I wrote this page to teach everyone who has been injured in a car accident everything you need to know to educate yourself enough to know your legal rights, to beat insurance companies, to avoid losing out on the compensation you deserve, how to find and choose the best attorney for your case, and even more important, how to avoid the costly mistake of choosing the wrong attorney for your case. The following information is the same I have given to my friends and family for many years. Regardless of whether you decide to hire Hancock Injury Attorneys to represent you or a loved one in your personal injury or wrongful death claim, or whether you are a grieving family member of a loved one taken from you far too soon, I hope this page and website provide you valuable information to protect you and your loved ones. I wish you and your family the very best.
— Written and legally reviewed by Attorney Mike Hancock, founding partner of Hancock Injury Attorneys
Helping You Take Care Of Yourself
We Will Do All the Heavy Lifting, All the Legal Work, All the Preparation, Make All the Phone Calls, Take Care of All the Paperwork, and Take Care of Your Property Damage, So You Can Focus on Nothing but Getting Better
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, our experienced Wesley Chapel car accident attorneys start by handling each aspect of your car accident injury claim so you can immediately stop worrying.
- We know what to do, who to call, and how to handle the insurance adjusters.
- We will explain the entire process to you, so you fully understand what you are entitled to.
- We will even assist you in getting your car repaired, getting the insurance companies to pay for a rental car, and getting you a fair offer from the insurance company if your car is totaled.
- We will also help you find the most qualified doctor best suited to treat your specific injuries.
At Hancock Injury Attorneys, our skilled Wesley Chapel car accident lawyers do all the heavy lifting so you can focus on recovering from your injuries.
Many of us do not realize how dangerous driving can be until we are faced with severe injuries from an unexpected accident. Even if you drive safely, there is no guarantee that the other people on the road will use the same amount of caution. Reckless motorists put countless people at risk when they engage in unsafe driving practices.
Following a vehicle collision caused by a negligent driver, and after you are released from the emergency room or urgent care, the next thing you can do to protect yourself and get the compensation you are entitled to is call us. Dealing with civil lawsuits or settlement negotiations can be confusing and frustrating without a seasoned personal injury attorney on your side. You may be uncertain whether you have a valid legal claim arising from the accident. With a Wesley Chapel car accident lawyer representing you, you could improve your chances of securing compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. At Hancock Injury Attorneys our team will make sure you only have to focus on healing, while we take care of everything else.
Source: Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles; Traffic Crash Reports; Crash Dashboard; 2020-2021
Why Choose Us to be Your Car Accident Lawyers?
We Have Insider Insurance Company Knowledge and We Use It to Your Advantage
Mike Hancock spent the first eight years of his legal career at two insurance defense law firms, the first of which had 25 attorneys and was located in Houston, Texas. The second was in Tampa and had 15 attorneys. Both law firms limited their practices to insurance defense litigation.
For eight years, Mike’s job as an insurance defense attorney was to be hired by large auto insurance companies like GEICO, Allstate, Progressive, Travelers, State Farm, and more, to defend them and their insurance in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Very few personal injury lawyers have this kind of experience being hired by car insurance companies. Even fewer have the experience of going to trial and trying lawsuits representing car insurance companies.
In those first eight years of his career, Mike was mentored by some of the best trial attorneys in the nation. During that time Mike tried more than thirty trials on behalf of the insurance companies, honing his trial skills. The insurance adjusters and Mike communicated daily discussing case evaluations, determining how much each case was worth, and developing strategies to defend car accident-related personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Mike became privy to how the insurance companies evaluate car accident injury claims, learning what motivates them to pay the largest settlements in the least amount of time.
Mike gained invaluable experiences, insider insurance industry information that we now use to maximize the value of our client’s car accident claims.
In short, by working for and trying personal injury cases for car insurance companies for eight years, Mike learned the car insurance companies’ “playbooks.” Now, all the attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys use Mike’s knowledge of the “playbooks” against the insurance companies to maximize our own clients’ recoveries in car accident injury claims. By knowing the “playbook” we are always one step ahead, anticipating their next move, and knowing how to defeat the tactics every car insurance adjuster will use to delay your claim and minimize your injuries.
