If you see a massage therapist but not a medical doctor, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. You can see a massage therapist on your own if you need it; it just will not be reimbursed. The important thing is to get to the emergency room or make an appointment with a doctor first to ensure you satisfy the 14-day rule.   Some people don’t see the rule’s importance and are shocked when their claim is denied for not seeking treatment in time. There are several reasons why this 14-day rule exists, including to deter potential insurance fraud and claims for unconnected injuries. If someone waits two months to see a doctor, the insurance provider can easily deny the claim on the basis that the person was likely injured somewhere else. Other reasons the 14-day rule exists are to help facilitate quick medical diagnoses and avoid medical complications. Personal Injury Protection Payout Limits When Florida amended the PIP law, it also limited what benefits are available under the policy. You must have a minimum policy amount of $10,000, but that doesn’t mean you are entitled to receive the full amount after an accident. Under the current PIP law, the amount of your maximum benefit will depend on the severity of your injuries. You must seek treatment within 14 days, and you will be eligible to receive only up to $2,500 in benefits if you sustained non-emergency injuries. If your injuries fall under an “emergency medical condition,” then you could receive the maximum payout under your policy. However, PIP only pays 80% of your medical costs. Take a $10,000 PIP policy, for example. If your medical expenses are $10,000, then you would receive only $8,000 under your policy. If your expenses are $20,000, you would receive the whole $10,000. PIP also covers 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. If you are disabled and unable to work, then you would want to include a loss of earnings claim. Payment under this section also provides compensation for services you would normally do, such as cleaning your home, laundry, etc. Your personal injury policy also usually includes up to $5,000 in death benefits. If the policyholder dies, your PIP coverage will pay for the burial and funeral expenses, in addition to the other benefits. What Is Considered an “Emergency Medical Condition”? Under Florida Statute section 395.002(8), you’ll find the definition of an “emergency medical condition.” A qualifying emergency condition is one where you suffer acute symptoms that require immediate medical attention to prevent: Impairment of a major body function; Endangerment of your health and wellbeing; or A serious dysfunction of any body part or organ. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what is going on with you after the accident. They can note in your chart that you had a condition that qualifies for some benefits under your PIP. The notes don’t have to reflect it was an “emergency medical condition.” As long as there is proof that you sought treatment within 14 days, you should be entitled to some benefits from your policy. The determination of whether you have a qualifying condition doesn’t have to take place within 14 days either. You need to show only that you sought initial treatment from a qualifying provider to meet the legal requirement. What If Your PIP Claim Is Denied? Even though you pay a monthly premium for your personal injury protection coverage, it doesn’t mean that the insurer will always pay you the benefits you think you are owed. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and therefore they will look for ways to reduce their payouts whenever possible. Common reasons for denials include: Not seeking treatment within 14 days; Not suffering injuries in this accident as you claim; and Not suffering a qualifying emergency medical condition. Despite the current situation with the pandemic, you still need to seek treatment within 14 days. Many doctors and facilities are offering telephone and virtual appointments if you are concerned about going in person. The telehealth option would most likely satisfy the 14-day rule. You can check with your insurance company to verify first. Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today  Don’t try to fight a PIP denial on your own. Instead, let the experienced team of...

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Florida Negligence Elements & Negligence Law Overview

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Most people are familiar with the term personal injury law. However, this is just an umbrella term that covers a wide range of possible legal claims, from products liability to intentional torts like assault. But most personal injury cases are actually brought under the legal theory known as negligence, which has a long and storied history in American law. Here, we will discuss Florida’s negligence law, its elements, and how they may apply to your situation.  Florida Negligence Laws Although there are many famous court cases that are a big part of shaping negligence law, the governing law itself is actually found in the Florida Statutes. More specifically, Florida Statutes Chapter 768 deals exclusively with negligence and all connected issues like damages, special exceptions, etc. But sorting through all the legalese can be overwhelming and confusing. There’s a reason that attorneys have to go to law school, after all. Instead, it’s much easier to break down a claim into its basic elements. Florida Negligence Elements In the most general sense, negligence is when someone fails to exercise a degree of reasonable care expected of them to minimize risk of harm to another. This can be broken down into four elements: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damage. Duty of Care First, a plaintiff needs to show that the person/entity who injured them owed them a duty of care. This means that they had a legal obligation to do (or not do) something based on the relationship between the parties. For example, every driver on the road has a duty to others on the road to drive their vehicle safely and according to the law. Someone who owns a business open to the public owes a duty to visitors to keep their store as free of hazards as possible. Breach of Duty The second element requires a breach of duty to create a legal cause of action. A driver breaches their duty by driving unsafely or breaking traffic laws. A store owner might breach their duty if they ignore a spill of some sort where customers travel. Causation The next element seems easy and logical, but there can be some complications. If one driver hits another and causes damage to their vehicle, causation is easy. But when there are multiple people or events that are involved in an accident, things can get confusing. If someone in a store accidentally knocks an item off a shelf which hits someone else, the cause of the accident is at first glance, not the store owner. But if the store owner placed the item at a height and position that made it a danger for customers to navigate, then the injured customer may claim that the owner’s negligent act legally caused the harm.  Damages/Injury Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered injuries or losses that can be compensated. Usually, this means financial compensation. While it seems clear that you can’t sue someone when you haven’t suffered damages of some kind, this is still an important step to completing a claim. Damages must be proven by evidence such as medical bills, proof of lost wages, appraisals for property damage, and more. In addition, less concrete losses like pain and suffering and loss of life enjoyment are also possible losses that a plaintiff may ask for. Florida negligence laws don’t just define what a claim is, they also define the type and amount of damages a plaintiff can seek. Florida and Comparative Fault One additional in a negligence claim is how fault distribution can affect potential damage amounts. Although some accidents can be attributed to one party 100%, this is not the case in many incidents. As a result, there are different approaches for reducing damages when each party has some fault in an accident. Different states follow different rules, and Florida follows the pure comparative negligence approach. Pure comparative negligence reduces a plaintiff’s damages by their attributed fault percentage. This means that under Florida law, the amount of your recovery will be reduced by the amount of your fault. For example, say you incur $100,000 in medical costs and other damages. However, the jury also decides that the accident was 40% your fault. This means that the amount you are awarded will be reduced by 40% and you will receive only $60,000. Some states limit recovery altogether if the plaintiff is more than 49% or 50% at fault, but not Florida. In the pure comparative fault system, you can still seek recovery even if your fault is deemed to be a higher percentage, such as 90%. Injured By Someone’s Negligence? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! If you suffer injuries or other damages in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation. And while filing any legal claim seems scary, the personal injury team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is here to make the process as stress-free as possible. We know the law and proudly boast 30 years of experience successfully representing clients throughout Florida. We offer potential clients a free case evaluation to assess your claim and advise you on the best legal path for your recovery. To schedule an appointment with us, call us at 813-223-5295 or contact us on our website.

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Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine Quick Facts

Category: Articles & FAQ |

The Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine, also sometimes called vicarious liability, can impact your car accident claim. Some people mistakenly assume that letting someone else borrow their vehicle will absolve them of liability if the other person gets into an accident. However, the Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine, says that the vehicle owner can also be liable. If you are an accident victim, this means you may have another potential source of recovery. To learn more about how this doctrine can impact your claim, contact the Tampa car accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today. What Is the Florida Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine? The doctrine holds the owner of a dangerous instrumentality responsible for any damage or injuries that the vehicle caused. In this situation, Florida courts have determined that vehicles qualify as dangerous instrumentalities. In easier-to-understand terminology, Florida law says that an owner of a motor vehicle can be held liable for injuries and damages to a third party when the owner voluntarily loans their vehicle to another person. The reasoning behind this theory is that some items, such as a motor vehicle, have the propensity to be so dangerous that public policy should not allow the legal owner to avoid any legal responsibility if an innocent person is injured by the vehicle that they permitted someone else to drive. One of the most common examples of the Florida dangerous instrumentality doctrine is when parents purchase a vehicle for their child but retain legal ownership of it.  The doctrine extends to all passenger vehicles, such as a car, pickup truck, SUV, van, etc. The person driving and the vehicle owner could both be responsible for economic and non-economic damages caused by the driver’s wrongful acts or negligence. However, the doctrine does not extend to long-term lessees—those leasing the vehicle for their personal use. In this case, the liability will be limited to the lessee. That means the dealer or similar entity will not be responsible for any damages the leased vehicle causes, despite possibly holding a security interest in the vehicle. There is one important difference between Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine and vicarious liability in other states: other states typically require proof that the owner acted negligently in giving permission. Florida’s doctrine doesn’t have that requirement. Where the application of this doctrine becomes more confusing is when the accident occurs outside of Florida. Florida vehicle owners could still be held liable under the doctrine, even if the accident occurs out of state. Whether this doctrine can be applied to an out-of-state accident will depend on the circumstances. If your claim involves an out-of-state accident, you should contact an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. Exceptions to Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine There are some instances where the doctrine will not apply. Car Theft The first exemption is when someone steals a car. The doctrine applies only to people who permit someone else to drive their vehicle. If the owner can show the person didn’t have permission, such as a vehicle thief, then they likely wouldn’t be held accountable. Shop Rule In some cases, there may be people who have permission to drive the vehicle, but the doctrine won’t apply. Examples include body shop employees, auto mechanics, or valet parking attendants. This example falls under the “shop rule.” Under the shop rule, vehicle owners who entrust their vehicle to an auto body shop or service station will not be responsible for any negligence on behalf of the shop employees. This same exception also applies to any damage that a valet driver causes. Rentals and Leases Rental cars and leased vehicles also fall under the exception clause. The leasing company or rental agency keeps the vehicle title in their name, but they aren’t responsible for what the renter or lessee does while driving that vehicle. This example falls under the Grave’s Amendment. The Graves Amendment was part of a 2005 federal highway bill that excludes rental car companies from vicarious liability for injuries caused by their customers unless someone can prove that the rental car company’s actions or negligence contributed somehow. Recent Sale The final exception deals with selling a vehicle. If the vehicle owner sold the car and the new buyer damaged it before changing title, the previous owner may be able to escape liability. The accident must occur before the prior owner had a reasonable amount of time to change the title. Do You Need to Hire a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer? Following an auto accident in Florida, you are likely wondering whether you need to hire an attorney or can handle the claim on your own. In most cases, hiring a Tampa car accident lawyer is beneficial. If you were involved in an accident where the dangerous instrumentality doctrine in Florida applies, it’s essential to speak with an experienced injury lawyer near you before pursuing an injury claim independently. These can be complicated claims, and you want to talk to someone who has experience handling similar cases. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience helping clients get the compensation they deserve. We have represented over 20,000 injured clients and recovered over $800 million to date. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation. Let us review your case and advise you on the best legal course of action. 

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Florida Auto Negligence Overview

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Florida is home to millions, and so many drivers on the road often leads to unfortunate accidents. These car accidents are often the result of a negligent party or a party whose irresponsibility on the road endangers other drivers. It’s essential to know how Florida handles automobile negligence and what that may mean for you.  Defining Auto Negligence An individual is negligent when they are not acting reasonably and their actions cause an accident or injury. Similarly, auto negligence occurs when a driver is not driving in a way a reasonable driver should, resulting in an auto accident. Proving Auto Negligence Proving negligence in Florida requires you to establish that a driver was not driving reasonably and that their lack of care ultimately resulted in an accident and injury. To prove negligence, you must first satisfy the following elements: The driver owed you a duty of care; The driver breached this duty of care by failing to drive responsibly; The breach was the direct cause of the accident; and The accident resulted in damages. Drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to act reasonably and drive responsibly. If the other driver did not respect other drivers on the road, they have breached this duty. If this breach of care resulted in your accident and the accident then resulted in damages, including injuries and property damage, there is a chance that you will successfully prove the other driver’s negligence. It can be challenging to establish auto negligence. Fortunately, a car accident attorney can gather details and information from your case to help establish the other driver’s negligence. Proving negligence is one of the most crucial parts of a car accident case. Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accidents No two accidents are the same, and while many accidents are caused by one negligent driver, some accidents are caused by multiple parties. Florida follows the “pure comparative fault” rule for cases involving more than one negligent driver. Under the pure comparative fault rule, a judge will determine each driver’s exact percentage of fault. The plaintiff’s award will then be reduced by the percentage of fault they have in their accident.  For example, if the defendant crashes into the plaintiff but the plaintiff was texting and driving, the pure comparative fault rule will come in. If the defendant was 70% at fault and the plaintiff was 30% at fault, and the plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000, their award will be reduced by 30%, leaving them with $70,000. Some states follow a different comparative fault rule, where a plaintiff more than 50% at fault loses the right to recover any damages. However, this is not the case in Florida. Even if it is determined the plaintiff is 90% at fault, they will still be entitled to 10% of the damages award. Florida’s No-Fault Law Florida is one of the very few states that follow a “no-fault” car insurance system. This system provides that, after a car accident, you will have to seek monetary aid from your own insurance coverage. Your personal injury protection, or “PIP,” insurance will cover your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If your injuries and losses exceed the $10,000 maximum, you may be able to go outside Florida’s no-fault system and file a claim or personal injury lawsuit. Note that the no-fault system does not apply to property damage resulting from a car accident. You may make a claim against the at-fault driver for property damage and loss. Serious Injury Under Florida No-Fault To file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover for non-economic damages under Florida’s no-fault system, injuries must qualify as “serious injury.” According to Florida Statute, serious injury includes: Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and Death.  If your injuries do not qualify, you will not be able to collect for non-economic damages. How a Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help While you are not legally required to hire a car accident attorney, having representation will often result in the best outcome. Not every car accident case is straightforward, with some cases presenting particular challenges. Your Florida accident lawyer will handle every aspect of your case, including: Investigating your accident, Gathering information and evidence, Calculating appropriate damages, Communicating with insurance companies, and Engaging in settlement negotiations. Often, car accident cases settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Nonetheless, some cases do end up in front of a jury. Having the help of an experienced car accident attorney will give you peace of mind knowing your case is being handled properly. A lawyer will advocate for you, protect your rights, and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over three decades of experience helping injured clients when they need us most. Our firm has had the pleasure of serving over 20,000 clients to date, recovering hundreds of millions along the way. Client satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, and we’re happy to have earned the love and respect of so many of our clients. We provide aggressive representation to help get you back on your feet after an accident. Our firm offers free case reviews. Contact us today, and let’s get started.

