Are you an unfortunate victim of a Tampa car accident? Do you know the steps to take after being involved in the road collision? Below are ten crucial things that you should do:
As the population of Florida continues to increase (population has increased by almost 2 million over the last 5 years), so has the total number of crashes. Since 2014, the total number of accidents has increased by 15%, with serious injuries having increased by 11.5% and fatalities have increased by 21.5%.
However, despite the fact that the population has increased by almost 10% in the last 5 years, concerted efforts by the state and law enforcement have led to a very impressive decrease in alcohol-impaired fatalities of almost 20%.
It should come as no surprise to most people that insurance companies will try to minimize the payments they are required to make to an automobile accident victim. As a matter of fact, the career of an insurance adjuster will be greatly improved by their capacity to avoid payments. This means that even though the insurance adjuster may claim to be working in your best interests their real loyalties lie with their company.
As “For-Profit” organizations, an insurance company will not make a lot of profits by honoring all claims made or even all claims they ought to pay. They bank on the ignorance of accident victims to make lower offers than they should actually make. This is because an accident victim may assume any amount of assistance offered is better than nothing and maybe all they deserve.
For those that hope to receive full-compensation from their insurance companies, and aggressive negotiation is in order. A car accident attorney can offer you important assistance in these negotiations and in examining the offers made by an insurance company to ensure their offer match the true value of the case.
Victims of car accidents are often hesitant to consult with an attorney because of the perceived cost associated with doing so. They wrongly believe that they will owe a large payment upfront just to have a personal injury lawyer represent them or that their case simply is not worth paying a lawyer to help with. Unfortunately, none of these things are true. At Winters & Yonker, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means that car accident victims pay nothing upfront and only owe their attorneys if they obtain compensation for their claim.
Once you have obtained your settlement, your attorney will deduct a percentage to cover their fees. Not only does this provide all victims with access to experienced legal representation, it means that your Tampa car accident lawyer has a vested interest in your case. With their compensation tied to how much money you receive for your claim, you can rest assured that they will be working their hardest to secure the best results possible for you.
While the contingency fee can vary, it generally is between 25-40% of the settlement, averaging out to 33%. The more time your Tampa car accident lawyer spends on the case, the more their percentage will be. If your case settles quickly without going to trial, your fee will likely be close to 25%, whereas if your claim goes to trial, the attorney will receive closer to 40%.
While this number may seem large on the surface, having an expert attorney fighting for you can often double or triple your settlement amount from what was initially offered by the insurance companies. In these cases, victims come out far better than they would without representation and are happy to pay the lawyer for their excellent work.
Three things will influence the possibility of you to have a case. The first is determining if there are sufficient damages that make the case worth the while. In some instances, the matter may end with the plaintiff getting a couple of thousand dollars.
The second thing is the number of resources that the defendant has. For instance, if you are dealing with an individual without any insurance, then the lawyer will want to find out the assets that the person has. If the individual has an insurance cover, then things might work in your favor.
The third factor is proof of liability. You should have evidence that supports your claim. If not, then your attorney will have a hard time proving the defendant is at fault. You should support your evidence with facts that point toward the other party being responsible for the accident and subsequent injuries.
Related: What Counts as Negligent Driving?
The average amount awarded as compensation in Florida is around $15,000; however, this amount can go higher or lower depending on the extent of the injuries, losses, legal fault in the matter, and if the responsible party can pay the settlement.
You have the right to sue for compensation for injuries or damages sustained in an auto accident that was caused by someone else due to their recklessness or negligence when driving.
The party at fault should be responsible for the medical expenses and property damage, and this will be in the form of money to cover the losses.
In the state of Florida, you will have to contend with one issue – the statute of limitations. The law places a time limit within which to have file your lawsuit with the courts. The set period is four years from the date of the accident.
The value of a claim for a car crash lawsuit is influenced by three factors: damages, liability, and insurance coverage.
Ideally, the three things go together when it comes to putting together facts that will ensure that you get the most amount of money possible of your injuries and losses.
