Q: Should I give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company after an Orlando car accident?

Without a doubt, this is one of the most common questions we hear at Francis Law Group, and our answer is always the same:

We feel that it is never in your best interests to give a recorded statement to an insurance company without a lawyer present.  In fact, it’s one of the easiest ways to ruin your potential injury claim.

The reason why is that the folks who work for the insurance company are trained professionals, and they are very good at what they do. Their main objective is to pay out as little money as possible for injury claims (or deny them altogether) in order to help increase profits for the insurance company. That’s really it.  They are not out to help you and they are not on your side.

Insurance company representatives are hoping that you slip up during a recorded conversation and admit that you were partially at fault for the accident or that your injuries really aren’t too bad.  Mistakes such as those give insurance companies exactly what they need to attack your claim and diminish its legitimacy.  

Sadly, we’ve seen countless Florida accident victims have their injury claims denied because of recorded statements that were taken before the injured person had a chance to speak with or retain a lawyer.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and receive a phone call within a few days from the other driver’s insurance company asking you to give a recorded statement, politely decline and say that you’ll have your attorney get in touch with them.

Then, pick up the phone and call us at 407-363-9939 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.  We’ll make sure that your rights are protected. 

Q: What to Do if You Witness a Car Accident in Orlando

Car accidents happen every day in the state of Florida and witnessing one can be a shocking experience, especially when physical damages are severe or people suffer injury. Knowing what to do if you witness a car accident and taking action immediately may help protect those who sustained injury.

Find a Safe Place to Pull Over

The first thing that you should do is to find a safe place to pull over. As you are doing so, be sure to keep your own safety, and the safety of others, in mind – watch for nearby traffic and other hazards; the last thing you want to do is cause another accident. Turn your hazard lights on and do not exit your vehicle unless you are in an area that is clear of traffic.

Check for Injuries

You should approach the vehicle(s) involved in the accident with caution. Check to make sure that everyone is okay.

Call 9-1-1 to report the accident if necessary, particularly if any individual involved has sustained injury. The operator may ask you to stay on the line and tell the car accident victims that help is on the way, or to give updates about victims’ conditions if injuries are serious.

If you are not medically trained, do not offer medical assistance unless instructed to do so by the police (operator).

Give the Drivers Your Information and Wait for the Police

You should give your personal contact information to the drivers involved in the accident; your witness testimony may be crucial at a later date. If you can, you should also stick around until the police show up. When they do, give an accurate and thorough report of what you saw, and provide your name and contact information. Keep in mind that the drivers’ insurance companies may contact you later for testimony – make sure you keep your story straight (you should write it down as soon as you are able).

At the Francis Law Group, we are committed to making our Florida roads as safe as possible, and representing injury victims when negligence leads to a car accident. Contact us today at 407-363-9939 to learn more. 

Q:   What is the Florida Complete Streets program?

Florida's Complete Streets Program is a transit initiative from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), designed to improve the quality of our streets for all types of users. Implementing the complete streets program involves evaluating different types of users who travel our roads and highways and determining their needs and safety risks and how best to resolve any concerns.

Considerations for Florida's Complete Streets Program

The complete streets program was adopted in September 2014 and focuses on five main types of users of public roadways, highways and sidewalks:

  • Motorists
  • Freight handlers (truckers)
  • Cyclists
  • Pedestrians
  • Transit riders

Each of these users has a unique set of needs and safety concerns that need to be addressed with any proposed street improvement projects.

To develop plans for street improvements, FDOT officials have been meeting with local governments, city councils, advocacy groups and communities to gather information about local traffic, road use and transit demographics.

How the Complete Streets Program is Expected to Improve Florida Transit

While the complete streets program is still in the development and implementation stages, the focus is already set on active transportation. Officials involved in the project have identified that sedentary lifestyles are a public health hazard and promoting active transportation (walking, biking, etc.) can help promote healthier living.

Officials also looked at the implications for economic development when planning street improvements. Many communities are working toward creating more "walkable" retail districts to promote more small business support and growth in their areas.

Safety is also of the utmost consideration when it comes to improving transit infrastructure. Pedestrian and bicycle safety coalitions and policy councils are being consulted to determine points of concern and best safety practices to implement in the coming years.

In the future, local Florida governments are expected to consider more road safety improvement projects such as adding bike lanes, installing roundabouts, widening congested roads, and creating more pedestrian-friendly destinations. The hope is that more people will chose non-vehicle transportation options to travel, thus alleviating congestion on the roads and reducing hazards to pedestrians.

Until Our Streets Are More "Complete," Florida's Traffic Accident Risk will Remain High

Many U.S. states are already using the complete streets program and have seen great reductions in traffic accidents and fatalities. Unfortunately, urban planning and implementation of the solutions from the program will take time.

If you or a loved one were injured in a traffic-related accident, The Francis Law Group can help you review your case and determine if you are eligible for compensation. Fill out our online contact form or call us directly at 407-363-9939 to schedule a free consultation regarding your right to recover damages after a serious traffic accident.

Q:   Can I still pursue compensation for my injuries from a car accident, even though Florida is a no fault insurance state?

The answer is yes, depending on the severity of your injuries.  What is beneficial about Florida’s no fault insurance system is that you can obtain compensation for your injuries no matter who was at fault in the car accident.  Your own auto insurance coverage should include personal injury protection (PIP) that pays a percentage of your medical expenses.  However, when injuries are severe, you can pursue additional damages.

You do not lose your right to sue for your injuries in Florida.  Your injuries have to be serious, such as a permanent injury, loss of bodily function, disfigurement and so on.  Florida law also bases the seriousness of an injury on the length of time that it results in disability.

For more information regarding your rights to compensation following a Florida car accident, contact an experienced Orlando car accident attorney at the Francis Law Group today at (407) 363-9939.

Q: What is my Florida car accident claim worth?

As the medical bills begin piling up, you are probably starting to wonder what your accident claim is worth.  While there is no “one-size-fits-all” formula that can be used to calculate the exact value of your case, there are some factors you can use to get an overall idea.  You should consider contacting an Orlando car accident lawyer who will be able to give you a reasonable settlement range that you can expect.
Some of the factors that are used when determining the value of a claim have to do with the type of accident, severity of injuries and anticipated medical expenses.  You also have to think about how your injuries have impacted your life and will most likely affect your future.

There are other aspects involved when determining a case value that are more difficult to estimate.  These damages include such things as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life, which are subjective.

For more information on determining the value of your accident case, contact an experienced Orlando car accident attorney at the Francis Law Group today at (407) 363-9939.

Q:  What do I do if I've been hurt in an automobile accident?

 You must get the name, address, insurance information and license plate numbers of the all the drivers of any vehicles involved in an accident. Don't forget to get the phone numbers of any eyewitnesses. 

If injuries are involved the police must be called. The officer will write a traffic report including details of damages and injuries. You'll need that report for your insurance company before any benefits are 

Q: What is the Statute of Limitations?

In some states you might only have one year to file a lawsuit from an automobile accident. When the statute of limitations expires, you don't have a case any longer. 

Statutes of limitations also differ depending on the kinds of lawsuits involved. E.g. medical malpractice, suits against government agencies, and wrongful death actions have shorter periods of time than other types of personal injury cases.

Generally speaking, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is from one to three years, from the time you had the accident.