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Florida Survival Statutes Quick Facts

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Losing a loved one is always difficult. You will undoubtedly experience heightened emotions, stress, and financial instability. While money cannot take the lingering pain away, it can help ease some pressure and financial strain.  After a loved one’s death, you may be able to file a survival action. It is essential to know what the Florida survival statute means, what differentiates a survival action from a wrongful death claim, and your options. Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action After losing a loved one, you may hear “wrongful death” and “survival action” used interchangeably. However, they are not the same kind of lawsuit. Wrongful Death A wrongful death claim in Florida arises when a loved one dies due to someone’s negligence or a wrongful act. The decedent’s survivors may then bring a wrongful death claim. This type of claim serves to compensate the decedent’s family for the death. Survival Action On the other hand, a survival action allows a decedent’s survivor to file a lawsuit as if the decedent themselves were filing the lawsuit. The Florida Survival Statute provides that “no cause of action dies with the person.” This means if a decedent would have had grounds to file a lawsuit, they still will even after death, with their survivors filing the lawsuit for them. While wrongful death compensates the family for the losses they incurred after their loved one’s death, survival claims focus on the decedent’s losses. A survival claim can be based on the actions that caused the person’s death or on other injuries unrelated to their death. Who Can File a Survival Claim? Survival claims may be filed by a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Unlike wrongful death claims, where damages go to specific family members, survival claim awards go to the decedent’s estate. The award is then distributed according to the decedent’s will. If a decedent dies intestate, or without a will, the decedent’s heirs will receive the award. A decedent’s heirs typically include spouses, children, grandchildren, and other relatives. A court can decide how to distribute the award correctly. Damages Available In Survival Claims Damages available in survival claims are those that would have been available to the decedent had they lived and been able to file their own lawsuit. These damages include: Medical expenses, Lost wages, Lost earning capacity, Pain and suffering, and Property damage. Survival claim damages may also include any other financial losses the decedent incurred due to the defendant’s negligence or the wrongful act leading to their death. Damages can be challenging to calculate, and you may not be aware of everything you’re entitled to. Fortunately, an attorney can calculate the appropriate damages and the compensation you deserve. What Kind of Claim Should You File—Wrongful Death or a Survival Action? You may be confused as to which claim is right for you. While you may be able to file both a wrongful death lawsuit and a survival claim, Florida does not allow you to receive damages for both types of claims arising out of the same incident. A proficient attorney can review the details of your case and help you decide which claim to pursue. In certain situations, you may be able to pursue both a wrongful death and survival claim. For example, your spouse is involved in an accident that leaves him paralyzed. Six months later, he suffers a heart attack after a medical procedure entirely unrelated to the accident. In this case, you may then file a survival claim for the first accident and a wrongful death claim for the medical malpractice since these two unfortunate incidents were unrelated to one another. An Attorney Can Help After the loss of a loved one, you may be confused and frustrated. While a lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back, it can help alleviate some of the financial burdens left after a death. An attorney can help you navigate the challenges of a lawsuit, working toward getting you just compensation. Your attorney will: Investigate your loved one’s death; Determine which type of claim is right for you; Gather relevant evidence and information; Calculate damages; and Fight for your rights and compensation. Losing a loved one is hard enough as it is. Let an attorney take care of your claim, giving you peace of mind and time to heal. Contact a Florida Attorney Today Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over 30 years of experience helping clients through the most challenging times. We are committed to providing aggressive representation and prompt service, leaving clients satisfied and on the road to recovery. Our team offers the care and compassion to get you through one of the toughest times while never losing sight of the end goal: justice and financial recovery. We offer free case evaluations. Contact our office and let’s see how we can help you.

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Understanding Loss of Consortium in Florida

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Serious accidents can cause more than just physical damage. The emotional harm can be just as impactful and long-lasting and may support a claim for loss of consortium.  What Is Loss of Consortium in Florida? When a victim is injured or dies as a result of the negligent actions of another person, they or their loved ones are generally able to bring a personal injury or wrongful death claim against the negligent party. Depending on the severity of the injury, the outcome can affect more than just the victim. Understanding loss of consortium in Florida is important to determine your options. Loss of companionship is another common term for loss of consortium.  Loss of consortium in Florida is generally defined as loss of companionship and fellowship. This includes the right of each to the company, cooperation, and aid of the other in every conjugal way.  How Do I Prove Loss of Consortium? Not every personal injury or wrongful death case will include a claim for loss of consortium. In most cases, a loss of consortium claim involves death or serious injuries that prevent the victim from functioning like a normal, healthy person. This could include brain damage, paralysis, incontinence, or a variety of other issues that require a significant level of care and assistance for the victim to maintain their quality of life. The injury must be severe and long-lasting. Here are some of the facts that must be true for you to receive compensation for loss of consortium: If filing a claim as a spouse, the victim and plaintiff must have been married at the time of the accident; The defendant must have intentionally or negligently caused the injury of the victim; The defendant’s conduct must have caused the serious harm; The personal injury or wrongful death claim in Florida against the defendant must be valid; and The plaintiff must prove the actual loss of consortium due to the victim’s injury.  A loss of consortium claim is directly tied to the personal injury claim. If there is not a valid claim for personal injury or wrongful death, meaning no negligence on the part of the defendant, there cannot be a claim for loss of consortium.  You must file the personal injury claim first in civil court. The loss of consortium is a separate claim, but cannot be filed first. It is helpful to have an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to guide you through this process.  Can I Bring a Claim for Loss of Consortium in Florida? Most loss of consortium claims are filed by spouses. A claim could also be brought by the children, parents, or other dependents of the victim. The age of the victim or their children may be a factor. There are three types of loss of consortium claims.  Spouse’s Loss of Consortium A spouse has a claim only if they were married to the victim. A lot of other factors regarding the health of the relationship can also be considered in a spouse’s claim. The victim and spouse must have been married before the accident occurred.  Loss of Parental Consortium According to Florida Statute 768.0415, “A person who, through negligence, causes significant permanent injury to the natural or adoptive parent of an unmarried dependent resulting in a permanent total disability shall be liable to the dependent for damages, including damages for permanent loss of services, comfort, companionship, and society.” Severe injury to the parent of a minor child could pose a special set of difficulties. A child forced to grow up without the care of a parent or to act as a caregiver has experienced loss. Losing a parent is a life-altering occurrence.  Parental Loss of Filial Consortium A claim filed by a parent is referred to as “loss of filial consortium” and applies if the victim was a minor. The loss or severe injury of a child is a tragedy no parent wants to experience.  Potential Compensation for Loss of Consortium in Florida It is hard to put a dollar amount on the suffering that comes from severe injury or loss of a loved one. No monetary compensation will ever be enough to replace what was taken away from you. Compensation achieved through a valid claim for loss of consortium does not include damages associated with the actual injury. This compensation is for non-economic harm and may include various types of loss including: Help raising minor children, Help with household chores, Financial assistance, General companionship,  Sexual relationship between spouses, and Emotional support.  These are hardships that may occur because of the injury. Though money cannot make up for the loss of a partner or family member, the monetary recovery may allow a surviving single parent to hire help with childcare or household chores. It could also help with therapy or just coping with new burdens that may arise.  What Do I Need to Know About Filing a Claim? If you choose to file a claim for loss of consortium in Florida, it is important to understand that your relationship with the victim will be placed under a microscope. Intimate aspects of your relationship will be questioned and scrutinized. This could be especially difficult if your marriage included any infidelity, separation, abuse, or criminal charges. Length of the relationship and life expectancies may also be factors.  Hard times do not mean that a valid claim for loss of consortium does not exist, but building a solid case will be easier with the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney.  Should I Hire an Attorney for My Loss of Consortium Case? Navigating the court system alone can be a daunting task. Combine that with a lack of emotional support from your injured spouse or loved one, and it becomes even more difficult.  A personal injury attorney who has experience with loss of consortium cases will be able to help you in a number of important areas including: Determining the strength of your case; Filing important paperwork; Understanding your options for relief; Preparing you for invasive...

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Understanding Pain and Suffering in Florida

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Understanding Pain and Suffering in Florida  If you’ve ever been seriously injured in an accident, you know that the damage is not always just physical. Emotional pain and suffering are part of the process. You may be entitled to legal compensation for pain and suffering in Florida from injuries caused by a liable party.   What Is Pain and Suffering? The legal term “pain and suffering” refers to the physical and emotional injuries following an accident. These damages can be difficult to quantify. It is reasonable to assume that the party that caused the accident would be responsible for related damages such as medical bills and other costs that you would not have otherwise incurred. Pain and suffering damages are much more subjective, but arguably just as important.  Economic Damages vs Non-Economic Damages There are two main types of compensation in Florida personal injury cases: economic damages and non-economic damages.  Economic Damages Compensation to cover actual costs of the property damage or injuries caused are called “economic damages.” This type of compensation is crucial to making sure that you are not financially burdened by the negligent actions of someone else. The downside of purely economic damages is that they do not make up for the emotional burden or life changes that may occur because of the injury. Their purpose is just to pay the bills and cover expenses that would not have existed without the accident.  Non-Economic Damages Once actual expenses are covered, the injured party must still deal with the mental and emotional consequences of the accident. Pain and suffering is a claim to cover these “non-economic” damages. Non-economic damages may include: Mental anguish, Depression, Loss of quality of life, Emotional and psychological distress, Humiliation, Anxiety, Fear, Anger, and Post-traumatic stress. These types of damages are difficult to put a price on, but they can be debilitating and life-changing. You deserve to be compensated for your pain and suffering.  Are There Limits on How Much Money I Can Get for Pain and Suffering? Florida does not have a cap on damages for pain and suffering damages in general personal injury claims. Relief for pain and suffering does depend on the type of personal injury case, the extent of the damages, and circumstances surrounding the accident.  Pain and Suffering Damages in No-Fault Auto Accident Cases In 2019, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported 401,867 auto accidents. However, some car accident victims may be limited in their ability to pursue pain and suffering damages. Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto accidents. This means that a driver must turn first to their own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage regardless of who was at fault for the accident. PIP coverage extends to economic damages like medical bills and lost wages, but it does not cover pain and suffering. Nevertheless, a Florida car accident victim can file a personal injury lawsuit and request compensation for pain and suffering from the at-fault driver if their damages reach a certain threshold. To meet the threshold to bring a claim for pain and suffering in Florida, the injured party must have experienced one of the following: Significant, permanent loss of function; Permanent injury; Disfigurement; or Permanent scars. It is important to contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to file a claim for pain and suffering after a car accident.  Florida Comparative Negligence Rule  The State of Florida follows a pure comparative negligence rule. This rule reduces the victim’s recovery by the percentage for which they were found at fault for the injuries or damages. If you were partially responsible for the accident that caused the injury, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.  How are Florida Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated There are several factors the court will consider when evaluating pain and suffering: Severity of the injury, Type of medical treatment received, Age of the victim, Length of recovery, Injury prognosis, and Long term impact of the injury.  These factors play an important role in getting you what you deserve. Ultimately, however, it is up to a jury to determine what is reasonable in light of all the evidence in the case. Evidence to Support a Claim for Pain and Suffering Details are important when gathering evidence to support your claim for pain and suffering. The first step is to consider how the injury has and will interfere with your normal life. Keep a record of the help you have required to maintain a semblance of normalcy. This can be a written record, testimony, or invoices from people who have assisted you in normal tasks, including things like: Cooking meals or purchasing groceries, General housework, Caring for dependent children, Transportation, Doing yard work, and Caring for pets. Tasks like these may seem simple. If you cannot accomplish them due to your injury, you may be compensated. Expert opinions, medical records, and tangible documents will also be important in your claim for pain and suffering. Some examples of these may include: A list of restrictions provided by your doctor;   A list of medications prescribed to you, like painkillers, sleeping pills, or anxiety pills; Testimony from physical therapists regarding progress and prognosis; and Evidence from a psychiatrist detailing the level of mental anguish, stress, and anxiety caused by the accident. Your attorney can help you gather essential evidence to maximize your pain and suffering award.  Should You Hire an Attorney for a Claim of Pain and Suffering in Florida? Pain and suffering is not a straightforward claim for personal injury compensation. Seeking counsel from an experienced personal injury attorney could be crucial for your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we can help you evaluate your personal injury claim and determine the best way to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today. Our compassionate team will help you through the process. You have suffered enough, and we are here to help. 

