Learn Your Rights After a Tampa Car Accident
A sudden car crash can disrupt your day, but it can also cause many serious and costly problems in your life if you suffer serious injuries. Many people feel helpless and concerned following a collision. They may have medical bills quickly piling up, damage to their cars, and injuries that affect their lives in many detrimental ways.
If you are in this position, it is critical to learn about your legal rights and options. The law protects car accident victims in many situations, and you should never miss the opportunity to exercise your rights.
The best way to know what you can do following a crash is to speak with a Tampa car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
You Have the Right to File a PIP Claim
Florida has no-fault auto insurance laws, which means you file a claim against your own personal injury protection (PIP) policy - even if someone else was to blame. You do not have to prove who caused the crash, as your no-fault insurance should provide coverage regardless of fault.
This coverage is limited, however, as it only covers:
- Up to 80 percent of medical expenses
- Up to 60 percent of lost wages
Further, PIP policy limits are $10,000 in Florida, which does not cover much if you have serious injuries. Your emergency treatment alone might be over $10,000, and you might miss months of work. PIP is often insufficient to compensate injured car accident victims.
Moreover, you may only claim PIP benefits if you seek initial medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Your initial diagnosis must also be from one of the following: a licensed medical doctor (M.D.), a Doctor of Osteopath (D.O.), a Dentist (D.M.D.), a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.), or provided in a hospital or a medical facility owned by a hospital.
You May Have the Right to File a Claim Against the At-Fault Party
If you have significant or permanent injuries, you have the right to go outside the no-fault system and file a claim against the driver who caused your crash. This claim can seek more damages than your PIP policy would cover, including:
- All of your past and future medical bills
- All of your past and future lost income
- Pain and suffering, mental distress, and other intangible losses
- Permanent disabilities or disfigurement
By filing a fault-based claim, you can seek compensation for all your losses - not just a small portion of them. However, this case requires you to prove the other driver’s liability to the insurance company.
You Have the Right To Hire an Attorney
After a Tampa car accident, you have the right to consult with and hire a car accident attorney. Having the right legal representation can relieve significant stress from you and often greatly improve the outcome of your case.
You May Have the Right to File a Lawsuit
Many insurance companies work to avoid paying full compensation to car accident victims. Even with the right evidence, legal representation, and negotiation, insurance companies can challenge your claim. In such cases, you can file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to seek the full amount you need to cover your losses. You have a limited time to do so - the law recently changed in Florida to only give you two years to file a lawsuit. You should always act quickly, and your first step should be to seek legal help.
Call Us After a Tampa Car Accident
Hancock Injury Attorneys is ready to help, so please contact us today for more information.