Being the victim of a car accident can mean a lot of things. Injuries can require hospitalization, surgery, and post-surgery rehab. A crash can make you miss time from work or damage your car beyond repair. When situations like these occur, you deserve an experienced attorney who can represent your interests fairly.
In Florida, vehicle owners are required to purchase protection which, in the event of a crash, will cover the cost of damages to a certain extent.
Unfortunately, Personal Injury Protection) (PIP) may also limit your ability to take legal action, so it’s important to contact an experienced attorney immediately following an accident, especially if you have suffered a severe or disabling injury. At Morgan & Morgan, our attorneys have decades of experience handling car accident claims. Our lawyers in Tampa understand the difficulties some victims may face in recovering compensation.
Were you or a loved one severely injured in a car accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. To learn more about your rights and how our Tampa car accident attorneys may be able to help, please complete our free case review form today.
How Can a Tampa Car Accident Attorney Help?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is essential to speak with an attorney before filing an insurance claim or discussing the accident with anyone other than your physician.
It is important to remember that anything you say may be used against you in future negotiations. After listening to your account of the accident, your attorney can help you file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurer and speak to the company on your behalf.
What if My Initial Claim is Denied or Inadequate?
Before filing an insurance dispute claim or negotiating with the insurance company, your attorney will gather evidence regarding the accident. Your attorney’s investigation may include:
- Reviewing medical records from treatment you received after the crash
- Reviewing police reports, crime scene reports, and photographs of the scene
- Interviewing witnesses
- Using traffic camera footage, if available
- Investigating the history of the other driver
- Obtaining a recording of the 911 call
- Examining photos of your car before and after the accident
- Reviewing cell phone records
- Reviewing specific information and history on the vehicles involved
Your attorney will use this information to create a claim that shows the other driver was at-fault for the accident and is therefore responsible for your losses. Insurance companies will want to limit their payout and, in many cases, will offer an amount that does not adequately cover your losses.
If this is the case, your attorney will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. If negotiations are unsuccessful, your attorney will determine whether you may be able to collect compensation by filing a lawsuit against the insurance company and other parties involved in the crash.
What You Need to Know about PIP
If you do not seek medical treatment within fourteen days of the accident, PIP generally will not cover any of your medical bills. If you have suffered an “emergency medical condition,” PIP will generally pay for 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, subject to the limitations of the policy.
If you have not suffered an emergency medical condition, your PIP benefits are generally capped at $2,500.
An emergency medical condition is defined as a medical condition that requires immediate medical attention and could reasonably be expected to result in serious jeopardy to the patient’s health. Our car accident attorneys can help you complete all necessary paperwork so that you receive the PIP benefits to which you are entitled following an accident.
Your Right to Sue
Our car accident attorneys may be able to help you file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. A car accident lawsuit will provide you the opportunity to seek compensation in addition to the benefits provided under your PIP policy. However, you must have suffered serious and permanent injuries to be eligible to file a claim. Examples of serious and permanent injuries may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Disfigurement or permanent scarring
- Broken bones
The insurance company may attempt to categorize your injuries as temporary and non-serious in nature. Our Tampa car accident attorneys can collect supporting evidence to establish that your injuries are serious enough to qualify you for additional compensation through a lawsuit.
Tampa Car Accident Lawsuits
Injuries: Car accidents can cause death or cause serious and life-threatening injuries, including:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injuries
Negligence: The premise on which most car accident lawsuits are based is that the other driver, or another party, was negligent. To successfully recover compensation under this theory, your attorney must prove:
- The other party had some duty of care or responsibility to you
- That party breached this duty through some act or omission
- You sustained an injury
Negligence may refer to:
- Reckless driving (road rage, failure to yield, speeding, tailgating, failure to signal turns, weaving)
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol
- Careless driving (running a red light, speeding, cell phone use while driving)
- Allowing an unfit individual to drive an automobile (under the influence, historically reckless driver, unlicensed minor, senior citizen)
Strict Liability: Strict liability is one applicable cause of action under which product liability suits may be pursued. Under this theory, the injured party must prove a defect in an automobile exists, and this defect caused their injury. If a defect exists, the manufacturer may be liable for any resulting damages, regardless of whether they exercised extreme caution in production. Individuals who purchase used cars and are involved in an accident are not eligible to pursue product liability claims.
Negligence: As with all negligence cases, the injured party must prove that the manufacturer had a duty to sell a safe product to consumers, this duty was breached as a result of knowledge of the defect, and that the product caused the injury.