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What to Do After an Accident Resulting in an Injury at Universal Studios

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Although visited by millions per year, amusement parks like Universal Studios may put people at risk for accidents and resulting injuries. Accidents at Universal Studios may occur more commonly than you expect. Whether injuries suffered are minor or severe, it’s essential to be aware of the common reasons that accidents and injuries may occur. Additionally, knowing what to do in the event a Universal Studios ride accident occurs is essential to establishing your compensation claim.  Steps to Take After an Accident at Universal   There are essential steps to take after you suffer a Florida Universal Studios accident. The most important goal after suffering an injury is compiling and retaining evidence.  Dial 911  If injured, call 911 to bring the proper authorities to the scene of your accident at Universal. It’s crucial to ensure you are not severely injured or in need of medical assistance.  Seek Medical Assistance  If your Universal Studios Orlando Florida accident causes substantial injuries, seek medical assistance. It may be wise to seek medical help even if you feel fine. In many personal injury cases, you may discover injuries or experience pain at any time after the accident occurs. Additionally, obtaining an assessment of your physical injuries after an Orlando Universal accident provides documentation of any damages for which you may seek compensation.  Create an Account of the Accident  Do not allow too much time to pass before creating a chronological timeline and a detailed list of the circumstances of your Universal Studios theme park accident. Since memory fades over time, making a record of detailed information can keep details fresh in your mind and provide evidence later on. Gather Evidence and Witness Accounts  If possible, take photographs of the scene of your accident at Universal as well as pictures of your injuries. This type of evidence serves as visual proof of any compromised safety issues existing at the park. Additionally, ask parties that witnessed the accident at Universal Studios Florida for their contact information. When preparing your lawsuit against Universal Studios for your injuries, key witnesses can strengthen your case regarding any safety issues existing at the park.  Maintain Records  Hold on to all copies of medical bills and statements. Additionally, keep records of any missed wages resulting from accidents at Universal Studios. Medical reports, including those providing details of long-term medical care, can also be vital.  Types of Injuries for Which You Can Seek Compensation The most common types of injuries suffered at theme parks like Universal Studios may include the following: Broken bones and fractures;  Severe brain and head injuries, including concussions and traumatic brain injuries;  Whiplash and other neck injuries; Spinal cord injuries; Cuts, bruises, and scrapes;  Drowning; and Death.  Injuries suffered due to a Florida Universal Studio accident should be reported immediately to park personnel, and you should immediately seek medical attention.  Types of Claims You May Have There are several grounds on which you might consider bringing a claim for a Universal Studios accident.  Negligence  Ordinary negligence leading to injuries as a result of an accident in Universal Studios Florida may be based on: Operator behavior,  The nature of the ride,  Missing safety equipment required for a safe ride,  Mechanical failure,  Negligent supervision,  Design defects, or  Poor maintenance.  Although Universal Studios undertakes routine safety inspections and training for all employees, accidents at Universal Orlando may still occur. Injuries at amusement parks like Universal Studios can be especially devastating due to the high-speed nature of many rides at the park.  Products Liability  In addition to negligence, injuries suffered due to a Universal accident may fall under product liability.  Product liability lawsuits do not rest on the same theory of duty of care as negligence. Instead, product liability lawsuits rest on the concept of strict liability. Strict liability does not depend on negligence or intent to harm to establish a claim. Product liability claims depend on injuries caused by the following: Dangerous design unreasonable in nature, Defects in manufacturing, or Failure to adequately warn of the hazardous nature of a product.  Product liability lawsuits are particularly complicated. They may include not only Universal Studios, but other parties involved with the park.  Premises Liability  Premises liability is a legal theory related to a park owner’s responsibility to maintain and keep the property safe. Park owners and operators must proactively identify dangers and remedy them to avoid injury to park guests. If you tripped on a damaged stair, slipped on a wet floor, or cut yourself on a jagged edge at Universal Orlando, you might have a premises liability claim.  How Do I Know If I Have a Case? If you suffered an Orlando Studio accident resulting in injuries, you may claim compensation against Universal Studios. An experienced personal injury attorney assesses your claim’s facts to determine if your injuries resulted from the negligence or liability of Universal Studios.  Benefits of Hiring An Attorney You can expect significant pushback after filing a lawsuit for injuries resulting from an accident at Universal Studios Florida. Theme parks such as Universal Studios employ a team of defense attorneys to avoid liability for your injuries. Additionally, defense attorneys may paint a picture of comparative negligence on your part to lessen your compensatory award.  An experienced personal injury attorney understands the complexities of different causes of action and carefully compiles evidence to strengthen your claim. Additionally, attorneys understand the statute of limitations and other deadlines, and can ensure your case is not dismissed on a technicality.  Contact Us  For those injured due to accidents at Universal Studios, the personal injury attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. Our team of personal injury attorneys has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Our experience includes representation of over 20,000 injury victims throughout Florida. Our prompt and aggressive personal injury attorneys provide diligent and caring representation to our injury victims. Contact us today to obtain a free case review of the facts surrounding your Universal Studios accident.  FAQ  Will Universal Studios Pay for My Injuries? If Universal...

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What to Do If Your Stomach Hurts After a Car Accident

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After a car accident, some injuries take a few days to become noticeable. One type of pain that commonly appears sometime after an accident is stomach pain. Stomach or lower abdominal pain after a car accident can be caused by the seat belt pressing against your abdomen. Here, we will talk about what you should do if you or someone you know is experiencing stomach pain after a car accident. Stomach Pains After a Car Accident: Your First Steps The first thing you should do if you have abdominal pain after a car accident is seek medical attention. Stomach and lower abdominal pain can be a sign of internal injuries or internal bleeding. Sometimes, the impact of a car accident can cause rupture or other damage to your internal organs. Even if you just think you are a little sore, you should see a doctor to make sure the pain isn’t the result of a more serious post-accident injury.  It is especially important that children see a doctor if they are experiencing stomach pains after a car accident. Children do not have as much abdominal fat to cushion an impact as adults. Their abdominal muscles may also not be fully developed, making them more susceptible to abdominal injuries. Signs and Symptoms of Abdominal Pain While abdominal pain after a car accident is one sign of abdominal trauma or internal injury, there are other symptoms to watch for as well. Possible signs of an internal injury include: Swollen stomach after car accident; Cuts or bruises where the seat belt rests on your abdomen; Upset stomach after car accident; Nausea and vomiting; Constipation or diarrhea; and Fever. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Abdominal pain after a car accident may not start until hours or days after the accident. You should see a doctor about delayed stomach pain just to be safe. Seat Belt Syndrome The medical community has dubbed the various car accident injuries caused by seat belts “seat belt syndrome.” When a car stops or decelerates suddenly, your body will push against the seat belt with a lot of force. While seat belts help to keep drivers and passengers in place, preventing head injuries, the force of your body pressing against the seat belt can cause other injuries. These include bruises or marks from the seat belt, chest and neck injuries, and fractures of the lower spine. The force of the impact from your seat belt during a car accident can be strong enough to rupture or cut organs or major arteries. This can cause conditions such as internal bleeding which can be deadly if left untreated. Even if you do not think you were in a high impact collision, you should seek medical attention for stomach pain after a car accident. How We Will Help with Your Abdominal Pain After a Car Accident Case If you experienced abdominal pain after a car accident and were diagnosed with internal injuries, our law office can help you get compensation. If a negligent driver caused your accident, you may be able to recover your medical costs and lost wages through a lawsuit. Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has more than 30 years of experience helping accident victims and other injured people get the compensation they deserve.  Our law office is ready to talk about your accident and answer any questions you may have. We will treat your case like a priority from beginning to end so you can cope with the aftermath of your accident injuries. Contact us today to talk about receiving prompt and aggressive representation in your personal injury case.

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Reasons Why Delayed Pain After a Car Accident Can Be Serious

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Car accidents can cause injuries; that’s no secret. They can range from minor bumps and bruises to broken limbs and traumatic brain injuries and practically everything in between. Sometimes, in the aftermath of an accident, you may feel just fine. The human body’s natural response to stress is to flood your body with adrenaline, masking underlying pain or injuries. But days or even weeks down the line, you may begin to feel twinges and aches that could be signs of serious or injury. If you experienced delayed pain after a car accident, you need to see your doctor right away. Common Delayed Pain Symptoms While stiffness and soreness are common after-effects of a car crash, there are some physical signs that you should not ignore. For example, delayed back pain after a car accident is more normal than you think. There are a few symptoms to watch out for, and they can be indicative of a serious injury. Bodily Injury Pains You should not ignore any aches and pains following your accident. Delayed stiffness and soreness in your back or shoulders can mean you suffered a severe whiplash injury and may have damage in your neck or back.  Back pain is another common delayed symptom of injury. Back pain can mean you suffered a musculoskeletal or nerve injury in your upper, mid, or lower back. You should also take any abdominal pain seriously. This can signal internal injuries like lacerations or bleeding that requires surgical intervention. Symptoms of a Head Injury Brain injuries are very serious. Concussion symptoms may take a little while to manifest, and brain clots or brain bleeds can be deadly. Be on the lookout for: Headaches, Memory issues and trouble focusing, Vision and balance problems, Mood swings, and Fainting and bouts of unconsciousness. Remember to always listen to your body. If something doesn’t seem right, go with your instincts. It may save your life. How Long After an Accident Can Pain or Injuries Show Up? When pain after a car accident is delayed, it is usually due to the type of injury a person suffers. Doctors don’t know exactly why some people experience symptoms right away, and others don’t. One explanation is the high amount of adrenaline in a person’s system in stressful situations, but that doesn’t explain all delayed symptoms. Regardless, it is not an uncommon phenomenon, especially with the following injuries: Internal bleeding may not manifest symptoms for 24 to 72 hours; Concussion symptoms may take days to show up; and Brain and neck injuries may be undetected for up to a week. Don’t ignore any symptoms, even if they show up days or even weeks after your accident. If My Symptoms Are Delayed, Can I Still Seek Compensation? Delayed pain and injury symptoms after an accident are common. If your injury is the result of the crash, you are absolutely entitled to seek compensation for it. But it can be harder to prove to the insurance company that those injuries are related to the same accident. Be sure to keep records of any medical treatments you receive, as well as any future therapy you may need. Then contact an experienced personal injury attorney to help you build your claim the right way. Never Accept a Settlement Offer Without Legal Advice In the aftermath of an accident, the other driver’s insurance company will want to do their best to settle your claim quickly and for as little money as possible. Remember that they probably will not offer you the entire amount you’re entitled to—at least at first. Keep calm and talk to an attorney as soon as you can. An experienced personal injury attorney can tell you if the insurance company’s proposed settlement is a lowball offer and can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf. If necessary, they can even take your claim to court to pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve.  Suffering Delayed Pain After a Car Wreck? Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Today! At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we know that the aftermath of an accident is a chaotic and stressful time. If you are experiencing delayed symptoms and pain from the wreck, this stress is only multiplied. Our team of personal injury attorneys is here to help you fight for fair compensation for your injuries and will be with you every step of the way. From our offices in Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and New Port Richey, we take pride in providing Floridians with personal and passionate legal advocacy. Get in touch with us anytime via phone at 800-538-4878, text us at 727-312-1275, or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation today.

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Leg Pain After a Car Accident? Here’s What to Do Next.

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Are you or a loved one experiencing leg pain after a car accident? If so, it may not be in your best interest to wait and see if you get better on your own. Car accident victims face a high risk of suffering injuries to the lower extremities. The hips, legs, and feet are highly susceptible to injury in most types of car accidents, along with the ankle and knee joints. Left undiagnosed and untreated, you could develop complications and potentially even permanent injuries or disability. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you might have a valid legal claim. You could be entitled to recover compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and more. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our Florida car accident lawyers help personal injury victims pursue the justice and financial compensation they deserve. If you are suffering from any car accident-related injury, call on us for help. Common Types of Leg Injuries Suffered in Car Accidents The structure of the lower limbs involves a complex network of bones, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and soft tissue. The possibilities for injuries—from mild to devastating—are countless. The following are some of the most common types of leg injuries that result from car accidents. Fractures You have more than 60 different bones in your lower extremities, including the femur (thigh bone), tibia, and fibula (lower leg bones). The force of a collision can break or shatter one or more of these bones.  Broken femurs, which are unfortunately common in car accidents, can take months to heal, leaving you immobile and potentially unable to work. Soft Tissue Damage Damage to your ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles, or nerves are all potential results of a car crash. Some of the most common include ACL tears and damage to the meniscus in the knee. Without proper treatment, you could develop arthritis and other potentially debilitating conditions. Lost Limbs or Digits In extreme cases, accident victims can suffer leg injuries so severe that they result in the full or partial loss of the leg(s) or toe(s). This type of injury can also occur after the fact if the victim develops an infection or loses blood flow to the lower limbs. If you suffered a severe injury, you likely had immediate medical attention. If your injuries didn’t seem serious at the time, however, you might have skipped seeing a doctor for evaluation. As a result, you could develop leg pain later without knowing the cause. Should I Seek Medical Treatment Even If My Injuries Don’t Seem Serious? After any motor vehicle collision, you should see a qualified medical treatment professional for evaluation. If you don’t get checked out by EMTs at the scene of the crash, consider going to the ER or urgent care immediately. You can also make an appointment with a doctor for evaluation, as long as you do so right away. You might not experience symptoms of your injuries right away. If you’re in shock, you may not feel pain or discomfort as you normally would. Internal and soft tissue injuries can take hours or days to start causing symptoms. By then, you could develop potentially dangerous complications. Building the strongest possible legal case is another important reason to seek medical attention immediately. Your attorney will use your medical testing and treatment records as the basis of your claim. If you hold off on going to the doctor or ER, the insurance company could argue that your injuries must not have been that serious. Can I Seek Compensation for My Car Accident Injuries? If another person caused or even contributed to your accident, you have the right to pursue legal action. Florida’s comparative negligence laws allow you to seek recover compensation for damages even if your actions contributed to the accident. Attorneys typically establish fault by demonstrating that another party caused your injury accident through negligent, reckless, or intentional action. The best way to determine if you have a viable case is to talk to an attorney. After reviewing the facts of your case, an attorney can recommend the best approach to pursuing legal action. Attorneys recommend pursuing a claim as quickly as possible. This helps ensure that your legal team can try to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company. If the insurer agrees to an acceptable settlement, you won’t have to wait for a trial to seek the justice and compensation you deserve. Talk to a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today for Answers The Florida personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have more than three decades of experience helping car accident victims get justice. We offer a free consultation and case evaluation to help you get started with the legal process. We answer your questions and explain your options, so you can make the best choice for your future health and well-being. Before you make any decisions or provide any statements to the insurance company, call or contact us online to learn more, or to speak with one of our Florida car accident attorneys about your leg pain.

