Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
This page was created by Armando Edmiston as a guide for residents of Tampa who have been in a car accident. The guide entails what you should do after a car accident, common injuries and types of accidents, expectations, laws, frequently asked questions, claims process and dealing with car insurance companies and adjusters. If you have any questions give us a call anytime. We always offer a free no obligation consultation. We have a decade of experience working with car accident claims, adjusters and insurance companies.
What should I do after a car accident?
Even though you may be emotionally or physically rattled after a car crash, remaining calm and focused on the following steps will help protect you as a victim of someone else’s negligence.
- Check on everyone involved in the accident. If injuries are minor, ensure that everyone involved is safely away from any oncoming traffic or other road hazards.
- Call 911. If you or anyone else has sustained serious injuries, call for an ambulance immediately.
- Contact the police. They’ll help secure the accident scene and create an official accident report. This is an important step, as the police report can often show if negligence played a part in the accident. This will be a key piece of evidence that your lawyer will need if you end up pursuing compensation.
- Get information from the other driver. Include contact details, license number, and insurance information, and his account of what happened. If the other vehicle was a commercial truck, also get the name and contact info for the trucking company.
- Do not admit fault. Avoid making any statements that could be misconstrued as an admission of fault in the accident.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you feel fine after the accident, that doesn’t mean that you weren’t injured. Obtain a professional health evaluation from your doctor as soon as possible to rule out any injuries that might not have been apparent at the time of the accident.
- Get a copy of the police report. Be sure to write down the name of the officers handling the accident.
- Inform your insurance provider.
- Begin collecting evidence by taking pictures of all vehicles involved. This is one of the most important steps! The more evidence you have, the easier it will be for your attorney to reconstruct the accident. If you end up pursuing compensation for injuries and property damage, this evidence will prove invaluable.
- Consult an auto accident attorney. An experienced attorney can work to protect your legal rights, guide you through the complexities of filing a car accident claim or lawsuit, and start the investigation process quickly to ensure that you will not be taken advantage of by insurance companies.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help me Receive Medical treatment?
Why is it important To seek medical Treatment After a Car Accident?
When you’re injured in a car accident, it’s crucial you receive medical treatment right away. Failing to see a doctor immediately can have a huge impact on your ability to recover damages. Many times, symptoms of certain injuries won’t appear for weeks, even months. Even if you feel fine, it’s better to see a doctor as soon as possible. Some of the most common injuries victims of car accidents suffer include:
- Whiplash, which is often caused by rear-end collisions
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal injuries such as a herniated or bulging disks
- Knee and leg injuries
- Chest trauma due to impact with the steering wheel
- Chemical burns caused by the deployment of an airbag
It’s important to continue receiving medical treatment for your injuries. This could include ongoing physical therapy or follow-up appointments with your doctor. A good rule of thumb is to adhere to your doctor’s recommendations and keep detailed records of your medical treatment. These records, along with your medical bills, will help your attorney prove to a judge and jury that you need proper compensation to get your life back on track.
Do I Need a Car Accident Lawyer to Handle my Car Accident Claim?
Yes you should. Depending on the cause and circumstances of your accident, you should always consult an attorney. This will ensure you are taking the right steps to protect yourself and maximize your claim. Most Attorneys offer a free no obligation consultation. You do not pay unless they win.Below are recommendations for what you can do based on different accident circumstances:
- No Injuries | Other Driver’s Fault
- Take pictures of the accident.
- Secure a driver’s exchange form from the other driver.
- Information should include the following: The other driver’s name, driver’s license information, address, phone number, and the name, policy number, and contact phone number of their insurance company, also called the adverse concerned insurer.
- Take names and contact info of any witnesses.
- Report only to the adverse concerned insurance company using the other driver’s policy number.
- Ask the officer on-scene to complete a police report. The copy of the police report should be ready for pick-up at the police department in 10-12 days.
- Mark your calendar during the process to keep track of all calls, appointments, and progress.
- Call adverse insurer. Ask adverse insurer if they are going to accept liability.