When trying to find liability, the lawyers at Winters & Yonker will be trying to determine who caused the accident. In many rear-end collisions, the party that hit the other from the rear-end is to blame. However, things will be different when it comes to some incidents, like an intersection collision.
Florida’s “Comparative Negligence” law that states both parties will share the recovery amount as they do the blame for the collision. Therefore, if a jury believes you are 50% liable for the accident, then you will be obligated to cover 50% of your damages. That is how liability can impact the compensation outcomes of your case.
Subsequently, that is why our experienced team of attorneys will work hard to minimize or absolve you of any fault while maximizing on that of the other driver. We will achieve this by examining the evidence gathered, which can include crash photos, police reports, witness statements, the statements of the driver at fault, and the doctor’s report.
Getting a ticket for the accident is also another issue linked with liability. The police that responded to the crash might have thought you are to blame for the collision and issued a ticket, then your chances of winning the claim will lower. And we might not take up the case.
However, we, at times, make exceptions if you sustained severe injuries and whether there is a substantive argument or evidence that proves the other party is solely to blame.
In most cases, the jury decides on liability. In other instances, the parties involved in the lawsuit may predict the jury’s ruling and opt for a settlement with the liability in mind.
In such a scenario, we will strive to put together strong arguments that will convince the insurance companies that a jury will side with you regarding fault or liability.
The use of the term ‘damages’ is about the money we can prove you are entitled to get due to the accident.
The damages can include past, present, and future medical expenses, lost wages, and the physical, mental, and emotional anguish attributed to the accident. We will consider these factors when putting forth our arguments for the settlement.
The extent of the injuries and treatment costs will influence the value of your case, with the existing insurance coverage being a cap on the value. Often, medical expenses share a strong connection with the amount of pain and suffering damages.
Conversely, the injuries may force an individual to stop working. We have help clients that had high lost wage claims because their injuries forced them to stop working for a high-paying job.
Given such possibilities, we always do extensive research and investigations when trying to set the value for the damages. We will find and compare cases with similar injuries and medical costs to help determine the amount to ask from the insurance companies.
Ideally, your medical bills set the bar. The defendant’s team will try and argue that treatment was not necessary, or that it was due to a pre-existing health condition. But with our team of legal experts handling the case, they will counter those arguments while also consider possible future medical bills based on your physician’s diagnosis and medical report.
However, the treatment you are receiving is more valuable than that which you might get in the future. That is why our primary focus is on your present medical expenses while also not overlooking future treatment costs.
Putting a price tag on the amount of pain and suffering you might endure is the hardest thing to determine. Insurers will only take into consideration the finding of medical practitioners regarding the pain the plaintiff claims.
Therefore, if you complain that you are experiencing pain in the front area of the left side of the hip, then the insurance companies will review the MRI reports for proof that what you say makes sense regarding the exact location of the pain you are experiencing.
When we take on injury cases, the first thing we want to know is if insurance is available and the policy amounts. The insurance coverage amounts often place a cap on the recoverable damages. That means the money we can get is the amount available in the policy. That is why we investigate this matter and try to uncover all potential sources of insurance.
Keep in mind that the insurance amounts vary. And drivers in Florida are not expected to pay a penny for damages when causes an accident that injures other people. Thankfully, some insurance companies will cover such costs, but the amounts can range from a few thousand dollars to a much as a million dollars.
For instance, if you are hit by a company truck or car, the vehicle is likely to have a substantially high coverage if it is a large company. Small businesses, will at times, no have such good insurance cover.
In other instances, some people might have high-value insurance policies. In these scenarios, it is evident that we never know what the policy amount covered is unless with investigate the insurance coverage.
Our attorneys will request the insurance companies to provide that information, which should be attended to us within 30 days from when they receiver our request.
If you are uninsured or underinsured, then your claim case will face some fierce opposition. The insurance company will be your adversary. They will do what they can to minimize or disallow your claim. That is why you should let us represent your interests.
When you are in an auto accident, the injuries can vary from mild to severe. While some injuries may be obvious like a cut or a fracture, there are many injuries that may not become evident immediately.