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What to Do If You Experience Wrist Pain After a Car Accident

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Car crash victims commonly experience wrist injuries as a result of their accident. These injuries can be significant, causing pain and stripping the victim of mobility and function. If you are experiencing wrist pain after a car accident, it is important for you to seek medical treatment to help avoid complications and further damage. If your accident was caused by the actions of another party, you should also contact an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your options for pursuing legal action. In Florida, the experienced car accident attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk fight to protect the rights of the wrongfully injured, helping them get justice and financial compensation for their injuries and other damages. Types of Wrist Injuries You Might Suffer in a Car Accident Although a motor vehicle collision can cause virtually any type of injuries, wrist and hand injuries are some of the most common. Dislocations, sprains, fractures, and tendon damage are common. You could also experience nerve damage and other complications. Left untreated, these conditions can lead to permanent damage. You could be rendered unable to work or handle basic household or personal tasks. Next Steps to Take After a Collision If You Experience Wrist Pain After an accident, victims may not realize the extent of their injuries right away. Some injuries—especially internal and soft tissue damage—may not present with symptoms immediately. In addition, you might go into shock, which can also mask any pain or discomfort you would otherwise experience. It’s always best to seek medical attention at the scene of the accident or seek treatment immediately afterward. However, if you experience wrist or hand pain in the hours, days, or even weeks after an accident, consider the following steps. See an Orthopedic Physician Immediately after an accident, going to the ER or an urgent care facility can help ensure you get the treatment you need. If you develop pain later, however, see a specialist in the area of concern. For hand and wrist pain, that is likely to be an orthopedic doctor or surgeon. These treatment professionals have the knowledge and resources to thoroughly evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of treatment. If you don’t know an orthopedist, a personal injury attorney may be able to recommend one for you. Document Your Experience Whenever you are involved in an accident of any kind, it’s imperative to collect as much information as you can. On the scene, take photos and gather contact information from witnesses and other involved parties. Request the police report number from the officer on-scene, so you can easily obtain a copy later. Keep all receipts, medical treatment records, and any other documentation involved with your accident and the aftermath. Get a small, spiral-bound notebook and keep an ongoing record of your symptoms and how they affect your life. Together, these records will form the basis of your car accident injury claim. Talk to a Car Accident Attorney The sooner you can talk to a lawyer, the better. Having a lawyer onboard is highly effective for protecting your legal right to recover compensation. Your attorney can collect evidence and interview witnesses while the accident is still fresh in their memories. Waiting too long to pursue a claim may give the insurance company grounds for attempting to deny or undervalue your claim. What Is the Average Florida Car Accident Settlement for Wrist Injuries? Hand and wrist injuries can be complex to diagnose and difficult to treat. The nature of your injuries and how they may affect your life helps determine the potential value of your claim. However, because every accident is different, we can’t accurately estimate any average wrist injury settlement value. The best way to find out whether you have a viable claim is to consult an experienced attorney. The Florida injury accident lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can evaluate the details of your case and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, we can reach a settlement agreement with the at-fault party’s insurance company. We have more than 30 years of experience. During that time, we have helped more than 20,000 clients and recovered more than $800 million in settlements and jury on their behalf. We provide a highly personalized level of service, helping us earn a wealth of praise and positive feedback from our clients. Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today for Help The experienced and compassionate personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will handle every aspect of your case. We take on the biggest insurance companies and fight to get you the outcome you deserve. Before you talk to the insurance company, provide a statement, or consider accepting any settlement officer, contact us to explore your options. For a free consultation, contact us today or call to speak to one of our Florida car accident lawyers about your case.

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Compensation to Expect From Nerve Damage After a Car Accident

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Along with bringing financial and emotional stress, car accidents can leave a person severely injured. Injuries resulting from a car accident can vary greatly, including nerve damage. It is essential to understand what nerve damage is and how it can affect you. Thankfully, you have legal options.  If you or a loved one has suffered nerve damage after a car accident, do not hesitate to contact a Florida car accident attorney.  What Is the Nervous System? The nervous system plays a vital role in your body. This system is responsible for everything your body does, from controlling muscle movements to speaking. The nervous system is primarily composed of the brain and spinal cord.  There are three main types of nerves in the body:  Autonomic nerves: control heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and other involuntary or partially voluntary bodily activities; Motor nerves: control every movement by sending signals from your brain down to your spinal cord and muscles; and Sensory nerves: located under skin and muscles, these nerves transmit information to your brain and spinal cord, allowing your brain to process feelings and sensations.  Because the nervous system is so important, nerve damage can severely affect a person’s quality of life.  What Is Nerve Damage? Nerve damage, or neuropathy, is often caused by stretching and pressure of the nerves or when an injury severs nerves completely. Nerve damage can occur for various reasons aside from accidents, including infection and exposure to toxins.  Nerve damage can occur in multiple locations in the body, most commonly the back, neck, and extremities. Typical treatment for nerve damage can include medication, physical therapy, or surgery. After a car accident, seeking medical treatment is essential to determine whether you’ve sustained nerve damage and to start treatment right away. How a Car Accident Can Cause Nerve Damage Because car accidents can be dangerous and result in severe injuries, nerve damage occurs often. Typical causes of nerve damage in a car accident include: Whiplash; Lacerations; and Blunt-force trauma.  The body can experience significant force and trauma in a car accident, resulting in nerve damage. However, this is not always immediately evident after a car accident. A doctor may be able to diagnose nerve damage even if you don’t feel it. Checking for nerve damage is another important reason to seek medical attention immediately after a car accident. Common Signs and Symptoms of Nerve Damage Nerve damage after a car accident can present itself in many different, unexpected ways. What you feel will all depend on the nerves affected and what kind they are. Common signs and symptoms associated with autonomic nerve damage include: Inability to feel chest pain, Dry eyes/mouth, Lightheadedness, Bladder dysfunction, and Sexual dysfunction. Signs and symptoms of motor nerve damage include: Weakness, Twitching, and Paralysis. Signs and symptoms of damage to the sensory nerves include: Numbness, Tingling, Pain, and A burning sensation. In some instances, a car accident victim may experience a mixture of symptoms, indicating damage to multiple types of nerves. It is crucial to discuss any signs and symptoms you are experiencing with your doctor to properly diagnose any nerve damage. What Compensation Can I Expect? If you’ve suffered nerve damage after a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation. The two kinds of damages you can seek are economic and non-economic damages.  Economic damages are straightforward and quantifiable. They include compensation for: Medical bills, Lost wages, and Loss of earning ability. On the other hand, non-economic damages are a little more challenging to calculate. These include compensation for: Pain and suffering, Mental and emotional anguish, and Loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are for emotional losses and typically have with little to no supporting documentation. Luckily, your car accident attorney will calculate the damages available to you, fighting aggressively to get the compensation you deserve.  Factors Affecting Compensation Certain factors may affect the amount of compensation you receive. Some of these factors include: The severity of the injury; Whether you share fault for the accident; The insurance company’s willingness to settle. Is a Lawyer Necessary? While no law requires anyone to have legal representation after a car accident, it is to your benefit to have a car accident attorney on your side. Car accident cases involving severe injuries like nerve damage can present challenges, but an attorney will know how to handle your case. Your attorney will: Conduct a thorough investigation; Gather evidence and documentation; Calculate damages; and Engage in settlement negotiations.  Having an attorney will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on your recovery, knowing your case is in the best hands.  Get Your Accident Questions Answered Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over 30 years of experience fighting for injured clients. We’ve had the pleasure of representing over 20,000 clients, working diligently to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Our team understands the hardship and frustration car accidents can cause, and we’re here to help you find a solution. We offer free case reviews. Contact us today, and let’s explore your legal options. 

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Am I Eligible for Compensation If I Experience PTSD After a Car Accident?

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A car accident can result in not just physical injuries but mental and emotional damage as well. Car crashes, especially those involving high-speed impact or serious injury are stressful and trauma inducing. Sometimes, the stress responses your body produces to help you cope during a traumatic event continue once the event is over. This can result in post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. PTSD can interfere with your life just as much as physical injury. You may be eligible for compensation for PTSD after a car accident.  What Is PTSD? When you witness an anxiety-inducing situation, your brain activates certain stress responses that are helpful in the particular situation. These responses, sometimes called fight or flight responses, include increased heart rate, feelings of anxiety, and hyper-alertness, including inability to sleep and focus. People suffering from PTSD continue to experience these symptoms long after the stressful event has passed.  PTSD manifests differently in different people, but some common symptoms are: Panic attacks; Anxiety surrounding certain events, places, or situations; Desire to avoid social interaction; Recurring recollections of the stressful event; Depression; Feelings of hopelessness or inability to feel emotions; Hyper-alertness; Paranoia; and Sleep disturbance. If you were recently in a car accident and are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. How PTSD Affects Your Car Accident Claim Several categories of car accident damages may account for the effects of PTSD on your life.  Damages related to car accident PTSD might be included in damages awarded for pain and suffering. One of the most important things about the effect of PTSD on your car accident claim is that you should avoid settling too soon after the accident. Often, the full extent of your PTSD symptoms will not be apparent right away. Even if your symptoms have appeared at the time you agree to a settlement, you may not yet be aware of the extent of the effect these symptoms have on your life. The avoidance and depression caused by PTSD may affect your personal relationships in the long term even though the short term effects are not evident. How We Will Help with Your Case The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help you pursue compensation for PTSD suffered after a car accident. The experienced personal injury lawyers at our firm know how to use medical treatment records and other supporting evidence to establish that PTSD caused you losses following your accident. We can also provide you with the negotiating leverage you need to avoid accepting an initial, inadequate settlement offer.  Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling car accident cases. This includes extensive experience helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve for PTSD after a car accident. Your case will be handed with compassion and professionalism from start to finish. Get Your Accident Questions Answered Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to get all of your car accident questions answered. Our experienced attorneys and staff will discuss next steps and recommend the best course of action based on the details of your car accident. Call our office today to begin seeking the compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries, both physical and mental.

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MRI After a Car Accident | Pros and Cons

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may need an MRI after a car accident. MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to see images of your non-bone matter. Injuries involving spinal discs won’t show on x-ray. Doctors need to order an MRI to diagnose your pain source. However, undergoing an MRI has pros and cons. If your injuries are severe enough to warrant an MRI, consider hiring a Florida auto accident attorney who can help. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience assisting Florida clients with their injury needs. We know the pros and cons of an MRI. We can help you understand exactly how an MRI works and whether it’s right for your situation. Types of Injuries That Are Common to Get an MRI For Because an MRI can show injuries not visible on x-rays, doctors may order one for pain complaints involving: Muscles, Joints, Sprains, Bones, Nerves, and Brain. Some of the most common injuries in a car accident that lead a doctor to order an MRI include, but are not limited to, herniated discs, torn ligaments or tendons, spinal cord compression, and traumatic brain injuries.  MRIs can also diagnose many other health conditions that are not related to an auto accident, such as cancerous tumors, arthritis, stroke, and multiple sclerosis. How an MRI Works When you have an MRI, you lie down in a tube, which scans your body. You won’t feel any pain from the MRI test itself. However, you might experience some general discomfort because you’re required to stay still for an extended period of time. If you move during the scans, the images may be unusable. MRIs use magnets to look for diseased cells. Each of your body’s cells has a positive and negative pole. When you go for an MRI, the magnet looks at all the normal cells in your body. Diseased cells won’t line up like their healthy counterparts. The magnet allows radiofrequency waves to create an image that doctors can use to pinpoint what is causing your pain.  When You Should Consider Getting an MRI Getting an MRI can be a critical step in correctly diagnosing your injuries. If you believe you have a spinal cord injury, neck or back injury, or if you suspect a brain injury, an MRI could help determine what is wrong and the extent of your injuries. The MRI will allow your medical providers to tailor treatment to the exact area of injury. If you have severe pain in your neck or back, or if you have a suspected head or brain injury, you need to insist on an MRI. Pain that radiates down your arm or leg suggests nerve involvement.  Your MRI results can show whether your condition requires surgical intervention. If your injuries are severe enough for surgery, you could have permanent damage if you delay having it. Injuries like nerve compression are serious. If your injured spinal disc continues to push on that nerve, the damage may be irreversible. MRIs can also boost the value of your accident claim. Insurance companies typically don’t give much weight to soft tissue injuries. That is because most of these claims are subjective, allowing the adjuster to undervalue them or dismiss them entirely. If you have an MRI that shows nerve compression or a herniated disc, it forces the insurance company to acknowledge your injuries, as there is an objective medical diagnosis. When You May Not Want to Get an MRI One of the main disadvantages of an MRI is the cost. In many cases, it will cost a thousand dollars or more. Even if you have health insurance, you could have a high co-pay. If you are successful in your auto accident injury claim, your settlement should include compensation for your medical treatment, including the MRI costs. For most people, there is no medical risk of having an MRI. However, the strong magnetic field is problematic for some people. People who have surgical implants, especially those with iron or select types of steel, could have complications. Other magnetizable objects to disclose include a pacemaker, insulin pumps, endoscopy capsules, cochlear implants, etc. People with claustrophobia have problems getting an MRI. The tube can be a snug fit, and that only adds to the anxiety for some patients. MRI techs might try coping mechanisms like having you listen to music. There are also new open MRI machines that can help those with severe claustrophobia. However, these can be even more expensive and may have much longer wait times to get an appointment. How We Will Help with Your Case Hiring an attorney is crucial if you sustained injuries in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Your potential settlement value is directly linked with the experience of your Florida auto accident attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’ve recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients. Some of these individual settlements were in the seven-figure range.  We understand what makes a successful auto accident claim. When you retain us to represent you, we will immediately start an independent investigation. We will talk to witnesses, gather evidence, order your medical records, and more. We will handle all communications with the at-fault party’s insurance and negotiate your potential settlement.  The insurance company can’t take advantage of your inexperience with the claims process when you have an attorney representing your interests. Insurance adjusters are notorious for undervaluing claims and wrongfully denying valid ones. We will hold the responsible party accountable and ensure the insurance adjuster extends a fair settlement offer. If they don’t, we are prepared to file a lawsuit on your behalf and work to resolve your claim during litigation. To learn more about how we can help, contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today to schedule an initial consultation with our experienced Florida car accident attorneys. Get Your Accident Questions Answered Understandably, prospective clients have numerous questions on MRIs and auto accident injuries. We’ve compiled answers to...

