Ocala Car Accident Lawyer
Recent Florida driving studies have revealed that in just a single year, traffic accidents caused 195,104 injuries and 2,444 fatalities. Of those fatalities, 794 were alcohol-related, while distracted drivers caused 1,796 crashes. These statistics may be shocking, but they don’t tell the real story—the whole story. The fact is each of these numbers represents a person whose life, and the lives of his or her family members, has changed—sometimes dramatically, sometimes permanently—due to the car accident. Ocala car accident lawyer Marianne Howanitz has made it her mission to tell the whole story and obtain fair and just compensation for car accident injury victims.
Helping Injury Victims Recover Physically, Financially & Emotionally after Car Accidents
When you entrust your car accident claim to Marianne Howanitz, P.A., we start by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident to determine the cause of the crash and who is responsible. Our inquiry may uncover a distracted driver, a drunk driver, reckless driving, dangerous road conditions, or even defective auto equipment. Ms. Howanitz has the perceptiveness and skill to pursue compensation from all possible sources, including the at-fault party’s insurer and your own uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
If you or a family member has been involved in a serious car accident, you may have already been contacted by an insurance company suggesting a settlement that won’t come close to covering your needs. You may also be wondering if you can handle this on your own—plead your own case, so to speak—without getting a car accident lawyer involved. The answer is no, you shouldn’t go it alone, especially if you have been seriously hurt.
Insurance companies will do everything they can to keep your payout as low as possible, and keep in mind, they negotiate car accident claims every day. It is extremely important to have the support and representation of a skilled car accident attorney in your corner to fight for payment of past and future medical bills, lost wages and decreased earning potential, compensation for your pain and suffering, and damages to your vehicle—everything in your life that has been affected by the car accident.
What to do (and not do) after an accident:
- Do stay at the scene. In Florida, you may be criminally prosecuted for leaving the scene of an auto accident.
- Do take pictures of all the vehicles and any apparent injuries at the scene, if at all possible. (It’s a good idea to carry a disposable camera in your vehicle at all times just for this reason or use the camera feature on your cell phone.)
- Do call your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident to report the accident.
- Do contact your attorney right away so evidence can be secured promptly and properly.
- Do provide your name, address and phone number to authorities and insurance adjustors.
- Do get as much information as possible from the other party at the scene of the accident, including insurance company contact details.
- Do get names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses at the scene.
- When contacted by an insurance adjustor, get their name, address and telephone number and only discuss your property damage claim.
- Do write down details to help you remember the accident.
- Do take notes when you talk with the adjustor so you remember what is discussed.
- Do tell the adjustor the date and time of the accident, where and how it occurred.
- Do ask if the adjustor knows of any witnesses (but you need not identify your witnesses to them).
- Don’t admit fault.
- Don’t talk to an adjustor about your family, job, income, home, or anything but the very basic facts of the accident.
- Don’t go into great detail about any medical injuries, particularly immediately after the accident as some problems may not be obvious right away.
- Don’t allow conversations with an adjustor to be recorded.
- Don’t agree to any terms or sign any paperwork at this point.
- Don’t identify witnesses.
Dealing with Property Damage Claims after an Car Accident:
If your auto and/or any other personal property are damaged because of a vehicle accident caused by another party, you may need to file more than one claim. The first would be your claim against the other driver, as well as against the vehicle’s owner, if this is someone other than the driver. Under Florida law, you have the right to expect the other driver/owner to pay for:
- reasonable repair costs to your damaged vehicle, or fair market value if the vehicle cannot be repaired or is too costly to repair when compared to current market value
- “tax, tag and title” fees if vehicle is not repaired
- towing and other charges related to the accident
- use of a rental car while yours is being repaired, or while you find another vehicle if yours must be replaced (referred to as “loss of use”)
- damages for diminished value of your vehicle even if repaired
You may also need to file a claim with your own insurance company, depending on the coverage you have purchased. If you have collision coverage, the amount of money you can recover is detailed in your policy, and would typically include repair to the vehicle, or fair market value (including “tax, tag and title”) if the vehicle is totaled. If you did not purchase rental car coverage, this would not be provided.
Not everyone purchases collision coverage; if you don’t have this, you cannot expect to recover any financial reimbursement from your insurance company for any damage to your vehicle.
Let us Tell the Story Behind Your Car Accident Injury
Have you or a loved one sustained an injury in a car accident due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else? It is important to contact an experienced Ocala car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The preservation of evidence needed to prove your car accident claim is of utmost importance, and may be lost or destroyed if not secured immediately. Please contact Marianne Howanitz, P.A. today to schedule your free initial consultation. We represent car accident victims in Ocala and throughout Florida.