Our Track Record is Known and Respected by Judges, Insurance Adjusters, and Insurance Defense Attorneys
Our reputation has earned us the respect of judges, insurance adjusters, and defense attorneys alike. What this means for our clients is better and faster results than other Wesley Chapel car accident firms with less stellar reputations.
Insurance companies keep track of settlements involving car accident lawyers. They know that at Hancock Injury Attorney, we have a long track record of
- successes for our clients,
- defending and understanding insurance companies,
- never backing down from getting a fair settlement,
- never accepting unreasonable offers, and
- never shying away from trying a case in court if negotiations are unsuccessful.
As a result we believe we get better and faster results for our clients.
This is Our Guarantee: Your Settlement Will Always Be Greater Than Our Attorney’s Fees
We know of no other personal injury law firm other than Hancock Injury Attorneys that guarantee the amount you receive for your settlement will always be more than the amount of our attorney’s fees. We know of far too many stories of personal injury attorneys who have refused to reduce the agreed contingency fee, even if their client takes less due to outstanding medical bills. Unlike those firms, we guarantee to reduce our fee to make sure our client gets more money than us.
We Focus on Putting More Money in Your Pocket
At our law firm, we don’t charge you a “file set-up fee” or other unnamed and unspecified “administrative costs” like other law firms. We believe that would be unethical.
We are careful with advanced costs associated with your case and work hard to keep your costs to a minimum. We are also committed to never pocketing more money than our clients.
Many other personal injury firms will take the agreed contingency fee, even if their client takes less due to outstanding medical bills. Unlike those firms, we are happy to reduce our fee to make sure our client gets more money than us.
Being Represented by Hancock Injury Attorneys Doesn’t Cost You Any More, But It Might Result in a Larger and Quicker Settlement
Personal injury lawyers are limited by what they can charge in contingency fees by the Florida Bar. Regardless of our experience and expertise, most of us charge the same contingency fees to our clients. With Hancock Injury Attorneys, you are getting our expertise and experience for the same price you would be paying another far less able attorney. Our depth of experience may result in a far larger settlement, in less time, than you would get with another attorney with far less experience.
Don’t Make the Mistake of Hiring a Large Advertising Law Firm
The personal injury lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys have been contacted countless times over the years by clients of large advertising law firms wanting to fire their car accident attorneys and hire us. There has always been a common story these clients have told us:
- They weren’t able to speak with a lawyer before hiring the firm.
- Their “free consultation” was actually with a non-lawyer representative at a call center.
- The representative they spoke to could not tell them which attorney would be representing them.
- It was weeks or even months before they ever got to speak with their lawyer personally.
- Their case was transferred multiple times to case managers, paralegals, and associate lawyers to the point they no longer knew who to ask for to get questions answered.
- Their attorney wouldn’t return any of their phone calls, and the support staff they did get to speak with couldn’t answer their questions.
- Their attorney sent an inexperienced associate who knew nothing about them or their case to their deposition.
Attorney Mike Hancock is Recognized by Judges and His Peers As An Expert in Personal Injury Law
Mike Hancock has been recognized by his peers as a preeminent attorney and is considered an expert in personal injury and car accident law by state and national organizations, including Tampa Top Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Martindale Hubble AV Preeminent, Best Lawyers, Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Better Business Bureau A+ rating, Florida Trends Legal Elite, U.S. News Best Law Firms.
Attorney Mike Hancock Is a Leader in the Community
Mike is a second-generation Tampa native, now raising his family where his parents raised him. Mike has ties to our community and is a leader in local charitable, civic, and legal organizations. And as a leader both in the office and in the community, he works to make Tampa a safer place for all our families.
Our Free Consultation Is Always Free, With No Obligation to Hire Us
Our free case consultation is always free and at your convenience, including any time on weekdays, evenings, or weekends, in person, by phone, Zoom, or Facetime. And your free case consultation will always be with one of our attorneys, not with a non-lawyer call center representative.
Is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Mandatory in Wesley Chapel?
Florida is one of the few states that require drivers to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) with their auto insurance coverage. This mandate is detailed in the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law. Additionally, Florida Statutes Annotated § 627.731 states that all injured parties are entitled to compensation for medical, funeral, and disability insurance benefits regardless of who is responsible for the wreck. A knowledgeable attorney can handle your insurance claim and help you recover the maximum amount of compensation after your car accident.