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What to Do If Involved in a Car Accident While Pregnant

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Being involved in a car accident is a terrifying experience, but it can be even worse if you’re pregnant. Even a minor fender bender can put your baby at risk. Do not make a mistake and assume if you’re in a car accident and pregnant that you don’t need to seek medical treatment. If you are injured, pursuing a claim can be complicated. Consider meeting with an experienced Florida car accident attorney who can explain what to expect and help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Why a Car Accident During Pregnancy Is Serious The potential blunt force of the impact and jolting motions can cause complications in your pregnancy. There is also the emotional stress that goes along with a car accident when pregnant. That added stress could also put your baby’s health at risk, which is why it’s imperative to try to stay calm. Many women don’t wear their seat belts correctly in an accident, which can increase the risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a helpful infographic that shows you the right and wrong ways to wear a seat belt. You should not wear your lap belt over the top of your belly. It should be secured below your stomach, fitting snugly across your hips and pelvic bone. Your fetus can suffer damage even in situations where there is no physical contact. For example, a sudden stop creates a jarring motion that could result in fetal injuries, such a concussion. What to Do If You’re Pregnant and in a Car Accident Even if you don’t believe you’re injured, it’s imperative to see a doctor. There could be internal injuries that you can’t see or necessarily feel. Potential symptoms to watch for include: Vaginal spotting or bleeding; Increased vaginal discharge or leaking fluids; Pain in your abdomen; Fever or chills; Severe and constant headaches; Dizziness or fainting; Increased vomiting that isn’t attributed to morning sickness; Changes to your baby’s movements, both strength and frequency; and Painful or urgent need to urinate. You should call the police after a car accident during your pregnancy. Let the police know that you are pregnant and were just involved in an accident. If there is something seriously wrong, you will have emergency responders who are equipped to handle these situations. Statistics on Pregnancy and Car Accidents Driving while pregnant carries a unique set of risks. Researchers in Canada determined that there is a 42% increased risk to a pregnant woman in a car accident starting with the second trimester. According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan, 170,000 auto accidents in the United States each year involve pregnant women. If you’re in a 16-miles-per-hour frontal crash at 28 weeks, they estimate the risk of fetal injuries is 26% for drivers wearing their seat belt and 70% for drivers who are not. On average, 2.9% of pregnant women report suffering injuries in a car accident. Safe Ride 4 Kids compiled data from multiple studies and estimates there are anywhere from 300 to 5,000 fetal deaths from car accidents every year. Risks to a Baby If You’re in a Car Accident When Pregnant If you’re in a car accident and pregnant, there are numerous risks to your baby. Possible complications include: Hemorrhaging, Internal bleeding, Pre-term labor, Miscarriage, Uterine rupture, Coup and contrecoup injuries, and Birth defects. Your womb creates crucial protection for your baby. However, it can’t prevent all injuries. One of the biggest risks of a car accident is a placental abruption. This condition occurs when the placenta separates from your uterus. It deprives your baby of necessary nutrients, which could lead to problems with growth development. How We Will Help with Your Case Hiring a Florida car accident lawyer if you suffered injuries in a car accident when pregnant is imperative. You deserve someone on your side who can protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf. You should be monitoring your stress levels, not arguing with an insurance adjuster over the value of your claim. When you retain Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we will be there for you every step of the way. Our primary goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve from the responsible party in a car accident. If someone else’s negligence resulted in harm to your unborn baby, let us help you hold them accountable. We will conduct a thorough investigation, gather all relevant evidence, and negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company. If necessary, we will also retain industry experts who can testify about liability or your injuries. We have over 30 years of experience and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. To learn more about how we can help, contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to schedule an initial consultation. Get Your Car Accident Questions Answered Pursuing a claim if you’re pregnant and in a car accident can be challenging. Understandably, prospective clients have a lot of questions about how the claims process works. What Types of Compensation Are Available If You’re Pregnant and in a Car Accident? The compensation you could receive for your claim will depend on your damages. You could receive reimbursement for your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, future loss of earnings, property damages, pain and suffering, permanent disability, and more. How Much Does It Cost to Retain an Attorney? Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. That means you won’t pay an hourly billing rate or any fees or costs up front. Should I Hire an Attorney Right After the Accident? Hiring an attorney immediately following the accident is the best course of action. The sooner you retain an attorney, the sooner we can start protecting your rights and gathering the necessary evidence to prove liability against the other party.

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Soft Tissue Injury from a Car Accident

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Injuries from a car accident can vary depending on factors such as the type of vehicles involved, the crash severity, and the location of the impact on your car. Even seemingly minor impact accidents can leave you injured.  Some of the most common injuries reported in a car accident are soft tissue. A soft tissue injury in a car accident can be serious, no matter how much the other driver’s insurance company tells you it’s not. Because insurance companies typically undervalue and downplay a soft tissue injury after a car accident, you need an experienced Florida auto accident attorney on your side. Common Ways to Suffer Soft Tissue Injuries Many prospective clients have questions, including, what is soft tissue injury in a car accident? Soft tissue injuries refer to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, whereas your bones are hard tissue.  Soft tissue damage after a car accident is common because the sudden force can cause ligaments, muscles, and tendons to move beyond their normal range. Insurance adjusters tend to dismiss all soft tissue injuries as being minor and therefore undervalue these claims. Some of the most common soft tissue injury claims we represent clients for include:   Sprains and strains, Whiplash, Compressed nerve, Contusions, Rotator cuff tear, Hernia, and ACL tear. If you sustained soft tissue injuries in a car accident caused by another person’s negligence, you have the right to bring a claim for your damages. Don’t let an insurance adjuster tell you that you don’t have a claim because you sustained only soft tissue damage. Car accident settlements can definitely include reimbursement for your soft tissue injuries.    Symptoms of Soft Tissue Injuries Soft tissue injuries aren’t always apparent at the accident scene. Some of these develop over a couple of days. Potential symptoms to watch for after a car accident include: Back pain; Neck pain and stiffness; Skin discoloration; Inflammation in your affected body part; Pain when moving your affected body part; Swelling; Sudden onset of pain; A burning sensation that travels down your arm or leg; Inability to put weight on a joint; and Cognitive issues, including difficulty concentrating or remembering things. Some soft tissue injuries will heal on their own with minimal medical intervention. However, other injuries could require extensive rehabilitation and even surgical intervention. What to Do If You Think You Have a Soft Tissue Injury If you suspect you have a soft tissue injury, you need to schedule a medical appointment right away. It’s crucial to seek treatment following an accident, even if you don’t think you are injured. Sometimes, there could be internal injuries that you can’t visibly see or feel. It’s essential to follow all orders your doctors give you. Otherwise, you can cause additional harm, and the at-fault driver’s insurance company will use this to reduce your case value. Is There an Average Settlement for Soft Tissue Injuries? No, there is no average settlement amount for soft tissue injury claims. Every car accident is unique, as are your injuries. Someone who suffered a concussion will likely have a higher settlement than someone else who suffered only a minor back strain that healed in several weeks. What Factors Affect My Settlement? Multiple factors can affect your potential soft tissue injury car accident settlement. While most soft tissue cases resolve before a lawsuit is filed, some claims will wind up in litigation. Some of the most influential factors in a soft tissue injury case include: The severity of your injuries; The length of time it took for you to recover and whether there are long-term effects or a permanent disability; The impact of your injuries on your career; The percentage of your own negligence that contributed to the accident; , if any; The amount of pain and suffering you experienced; and Another critical factor in determining your potential settlement amount is the evidence you’ve collected. Because soft tissue injuries are often harder to prove, you must have as much evidence as possible. For example, scene photos that show the vehicle damage and surrounding area can be critical evidence. It would be best if you also kept a pain journal after the accident. It’s easier to go back and discuss how the accident impacted your life when you can recount specific episodes and problems you encountered. If your case winds up in litigation, it could be a months before you give a deposition. You can review your pain journal and refresh your memory if necessary, before testifying.    Does Hiring an Attorney Increase My Settlement Amount? In most cases, hiring an attorney will increase your potential settlement amount. Insurance companies notoriously undervalue or wrongfully deny claims when you don’t have legal representation. Having an attorney on your side is essential. That will keep the insurance company from taking advantage of your inexperience. You want someone who can protect your rights and negotiate for the maximum amount of compensation possible. How We Will Help with Your Case When you retain Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to represent you for a soft tissue injury in a car accident, we will conduct an independent investigation. We will gather all the necessary evidence, your medical records, bills, and confirmation of your missed time from work. If your case warrants it, we will retain industry experts who can testify in your case. Potential experts may include an accident reconstructionist who can testify on liability or a medical doctor who can confirm that your soft tissue injuries required the treatment you received. If your case doesn’t resolve through negotiations, we are prepared to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial if necessary. We have over 30 years of experience fighting for our clients and have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Let us put our trial experience and knowledge to work for you. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today to schedule an initial consultation. Get Your Accident Questions Answered Understandably, prospective clients have a lot of questions when they meet with us. Here are answers to some of the most common...

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2020 Distracted Driving Runner Up

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Mason Ashford is one of our 2020 distracted driving essay runner ups. Mason is a student at Florida State University. Here is her essay: Admit it to Quit it Like anyone in the 21st century I am no stranger to distracted driving. Not only do I constantly see others doing it around me, I am a culprit of it myself. Most people think that distracted driving only entails directly looking at your phone while driving. But it can be so much more than that. It can include talking on the phone, texting without looking, talking with other people in the car, eating while driving etc. Distracted driving is anytime you are not one hundred percent focused on the task of driving. It only takes a split second of distraction to result in serious injury or even death. I have a fairly long drive from home in Atlanta to Florida State University. This drive by myself can get boring and I often find myself becoming a distracted driver the longer I drive. This usually comes in the form of eating while behind the wheel. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but it does require me to take one sometimes even two hands off the wheel just to eat. A lot of times I’ll get foods that can actually be quite messy and are hard to eat in general but especially while driving. This element gives just another factor of distraction to my driving. Unfortunately, I have been in a few close calls where I almost caused an accident with someone else or just with myself by riding too close to the edge of the road. These moments in time seem to slow down and they are real wake up calls for me. Anyone who has ever been in an accident or close to being in one understands the terror that runs through you. My biggest change to this bad habit will be strategizing my drive to include time to STOP and eat. If I plan for an extra 15 to 20 minutes into my drive to stop somewhere and eat in the parking lot, I am not losing time on my ETA and I am keeping myself and others on the road safe. I think I often get stuck in the mindset that I need to get to my destination as quick as possible. This can be a very dangerous mindset while driving a two-ton vehicle. This means eating while driving because I think it might save me an extra 15 minutes. In reality saving those 15 minutes is not worth risking my life or the lives around me. Another way I often find myself being a distracted driver is when I am driving my friends in the car. We often like to play our favorite songs at a loud volume and sing our hearts out. In the moment it can be a lot of fun to do that with my friends and it almost feels freeing. But it also means that I am focusing on the lyrics in the song and having fun more than I am about driving a car. It is way too easy to get lost in the fun of the moment and not realize the reality of what is happening in front of you. I am in the marching band at FSU so for me music is and always has been an important aspect of my life. I like the way music makes me feel and I like sharing music with my friends. Given the nature of Bluetooth and AUX the sharing of this music is often done during car rides. I would be lying if I said I had not typed out a song I desperately wanted my friends to listen to while I drive. The way I would solve the first issue is to just turn the music down so that I am still able to easily focus on the drive. If anyone complains and wants to turn the music up I just have to be firm and say “I am the driver, I decide how loud the music gets to be played so that I can keep us safe”. To solve the second issue is far simpler. If there is a song I want to share with friends I can either put it in the queue before I start driving or I can tell my friend the name of the song so that they can type it for me. There is no need for me to be touching the phone at all in this situation. These situations are even more important to me than when I am in the car alone. The reason being is my friends mean everything to me and I would never want to be the cause of their hurt or death. Whether I like it or not, when I am behind the wheel, I am responsible for everyone in that car. I must be safe for them. The older I get the more I seem to drive and the longer the drives tend to me. I also tend to think less about my driving the more I drive. I think this is very common. You almost get to a point where you are too comfortable behind the wheel and you forget just how dangerous driving by itself is. So why make it even more dangerous by being a distracted driver?

