Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg111 2nd Avenue NE, Suite 1600
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
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Automobile Accidents in St. Petersburg, Florida
When it comes to driving in St. Petersburg, Florida, you can likely figure that many people will try to file a car accident claim in the wake of a life-threatening car crash. If you or your loved ones have never been in the middle of a car crash, you’re likely unaware of the impact it can have on your life at the moment and for a long time afterward.
Car crashes are a near-daily occurrence when it comes to drivers in St. Petersburg, so much so that this Floridian city reported nearly 18,000 traffic accidents in a single year. Keep in mind that this is only the number of Petersburg auto accidents that were reported. The actual number of car accidents is likely much higher.
However, when it comes to car accidents, they’re not just a one-and-done sort of deal. Car accidents can leave you with long-lasting ailments, disabilities, mental anxiety, PTSD, and many other burdens that can make living your life nearly impossible in the years following the accident. Additionally, this is not taking into consideration that you will likely have to repair – if not completely replace – whatever automobile was involved in the accident.
All of this can cost thousands of dollars, and unless you’re independently wealthy, you may find that this is a hard financial pill to swallow.
This is where a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer can come into play, however. An experienced Petersburg personal injury lawyer can help you recoup some of the costs you have spent in the aftermath of a car accident, as they will file a lawsuit for your situation (more on this below).
How Does a Car Crash Claim Work in St. Petersburg?
Similar to many other no-fault states across America, Florida law requires that all drivers have at least $10,000 installed into a personal injury protection plan (or a PIP plan). This $10,000 is meant to cover the entirety of damages in the wake of a car accident, but that minimum total is nowhere near enough.
Consider how much money might be required for medical, physical, emotional, and mental bills… you’ll more than likely find that a minimum PIP plan will not cover all the expenses. In fact, a minimum PIP plan will likely cover up to 80% of your medical costs (only after an accident) and up to 60% of any wages you might have lost on account of the accident.
That’s leaving you with a significant amount of money that you have to pay out of pocket! Even though a minimum PIP plan is unlikely to help you out very much financially, it is the mandatory vehicular insurance you must have in Florida due to its no-fault state nature.
(NOTE: A no-fault state means that no matter who is at fault for an accident, your own insurance will be what covers you.)
To reiterate, a minimum PIP plan will not cover any emotional or mental health needs you might have in the wake of the accident.
But, if it turns out that you have sustained injuries that are more than your PIP plan will cover, you may have the right to file for a car accident claim to try and receive compensation outside of the PIP plan.
To have a chance at getting that additional compensation, you will need to work with a car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg, but so long as you find one who does exemplary work, you will have a high chance of receiving additional funds.
What Is a Vehicle Accident Attorney?
A vehicle accident attorney is your best chance of receiving additional funding (that your PIP plan doesn’t cover) in the wake of a car accident. If you want to be successful with receiving additional compensation, your St. Petersburg car accident attorney must prove that you were not at fault for the accident and that a separate party is at-fault. They must also prove that you require additional compensation to overcome the car accident.
However, determining who is at fault is not a particularly easy process, which is why you have to choose a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer who will work with you to make sure you receive justice.
Although it’s easy to claim that Florida is a no-fault state, when it comes to car accident claims, it becomes somewhat more difficult to parse. In this case, Florida takes on the rules of a comparative fault state – this means that the amount of compensation you might receive in the wake of a settlement is largely proportional to how much of the accident is your fault.
This means that if it turns out that you are 50% to blame for the accident, even if your St. Petersburg car accident attorney manages to win you a $50,000 claim, you will only receive 50% of it (or $25,000).
Navigating the web that is insurance claim law in St. Petersburg, Florida, is no easy task. However, for St. Petersburg auto accident attorneys, they are aware of potential pitfalls an insurance company they are trying to wring money from might try to trick them with. They are also well-versed in the myriad number of complex laws surrounding insurance claims, and they will be your best source for potentially receiving more money.
St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers have to put on their best sleuthing shoes to ensure that you will get the compensation that is owed to you. This is because they take on many hats, such as:
Dealing With Insurance Companies
Because insurance companies are for-profit organizations, they are constantly concerned with the “bottom line.” This means that many of them will lie, cheat, and steal their way into getting more money out of you and not giving you the money you deserve.
There is the additional element that many victims of a car accident might exaggerate the severity of their injuries in the hope of receiving more money. However, it is largely that an insurance company would rather not pay out funds if it can get out of doing so.
Your car accident lawyer St. Petersburg, FL will be well aware of this, however, and they will do their best to ensure that you provide the proper paperwork, proof of the incident, and other crucial documents that will force the insurance company to give you more money (should you win your car crash claim).
Personal injury attorneys will work with you hand-in-hand to help you claim your due compensation as well as to negotiate with the insurance company to get as much money as you are owed without violating whatever policy or professional relationship you have with your insurance company.