What Type of Compensation Can You Get Through PIP Coverage After a Car Accident in Wesley Chapel?
After a car accident, your first source of compensation is the PIP coverage through your insurance policy. However, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.736 sets limits on the amount of damages covered by personal injury protection. You may only pursue a claim with the other driver’s insurer if your damages exceed what is covered by your policy. Through your insurer, you can seek compensation for:
- Medical care related to the car accident, past and future
- Occupational, recreational, and psychological therapy
- Lost income (present and future)
- Funeral expenses
- Property damage
Depending on how severe your injuries are, you may be able to file a lawsuit for your non-economic losses.
Damages Available in a Lawsuit
If your injuries and damages warrant a lawsuit, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.737(2) allows you to pursue awards for:
- Permanent physical harm
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
While state law does not cap compensatory damages, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 627.737(4) prohibits plaintiffs from demanding punitive damages if they have sought compensation above their insurance policy limits. Lawyers who regularly handle motor vehicle accident cases could examine your claim and determine the appropriate type and amount of damages to pursue.
Who Pays for My Medical Bills? An Explanation of the Florida No-Fault Law
While insurance laws vary from state to state, if you are a registered driver in Florida, you are required by Florida No-Fault laws to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. No-fault law in Florida was designed so that anyone involved in an accident would have immediate access to insurance benefits, regardless of who was at fault. In the event of an accident, this will be your first source of benefits for any damages that you have suffered.
Your Florida PIP policy will give you access to up to the limits of your coverage to pay for any of your medical costs, lost wages, or household services so you don’t have to wait for the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay them. In Florida, your PIP coverage will pay
- 80% or your reasonable and necessary medical expenses
- 60% of your lost wages
- 100% of household services
In the case of a fatality, PIP provides a separate $5,000 death benefit.
If your medical costs exceed your policy limit, the at-fault driver’s bodily injury liability policy or your own uninsured motorist coverage will pay for medical costs that are not paid for by your PIP.
While this seems relatively simple, the reality is that the insurance company will typically offer an unreasonably low settlement as a first option. At Hancock Injury Lawyers, our experienced Wesley Chapel car accident attorneys diligently advocate to get you the compensation you deserve for your damages.
Do I Have to Pay You Anything Upfront to Hire You?
No, we never ask our clients to pay any attorney’s fees or costs upfront. Never! We only get paid if you win. We handle all of our car accident injury cases on a “contingency fee agreement”, which means our attorney’s fees are “contingent” on us winning your case and recovering money for you. When we win your case, either by settlement or jury verdict, our fees are a percentage of the gross recovery.
The Benefits of Contingency Fees
Paying attorney’s fees by the hour can be a vast unknown. Depending on the firm and the attorney’s experience, an hourly rate can run between $400 per hour to $600 per hour. Clients are also charged for any work done by the paralegal, typically at a rate of $150 per hour. Attorneys who charge by the hour typically ask for a minimum $5,000 retainer upfront that the billable hours will be charged against. Once that retainer is used up, the attorney will ask for another $5,000.
Most individuals seeking legal representation for a car accident simply do not have the ability to pay large retainers. This is why personal injury lawyers typically charge legal fees on contingency, which are based on a percentage of the recovery. This gives accident victims important access to the legal system and allows an injured party to hire the best Wesley Chapel car accident lawyer possible without having to worry about the cost of upfront fees and retainers.
What Types of Car Accident Cases Do We Handle?