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Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Announces Their July 2020 Distracted Driving Essay Winner

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Christopher Francis is our 2020 distracted driving essay winner. Christopher is a student at the Seminole State College of Florida. Here is the winning essay: My Friends Could Be the End of Me As a 20-year-old black man in college, I deal with multiple pressures in life. I must deal with pressures such as: going to school full time, doing internships, being financially intelligent, taking care of my parents, taking care of the house, being recognized and taken seriously by American society, and other things in life that young adults might have to deal with. However, because I take life seriously and try to be the best version of myself when it comes to school and other priorities, I make sure to make time for my friends (whom I love sincerely). Even though I take life seriously in other areas, I realize that I do not take my life as serious when it comes to me putting my friends before myself, especially when I drive. Therefore, my friends are a huge distraction when I am a driver. When I first got my driver’s license as a junior in high school, my parents knew that the biggest fear that they had with me driving was me going out and driving with my friends. I was the first person in my friend group with a license and a vehicle, so that meant that I would be everyone’s very own free personal Uber. When I first got my vehicle (which was a hand-me-down 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck), I did not think about gas or other limitations, I just wanted my freedom and ability to go places with my friends. Because my parents knew how much I could not wait to do stupid stuff with my friends, they first enrolled me into a “Defensive Driving” class so that I could understand the seriousness of driving and how to be an aware, safe driver. So, I took the class and had to deal with scenarios on what it feels like to drive drunk, spin out of control, must make an emergency stop, deal with an obnoxious passenger, and other things, and I passed easily. My parents were happy with how serious I took the driving test, so they set me loose and I was out driving on my own. Even though I passed that driving course, I still was unprepared to drive with my friends. My first guilty habit is using my phone while driving. Rather it is being on a phone call, texting, snapchatting, or facetiming, whenever my friends needed me to use my phone while driving, I would readily pick it up and use it while I am on the road. I would feel like I got the hang of driving and that it would get boring by only staring at the road the whole time, so I needed my phone to spice things up. My second guilty habit is that when I am in the car with my friends, we tend to blast loud music and just be focused in our conversation rather than the road. My friends are fun people to be around, so we like to bang loud music or talk loud and sometimes it is hard to hear stuff around us or it can be hard for me to just focus on driving in general. Lastly, I have had experiences with friends in which I was the driver, but they got drunk and I ended up having to be the Uber and babysitter at the same time. One thing I will never do is drink and drive, so I am usually always the designated driver if me and my friends go to a party, but that tends to also mean that I have to get them home safely and make sure they are fine during the car ride, even when they are throwing up all over the place or are just being really obnoxious. I realized that I would endure anything with my friends, but them being a distraction while driving is not something to take likely. I have heard of many sad stories in which young drivers have died from distracted driving from bad habits that I have done myself but am lucky enough to be able to recognize and fix. Throughout the years, I have put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode while I drive, I rarely blast my music at all in my car, and I go to less parties so that I do not have to deal with distracting, drunk passengers, which are strategies that I have enjoyed and have enabled me to become a safer driver. I love my friends to death, but I never would want them to be the death of me, so I have tried to put an end to my distracted driving habits and hope to influence others to do the same!

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What to Do After a Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot

Category: Articles & FAQ |

This article attempts to explain what to do if you suffered a slip and fall in a parking lot. The aftermath of a slip and fall accident in Florida can be a painful and emotional experience. While a slip and fall itself can occur in seconds, the effects can be lasting. A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere at any time, but parking lots are one of the most common locations where slip and fall accidents occur.  So, what do you do if you or a loved one has been involved in a slip and fall in a parking lot? The good news is that you have rights, and there are ways for you to recover.  The slip and fall attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have the knowledge and experience necessary to fight for your rights. We are here to help you navigate the process and get through this difficult time, so contact us today to discuss your case and see what we can do for you. Parking Lot Slip and Falls: An Overview If you slip and fall in a parking lot, a lawsuit might become necessary. But before even getting to the point of filing your lawsuit, there are certain steps you should take. Important Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot If you have never sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident before, you may not know how to move forward. However, knowing what steps to take after you slip and fall in a parking lot can be crucial to your recovery.  In fact, failure to take proper actions after your accident can sometimes diminish your rights and ability to recover moving forward. Below are three important steps you should always take after your slip and fall accident. Step 1: Seek Prompt Medical Attention The first and often most important step after any slip and fall accident is to seek immediate medical attention. Your well-being is the main priority, and diagnosis can be crucial. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat any injuries that may exist can lead to even greater harm and can lengthen your recovery process. Even if you don’t feel or notice any injuries immediately after your fall, it is still imperative that you visit a medical professional to confirm that no injuries exist. Often, injury victims will not notice any physical pain due to adrenaline after their accident. Thus, you should always seek medical attention as soon as practicable.  Step 2: Collect Evidence at the Scene As long as you are not too injured to do so, you should try to collect as much information as possible at the scene of the accident. Sometimes, some of the best evidence will be available right at the scene of the accident.  A simple way to do this is to take photographs on with your phone. Take photographs of the exact accident location, the surrounding area, your injuries, damage to any of your personal items, and anything else you think may be related to your fall or injury.  Other information you may be able to gather at the scene might include: The address of the location in which you fell; Contact information for any representatives of the business whose parking lot you fell; and  Contact information and statements from any people who may have witnessed your accident.  The more evidence and information you have regarding your slip and fall accident, the easier it will be to prove your case. Thus, always try to gather as much information as you can. Step 3: Contact a Slip and Fall Injury Attorney After seeking treatment for any possible injuries, you should reach out to an attorney to discuss your case. Most attorneys will offer a free case evaluation, so it is almost always in your best interest to at least have an initial consultation.  Having an experienced injury attorney in your corner can be a great asset to your slip and fall parking lot lawsuit.  Accident victims who don’t understand the legal process will frequently make small, avoidable mistakes that have the potential to limit their recovery. But attorneys who practice personal injury cases for a living have an in-depth understanding of the law. Thus, attorneys can help you avoid those mistakes and ultimately fight to maximize your recovery.  How Will We Help with Your Case? Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is an experienced personal injury law firm well-equipped to handle your slip and fall case. We have been helping injury victims for over 30 years, and we hope we can do the same for you.  Our slip and fall attorneys will provide you with an initial assessment of your case. Further, we will conduct a thorough investigation to determine what compensation you may be entitled to. We will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies and opposing parties to fight for your rights. And lastly, we will never be afraid to take your case to trial if that is what your case requires.  Abrahamson & Uiterwyk’s slip and fall attorneys have represented over 20,000 injury victims throughout Florida. Our team of attorneys will fight aggressively for your rights and do everything we can to help you get the compensation you need to recover. Contact us today to get started, set up your free case review, and see what our firm can do for you.  Get Your Slip and Fall Questions Answered We know how difficult this time must be for you. That’s why we’ve answered some frequently asked questions to help you get the answers you need.   How Much Will It Cost to Hire an Attorney? At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we offer a no-fee guarantee. We do this to lessen the financial burden on clients who need representation. This means that when you hire us, you will not pay any legal fees or costs unless and until we win your case.  Is There an Average Slip and Fall Accident Settlement? No, there is no “average” settlement for a Florida slip and fall accident settlement. However, there...

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Injured at Work: Personal Injury at the Workplace vs. Workers’ Compensation Claims

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Injured at your workplace? This article will help you understand the factors that most impact the potential claim to file for your injuries and damages. According to the National Safety Council, there is a personal injury at the workplace every 7 seconds. The leading causes of workplace injuries are overextension, contact with objects and equipment, and slip and falls.  Workers who sustain a personal injury at work will often assume that a workers’ compensation claim is the only avenue for recovery, but this is not always the case. Although most employees will likely think of filing a workers’ compensation claim as their next step, many fail to consider the benefits of filing a personal injury claim. If you have sustained a personal injury at work, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can evaluate your claim and help you determine whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. Contact us today to learn more about how you can seek to maximize your recovery. What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?  Florida law requires most employers to obtain workers’ compensation coverage. It is also important to note that Florida has a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means that you do not need to show fault on your employer’s part to receive compensation for your claim. While Florida has created a great system with many benefits to provide workers with compensation for their work-related injuries, there are also some downsides that make other options more appealing. Understanding the pros and cons of a workers’ compensation claim will help determine whether pursuing this is right for you. Pros of a Work Injuries Compensation Claim   Once you file your workers’ compensation claim and your employer’s insurance company approves coverage of your work-related injury or illness, Florida law requires your employer to:  Provide you with an authorized physician; Pay for any authorized and medically necessary care and treatment related to your injury or illness; and  Provide you a one-time change of physician within five business days’ receipt of your written request.  These are all great benefits that give you a certain level of autonomy over your own medical care while also ensuring that you do not have to cover your own costs. Authorized treatments that your employer will cover include:  Doctor’s visits, Medical tests,  Hospitalization, Prescription drugs,  Rehabilitation and physical therapy, and  Travel expenses to and from authorized medical treatment or pharmacies.  This will allow you to recover for your injuries without the added stress of worrying whether you will be able to afford your necessary treatments. In some cases, Florida law also provides for wage replacement benefits. If you are unable to return to work or must return in a reduced capacity due to your injuries, you may be entitled to one or more of the following additional benefits: Temporary total benefits, Temporary partial benefits, Permanent impairment benefits, and Permanent total benefits. These benefits provided for under Florida workers’ compensation law can go a long way in helping you recover. However, there are also a number of disadvantages that are important to take into consideration. Cons of Work Injuries Compensation There are a few disadvantages of the workers’ compensation process in Florida that may affect your decision to pursue this type of claim. The primary con of pursuing a workers’ compensation claim is that you will forfeit your right to pursue other avenues of recovery. You will be unable to pursue non-economic damages or sue your employer moving forward for a negligence claim related to your injuries.  Additionally, you could ultimately have your workers’ compensation claims denied. There is a chance that your employer’s insurance provider will try to find a way to deny or undercompensate you for your actual costs. This could leave you with no other option than to pay your remaining costs out of pocket so that you can fully and properly recover.  Further, it can be difficult in some scenarios to prove that your injury is work-related. Section 449.09 of Florida’s workers’ compensation law states that treatment costs will be covered only if the work-related injury was the “major contributing cause” of any resulting injuries. This means that if your need for treatment is not more than 50% related to your work-related accident, your employer does not need to compensate you. This can complicate matters in a workers’ compensation case. For example, if you have a pre-existing condition, or if you were recently injured in another unrelated accident, you may have a difficult time proving that your work-related injury should be covered.  What Is a Claim for a Personal Injury at Work?  Injuries can happen to anyone at any time, and claims arising in the workplace are no exception. In general, a personal injury claim will arise where you are injured due to the negligence or fault of another party. One of the primary differences between a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim is that while you do not need to prove fault in your workers’ compensation case, you do need to establish fault in a personal injury claim. However, Florida’s law bars you from pursuing a personal injury claim against your employer for ordinary negligence if your claim is covered by workers’ compensation. So, to bring a personal injury claim based on a workplace accident, you must either sue a third party who contributed to your injury or show that the employer’s actions amounted to more than ordinary negligence. Despite these additional hurdles that you must overcome to prevail on your personal injury claim, if you are able to do so, your recovery could ultimately be far greater than what you may be entitled to under your workers’ compensation claim. Why a Personal Injury Claim May Be Superior to a Workers’ Compensation Claim In some cases, a personal injury claim may be superior to a workers’ compensation claim. This is due in large part to the additional compensation you may be entitled to under a personal...

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An Overview of Florida Medical Malpractice Laws

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Injuries from medical malpractice in Florida? This article will help you understand the next steps to take for your injuries and damages. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries at the hands of a doctor, nurse, nursing home worker, or another medical professional, you may be entitled to compensation. The circumstances of your case could give rise to a Florida medical malpractice claim. Unfortunately, the legal definition of medical malpractice under Florinda law can be difficult to understand, as it has become somewhat murky. So how do you know whether you have a valid medical malpractice claim? The medical malpractice attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 100 collective years of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims throughout Florida. We can help you answer this question and many more. In this article, we will discuss the standard for medical malpractice in Florida, what to do if you are injured, and where to go for help. What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Florida There are four basic elements you need to prove in a Florida medical malpractice claim:  The health care professional owed a duty to use an ordinary standard of care, skill, and treatment; The health care professional breached that duty;  You suffered harm or damages; and The health care worker’s breach was the “proximate cause” of your damages.  It may be difficult to prove that all four of these elements exist in your case. However, it is absolutely necessary, as you cannot win your medical malpractice case without proving the existence of all four. While you can typically prove that you suffered damages and that a duty existed with little to no difficulty, the greatest hurdles to overcome will often be proving that the medical professional breached their duty of care and that this breach was the cause of your injuries. Thus, it is important to have someone in your corner who knows what to look for and how to prove your case. What You May Not Know About Medical Malpractice Laws in Florida Proving a medical malpractice claim in Florida can be difficult. If you have never dealt with a medical malpractice claim before, you may not even know where to start. However, having a basic understanding of medical malpractice laws in Florida can help you improve your chances of success. When Medical Malpractice Often Occurs Medical malpractice is unfortunately all too common. People often believe that medical malpractice occurs only in hospital settings, but this is not necessarily the case. Medical malpractice claims can arise in hospitals, nursing homes, and anywhere a healthcare provider has breached their duty of care to another, resulting in damages. However, this can be extremely difficult to prove and will almost always require the testimony of a medical expert witness. The standard of care that Florida law requires all health care professionals to abide by is defined as, “that level of care, skill, and treatment which, in light of all relevant surrounding circumstances, is recognized as acceptable and appropriate by reasonably prudent similar health care providers.” This lengthy definition can be difficult to interpret and apply to the facts of your specific circumstances. However, below are some examples of situations in which medical malpractice claims routinely arise: Improper or negligent administration of anesthesia;  Prescription drug errors when providing a patient with an incorrect dosage or wrong medication entirely;  Unsanitary conditions or equipment leading to infections;  Surgical errors, such as incorrect incision site or leaving a foreign object inside the body; and Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.  Being able to recognize common instances of medical malpractice can help you identify whether you may have a valid claim. If any of the above happened to you or a loved one, contact us today so that we can evaluate your case. What Damages Can I Pursue for Medical Malpractice in Florida? If you can prove all four elements of your medical malpractice claim, you will be entitled to damages. In general, a victim in a medical malpractice case can recover compensatory damages that are designed to make them “whole.”. These are separated into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are typically based on monetary losses incurred as a result of the malpractice These will include: Past and future medical expenses; Past and future lost wages; and Loss of earning capacity. It is critical to seek an accurate amount to cover all of your economic damages. This will allow you to fully and properly recover from your injuries. In addition to economic damages, a victim in a medical malpractice case may receive compensation for their non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include compensation for: Pain and suffering; Permanent impairment or disfigurement; Loss of consortium; and  Loss of enjoyment of life.  Whereas economic damages are typically easier to quantify, non-economic damages can be much more difficult to assign a monetary value to due to their subjective nature. However, victims can often recover an even larger amount for their non-economic damages than for their economic damages. Thus, it is important to understand that these damages may exist so that you don’t miss out on any potential compensation you may be entitled to recover. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you assess your damages and fight to ensure you get what you deserve. Recent Changes to Florida Medical Malpractice Law—Damage Caps Florida’s medical malpractice statutes limit recovery for non-economic damages in most cases to $500,000 per claimant. However, where the medical professional’s malpractice resulted in the death or permanent vegetative state of the victim, the damage cap is extended to $1 million. Despite these statutory limitations, the Florida Supreme Court recently rejected such caps of a victim’s non-economic damages, making Florida medical malpractice cases even more difficult to navigate. In North Broward Hospital District v. Kalitan, 219 So. 3d 49 (Fla. 2017), the Florida Supreme Court held that these types of caps “arbitrarily reduce damage awards for plaintiffs who suffer the most drastic injuries.” The court ultimately held that statutory caps on personal injury non-economic...

