It makes sense to wonder whether you can recover compensation in a St. Petersburg, FL, car accident without hiring a lawyer. The truth is, depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash, you might not need to. However, hiring a lawyer can make all the difference in other instances.

Because the St. Petersburg car accident lawyers with Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys work on contingency, we’ll only be able to take on your case if it makes sense for us as well as you. In addition, Our lawyers have secured millions in compensation for individuals who have suffered injuries in St. Petersburg taxi accidents, St.Petersburg catastrophic injuries, St. Petersburg wrongful death, bus accidents, recreational vehicle accidents, and more. 

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your situation and to help determine what your best course of action is. Call us at (727) 353-5451 today.

Continue reading this article to learn about when you may or may not need to hire a lawyer after an auto accident in the area.

What Lopez Accident Injury Lawyers Can Do To Help After a St. Petersburg Car Accident

Experience Lawyer for Car Accident

At the onset, it can help to understand the ways in which an attorney can help you after you’ve been injured in a car accident in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

In the event that you’re eligible to file a claim for compensation against the at-fault driver (more on this in the section below), the process of obtaining full damages may become more complex.

The personal injury lawyers with Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys have more than 25 years of combined experience and have collected millions of dollars in compensation for our deserving clients. We can assist with your claim by:

After a car accident, determining the best steps forward can feel overwhelming. An experienced attorney can simplify this process by evaluating the specifics of your case and advising on the most beneficial legal path. This could involve negotiating with insurance companies, filing a claim for compensation, or, if necessary, pursuing a lawsuit. 

Conducting a Comprehensive Internal Investigation

A thorough investigation is the key to building a strong case. Our personal injury attorneys conduct in-depth reviews of the accident, which include collecting evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records. We may also analyze video footage, if available, and visit the accident scene to gather more insights. 

This comprehensive approach helps establish the facts of the case, the extent of your injuries, and the impact on your life, strengthening your claim for compensation.

Hiring Experts to Strengthen Your Case

Sometimes, the key to a successful claim lies in the details that expert testimonies can provide. Our attorneys frequently work with medical professionals, accident reconstruction experts, and economic loss analysts to support your case. 

These experts can offer insights into the nature of your injuries, how the accident occurred, and the financial impact of your losses. Their specialized knowledge can be valuable in proving the extent of your damages and the other party’s liability.

Negotiating a Settlement

Negotiating with insurance companies and opposing counsel is a nuanced process that requires skill and experience. Our personal injury lawyers excel in this area, using the evidence gathered to advocate for a settlement that fully compensates you for your injuries, lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Filing a Lawsuit and Taking Your Case to Court

If negotiations do not result in a fair settlement, we may recommend taking your case to court. This step involves filing a lawsuit against the at-fault party, where your lawyer will represent you, presenting the evidence and arguing your case before a judge or jury.

Florida’s Car Insurance Rules

The State of Florida is one of the few in the country that has “no-fault” car insurance rules. These rules actually make it less likely that you’ll need to hire a lawyer after an accident, depending on its severity.

Each driver in the Sunshine State is required to purchase Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. This coverage provides certain, limited benefits after an accident – and you can receive them regardless of whether the accident was your fault or not. 

PIP insurance will cover 80% of all “necessary and reasonable” medical expenses up to an amount of $10,000. You must receive medical care within 14 days of the accident in order to obtain this compensation. Further, if your injury is not considered an emergency, your benefits may be limited to $2,500 instead.

After especially serious car accidents, however, Florida allows you to file a claim against the at-fault driver for additional compensation above and beyond what PIP offers. In order to be eligible to do this, you must have sustained a “serious injury,” according to state law. 

If you can file this type of claim, you can receive damages not only for things like your lost wages and medical bills but also for things like your pain and suffering.

When You May and May Not Need To Hire an Attorney

Generally speaking, the more serious your car accident is, the more likely that hiring a lawyer will benefit you. If your accident did not result in an injury and only caused minor property damage, it is unlikely that having an attorney to represent you will be worth it.

However, after any car accident that results in a serious injury and allows you to pursue compensation from the responsible party, it is likely in your best interest to hire a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer. You will, at that point, likely be up against the at-fault party or their insurance carrier. 

As the victim of the car crash, you will have the burden of proof to prove your claim with evidence. This will usually entail proving that the at-fault driver was negligent. You’ll also likely need to fight for a settlement that makes you whole again rather than one that undervalues your losses. A lawyer can help you throughout this entire process and can take care of virtually every aspect of your claim while you rest and recover from your injuries.

