If You Swerve To Avoid an Accident Are You at Fault?

If You Swerve To Avoid an Accident Are You at Fault

Getting into a car accident is something everyone wants to avoid. From minor crashes to catastrophic scenarios, people are left shaken up and facing an extremely stressful reality. Injuries, contacting police, trying to take pictures, and gathering witnesses’ contact information are just a few examples of what many encounter, all while dealing with fear and anxiety over the event.

While these components are stressful enough on their own, if you swerved your car to avoid another accident, you may also be wondering how you’re going to prove what happened. You were trying to do the right thing by swerving, but an accident happened anyway. Who’s at fault? What are your options?

What to Do After the Accident

No matter what, the first thing to do after an accident is to seek medical attention. From a pure health and wellness standpoint, it’s critical to receive a diagnosis and start treatment for any injuries.

Accident-related injuries often have a delayed onset, so prompt treatment helps you stay ahead of pain and mobility problems. It also helps to establish a medical record that clearly ties your injury to the accident.

You also need to make an immediate claim with your auto insurance. As a no-fault state, Florida law requires each driver’s insurance to pay for medical bills and other damages regardless of who is determined to be at fault.

How an Attorney Can Help

The next important step after any accident is to seek out legal representation from a qualified accident attorney. A lawyer can help ensure that you receive any and all compensation you are entitled to after an accident. In a situation where an accident occurred due to you swerving to avoid another accident, an attorney can perform a full investigation to determine the facts of the case.

If you swerve to avoid an accident are you at fault?

As with many legal questions, there may not be a clear-cut answer. Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means there can be more than one person liable for an accident. If the evidence shows that two people are responsible, the person who’s filing a claim will have their recovery reduced by the percentage of their own fault.

For example, let’s say a car in front of you slams on the brakes and you end up swerving and totaling your car when you crash into a car in the next lane. A court will look at all relevant details: Why did the other person stop so suddenly? Was anybody driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was it a residential street? A freeway? Were you speeding? Was the car you hit speeding?

If the other people are determined to be 70% at fault and you are 30% at fault, then you can only recover 70% of your damages. These damages can include:

In order to determine who was at fault, an attorney gathers evidence through the discovery process. Lawyers can take sworn testimony from witnesses, request surveillance videos from nearby businesses, residences, or traffic lights, subpoena records from mechanics or auto repair shops, and anything else that may be relevant to prove your case. Attorneys can also call on accident reconstruction experts to help piece together the entire picture, as well as medical experts if your injuries could only occur from certain types of accidents such as being rear-ended or a side collision.

Ways to Recover for Losses After a Car Accident

While Florida is a no-fault state, actually collecting damages can be a complicated and difficult process. This is another area where an accident attorney will have the experience and knowledge to help. Here are some of the common ways that people involved in a car accident can recover losses with the help of an attorney:

1. Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

If the accident was relatively minor, you can recover part of your losses through personal injury protection. Florida law requires all car insurance policies to provide this coverage to the named insured, relatives who live with you, persons operating the insured car, passengers, and anyone else who was injured when struck by your car.

The benefits only cover up to 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages and are capped at $10,000. Claims must be made within 14 days from the date of the accident, and are payable regardless of who was at fault. Your insurance company won’t be able to increase your premium unless they can make a good faith determination that you were at fault for the accident.

2. Medical Payment Coverage (MedPay)

This is an optional car insurance coverage that would cover the 20% gap left exposed by personal injury protection coverage. Unlike PIP coverage, MedPay will only provide benefits for medical injuries, not for lost wages or other expenses. Therefore, while it provides some relief, you would still need to look for additional resources to pay for all of your damages.

3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

While Florida law requires all motorists who drive within the state to have car insurance, the reality is that there are still plenty of drivers who either don’t have coverage or have only purchased the required minimum. While they can get their driver’s license suspended, you are still faced with medical bills and car repair costs. To remedy this issue, Florida Statutes section 627.727 establishes that insurance policies offer optional coverage to pay for such damages.

4. Lawsuit

Despite the different types of car insurance coverage available, the reality is that car accidents often result in substantial losses for which PIP, MedPay, and/or UM insurance don’t provide adequate relief. Something else that causes hardship to individuals is the fact that, with the exception of PIP, most are optional coverage. This means that people involved in a car accident are very often left with significant financial losses.

Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney means having someone who’s familiar with all applicable laws and effective strategies to recover what you’re entitled to.

Call Us at Clark Hartpence Law for a Consultation

There are many factors that affect the outcome of a case. If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation. We’ll consider all circumstances to determine your best next step. We can also ensure that you receive proper compensation for any present as well as future medical expenses relating to your neck injuries.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.