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What to Do If You Were Injured at a Publix Supermarket in Florida

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Injured at a Publix in Florida? This article will help you understand the next steps you should consider and how a personal injury attorney can help you. If you or someone you know has sustained injuries in a Publix supermarket, you may be entitled to compensation. However, if you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering what steps you need to take to recover the compensation you deserve. Navigating a Florida slip and fall case can feel overwhelming, especially if you have never been involved with one before. Fortunately, you don’t have to handle this on your own. The slip and fall attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have worked with countless personal injury victims in Tampa and throughout Florida. We have helped our clients receive the compensation they deserve, and we are ready to fight to do the same for you. Why It Is Important to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney When Hurt in an Accident Hiring a personal injury attorney will be crucial to the success of your case against Publix. While you can always try to handle your case without any assistance, the benefits of having an experienced attorney in your corner cannot be overstated. Primarily, a personal injury attorney with extensive knowledge of slip and fall laws in Florida can be your advocate and argue the law on your behalf. This will allow you to stay focused on what matters most—your recovery. A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Interpret and Apply Florida Slip and Fall Laws Florida slip and fall laws can be complicated. It can be very difficult to prove that Publix is liable for your injuries without an in-depth understanding of the law in this area. Florida’s slip and fall statute states that a business establishment, like Publix, will be liable if: It had actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition on the premises; The dangerous condition caused a person to slip and fall, resulting in injuries; and  The business establishment should have taken action to remedy the dangerous condition.  The statute anticipates that actual knowledge of a dangerous condition can be difficult to prove. Thus, constructive knowledge can also be used to prove liability. You can prove constructive knowledge using circumstantial evidence showing that: The dangerous condition existed for so long that “in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known” that the condition existed; or  The condition occurred regularly, making its existence foreseeable.  As you can imagine, it is often very difficult to prove that the above requirements exist in your case. Making matters more difficult, there are additional intricacies in the law to consider. An experienced personal injury attorney will know the relevant law and apply it to the specific circumstances in your case. How an Attorney Can Help You Prove Your Publix Slip and Fall Claim How do you prove that Publix had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused your fall? While it is true that this can be difficult to prove, it is not impossible. An experienced personal injury law attorney will know where to look to obtain critical evidence that you will need to prove your claim. Key pieces of evidence include: Video footage of the premises;  Photos showing substances left on the floor;  Employee logs detailing instances and frequency of cleaning; and Witness and employee statements. A personal injury attorney can help you gather this evidence through the use of formal procedural rules. The more evidence you have to support your claim, the greater your chances will be for success. An Attorney Will Help You Determine What Settlement Amount You Can Recover According to the CDC, one out of every five falls will cause a serious injury. Common slip and fall injuries include:  Soft tissue injuries, Head injuries,  Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Hand and wrist injuries, Hip fractures, and Back and spinal cord injuries.  If you have sustained any of the above injuries as a result of a Publix slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney can help you determine what compensation might be available so you can maximize your settlement amount. In a personal injury lawsuit, there are many damages for which you might receive compensation. Damages are the monetary award that a personal injury victim is entitled to as compensation for their loss or injury. In a slip and fall case, available damages might include: Past and future medical expenses; Lost wages or diminished earning capacity;  Loss of consortium; and  Pain and suffering.  While expenses like hospital bills and lost wages are not too difficult to calculate, things like pain and suffering can be more complicated to assign a monetary value to. An experienced slip and fall attorney can help you identify the damages that exist in your case and determine what amount you may deserve. Examples of Slip and Fall Lawsuits and Settlements Against Publix There have been many slip and fall lawsuits against Publix supermarkets. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we believe that understanding the outcome of past lawsuits and settlements is imperative. While our firm did not represent the clients in the cases below, analyzing the courts’ decisions will allow us to better represent our clients in future slip and fall cases against Publix. Schaap v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc. In Schaap v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 579 So. 2d 831 (Fla. 1st Dist. Ct. App. 1991), a customer in a Publix supermarket slipped and fell on a piece of a cookie left on the floor. The Court in this case ruled in favor of Publix, reiterating that a plaintiff in a slip and fall case must prove that the owner of the premises had actual or constructive knowledge that the dangerous condition existed. Although the plaintiffs provided testimony of the assistant manager acknowledging that the premises flooring was dangerous when food was present, the Court ultimately found that they failed to provide sufficient proof that Publix could or should have been aware of...

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What to Know About Hiring a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Spinal cord injury in Florida? This article will help you understand what to know before hiring a spinal cord injury lawyer. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries that can happen to your body. They can result in partial or total paralysis in some instances. When someone else’s negligence or intentional actions cause your injuries, you may have a valid personal injury claim. Because of the serious nature of spinal cord injuries, it’s not recommended that you pursue a claim on your own. Instead, retain a proficient Florida spinal cord injury lawyer who understands how these cases work. Why Is It Critical to Hire a Lawyer with Experience Handling Spinal Injury Cases? At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over three decades of experience handling personal injury matters throughout Florida, including spinal cord injuries. We understand how complex these injuries are and have the experience required to build a strong case against the liable parties.   Not all lawyers have experience dealing with cases involving severe injuries to the spine. These are typically very complicated and expensive cases to build and bring to trial if necessary. Additionally, your attorney must have the resources to advance fees and costs. For example, an attorney just starting their practice may not have the funds to hire the expert witnesses you’ll need. A spinal cord injury case is about more than just seeking financial compensation from the negligent parties. It’s also about working on your recovery.  We want to make sure our clients receive the best treatment possible, while also fighting to pursue the maximum compensation they deserve. Return to top ↑ What Are Some Examples of Spinal Injury Cases That Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Has Handled? We have handled numerous spinal cord injury cases. Some have resolved through skillful negotiations during litigation, while other cases were resolved through a jury award. Two settlements in spinal injury cases we’ve handled include: $5,000,000 verdict for a client who became a quadriplegic after being struck by a large truck; and $750,000 for a 69-year-old client who was paralyzed after the defendant lost control of their vehicle. Featured case result: $525,000.00 / T-Bone Accident / Spinal Injury / Citrus County, Florida This unfortunate accident occurred while our client was traveling north on County Road 491 in Citrus County, Florida. The defendant driver was exiting a funeral home headed west. For unknown reasons, the defendant pulled out directly into our client’s path. Our client veered left to try and avoid the collision, but the defendant kept moving west causing a T-bone impact with our client. Our client was taken to Ocala Regional Medical Center with significant injuries. While at the hospital, she was diagnosed with broken ribs and a contused right lung. Shortly after the accident, she began to also experience pain in her neck, back and left knee and sought additional treatment. She underwent multiple injections into her cervical and lumbar spine. Unfortunately, the pain continued and she came under the care of an orthopedic spine surgeon who eventually performed additional injections including a procedure for her lower back known as a radiofrequency ablation, which involves heating up the nerves that exit from the spine in order to relieve the pain. This too failed to adequately relieve our client’s lower back pain. She eventually underwent the permanent implantation of a spinal cord stimulator to relieve her pain. The insurance company hired counsel and fought the case hard. They argued that the injuries were pre-existing and not caused by the accident. Their initial offer was $40,000.00. We eventually persuaded them to engage in a mediation settlement conference where a neutral third-party mediator was hired to try to get the parties to agree to settle the claim. After a lengthy multi-day negotiation, we were able to convince the insurance company to pay substantially more than they had previously offered. The case eventually settled several days after the mediation for $525,000.00. The settlement amount was over 10x their original offer. We were pleased to be able to get our client properly compensated for their injuries. These are just two of the settlements and verdicts for spinal injury cases we’ve handled. It’s important to understand that every case is different. Your potential settlement value is dependent on the type of spinal injury you have, what level it’s at, and what your prognosis is. Return to top ↑ How the Level and Type of Spinal Injury Impacts Your Case When your attorney or medical professional refers to the level of your spinal cord injury, they are talking about where on your spine the injury occurred. It is categorized by the region of the spine—cervical, thoracic, or lumbosacral. The level is then completed with the number of the particular vertebrae in that region like C1, T2, or L3. You’ll find that spinal cord injury types are classified into two broad categories — complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury means that the spinal cord is completely severed, and therefore there is no function below the injury. An incomplete injury means that only a portion of the spinal cord is severed. Therefore, some functionality may exist below the injury site. These are not the only way to classify a spinal cord injury, your injury could also involve spinal fusion, where two parts of the spine are surgically fused together. Your medical records will go more in depth and explain the specifics of your injury. They will refer to which part of the spine (front, middle, or back) was injured and your paralysis (quadriplegic, paraplegic, etc.). This information has a significant impact on the value of your case. A complete C1 level spinal cord injury means the spinal cord at the first vertebrae in your neck was severed entirely and that you are paralyzed from the neck down. An incomplete L5 level injury means the injury site is the 5th vertebrae in your lumbar region and that you have at least partial movement in your legs. Return to top ↑ What Types of Accidents...

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What to Do (and Mistakes to Avoid) After a Slip and Fall Injury

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Slip and fall injury in Florida? This article will help you understand what to do and what not to do after a slip and fall injury in Florida. No one leaves the house thinking that today is the day they are going to fall down and injure themselves. A slip and fall injury can occur anywhere. You might be at the market, a hotel, the mall, a parking lot, or even at your job when you suddenly find yourself on the floor. It’s understandable that you may be confused about what to do after a slip and fall accident. Taking the right action is vital. If you make any mistakes, it can ultimately compromise your case. This is one reason why retaining an experienced Florida slip and fall injury attorney right from the start is so important. When you have a knowledgeable lawyer representing you, they will guide you through the entire claims process. Your attorney will keep you from making mistakes and jeopardizing your case going forward. 4 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury No matter the circumstances surrounding your slip and fall, there are some necessary steps that you need to follow. 1. See a Doctor Right Away One of the most critical steps after an injury accident is to get medical attention right away. Ensuring you are ok should always be your top priority. If you are seriously injured, you may need to be transported to the hospital directly from the scene. 2. Take Scene Photos Taking scene photos immediately after the accident is ideal. However, if you are seriously injured and cannot move, do not further risk your health and safety. If you are with someone else, ask them to take photos before being transported to the hospital. 3. Report the Incident to the Manager or Owner You must report the slip and fall as soon as possible. If your injuries aren’t severe enough that you are taken away by ambulance, reporting it right away is best. You need to let someone with authority know what happened. That can be a store manager, landlord, security officer, etc. If the incident occurred while at work, you need to let your boss and human resources know right away. 4. Contact a Florida Slip and Fall Injury Attorney One of the next steps should be to retain a Florida slip and fall injury attorney. You need to concentrate on your recovery and getting back to work. When you hire Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to represent you, our team of premises liability lawyers will be there to explain every step of the process. We will get to work right away on inspecting the scene, speaking with witnesses, and gathering all evidence that supports your claim. If we need to hire an expert to support your version of the facts, we have the contacts and resources to make that happen. Return to top ↑ Key Mistakes to Avoid After a Slip and Fall Accident Knowing what not to do after a slip and fall injury is essential and can help prevent you from putting your claim at risk. Insurance adjusters and defense attorneys almost always dispute slip and fall injury claims. Presenting the most persuasive case possible will make the difference on how much compensation you ultimately get. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make after a slip and fall injury: Do not report the claim timely or at all; Fail to obtain contact information for witnesses; Forget to get scene photos or collect any evidence; Don’t seek timely medical attention; Don’t report to their boss or human resources in work-related slip and falls; Give a recorded statement to the other side’s insurance company; Sign a release at the scene; Skip doctors’ appointments and therapy treatments; and Don’t hire a Florida premises liability attorney. Even if you made one of these mistakes, your attorney might be able to repair the damage. If you didn’t retain an attorney right away, be sure you pay close attention to your conversations with the property owner’s insurance adjuster. They may try to make you believe that they are on your side, but their top priority is finding a way to deny your claim outright. Their client is the property owner, and their job is to save the insurance company money.    Return to top ↑ After a Slip and Fall FAQ Understandably, we get a lot of questions from potential clients after a personal injury incident. We’ve compiled answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on slip and fall injuries. When Should I Go to the Doctor After a Slip and Fall? If you are not transported from the scene directly to the hospital, you should make an appointment right away. It’s best if you can see a doctor on the same day or the following day. You may have injuries that are not immediately visible, like internal bleeding or organ damage. How Long Do You Have to Go to the Doctor After a Slip and Fall?  The amount of treatment needed after a slip and fall varies. Your doctor will advise you on how long you will need treatment and your future prognosis. What Should I Do/Know If My Slip and Fall Happened at Work? If your slip and fall occurred at work, you need to let your boss know right away. You may need to report the claim to your human resources department as well. Reporting is crucial, even if you don’t think you are injured at the time. In most circumstances, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover any damages. Once your claim is reported, you will be contacted by the claims adjuster who will let you know what to do next. They will provide you with a list of approved workers’ compensation doctors that can treat you. For most work-related injuries, your sole source of recovery may be the payments received through your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. However, some workers’ compensation...