- Call every day until you receive a response. Keep track of calls.
- If they accept liability, they should give you a rental car while your car is being repaired.
- No Injuries | My Fault
- Hire a car accident lawyer to fight the ticket to keep points off your license and to prevent an insurance rate increase
- Contact your insurance company to provide details and obtain a claim number.
- It’s the insurance company’s duty to defend you and their duty to pay for damages.
- However, if you don’t have enough coverage to pay for damages, you may want to consult a auto injury & accident lawyer in order to protect your assets.
- Injuries Sustained | Other Driver’s Fault
- Hire a lawyer first to help with filing a claim report with your insurance company.
- Your insurance company will request a copy of the police report.
- Your insurance company will issue a claim number that will be necessary for obtaining PIP insurance coverage of any medical bills up to $10,000.
- Find a board-certified doctor who accepts PIP insurance to receive treatment for your injuries.
- Secure all pictures and any additional evidence collected at the accident scene.
- Try to call witnesses to get written statement of what you saw – do it quickly!
As you can see, the process can be overwhelming. If you’ve sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence, contacting our Law firm would be the first step to ensure that these details will be taken care of by an experienced attorney. The sooner that you have our team working for you, the faster that you will have peace of mind during your recovery.
How do I know if I have a car accident claim?
Proving negligence is the primary goal in any auto (car, motorcycle, and truck) accident that results in serious injuries. To do so, attorneys must take an in-depth look at the events leading up to the wreck. This is often a difficult process that involves an extensive investigation. However, an experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyer will know how to spot an instance of negligence and what evidence to gather to prove it.
What evidence should I collect after a car accident that will help me with my case?
- Pictures. Take pictures of the vehicles to show the location of the wreck. Try to take photos of the entire scene, including any tire marks and damage caused to things like road signs or light posts. Make sure you take photos of all the vehicles involve not just yours.
- Witnesses’ Names and Contact Information. Write down all the witnesses’ names and phone numbers. Ask them if they’d be willing to make a statement regarding the accident. Their statements will help confirm how the wreck occurred and who was negligent.
- Notes. Take note of any and all statements the other driver makes such as “I’m sorry, I was on my phone,” or “I didn’t see you.” These are admissions of negligence that will be helpful in establishing fault during the trial.
What should I NOT do after a car accident?
- DO NOT call any insurance companies or give any recorded statements until you’ve spoken to an experienced attorney. Armando is available 24/7 to speak and meet with clients. We are here to help you and you can text us through the website for an immediate response.
- DO NOT admit fault. Avoid saying things like “I’m so sorry,” or “My fault.” Admissions of guilt, even in a passing statement of apology, can be used against you later in court.
- DO NOT sign anything other than an official statement for a police report. In an exchange of information with the other driver, do not agree to sign any type of statement.
- DO NOT offer the other driver cash to pay for damages on the scene. Do not accept the same cash offer from the other driver, either.
What types of damages can a car accident lawyer in Tampa recover?
Compensation after a car accident may consist of a financial award following a verdict, lawsuit settlement, insurance claim, or a combination of these. There are two main types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages can be used to reimburse you for medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. Punitive damages are sometimes awarded as an additional punishment for the defendant’s especially negligent or illegal behavior that would compensate the plaintiff for pain and suffering, lost consortium, etc. Determining the amount of compensation is a complex process. It requires an attorney skilled in handling auto accidents and experienced in trial and out of court to properly evaluate the case. We evaluate a number of factors surrounding the wreck and the condition your injuries have left you in. Some of the things we’ll look at in order to calculate compensation include:
- Current ongoing medical bills and past medical bills related to the accident
- Medical records and a diagnosis from your doctor
- The effect the accident has had on your lifestyle
- The accident report
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of income or the inability to continue working
If a family member died in a fatal automobile accident, you may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim to pay for funeral costs, loss of future income paid to the deceased family members, and loss of enjoyment in life for the survivors. Proving negligence is the most important step to take in order to receive compensation.