Since 1996 the lawyers at Hancock Injury Attorneys have represented thousands of clients injured in all sorts of motor vehicle accidents. In addition to representing clients injured in collisions involving two cars or SUVs or pick-up trucks, we also have years of experience in representing clients injured in motorcycle accidents, accidents involving large 18-wheelers, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents, and ATV accidents. The following is just a sample of the many types of claims we have experience with:
- Head-on collisions
- Hit and run accidents
- Injuries and fatalities caused by drunk drivers
- Injuries and fatalities caused by impaired drivers
- Injuries and fatalities caused by distracted drivers
- Injuries and fatalities caused by drowsy drivers
- Intersection accidents
- Lyft and Uber accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Multi-vehicle accidents
- Rear end collisions
- T-Bone accidents
- Teen driver accidents
- Texting and driving accidents
- Truck accidents
- Uninsured motorist accidents
We Have Successfully Represented Clients with the Following Injuries Caused by Car Accidents:
- Back injuries
- Broken bones
- Crush injuries
- Fractures resulting in open reduction and internal fixation surgery
- Herniated disc injuries
- Internal organ injuries, including lacerated spleens and livers and punctured lungs
- Knee injuries, including torn meniscus and torn ligaments and tendons in the knee
- Neck injuries
- Rotator cuff injuries to the shoulder
- Spinal cord injuries
- Sprains and strains
- Subdural hematomas and epidural hematomas resulting in emergency craniotomy
- Traumatic brain injuries
Herniated disc injuries resulting in surgeries such as laminectomies, fusions, surgical disk replacements, and anterior cervical discectomy with fusion
Neck and back injuries resulting in epidural steroid injections, medial branch blocks, facet joint injections, radiofrequency ablations, Wrongful Death, Facial fractures, Fractured and broken teeth, Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) injuries, Second and third-degree burns and Amputations.
What Compensation Can I Recover After Being Injured in a Wesley Chapel Car Accident?
If the other driver was at fault, that driver’s bodily injury liability insurance, also called BI coverage, pays for everything not covered by your PIP. Costs for your medical treatment and lost wages alone can easily exceed your $10,000.00 PIP limit. When you hire us to be your attorneys, our job is to recover all the damages you are entitled to, including:
- Disability or physical impairment
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past lost wages and future loss of earning capacity
- Property damage, including the diminished value of your car
If the other driver was not properly insured, or did not have sufficient bodily injury liability insurance coverage, your uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy will pay all the same damages listed in the preceding paragraph.
Unfortunately, the business model for every car insurance company is to:
- Delay or deny a fair settlement to compensate you for your injuries;
- Deny that their policyholder was at fault for the car accident;
- Claim that you were partially at fault (comparative negligence);
- When they can’t deny their insured caused the car crash, and they can’t claim you were comparatively negligent, they will claim that you weren’t injured, your injuries aren’t as bad as you say, or they were pre-existing injuries or conditions.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Our goal is to settle your personal injury claim for the largest amount of money you are legally entitled to recover. This is your one and only opportunity to recover money for the injuries and losses you suffered in your car accident.
Once you settle your claim, by law you can never come back for more compensation. That is why we make sure your settlement will include compensation for past and future medical bills, past and future lost wages and loss of earning capacity, pain, suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, the loss of capacity to enjoy life, disability, and scarring.
Can I Make a Claim if I Was Partly At-Fault?
All states have some form of comparative fault rules in accident situations. In Florida, we recognize pure comparative negligence when fault is shared in a car accident. If a victim is partially at fault for the accident, their recovery for damages will be reduced by the percentage that they were at fault. Consequently, if the victim is determined to have been 25% at fault for the accident, their recovery for damages will be reduced by 25%.
How Long Will It Take to Settle My Car Accident Case?
One of the most common questions we are asked is “…how long will it take to settle my personal injury claim?” Although the question seems simple enough, the truthful answer is “it depends.” Every case is truly different. The length of time it will take to settle your personal injury claim caused by a motor vehicle accident will be based on many factors unique to each case.
If Your Injuries Heal Within 30 Days
Hopefully within 30 days after being injured in a car accident, all your aches and pains have gone away, and you return to your normal state of health. If that occurs, and your doctors tell you there is no need for continuing medical treatment, we can prepare a demand to the insurance company to settle your personal injury claim within 30 to 60 days.