For example, whiplash likely won’t display symptoms for 24-48 hours and the same is the case with lower back pain. Regardless of whether you have serious or mild injuries, it is important that you seek medical attention. This can either be through the paramedic staff who arrive at the scene of the accident or the local Tampa hospital if need be.
You will have lots of adrenaline flowing after an accident and may not feel pain immediately, but you need to know that you have not suffered any major external or internal injuries.
You also need to ensure that if you decide to take legal action at a later stage, there is a medical report that documents what happened and the injuries that you sustained after the accident.
Your injury attorney in the city of Tampa, Florida will use this medical report to establish the fact that you sustained injuries as a result of the collision.
Apart from exchanging basic contact information, it is generally recommended that you do not engage in any other conversations with the other driver. The only thing you should do is exchange details about your insurance policy, name, and address. You are not obligated to speak to the other driver or their insurance company.
Keep in mind that in automobile accident situations, emotions run high and tempers can flare-up. You don’t want to do anything at the scene that could be used against you in the future.
Also, this is not the time to confront the other driver, no matter how much they were at fault or how angry you are at them for hitting your car and causing damage. It will only damage any future claim you may have, so let the police deal with them.
Once you’ve received medical attention and have given the police your account of the events, you should speak to our car accident attorneys. Don’t go around claiming responsibility and don’t apologize until you’re absolutely sure what happened.
The best thing you can do is remain silent because anything you say can be taken out of context later on. Remember the other side is always looking for someone to blame. Say as little as possible, then call our trusted injury law firm.
Going to trial is an expensive undertaking and can be very time-consuming. If you are involved in a car accident, and you are not at fault, the other driver’s insurance company may call you up to find out if you want to settle outside of court.
While this is not a bad idea, it is important not to engage with the insurance company on your own. If they contact you and make an offer, call the attorneys at Winters & Yonker immediately.
The case does not have to go to trial, but your lawyer will ensure that the offer you accept is in line with what you initially claimed. There is no point in accepting an offer that does not give you the financial relief you need after the accident. That is why it is optimal that you let our attorneys handle the negotiations with the insurance company.
We have years of experience dealing with insurance adjusters and will be able to determine if an offer is fair.
Even if you feel the amount is fairly reasonable and you are extremely tempted to sign on the dotted line, don’t do it without speaking to a car accident lawyer first.
The settlement you are offered will be a lump sum amount which may sound like a lot but could end up being much less than what you would get if you allow your attorney to handle the negotiations. Once you have settled, even if you later discover that you have a permanent injury, you can never go back and obtain more compensation.
There is no doubt that it is in the interest of both parties if the case does not go to trial. That is why meditation is often recommended in such cases and resolution is attempted in the presence of a judge.
A large majority of car accidents are settled before they get to the local Tampa courts. However, if there is a dispute about the cause of the crash or the total amount of compensation, then the case will likely go to trial.
Typically, a car accident report can be obtained in Florida through a request sent to the law enforcement agency that filed the report.
The actual process will vary depending on the jurisdiction the accident occurred in. There are some that will allow you to download the report, and some request copies to be picked up in person or through the mail.
The information that you will need to provide in order to get the report includes:
Although it is not necessary to have all of this information, it will decrease the amount of time it will take to process the request. This is true if you do not know the case number.
Sorting out a car accident case is time-consuming and requires the collection of a lot of information. In Tampa Bay, Florida, the statute of limitations is four years, but it is important to get the case resolved quickly. If you are late filing the case by even one day after the 4-year limit, you have no case.
Contact us today and we will help you get the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys know that recovering from an auto accident can be quite challenging, especially if you have sustained serious injuries. We fight for the rights of car accident victims so that they can obtain compensation for their injuries and any other damages they incurred as a result of the accident.
Let us help you get the financial support you need during this time so that you can focus on getting healthy and going back to work. Don’t hesitate to call one of our aggressive Tampa car accident lawyers today at (888) 373-7770 and see how we can help you get justice.