Dealing With The Claims Process and Insurance.
Insurance companies have several tactics to lower the value of claims in their favor. This is why it is important to always have an attorney for your car accident when dealing with insurance companies. Especially true if you are giving a recorded statement. The insurance company may be trying to get more information, or they may be trying to find a flaw in your story. You should also be aware that adjusters may accept liability, or fault, for your accident. While this may sound like a win for you, there are some things you should be skeptical of. Adjusters saying they are accepting liability just means that they are willing to pay a certain amount of damage of your claim, not necessarily to total amount of damage or injury that you have sustained. Insurance companies, and adjusters, also know what your claim is worth. They will have several analyses done to say what your claim is worth. After this is done, the insurance companies will then offer you a lower amount, hoping you will accept this. It is important to know that while you are in an insurance dispute, you have to pay your medical bills as you receive them. Your insurance company will not advance the costs for you. This is another tactic to pressure you into accepting their offer. The insurance company knows that you need money to pay your bills, and you will be more likely to settle for a lower amount. Another thing that you should take note of is that if you settle your claim, without first speaking or getting permission from your insurance, it is likely that you will no longer be able to have a claim against your own insurance company later on. This normally occurs when the other driver is uninsured or underinsured. When the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your insurance will normally pay for the damages that you have sustained. However, if you have already settled the claim, it is likely that they will not offer any help with your claim. With all of these things going on, it is important to have an experienced Tampa based car accident attorney at your disposal.
Car Accident Settlements
Insurance companies have teams of experts who value your car accident and injuries. The job of these adjusters is to decrease the worth of your car accident claim. The larger insurance companies employee their own adjusters, and the smaller insurance companies may have to hire an independent adjuster to do the valuing. However, the overall result is the same. This is why it is important to have an attorney who is experienced in car accident claims and has dealt with insurance companies adjusters in the past. Without legal counsel you would be bringing a knife to a gunfight. Although an attorney is not required, you are proceeding at your own risk, especially if you were injured or your vehicle sustained extensive damage. If you represent yourself in a car accident case, you are playing a serious game, which has rules that you may not know, so losing could be a life-changing mistake. It’s important to remember most car accident lawsuits do not involve suing the negligent party personally. In most cases, you will need to get compensation from an insurance company, and they want to get away as cheaply as possible. They spend thousands of dollars on training their insurance adjusters and attorneys to find ways to deny and or minimize the amount you can recover. Don’t help them. Hire your own attorney and investigator to help you.
How do insurance companies value my car accident claim?
If you have never dealt with an insurance company be grateful. There are a number of ways that the insurance companies will approach you in an attempt to lower the value of your accident claim. There are two main tactics that insurance companies will use. First, the insurance companies will approach you and question you on a number of occasions. The insurance companies will tell you that there is a dispute in the stories, or they are trying to gather more information. In reality, the insurance companies are trying to get you to change your story. The more the insurance companies talk to you and question you, the more likely the will find a problem with what has happened. By doing this, they are able to lower the value of your claim. The second tactic that insurance companies use is using software to value your claim. A common software that is used is known as the Colossus program. This program will take the injuries that have occurred and give a set dollar amount in return, based on the injury. For example, a broken arm may be worthy a certain amount of money, where a broken toe would be worth less. All insurance companies use some form of these two tactics, as well as variations and other tactics, to get your injury claim valued as low as possible. That is why it is important to have an attorney present with you while you are speaking and dealing with an insurance company. If you have been in a car accident or have been injured, do not hesitate, call Armando Personal Injury Law.
Should I accept a check from the at-fault driver’s insurance company?
In many cases, the other driver’s insurance company will pressure the victim of a car accident into settling for an amount far less than what they deserve. For example, if you were to accept a $200,000 check from the insurance company without realizing that your future medical needs might eventually cost $500,000, you are putting yourself at risk. It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to resort to intimidation in order to negotiate a settlement that suits their interests. Don’t fall victim to these tactics, or you’ll be the one who continues to pay the price. An experienced lawyer will protect your rights by communicating directly with the insurance company on your behalf. In fact, all insurance providers will back off when they find out you’ve hired a lawyer for your car accident. They know that going to court may end badly for them, so they’re more likely to settle for an appropriate amount.