If Your Injuries Don’t Heal Within 30 Days
If your aches and pains do not disappear within 30 days, your injuries will hopefully get better and heal up within four to six months. If you are done with all your medical treatment within four to six months, your car accident injury claim would be ready to settle at that time. During those four to six months, our team at Hancock Injury Attorneys will have already been obtaining your medical records and bills, speaking with your doctors to obtain their opinions regarding your diagnosis and prognosis, and will have already completed all aspects of investigating your car accident injury claim. Your lawyer at Hancock Injury Attorneys will then prepare a demand to be sent to the insurance company to settle your personal injury claim, giving the insurance adjuster thirty days to respond. If the insurance adjuster responds with an unacceptable offer, we will begin negotiations with the insurance adjuster. These negotiations take on average two to four weeks before we know whether we can settle your case, or whether we will need to file a lawsuit on your behalf to obtain a result that fully compensates you for your injuries.
If Your Injuries Don’t Heal Within 4 to 6 Months
If, at the end of four to six months, you are still suffering from the injuries caused by the car accident, we will prepare your settlement demand as soon as your doctor is of the opinion you have reached maximum medical improvement. At that time, your doctor will provide us with a report that not only details all the injuries you sustained in the motor vehicle accident, but more importantly sets forth your prognosis. The detailed prognosis will include a description of the symptoms you are expected to have in the future, a description of all the future medical treatment you will need, along with the anticipated cost of that future medical treatment.
For a more in-depth look at how long it takes for a car accident case to settle, watch the video below. There, attorney Mike Hancock discusses the factors that determine how long it will take to settle your car accident injury claim.
Every Case is Truly Different, But Here Are Some of the Factors We Consider
Some of the many factors we review to determine how much your personal injury claim is worth include: the amount of property damage to the vehicles involved in the crash; the photographic evidence of the damage to the cars; how soon after the crash you sought medical care; were you flown by helicopter from the scene of the car crash to the emergency room as a trauma alert patient or taken to a hospital emergency room (ER) by ambulance or did you not seek medical treatment until weeks after the crash.
Other Factors That We Consider
Other factors that will be considered in determining the value of your claim can include
- The type and specialties of the doctors who have been treating you
- The severity of your injuries
- Whether you will require ongoing medical care for your injuries
- Your long-term prognosis for recovery
- Whether you have lost the ability to earn a comparable salary given your injuries
Consequently, there is no simple answer to estimating the value of your case until all factors are considered and costs known. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, our experienced team of Wesley Chapel car accident attorneys has recovered compensation for our clients ranging from $10,000 to $1 million.
Will I Be Better off Settling My Car Accident Injury Claim Myself or With the Help of an Attorney?
The Insurance Research Council (a non-profit group funded by national insurance companies) published a study in 1999 titled “Paying for Auto Injuries; A Consumer Panel Survey of Auto Accident Victims”. This insurance industry study found that the average settlement for car accident victims was 40% higher with the help of an attorney.
Another study from the Insurance Research Council revealed that 85% of all money paid by insurance companies for car accident injury claims is paid to those who have hired an attorney.
Call Us Now for an Immediate, Free, No-Obligation Consultation with One of Our Wesley Chapel Car Accident Attorneys
“My goal in writing this Wesley Chapel Car Accident Lawyer page is to educate people like yourself who have either been injured in a car accident or who have loved ones who have been injured as the result of the negligence of another driver. People like yourself who are trying to learn more about your legal rights, learn how to choose the best attorney to represent you in your personal injury claim, and learn more about the process of a personal injury claim. We have made hiring Hancock Injury Attorneys fast, simple, and convenient. Call us 24/7 and speak with one of our attorneys. There is no need to “schedule” a consultation days from now, as other firms do. Call us right now, and you will speak with one of our attorneys right now. The call is absolutely free and there is no obligation to hire us. If you do decide you want to hire us, we will immediately text or email you the paperwork you can electronically sign. It is that easy. I look forward to representing you.” – Attorney Mike Hancock, founding partner of Hancock Injury Attorneys
Our Office Locations and Areas
Throughout Florida We Serve
Although we are based in Tampa, we also have office locations in Wesley Chapel and Spring Hill. Furthermore, we represent clients throughout Florida, as far north as Tallahassee and Jacksonville, across the state to Orlando, Clermont and Satellite Beach, south to Fort Lauderdale, Labelle, Miami, Fort Myers, Bradenton, Sun City Center, and many other cities throughout Florida, including
- Citrus Park
- Temple Terrace
- Palma Ceia
- Seminole Heights
- Tampa Heights
- North Tampa
- Wesley Chapel