There’s a lot to know about Tampa car accidents. Perhaps the most surprising is just how common they really are. The Sunshine State typically sees around a quarter-million car crashes every year, many of them serious or fatal, and those numbers are on the rise.
The overwhelming majority of these crashes could have been prevented if other drivers behaved more carefully. Driver negligence is the leading cause of automobile accidents in Florida. Speeding, behind-the-wheel fatigue, drunk driving, and distracted driving (texting while driving) are all enormous problems that safety experts have yet to solve.
Tampa Car Accident Attorneys
Victims of car accidents in Tampa are entitled to monetary compensation for their losses, which may go well beyond any damage done to the vehicles themselves.
Injured parties can seek reimbursement for their medical expenses, hospital bills, time away from work, pain, anguish, emotional suffering, the cost of any ongoing care, the loss of a loved one’s life, and other damages that can be reasonably shown to have arisen from the crash, but to get the extent to which you deserve, you almost always need an injury attorney.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have more than 30 years of experience in helping accident victims throughout Tampa, the whole state of Florida and beyond. Our experienced Tampa car accident attorneys will take a stand for your rights, employ effective strategies on your behalf, and fight hard to recover every last dollar you deserve.
Should I Hire A Car Accident Lawyer for my Injury Case?
We don’t hesitate to tell callers that they can handle their claim on their own if we believe that to be true for their situation. With some simple guidelines from me on how to proceed, the caller will recover his or her damages, without the need for an attorney nor paying attorney’s fees.
But there are other times when a caller has substantial injuries and medical bills, or substantial damage to his or her car, that it’s really best to hire a car accident attorney. For example, when our office first starts a new case we:
- Help our clients with making sure the medical expenses are being properly submitted for payment
- Help our client obtain a rental vehicle and if needed, help get their vehicle repaired
- Talk to the insurance companies from the moment we sign up a new client, so our client does not have to deal with them further
If a client is just trying to heal from injuries, taking care of these things can be very difficult. Further, without the experience in personal injury law, it may be difficult to determine all available insurance coverage resulting from an auto accident. For example, If our client is injured while passenger in a vehicle, there could be many different layers of insurance coverage available: my client’s auto insurance, the driver’s auto insurance, the owner of the vehicle’s auto insurance, the at-fault driver’s auto insurance, the auto insurance of the owner of the vehicle that the at-fault driver vehicle was operating, and so on. Because we want to maximize all insurance coverage that is available, we look at all the potential sources of insurance.
Generally, if you have persistent pain, you are unable to go to work or received treatment in a hospital after an auto accident, that was not your fault, out of an abundance of caution, at least call or contact us today and get guidance on how to proceed.
iring a personal injury lawyer is an important decision. You want to make sure your lawyer is capable of handling your case, understand how much you will owe your lawyer if you win or lose the case and get a feel for if the lawyer anticipates your case will go to trial. Here are the top five questions you should ask before you hire a Tampa personal injury lawyer. These questions will help ensure that the person you are hiring is right for you and your case will have the most desirable outcome.
5 Questions to ask to Find the Best Car Accident Attorney in Tampa
1. Who Will Handle My Personal Injury Case?
Unfortunately, at some law firms cases are passed off from one employee to the next. You want to ask if the personal injury attorney, you are hiring will actually be handling your case. When you have a question, will you be able to speak directly with your lawyer or will your message be passed along to someone else to handle? Who will be evaluating your claim? Be sure you understand who will be working on your case before you hire a personal injury lawyer. At larger law firms, your case is typically handed off to a legal assistant. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, your case is always handled by a personal injury lawyer and that is the same personal injury lawyer you meet with.
2. Have You Handled Car Accident Injury Cases Similar to Mine?
It is best to hire a lawyer that has previous experience and success with cases similar to yours. A lawyer with experience on similar claims will know what investigation, preparation, and strategy will be beneficial to your case. You want an experienced lawyer to give you the best chance for success. Hancock Injury Attorneys has successfully recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements for our clients.
3. Will There Be a Trial?
Your personal injury lawyer should be able to give you an indication of whether they think your case will go to trial or not. The majority of the time a trial is not necessary and in many cases, a settlement can be agreed upon. Regardless of whether or not your case goes to trial, your personal injury lawyer will make sure the outcome of the case is fair and you receive the money you are entitled to. However, it is important to know we have the necessary financial resources to take on the large insurance carriers and insurance defense lawyers at the most powerful law firms.
4. What Will it Cost Me to Hire You?
If you have been injured in an accident, you most likely are facing medical bills and possibly lost wages due to missed work. Therefore you are looking to recover money from the person accountable for your injuries. If the lawyer you hire does not win the case will you be required to pay lawyer fees anyway? Are you responsible for any upfront costs?
It is important to understand what your financial obligation will be whether you win or lose the case. Consider hiring a lawyer that does not charge a fee unless they earn you compensation. Look for an attorney who will advance all upfront costs, including court filing fees and fees for expert witnesses. Verify you understand what portion of the money you receive will be owed to cover your lawyer fees. In Florida, it is required that contingent fee agreements be in writing. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we cover all of the upfront costs associated with your case. There are never any out of pocket expenses to handle your case and if we don’t win your case, we absorb all of the expenses.
