Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Have you been seriously injured in a car accident? A skilled car accident lawyer in Tampa can help you work to get a settlement from the at-fault party.
Car accidents happen with alarming frequency in Florida. But these aren’t just fender benders and other minor accidents. Many accidents are severe and cause devastating injuries. They can permanently alter the course of your life.
Are you interested in holding those responsible for your car accident accountable? You can do so with help from a Tampa car accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson.
When you work with our team of qualified lawyers, you’ll be able to heal without money worries if you win your case. Our investigation is sure to uncover who is to blame for your losses. In a successful claim, this party will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Florida Car Insurance and Car Accidents
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance and car accidents. This means that your own insurer is going to be responsible for covering certain damages. They’ll cover according to your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and the limits of your policy.
Your PIP coverage will provide compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses. But it only covers as much as you’ve purchased as part of your policy. If you only carry the state’s minimum of $10,000, you’ll likely need to go down a different route to get all the money you need.
This table shows Florida’s minimum auto insurance requirements. It also shows add-ons you may want to consider if you want extra protection after a car accident.
|State Requirements and Minimums||Additional Coverage Options|
|Bodily injury liability: $10,000/$20,000 per person/per accident||Gap insurance|
|Personal injury protection: $10,000 per policy||Underinsured motorist coverage|
|Uninsured motorist coverage: $10,000/$20,000 per person/per accident||Comprehensive|
|Property damage: $10,000 per accident||Collision|
Determining Fault in Car Accidents
It may come as a surprise to learn that someone other than the driver who hit you can be found liable for your damages. In some cases, the other involved driver is also a victim. This is why we need to fully investigate the cause of your car accident.
As part of this investigation, we will get evidence to support your car accident claim. Some of these types of evidence might include:
- Street camera footage
- Eyewitness statements
- Medical documentation
- Accident reports
- Physical evidence from the scene of the car accident
- Drug and alcohol testing results
- Expert testimony and reports
Ways Drivers Can Be Liable in a Tampa Car Accident
Although the other driver is not always to blame, they will usually have done something that caused the accident. In many cases, this will be due to one of the following irresponsible driving practices:
- Aggressive Driving – We’ve all seen aggressive drivers on the road. Those who have road rage, speed, run red lights and stop signs, tailgate, and change lanes without signaling often cause serious car accidents.
- Drunk Driving – If a driver has had one too many alcoholic beverages, or if they have consumed illegal drugs, then they are not in a position to be driving. It is estimated that nearly two thousand individuals were charged with DUIs in Hillsborough County in 2018. Imagine how many other drunk or drugged drivers were not pulled over yet still put other drivers at risk.
- Driving While Fatigued – It is common for people to get behind the wheel when they are too tired. Perhaps they had a long work shift or pulled an all-nighter. Either way, fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving has continued to rise over the last decade as the prevalence of smartphones has increased. But a driver can be distracted by anything from a navigation system to another passenger or the act of reaching for their morning cup of joe.
Other Parties Possibly Responsible for the Car Accident
We’ve given you an idea of how drivers can be the cause of car accidents. Now let’s go into more detail about other parties that may also be at fault.
For issues with the road and road maintenance, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and/or the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) could be found liable. This would include car accidents that occur due to issues like:
- missing road signs
- broken traffic lights
- unsecured road construction zones
- broken street lamps
- unfilled potholes
In addition to FDOT and DHSMV liability, car parts manufacturers, car technicians, and automakers can also be to blame when a car accident occurs.
If any of these parties has used low-quality parts to save money, failed to issue recalls where appropriate, or were otherwise negligent in the building and repairing of various vehicles, they can often be held accountable both with the insurance company and in court.
Florida Laws Impacting Your Car Accident Claim
There are several Florida car accident laws that can affect your case. Most notably, these include Florida’s comparative fault laws. Comparative, or shared, fault essentially allows injury victims who have contributed to the cause of the accident to still file a claim against the party that is primarily responsible.
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you won’t have to be held accountable for your part in the accident. In fact, the judge will ensure you have taken responsibility for your actions by garnishing your award. The garnishment will reflect a deduction that amounts to the percentage of fault that falls on you. Those who were 10 percent to blame will have their awards reduced by 10 percent, and so on.
Your car accident lawyer will make sure to prepare you for shared fault allegations being placed on you by the defense and the insurer, as this will lessen the amount these parties will be obligated to pay you.
Settling a Car Accident Claim with the Insurance Company
Unfortunately, dealing with the insurance company is a necessary evil after you’ve been involved in a car accident. You’ll first need to file a claim with your own insurance provider and then with the liable party’s insurer.