Tips on how to deal with the following insurance companies.
- 21st Century Insurance Company/Farmer’s/ Bristol West/ Security National
- Allstate Insurance Claims
- The General Insurance Company
- Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
- Progressive Auto Insurance Claims
- State Farm Insurance Claims
- USAA (United Services Automobile Association)
What are the most Common Causes of Car Accidents?
On average Americans spend 1 million days in the hospital due to car crash related injuries. In 2012 more than 2.5 million Americans ended up in the emergency department following an accident. According to the National Safety Council, 10 million car accidents occur in the United States every year. This means that if you’re an average driver in Florida,you can expect to file a car accident claim once every 18 years, which equates to at least 3-4 car accidents over the course of your lifetime. You can reduce the likelihood of getting into a serious car accident by obeying all traffic laws and taking precautions to avoid the common causes of car accidents.
- Distracted Driving: According to the CDC, 1000 crashes a day across the United States are caused by distracted drivers. To avoid a serious and fatal accident, put down your phone while driving and avoid anything that takes your eyes, hands, or concentration off of the road.
- Drunk Driving: In 2017, there were 5,125 alcohol-related crashes in Florida alone. These accidents were responsible for 350 fatalities. To avoid a drunk driving accident, never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Always arrange for a sober driver to drive you home or simply use your rideshare app to get home safely.
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the most common causes of car accidents. In 2017, the NHTSA reported that speeding killed 9,717 people and accounted for more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities that year. Drivers who do not obey posted speed limit signs put themselves and everyone around them in danger.
- Reckless Driving: Reckless and aggressive driving is dangerous. To avoid a serious reckless driving accident, always drive carefully and never weave in and out of traffic. If you feel yourself getting aggressive or losing your temper behind the wheel, take some deep breaths or pull over while you gain control of your emotions.
- Poor weather: Heavy rain, ice, and high winds all contribute to numerous accidents every year. Even in the sunshine state, torrential downpours or heavy winds cause serious and sometimes fatal accidents, especially when drivers are traveling at high rates of speed. To avoid these accidents, check the weather before leaving for your destination. In addition, always have good all-weather tires on your car with plenty of tread and fresh wiper blades.
Other causes of car accidents include inexperienced drivers, improper turns, running red lights, design defects, and tailgating.
Types of Accidents that cause Serious Injury.
Two types of car accidents are the norm. These are fender benders and rear end collisions. These normally result in a small amount of damage or injury. More serious accidents can cause significant damage to the vehicles and persons involved. These normally entail the following:
- Head-on: Two cars traveling in the opposite direction collide with one another. The damage can be significant if the speed of both vehicles intensifies the impact.
- T-Bone: When one vehicle smashes into the side of another. This can be dangerous because the passenger or driver is impacted and normally have less protection than a forward or rear end collision.
- Rollovers: Even more dangerous if the driver or passengers are not wearing seatbelts, even then these accidents can cause significant injuries due to the nature of a rollover.
Your attorney will examine the circumstances of the accident to determine if negligence was the reason behind the other driver causing the crash. If negligence played a part in the accident, your attorney will seek compensation from the liable party and their insurance company to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. It’s their job to navigate you through the legal process and either negotiate an appropriate settlement or fight for your rights in court through a trial.
SEE OUR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
- What Documents to Bring With You to Meet With Your Attorney Following a Car Accident
- How to File A Car Accident Claims for Vehicle Damage Against an Insurance Company in Florida
- Who is at Fault in a Rear End Accident?
- How to calculate the diminished value of your car
- How to File a Rental Car Accident Insurance Claim
- Uninsured Motorist Claims
- Wrongful Death Claim
- Getting Medical Treatment with PIP Benefits After an Automobile Accident