5. What are Your Reviews and Awards?
There are certain resources you can check to make sure you hire an attorney who is credible and has high qualifications. Some of the sources include the ones that are “peer-reviewed”, which are based on what other attorneys say about them. The most important was to look out for are:
- Martindale-Hubbell AV-Preeminent Rating: Martindale-Hubbell has peer review ratings of more than 1 million lawyers across the country. It has been one of the most respected and reliable sources of information about the legal community for over 130 years. An “AV” rating shows that an attorney and firm has high preeminence, immense legal ability, expertise, experience and integrity. Only 10% of all attorneys hold an AV-Preeminent rating.
- Superlawyers: Annually, Super Lawyers releases a list of outstanding attorneys who based off of peer-reviews have a high degree of recognition and professional achievement.
How Long Does an Injury Case Take?
How We Maximize Compensation for Car Accidents in Tampa
If you’ve recently been involved in an auto accident in Florida, don’t be surprised if an insurance representative gives you a call. Often, they’ll ask you questions in the hopes that you’ll accidentally say something against your interest. They may even offer you a monetary settlement in the hopes that you’ll take it before you talk to a lawyer.
Studies show that, on average, insurance companies pay out almost triple the amount of money in cases where the victim is represented by an experienced auto accident attorney.
You may have many options for compensation above and beyond your PIP policy. We can pursue those for you.
Be careful what you say to insurance representatives. Never accept a settlement offer without consulting an experienced attorney first. Insurance companies are not on your side (even if it’s your own insurance company), and their primary goal is to minimize their own financial liability.
If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, you will almost certainly have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. It’s required as part of the Florida No-Fault Law. Your PIP insurance is almost always limited to a maximum of $10,000.00. The basic idea behind Florida’s No-Fault Law when it was first enacted in the 1970s was to make sure everyone involved in a car accident had immediate access to $10,000.00 worth of insurance to pay for medical bills, lost wages, and household services, without having to wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance company to agree to pay. Your PIP policy pays 80% of reasonable and necessary medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and 100% of replacement household services, up to its $10,000.00 policy limits. The at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability insurance policy is responsible for paying all of the damages that your PIP doesn’t pay for, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and mental suffering.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we understand that the full value of your claim may extend well beyond the policy limits and lowball estimates that insurers typically insist on. Insurance companies may not care about the long-term effects of your accident or the impact it has on your quality of life, but we do. With decades of experience, a reputation for aggressive representation, and valuable relationships with experts in car crash investigations, our Tampa car accident attorneys can often make a compelling case that you’re entitled to more under the law.
401,700– The Number of Accidents in Florida per Year
254, 438– The Number of Injuries in Florida from Car Accidents per Year
3,150– The Number of People who Died from Traffic Crashes in Florida
Determining the Value of Your Claim
The insurance company will assign a specific value to your accident claim by assessing the amount and type of damage done and determining a percentage of fault for the accident. The types of damages include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and loss of companionship. Loss of companionship refers to how an injury affects a loved one related to support, aid, affection, comfort, and general companionship.
Financial damages, while sometimes a bit complex, are fairly straightforward as you are dealing with exact amounts of loss, including hospital bills, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and related and documented expenses. The insurance company generally pays these willingly. However, pain and suffering requests require more negotiation by both parties. The insurance company will use a formula to calculate the amount of pain and suffering. Each injury or medical issue is assigned a value related to the severity of the injury. These numbers are totaled with lost wages and other general and special damages in order to arrive at a theoretical settlement amount.
*If you agree to accept a settlement without speaking with an attorney first, you run the risk of missing out on some of the damages that are rightfully yours. The sooner you hire an attorney, the better the outcome will be**
Frequently Asked Questions
How are pain and suffering determined in an auto accident case?
Car accident victims in Florida are allowed to make a claim for pain and suffering. There is no formula for determining an amount, but the court will look at certain factors when coming up with an amount. Some of these include the severity of the injuries, the level of pain, the duration of the pain, the likelihood of a full recovery, and how much the pain is affecting the life of the victim.
Who pays for the medical bills after an accident in Florida?
Florida law has a no-fault system for medical bills up to $10,000. This means that the injured person will make a claim against their own insurance company for their injuries up to $10,000. For damages over that amount, the victim can make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy. This pays 80% of medical bills, 60% of lost wages and some for permanent disability and death.
What is the filing deadline for an auto accident claim?
If you get in an accident in Florida, two deadlines are important. The first is making a PIP (personal injury protection) claim against your own insurance. You have 14 days from the date of the accident to make your claim. The other is if you file a lawsuit against the insurance company, and then you have four years from the date of the accident. This is as of January 2020 and can change at any time.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today.
Auto accident lawyer Mike Hancock has obtained verdicts and settlements of more than $1 million in motor vehicle accidents, but we welcome any case, big or small. Call him for your free, confidential consultation at 813-915-1110. We answer our phones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also reach by our Contact form.
- Accident Reports from Tampa Police
- Damages: Compensation for Car Accidents
- Passenger Injuries
- Underinsured/uninsured drivers
- Can I Sue in Florida if I Live out of State?
- Can I Sue Someone From Out of State for a Tampa Injury?
Additional Accident Types: