Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle wreck, a skilled car accident attorney in Tampa can help you work to secure a monetary settlement from the culpable party.
Car crashes happen with alarming frequency in Tampa and across the state of Florida. But these aren’t necessarily fender benders and other minor accidents we’re speaking of. The majority of collisions are severe and are known for causing devastating injuries that have the potential to permanently alter the course of your life.
If you’re interested in holding the person or persons responsible for causing your wreck to account, you can do so by enlisting the services of a Tampa car accident lawyer at Anderson & Anderson.
When you choose to work with our team of qualified attorneys, you’ll be able to recuperate without having to struggle financially if you win your case. Our investigation is sure to uncover who is to blame for your losses, and in a successful claim, this individual or entity will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
State Auto Insurance Requirements
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance. This means that your own insurance provider is going to be responsible for covering certain damages, according to your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and the limits of the policy you purchased.
Your PIP coverage will provide compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses—but only as much as you’ve purchased as part of your policy. If you only carry the state’s minimum of $10,000, then it’s quite possible that you’ll need to go down an alternative route to be awarded the compensation that is rightfully yours.
You can take a look at the table below to find out what the state’s minimum auto insurance requirements are and the add-ons you may want to consider if you want to do everything possible to protect yourself and your family.
|State Requirements and Minimums||Additional Coverage Options|
|Bodily injury liability: $10,000/$20,000
per person/per accident
|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 Florida Auto Wrecks
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, which is why we need to thoroughly investigate the cause of your collision to establish culpability.
As part of this investigation, we will be obtaining the evidence we need to support your 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 accident
- Drug and alcohol testing results
- Expert testimony and reports
To learn more about the different parties that might have played a part in the cause of your injuries and resulting financial and personal losses, continue reading.
Ways Drivers Can Be Liable in a Wreck
Despite the fact that the other driver is not always to blame, the truth of the matter is that the other driver will usually have done something negligent 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 auto wrecks.
- 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 relatively 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 Culpable Parties
Now that we’ve given you an idea of how drivers can be the cause of car crashes, we should go into further detail about other individuals and entities 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 accidents that occur due to missing road signs, broken traffic lights, unsecured road construction zones, unrepaired street lamps, or potholes that have remained unfilled.
In addition to FDOT and DHSMV liability, vehicle parts manufacturers, auto 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 motor vehicles, they can be held accountable both with the insurance company and in court.
Florida Fault Laws That Could Influence the Outcome of Your Case
There are several Florida personal injury laws that can affect your case—most notably, 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 attorney 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.
Everything You Need to Know about Settling 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 will 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 will be sought to recover those damages that were not covered by your own insurance.
The insurer is likely not going to simply write you a check and go on with their day, however. You should expect them to do anything they think they can get away with to reduce your 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 making insultingly low offers since they know you need the money. Thankfully, your Tampa auto accident attorney has years of experience negotiating with avaricious insurance providers, and we won’t stop until you’ve been awarded the compensation you deserve.
Get the Most Out of Your Car Crash Claim
One of the most frequently asked questions our clients have is how much they can expect to be awarded in a personal injury claim. Car accident settlements aren’t resolved on a fixed rate; rather, each case varies due to the fact that every injury victim suffers different injuries and is impacted by these injuries differently.
First and foremost, your attorney 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 rehabilitation
- Costs of prescriptions and other medicines
- Occupational therapy
- Your hospital stay
- Ambulance fees
Next we will review your other economic damages and combine them with your total medical costs. Economic damage refers to the financial loss you took as a result of your injuries. These might include 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 vehicle 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, if you are experiencing regular physical pain or mental health concerns or are no longer able to partake in a healthy, intimate relationship with your spouse; enjoy your favorite activities; or 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 probably a confusing time in your life, and our hope is to make the entire car accident claim process a whole lot easier for you. With this in mind, we have provided the answers to some common questions our clients have asked regarding their claim and how Florida’s tort laws could influence the outcome of their case.
If you have a question that is not addressed on this page, you can consult with one of our highly trained attorneys and get the answers you’ve been looking for.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages are an additional award you can 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 and are only awarded under very specific circumstances.
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 in addition to compelling them to compensate you for your damages.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit in Tampa?
Florida actually has one of the longest statute of limitations for civil claims throughout the country. You have a maximum of four years from the date of the crash, or from the date you were diagnosed with a car crash-related injury, to file your lawsuit within the court system.
If you happen to miss this deadline, you will have given up the opportunity to obtain monetary repayment and bring the at-fault party to justice.
Do I have a case if I was in a single-car accident?
It is certainly possible that you’ll still be able to file a claim in Tampa. It really depends on what caused the collision 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 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 crash.
Does my car accident injury 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, depending 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, and 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 that the settlement you are awarded by the insurance company may not be enough to cover the full extent of your damages. In these cases, bringing your auto collision case to court in Tampa is your best option for maximum recovery.
Schedule Your Consultation with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Tampa
We understand better than most just how challenging the aftermath of an auto wreck can be. When you are 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 attorneys 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.
Anderson & Anderson
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