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What to Expect and How to Prepare for Your Free Personal Injury Consultation

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Personal injury consultation in Florida? This article will help you understand you should expect and questions to ask. When you have been injured in a personal injury accident, choosing the right attorney can feel daunting. Don’t let the fear of making a wrong choice keep you from retaining a lawyer. Almost all Florida accident lawyers offer a free consultation. If you are searching online for a “personal injury lawyer near me” with free consultations, be sure to contact us at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. Our lawyers have over 30 years of experience handling personal injury and accident claims throughout Florida. Before you meet with Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, make sure you are well-prepared. Be sure to gather all pertinent information and have a list of questions written down to ask during your consultation. To get you started, we’re sharing how to get prepared and what to expect at your initial personal injury consultation. Information You Should Gather for Your Consultation Make the most of your initial consultation by bringing as much information and evidence about your case as possible. Some of the most important documentation to have with you includes: Government-issued ID, Accident or incident report, Scene photos, Police citation, Insurance information, Insurance company correspondence, Injury photos, Witness information, Emergency room records, Doctor reports, Diagnostic lab results, Receipts for accident-related expenses, Pre-existing medical conditions, List of current prescriptions, Your notes, and Any other pertinent information. Some of these may not apply to your situation, which is fine. For example, you may not have the accident report back yet or the police may not have issued a citation. If you haven’t already written down notes about the accident, start now. It’s not uncommon to forget small details as time goes on. You should write up a comprehensive account of everything that happened at the scene of the accident. Having all of this documented in one place will help your future attorney as well.   Return to top ↑ Questions the Attorney Will Likely Ask You When you meet with an injury attorney for your free consultation, most of that meeting will be spent discussing what happened during the accident. The attorney wants to know your version of events and what injuries you sustained. An experienced attorney will ask you plenty of questions to learn more about your case. Attorneys also use this time to assess you as a potential client. They do this as a way of evaluating how you will appear on the stand or during a deposition.  The attorney will likely ask you about the following information during your consultation. Timing One of the first questions your attorney will ask before proceeding is when the incident or accident occurred. Attorneys need to find out whether the statute of limitations has already passed. In most cases, this may not be an issue. However, there are some claims where the statute of limitations is about to expire or already has. In those situations, it’s nearly impossible to get the court to accept your filing, so an attorney may decline to take your case. Facts of the Case Expect that you will be asked about specific details of your accident. They want to know whether you received a traffic citation or if criminal charges were filed.  The attorney will probably ask if you previously provided a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster and what you said. They are trying to determine whether you may have inadvertently admitted fault or said something that could harm your case. Medical History Your attorney needs your prior medical history to understand what your life was like before the accident. When you bring all that documentation with you, it saves time and allows the attorney to move on to the next set of questions. Return to top ↑ Questions That You Ought to Ask the Attorney Use your list of prepared questions to help assess whether a firm is the right fit for you. Some clients come to us after disappointing meetings with other firms. There are several reasons for this. It may be because they were caught off guard by something said or their case was transferred to an attorney with less experience. We want you to be happy and feel secure in your decision to retain Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. When you have a list of questions to ask us at the initial consultation, you can make an educated decision on whether our firm is right for you.    Questions you should be asking at your first meeting include: What will happen after this free consultation? How long do you think my case will take to resolve? Will you be the attorney assigned to my case? What is your background with these types of cases? How long have you been practicing? What is your record at trial for similar cases? What is your billing structure? Who will deal with my current medical bills? What is your timeframe for returning client calls and emails? How long do I have before we need to file a lawsuit? Do I need to do anything else after this meeting? How are you different from other Florida personal injury firms? When will I receive payment after my case settles? How much will you take from my settlement? There may be some other questions to ask that are specific to your case. Perhaps you have been negotiating with the insurance company already, and they extended an offer. You may have questions related to that offer and whether it’s fair. It’s better to have more questions on your list than not enough.   Return to top ↑ Contact a Florida Accident Lawyer for a Free Consultation  If you have been injured in a Florida personal injury accident, don’t attempt to resolve your case on your own. Retaining an experienced attorney can help you maximize your case value. We can also help expedite the claims process.  We understand that this is a stressful and confusing time for you. We offer professional, yet compassionate, legal representation. We want to help...

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Headaches After a Car Accident: Can I Get Injury Compensation?

Category: Articles & FAQ |

Car accidents commonly cause spine and neck injuries such as whiplash. However, victims don’t necessarily experience the symptoms of these injuries immediately. If you develop headaches or other symptoms days or even weeks after a collision, you might wonder whether you can still make a claim for compensation. If you experience headaches after a car accident, your symptoms could indicate a serious injury that requires medical attention. You should hire an attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal right to recover compensation. A Florida car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and explain what’s necessary for you to pursue a legal claim.     HEADACHE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT FAQ What Causes Headaches After a Car Accident? The sudden and violent nature of motor vehicle collisions can result in a variety of severe injuries. Fractures, dislocations, contusions, and lacerations are all readily visible or can be easily identified with medical testing, such as x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. Some other types of serious injuries are much more difficult to detect. In fact, you might not be aware of any damage until you develop symptoms such as headaches. Some of the most common causes of headache after a car accident are: Whiplash, Concussion, Traumatic brain injury (TBI), Soft tissue damage, and Nerve damage. Among these potential injuries, whiplash and brain injuries pose some of the most serious threats to your future health and well-being.     HEADACHE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT FAQ Can I Seek Compensation for a Headache-Related Injury? If another party was at fault for your car accident, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. In most cases, injury accident victims can submit their claim to the at-fault party’s insurance company. This requires documenting your claim and damages and then negotiating to reach an acceptable settlement offer. If you can’t obtain a reasonable settlement through the insurance company, you have the option of filing a civil lawsuit and making your case in court. A car accident attorney can help you determine the viability of your case and explain the process through which you can recover compensation for your economic and non-economic damages.     HEADACHE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT FAQ What Is the Potential Value of My Car Accident Headache Settlement? The potential value of your headache injury claim will depend on the details of your case. Car accident lawyers calculate the victim’s physical, financial, and emotional damages to arrive at an estimated settlement value. Because every injury accident is unique, it’s not possible to identify an average car accident claim value. You might find websites that claim the ability to calculate your settlement value. Do not trust these websites. Without having all the details about your injuries and how they affect your life and future, no one can accurately estimate what your claim might be worth. The best way to determine how much compensation you might be entitled to recover is to consult a headache injury accident lawyer. After evaluating your case, an attorney can provide you with a more accurate assessment of your claim’s potential value.     HEADACHE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT FAQ What Evidence Do I Need to File a Headache Injury Claim after a Car Accident? To build a persuasive case, car accident lawyers first obtain evidence to establish fault for the accident and liability for the victim’s damages. In some cases, establishing fault is fairly straightforward. For example, if another motorist rear-ended your car, the law almost always assigns liability to the driver who struck the other vehicle from behind. In other cases, however, your attorney may need additional evidence to establish fault and prove negligence. Some evidence that might be necessary to support your claim includes: Accident reports, Witness testimony, Accident scene photos, Expert opinions, and Accident scene reconstruction. To establish the value of your damages, your attorney might use some or all of the following documentation. Medical bills, Wage statements, and Vehicle repair estimates. You may also be entitled to recover compensation for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, scarring, disfigurement, or disability. If you cannot work because of your injuries, or if you require future treatment or ongoing care, your attorney will also consider the estimated cost of future treatment and care as well as the estimated value of future lost income and benefits.     HEADACHE AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT FAQ What Should I Do After a Car Accident? Because the risk of delayed onset injuries is so significant, personal injury lawyers recommend that accident victims seek medical attention immediately after a car crash. Even if you don’t believe you were hurt., seeking a full medical evaluation is important. If you do have a brain or soft tissue injury, seeking treatment immediately can help ensure your recovery. Having your condition documented by a qualified medical practitioner is also critical for documenting your injury claim. If you don’t see a doctor until days or weeks after an accident, the insurance company could claim that the accident wasn’t the cause of your injuries, or that your injuries weren’t that serious.     Talk to a Florida Car Accident Lawyer for Help Talking to an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you get the answers and assistance you need. In Florida, the personal injury lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been providing assistance to injury accident victims for more than three decades. To help you learn more about your options for pursuing legal action, we offer a no-cost consultation and case evaluation for Florida car accident victims. Contact us today for help with your car accident headache injury claim.  

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What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault

Category: Articles & FAQ |

If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, it’s essential that you take the proper steps – and avoid making key mistakes – in the period following the accident. A car accident in the Tampa area can happen to any driver. Even drivers who are careful, attentive, and following the rules of the road can get into an accident. Often, the fault of others on the roads around Tampa, Palm Harbor, and the Pinellas Peninsula can involve the most innocent drivers in an accident. As an innocent driver, you should understand what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault. Below are the steps you should take when you are in an accident that is not your fault.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT THAT’S NOT YOUR FAULT 🚧 Ensure Your Immediate Safety You should take steps to make sure you are safe, even if the accident is not your fault. To ensure that you and your passengers are safe, you should: Move your vehicle to safety and out of the flow of traffic, Turn on your car’s hazard lights, and Check for your injuries and injuries of passengers. Move your vehicle out of traffic, but do not drive away from the scene. If the other driver flees, stay on the scene and continue to the rest of the steps below. When you are not in the flow of traffic, stay in your car and turn on your hazard lights. Call 911 if you, your passengers, or another driver is injured.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT THAT’S NOT YOUR FAULT 🚔 Involve the Police If no one has injuries that need emergency medical care, call the police. Whether the accident was minor or there is considerable damage to your vehicle, call the police. For the driver not at fault, there are several benefits to calling the police to the scene. The police report will become part of your insurance claim. The report will include information relevant to your insurance claim. Important information includes where and when the crash happened, the drivers involved, and each driver’s account of the crash. Sometimes, an insurance company will require that you submit a police report to make a claim. In most cases, a police report is a reliable source of information to bolster your claim with the insurance company. Either way, a police record that you were not at fault is beneficial to your insurance claim.     WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT THAT WASN’T YOUR FAULT 🗂 Gather Information and Evidence You should first trade information with the other drivers involved in the collision. The driver who is at fault handles reporting the accident to their insurance company. However, you should not assume that they will do so. The other driver’s insurance information is important if you want to recover for things like medical bills and car repairs. Gather information from the at-fault driver, including: Name, address, and phone number; Insurance company contact information; Insurance policy number; The driver’s license number; and Their car’s license plate number. Document the scene by taking pictures of the vehicle damage and the surrounding area. If possible, ask eyewitnesses for their names, contact information, and their immediate memory of the events.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT THAT YOU DIDN’T CAUSE 🗣 Be Mindful of Your Statements to Others Pay attention to the statements you make to other drivers. You should avoid speaking with the other drivers. Decide if you or someone else needs emergency medical care. However, be careful not to admit responsibility. This includes statements that an adjuster could interpret as admitting or implying fault. Do not offer to pay for property damage or injuries and do not discuss fault. Statements you should avoid making include statements like: “I’m sorry,” “I didn’t see you,” and “I am perfectly fine.” The other driver will likely repeat these statements to their insurance company. These statements could supply the insurance company grounds to dispute their insured’s fault and could delay or diminish your compensation claim.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT THAT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT 📞 Contact Your Own Insurance Company Even when you are not at fault, it is prudent to contact your insurance company. In most cases, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will compensate you for your injuries and property damage. In other cases, your claim will involve your insurance company. For example, the other party’s insurance may later claim that you were at fault. In this situation, your insurance company will need your account of the accident and supporting evidence to challenge the other insurer’s denial of liability.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT NOT YOUR FAULT 🚑 Get Medical Treatment for All Injuries You should see a doctor after a car accident, even if you do not think you were injured. Injuries are often not apparent until at least several hours after the accident. If you have symptoms such as confusion, tingling in your arms or legs, or unconsciousness, call 911 as your injuries may be severe. If you experience stiffness, muscle soreness, neck pain, or back pain one to several days after the accident, consult a doctor. You may have whiplash or spinal injuries that can require medical attention. Document your symptoms in a record or journal. When you see a doctor, give your health care professionals an honest description of your experience. Insurance companies may accuse you of exaggerating or lying about your injuries. This can delay your compensation and create more issues in resolving your claim. If the insurance company gives you a hard time, having medical records will support your injury claim.     WHAT TO DO AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT NOT YOUR FAULT 🕵 Have an Accident Attorney Evaluate Your Case You should discuss your accident with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The injury lawyers in Tampa at Abrahamson &...

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