Investigation and Exploration
Part of how personal injury attorneys will help you with your claim is by doing on-the-ground investigative work. They will talk to potential eye-witnesses and police offices near the scene, and they will take pictures of the car accident site. They will also try to access security camera footage and dashcam footage to ensure that they have viable proof that you were not at fault for the accident and, as such, are due to receive more compensation than your minimal PIP plan will give you.
Additionally, your St. Petersburg car accident lawyer will also:
- Work alongside medical staff to discuss the severity of your injuries (and the costs associated with them).
- Reach out to vehicular experts who can help to determine what caused the crash (which can help to determine who is at fault or partially at fault).
- Obtain and organize photographic or video evidence along with police reports that might be of use regarding the car accident.
- Obtain information about past car incidents for both parties to see if they can create a proof of a history of negligent driving (for the opposing party). This can include anything from violations to DUIs and convictions, for example.
Your St. Petersburg car accident lawyer may source additional information, but if they do so, it is only for your benefit. When they do their sleuthing, the more information they can gather, the higher chance you have of winning your case (assuming you are not at fault).
How to Choose a Good St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer
Once you’ve done your due diligence and looked into each law firm that might be helpful for your case, the next step is to do more research – particularly when it comes to determining how good of a company they are.
You should reach out to past clients and seek out testimonials from both happy and unhappy customers. This will allow you to learn about a particular law firm’s win-and-loss rate, and you should also be able to learn about how they deal with their customers: are they attentive to your needs? Did their other customers feel like they were just a source of profit and not an individual?
These questions will help you determine if you should work with a particular St. Petersburg car accident lawyer or not.
However, at the end of the day, only you can determine which St. Petersburg car accident lawyer works for you. You’ll have to go with your gut feeling.
When it comes to working with a particular car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg, there are many positives to doing so and very few negatives (unless you are completely at fault for an accident).
If you or a loved one has been in an accident that has had life-changing implications for you and your family, you should consider reaching out to an auto accident lawyer to see if they can help you gain the compensation you are due (outside of your insurance plan).
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Morgan & Morgan FAQs
Is It Worth Getting an Accident Lawyer?
Unfortunately, there isn’t an easy answer for whether it is worth getting an accident lawyer. Only you can determine if it’ll be in your best interest to work with a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer. You must weigh how much you are still suffering from the car accident, how much you are at fault for said accident, and how desperate you are for the money that you might be able to gain from a car crash claim.
If you believe you have a chance of winning a car crash claim, and if you need the potential money, there is no reason not to reach out to a car accident lawyer.
How Much Should I Settle For After a Car Accident?
If you’re curious about how much you should settle for after a car accident, it’s somewhat tricky to know what you’re owed and when you’re just being greedy. When it comes to car accident settlements in Florida, the results of car crash claims can vary from anywhere between $10,000 to $60,000. However, before you start spending that $60,000, realize that these numbers can vary wildly depending on the complexity of the case and the severity of the injuries that you or your loved ones have incurred.
Also, keep in mind that, with most law firms, if you win your claim, a percentage (which typically averages around 33%) will go to them as part of their fee for services rendered.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was My Fault in Florida?
If you are wondering if you should get a lawyer for a car accident that was your fault in Florida, the short answer is: no.
There are no rules in Florida that state you must seek legal services if you get into a car accident, and because of how Florida’s laws operate, it is unwise to seek out legal counsel if you are 100% at fault for the accident. However, because car crash claims change the rules somewhat, if you are only partially at fault for the accident, it might be worth reaching out to a lawyer.
In Florida, even if you are partially at fault, you might still regain some compensation, depending on the severity of your injuries and how much your minimum PIP plan does not cover.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Lawyer After a Car Accident in Florida?
In general, the statute of limitations for a car accident in Florida is around four (4) years. However, do your research and ensure that there aren’t any tricky loopholes that will cost you to lose money.
When Should I Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident?
Because of the no-fault/comparative fault nature of St. Petersburg auto accidents, it is in your best interest to seek out a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer as soon as you can.
This is because the sooner that you employ a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer, the sooner they will be able to examine the area of the car accident for evidence and get police reports (as well as other evidence to help bolster your case).
Even if you’re not feeling the ill effects of a car accident, that might not be the case forever. Having a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer on your case from the beginning will help them to familiarize themselves with the whole situation, as well as get to know all the medical technicians and police officers working with you.
How Do I Choose a Car Crash Lawyer?
Only you can decide the best way to choose a car crash lawyer. Unfortunately, there isn’t a tried-and-true method that will allow you to input the circumstances of your car accident and then be assured of a 100% victory.
All that you can do when it comes to making this choice is to do your research into law firms in the area, compare and contrast how they might be able to help you, and then decide.