Since Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys offers a free consultation to go over your case, it is, at the least, worth reaching out to talk about your options. We can provide you with legal help and advice during that meeting.

The Deadlines Involved in Filing a Claim After a Car Crash in Florida

In addition to the 14-day requirement to seek medical care under your PIP insurance policy, you must also comply with Florida’s statute of limitations in the event that you intend to file a claim against the at-fault driver. 

You will likely have two years from the date of the accident to do so, in most instances. Prior to March 24, 2023, the deadline was four years for most negligence-based cases, like those involving collisions. However, with an update in the law, the time frame was shortened. Thus, if your crash happened after 3/24/23, you’ll probably have to file your claim against the other party within two years.

There are exceptions to the two-year deadline that could apply in certain circumstances, so it is wise to reach out to a lawyer to make sure you are working in line with the appropriate deadlines.

The Pitfalls of Handling Your St. Petersburg Car Accident Claim Alone

Handling a car accident claim without legal representation can seem like a cost-saving strategy at first glance. However, this approach often leads to significant challenges and pitfalls that can compromise the outcome of your case. 

Below, we explore the potential issues that people in St. Petersburg, Florida, might encounter if they attempt to handle their car accident claim independently.

The legal system has specific procedures, deadlines, and requirements that must be followed precisely. Without a thorough understanding of these legal processes, you risk making procedural mistakes that could delay your claim or, worse, result in its dismissal. An experienced attorney can make sure that your case progresses smoothly and within the legal boundaries.

Difficulty in Accurately Valuing Your Claim

One of the most challenging aspects of handling your claim is accurately determining its value. This calculation includes not only your current medical expenses and lost wages but also future costs, non-economic damages like pain and suffering, and, in some cases, punitive damages. Without a lawyer, you may undervalue your claim, settling for much less than you deserve.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are businesses first and foremost, with their interests lying in minimizing payouts. Negotiating with these companies can be difficult, as they employ experienced adjusters and attorneys to protect their bottom line. Without legal representation, you might find yourself pressured into accepting a lowball offer, not realizing it falls short of covering your total damages.

Lack of Resources for a Strong Case

Building a compelling case requires resources, including access to accident reconstruction experts, medical professionals, and economic loss analysts, as previously mentioned. Most people do not have direct access to such experts nor the ability to effectively leverage their testimony to strengthen their case. Lawyers, on the other hand, have these resources at their disposal and know how to use them to your advantage.

Understanding Contingency Fees: No Upfront Costs

One of the most encouraging aspects of seeking legal representation after a car accident in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the contingency fee structure that many personal injury lawyers operate on. This payment arrangement is particularly beneficial for accident victims, as it removes the financial barriers to obtaining skilled legal assistance. 

Let’s explore how contingency fees work and why they should encourage you to consider hiring a lawyer for your car accident claim.

What Are Contingency Fees?

Contingency fees mean that your attorney’s payment is contingent upon the successful resolution of your case. In other words, lawyers only receive a fee if they secure compensation for you, either through a settlement or a court award. 

This fee is typically a predetermined percentage of the amount recovered, ensuring that your interests and your attorney’s are closely aligned.

No Upfront Costs

The most significant advantage of the contingency fee model is the elimination of upfront legal costs. When recovering from a car accident, you may already be facing financial strain due to medical bills and lost wages. 

With contingency fees, there’s no need to worry about hourly rates or retainers. This means you can pursue justice and compensation without having to bear the weight of immediate legal costs.

Understanding the contingency fee structure should serve as a strong encouragement for anyone hesitant to seek legal help following a car accident in St. Petersburg. It allows you to benefit from experienced legal representation without the stress of how to afford it. Your attorney handles the complexities of your claim, allowing you to focus on your recovery, knowing that you won’t be out of pocket unless you win your case.

Why It Matters

The contingency fee model democratizes access to the legal system, ensuring that anyone, regardless of their financial situation, can seek justice and compensation after a car accident. This approach aligns the attorney’s efforts directly with the client’s best interests, creating a partnership aimed at securing the maximum compensation possible.

Schedule a Free Case Assessment With a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer

SeanCarlo Lopez, Esq. St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer
SeanCarlo Lopez, Esq, Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg

It’s most important after a St. Petersburg car accident that you receive compensation that helps make up for the losses you’ve incurred as best as possible. 

Sometimes, it is not necessary to hire a lawyer in order to do so. In other cases, hiring an attorney can be necessary to secure a sufficient monetary settlement or verdict.

Contact our experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorneys today to discuss your options and to come to the conclusion of whether it makes sense to hire a lawyer in your situation. Call us today for further information and to set up a free case review.