Causes of Tampa Auto Accidents
Morgan & Morgan’s Tampa car accident attorneys handle car accident claims stemming from:
- Distracted driving (texting, putting on makeup, rubbernecking, eating, and failing to pay proper attention to road hazard)
- Fatigued driving
- Impaired driving (driving under the influence of alcohol, prescription drugs, or narcotics)
- Reckless or aggressive driving (speeding, unsafely switching lanes, tailgating, failure to yield, street racing, failing to signal, driving in the wrong direction, and road rage)
- Defective auto parts (faulty brakes, tires, steering, suspension, and safety equipment)
- Unmaintained automobiles (Improperly secured materials, bad brakes, broken signal lights, non-functional headlight, and broken or unsecured engine parts)
- Roadway design (low hazard visibility, traffic flow, unmaintained road surfaces, improper striping, defective traffic control devices, and an insufficient shoulder)
- Road conditions (poor maintenance, roadway debris, faulty signage, construction, and large unfixed potholes)
Tampa Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrian Accidents: Tampa is the second most dangerous major metro area for pedestrians in the country, according to a report by Transportation for America. Given the vulnerability of walkers and runners on the open road, accidents with automobiles often result in serious and debilitating injuries. Pedestrian accident lawsuits allow victims the opportunity to seek compensation for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Bicycle Accidents: By law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers; however, in some cases, drivers may disregard their duty to operate their vehicles with reasonable care, putting bicyclists at risk for serious injury. Bicycle accidents may be caused by motorists who fail to yield right-of-way to a cyclist, turn into a bicyclist’s path, or try to overtake cyclists by not allowing the proper amount of space between the car and the bicycle.
Some states have created specific protections for bicyclists. For example, Florida’s “three-foot law,” requires passing motorists to leave at least three feet between their vehicle and a cyclist. If a biker is injured due to the negligence of a motorist or individual, they may be able to recover compensation through a bicycle accident lawsuit.
Who Can I Sue?
An accident victim may be able to file a third-party claim if a party aside from the other driver contributed to the accident. In some cases, an individual can seek damages from a car maker if a defective or flawed vehicle component caused a crash.
Additionally, if the at-fault party was acting under their scope of employment, their employer may be liable for damages. Furthermore, victims may also file suit against a government agency or transportation authority if factors such as a poorly maintained roadway, improper signage, or irresponsible highway construction contribute to a substantial accident.
How Much is My Case Worth?
The law allows victims and their families the opportunity to seek compensation from the entity that caused the accident. Damages may include:
Medical Bills: This can include current and future expenses including hospital costs, rehabilitation, transport, and medication.
Lost Wages: If the accident causes the injured party to miss work, they may be compensated for the wages they would have earned had the accident not occurred.
Future Lost Wages: If the accident is so severe that the injured can never return to work, or must miss work for a significant amount of time, they may be entitled to wages they would have earned.
Pain and Suffering: This can include coverage for treatment of depression, anxiety, fear, and other mental injuries causing distress or mental anguish. Additionally, the injured car accident victim may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering caused by the injury and its treatment.
Loss of Consortium: If the injury negatively alters the relations of a couple, compensation for loss of intimacy or support may be available to the aggrieved party.
Funeral Costs: If a family loses a loved one in an accident, they may be able to recover some of the damages listed above, as well as funeral costs and death-related expenses.
Settlements We’ve Won
Here are just a few car accident cases that Morgan & Morgan, with its track record of results has won in the Tampa area.
- $5.2 million settlement after a rollover car accident caused a cervical injury, rendering the client paraplegic.
- $1.3 million settlement for a 45-year-old woman, after an accident with a commercial truck caused shoulder injuries that required multiple surgeries and caused a disability.
- $362,000 settlement after the victim of a car accident suffered cervical herniations, cervical fractures, and a lumbar fracture.
- $292,587 settlement for a client who suffered herniations of the neck and the lower back after a car accident.
- $210,000 settlement after a car accident left a 46-year-old woman with severe neck and back injuries, leading to a spinal fusion.
- $150,000 settlement for our client who, after suffering herniations in his upper back after being struck by a vehicle, was unable to return to work for a period of time.
If you or a loved one was in a car accident and sustained a severe injury, you may be entitled to compensation beyond that which is provided by your PIP coverage. To learn more about your legal rights and how our Tampa car accident attorneys may be able to help, please complete our free case review form today.