Car Accident Attorneys in Destin, FL
Getting injured in an auto accident can turn your life upside down in a matter of seconds. One moment, you are driving along and going about your life, the next moment you find yourself in the middle of a car wreck. You may have severe visible injuries, or you might not be entirely sure how badly you were hurt. But one thing you know is that this accident is going to seriously disrupt your life for the foreseeable future.
If you or someone close to you got injured in a car crash in Destin, FL or any of the surrounding communities, you are probably in at least a bit of shock trying to decide what your next move is, and there may be a number of questions going through your mind.
How long is this going to keep me out of work? How am I going to pay for the hospital bills and other medical costs? Should I call a lawyer? Or should I just deal with the insurance company on my own?
Florida has a no-fault system in which every driver is required to carry $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage with their own vehicle insurance. So, if there are no injuries or they are minor, you may be able to settle things with your own insurer.
On the other hand, if you suffered moderate to severe injuries, you should at least speak with an experienced Destin, FL car accident lawyer to have your case assessed and determine your legal rights and options. Most personal injury attorneys provide free initial consultations, so it never hurts to talk to a legal professional and find out where you stand.
For several decades, the attorneys at Whibbs, Stone & Barnett, P.A. have successfully represented auto accident victims in Destin, Pensacola, and communities throughout the Florida Panhandle. We have in-depth knowledge of the complexities involved with these types of cases, and we have secured millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We work closely with our clients, providing the strong personalized representation they need and deserve.
Common Causes of Destin, FL Auto Accidents
Each year, nearly 3,000 Floridians lose their lives in vehicle accidents and tens of thousands more are seriously injured. Some of the primary reasons these accidents occur include:
- Speeding: Driving over the posted speed limit is a contributing factor in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle crashes. People are very busy, and they are often in a hurry to get where they are going. But we have speed limits for a reason and exceeding them increases the chances of an accident. It is also worth noting that auto crashes that happen at higher speeds tend to result in more serious injuries.
- Aggressive/Reckless Driving: In addition to speeding, there are a number of other aggressive driving behaviors that often contribute to car accidents, and sometimes they even cross the line into reckless driving. Examples include tailgating, weaving back and forth between lanes, illegal or dangerous passing maneuvers, refusing to yield the right-of-way, and failure to stop at a stop sign or red light.
- Distracted Driving: Most of us are conditioned these days to pay very close attention to the electronic messages that come through our smartphones. We want to stay on top of everything and make sure we don’t miss anything important. But in doing so, there is an overwhelming temptation to look at your messages and even respond to them while you are driving. Distracted driving can be very deadly, however, because taking your eyes off of the road for even a few seconds is long enough to miss something important, such as a pedestrian crossing the road or a vehicle entering your blind spot.
- Drunk Driving: Destin has a vibrant night life with a lively mix of bars and clubs that offer plenty of fun along with great views of Destin Harbor. Unfortunately, patrons from these establishments sometimes choose to drive after having too much to drink. This puts themselves and others on the road in great danger.
- Drowsy Driving: Sleep deprivation is a growing problem in our society, and this results in more motorists who are sleepy or fatigued when they get behind the wheel. Falling asleep while driving can clearly cause catastrophic consequences, but even if that does not happen, drowsiness still makes it more difficult to drive safely. Drowsy driving is especially common among commercial truck drivers, those who work long shifts, individuals with untreated sleep disorders, and anyone else who does not get an adequate amount of sleep.
- Vehicle Defects: Some auto accidents happen because of faulty vehicles or vehicle parts that fail at an inopportune time. Examples include defective tires that blow out while driving, braking systems that fail to stop the vehicle, and computerized dashboards that malfunction. When a crash is caused by vehicle defects, it may be possible to bring a product liability claim against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of the faulty product.
Important Steps to Take after a Destin, FL Car Accident
When someone is involved in an auto accident, there are a number of actions they should take shortly thereafter in order to ensure their health and protect their legal rights:
Call 911: With any vehicle accident with injuries, you need to call an ambulance to the scene. Even if you do not feel like you were hurt, it is best to summon medical help anyway just so everyone can get checked out. The 911 operator will probably send the police as well.
Take Photos of the Accident Scene: If you are able, take multiple photos from different angles showing how the crash occurred. And if you have a dashboard camera, be sure to capture any video footage of the crash that is available.
Obtain Statements from Witnesses: If there are any individuals nearby who saw what happened, get statements from them at the scene if possible. In many cases, witnesses will agree to provide a recorded statement using the audio or video recorder on your smartphone.
Document the Incident: Although the police will produce an official report of the accident, you should also create your own report while everything is fresh in your mind. Write down, in as much detail as possible what happened. Or if you are not able to write at the moment, use the voice recorder on your smartphone to create an audio report.
Be Careful What You Say and Who You Talk to About the Accident: First and foremost, never admit any fault for the accident to those at the scene or the insurance company later. Leave the determination of fault for the experts to sort out. Also, do not post anything about the accident on social media as it could be used against you later on. Finally, do not accept any offer from the insurance company until you talk to a lawyer first.
Speak with a Destin, FL Auto Accident Attorney
At your earliest convenience, get in touch with an experienced attorney to discuss your case. For motor vehicle crashes in Florida, call Whibbs Stone & Barnett today at 1-888-219-4561 or message us online for a free consultation and case assessment. We are ready to go to work for you!