Based on your PIP coverage, your own insurance company may be required to pay for a portion of your lost income and medical expenses. Once these policy limits have been met, a claim against the liable party can seek to cover any remaining damages.
But the insurer is likely not going to simply write you a check and go on with their day. You should expect them to do anything they think they can get away with to reduce your car accident settlement.
Common insurance adjuster tactics might include taking advantage of the state’s shared fault laws through the manipulation of a statement you gave. Or, they may make an insultingly low offer, since they know you need the money. Thankfully, your car accident lawyer has years of experience negotiating with avaricious insurance providers. We won’t stop until you’ve been awarded the compensation you deserve.
Get the Most Out of Your Car Accident Claim
Our clients often want to know how much they can expect to be awarded in a car accident claim. Car accident settlements don’t have a fixed rate. Rather, each case varies. This is because every every injury victim suffers different injuries and is impacted by these injuries differently.
First, your lawyer will need to figure out the total costs of your medical care. This should be relatively simple to do. But there may be some complications if you are going to need extended or lifelong medical care. We’ll include compensation for a number of healthcare costs, such as:
- Physical rehab
- Prescriptions and other meds
- Occupational therapy
- Your hospital stay
- Ambulance fees
Next, we will review your other economic damages. We’ll combine them with your total medical costs. Economic damages refer to your financial losses from your injuries. These might include things like the income you were unable to earn, your inability to continue working, loss of earning capacity and retirement savings, and the costs of repairing your car or buying a new one.
Finally, your lawyer is going to need to discuss the ways your injuries have influenced the other areas of your life. For example, maybe you are experiencing regular physical pain or mental health concerns. Maybe you are no longer able to partake in a healthy, intimate relationship with your spouse. Maybe you can’t enjoy your favorite activities. Maybe you can’t even do things around the house like mow the lawn, fold laundry, or wash dishes. You should be compensated accordingly.
Even though these non-economic damages don’t come out of your own pocket, they are often far more difficult to live with and should be treated as such.
Tampa Car Accident FAQ
This is a confusing time in your life. Our hope is to make the entire car accident claim process a whole lot easier for you. That means speeding up the auto injury claim timeline as much as we can, too. With this in mind, we have answered some common questions regarding claims and how Florida’s tort laws could influence the outcome of a car accident case.
Have a question not addressed here? Consult with one of our highly trained lawyers. You’ll get the answers you’ve been looking for.
What are punitive damages in car accident claims?
Punitive damages are an additional award you could be issued that go above and beyond the total amount of your combined economic and non-economic losses. These damages can only be issued by the judge. They are only awarded in certain cases.
For example, if the liable party was intentionally attempting to hurt you, someone else, or themselves, punitive damages may be imposed. You may also be awarded punitive damages if the defendant’s actions were so appalling that the judge feels it necessary to punish them on top of your other damages.
How long do I have to file a car accident lawsuit in Florida?
Florida has one of the longest statute of limitations for civil claims in the country. You have four years from the date of the accident, or from the date you were diagnosed with a car accident-related injury, to file your lawsuit within the court system. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the chance to get repaid or bring the at-fault party to justice.
Do I have a case if I was in a single-car accident?
It is certainly possible. It depends on what caused the accident in the first place. Environmental factors, such a deer or other wildlife or inclement weather, are nobody’s fault and should be covered through your own auto insurance provider. But if, for example, a part on your car was faulty or if there was an issue with the roads themselves being hazardous, then you have a chance to recover compensation from the party responsible for the negligence that caused your single-car accident.
Does my Tampa car accident case need to be settled in court?
No, not necessarily. Our negotiations with the insurance company may be enough to obtain a reasonable settlement offer. It depends on how much your damages amount to. However, there is a strong possibility that we’ll have to go to court anyway. This is for two reasons: One, the insurer isn’t likely to compensate you fairly. Two, even if the insurer is willing to provide with a settlement, the amount they’ll be obligated to pay you will be based on the policyholder’s purchased policy limits.
This means the settlement you are awarded by the insurance company may not be enough to cover all your damages. In these cases, bringing your car accident case to court is likely your best option for max recovery.
Consult with an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa
We understand better than most just how challenging the aftermath of a car accident can be. Looking for a compassionate, experienced Tampa car accident lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to battle for the money you deserve? You need the regarded lawyers at Anderson & Anderson to represent your case. Residents of Tampa and other surrounding cities can schedule a free claim review by completing our brief online contact form below or giving our office a call at 813-251-0072.