Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered a car wreck in Florida, to get the justice you deserve, you will likely need the help of the car accident lawyers at Winters & Yonker. After your accident, you are likely stressed out about things such as how you will pay for your car repairs, who will pay for your medical bills, and how can you recover compensation for your lost wages. You should know that if you have suffered injuries or have sustained property damage after a car accident, you can file a compensation claim so that you can recover some of the damages you have incurred.
We proudly offer a free initial consultation to all injury victims, allowing them to get answers to all of their questions, while also receiving guidance from one of the top law firms in Florida. After this initial case review, we will be in the best position to tell you if you have a case against the other driver. If you do, we can tell you how much you could potentially claim as compensation and provide guidance on how you should proceed with your claim.
After an accident, we are here to take the stress off of your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your physical recovery while we seek justice for you. We are available 24/7 to take your call and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.
Steps you should take after a car accident
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:
- Call 911 if you or anyone appears distressed, unconscious, or is injured.
- Avoid moving the vehicles before the police arrive and assess the scene; the exemptions apply when it has to do with traffic safety reasons.
- Get the contact details, insurance information, and identification from the other drivers.
- Avoid discussing the accident with other parties involved in the crash at the scene.
- Get the contact details of any witnesses.
- Request to review the police reports so that you note and change any incorrect information.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, injuries, the vehicles, and any nearby road signs.
- Seek medical attention if you are fortunate to walk out of the collision without any injuries. You should get checked for any minor injuries to be documented and ensure there are no underlying severe injuries. Inform the doctor of any loss of sensation, dizziness, headache, muscle spasms, pain, soreness, or any other lingering symptoms.
- Get in touch with your personal injury lawyer or find one that you can talk to and seek legal advice and assistance. We at Winters & Yonker are a team of experienced attorneys who will represent your interests when you speak with the insurance companies seeking compensation for damages.
- Refer any calls or offers from the insurers to your lawyer. The insurance companies, yours and those of the party at fault for the accident, will try and get in touch with you regarding the collision. Avoid handing them any information about the incident and refer them to us and let us deal with all their proposals and questions.
Florida Auto Crash Statistics
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%.
Car Accident Claim Process
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.
Filing The Claim
The process of recovering your rightful compensations will begin with making a claim for the damages you have suffered. This can’t be done until a proper figure representing the full extent of your damages in the accident has been professionally calculated.
This must include the full costs of medical care and treatment (past, present, and future), wages lost due to time off work. After this number has been produced you will invariably find that any initial offers made by the insurance adjusters fall far below the acceptable compensation – otherwise, insurance companies would never run a profitable business.
But, our experienced car accident law firm will work hard to ensure that every penny you deserve in compensation is accounted for and you recover full compensation. We add weight to our case with a proper investigation that improves the advantage in negotiating with insurance companies.
Dealing With Adjusters
Soon after your accident and often times before you have had a chance to file a claim you may be approached by a friendly claims adjuster. This Johnny-on-the-spot adjuster may seem very sympathetic to your situation and may even make an offer that sounds reasonable.
But, make no mistake, any offer they make willingly will be largely in favor of their insurance company and not looking to properly cover your needs. They may even ask you for a supposedly “mandatory” statement they need to begin the settlement process, but they have no right to ask this of you unless there is already a litigation process underway.
Providing the insurance adjuster with the statement they requests could be severely damaging to your case. It will be very say to unwittingly say things that can be misconstrued by the insurance company and used to deny you your full compensation. As a matter of fact, your statement will only be used for the insurance company to look for anything they can find to question the severity or validity of your injuries and claims.
You should provide your insurance adjuster with the basic information they need, like name, address, and insurance provider, but then let them know that your legal team will contact them. Even if you don’t actually have a legal team at the time you can go ahead and say you do, it is a better strategy.
Reviewing Settlement Offers
At some point after the accident, you will receive a message from the insurance adjusters saying they are preparing your settlement offer. You may be facing serious financial strain and an ever-increasing mountain of bills that must be paid and this can make the urgency of your situation forces you into accepting the first offer that arrives on the table. But, this could mean that you forgo a larger and more adequate settlement in the future.
Like any well-practiced negotiator, your insurance adjuster will begin by making an offer that is as low as they can conceivably make it in an effort to increase their bottom line. Because of the desperate nature of the situation, many victims will accept these low-ball offers without complaint. When this happens, the victim will waive their right to demand any more compensation in the future, no matter how inadequate their payout really was. For this reason, having an experienced car accident lawyer to look over your case is important. This will provide you an accurate idea of what value your case has so you can compare offers to your actual needs.
But, you can count on our team to perform a full investigation into your case and review the offer made by the insurance company. If the offer is less than fair, as it usually is, we will then provide assistance in negotiating with the insurance provider and encouraging to improve their offer to better compensate your needs.
Insurance companies know that we are not a law firm that will back down. This gives us an upper hand in fighting for the settlement our clients deserve. While many will assume that legal representation is just another unnecessary step in the process, insurance companies are banking on the ignorance and lack of representation of their claimants.
But, when they find out that a claimant has secured qualified legal insurance the dynamics of the situation will turn around drastically. We will work with you at every step of the case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Furthermore, we will not charge you a cent for our consultations, services or assistance, unless we actually win the case and get you’re the compensation you need.
You Pay Us Nothing
Unless We Win
auto accidents Frequently asked questions
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:
- The number of the case
- The crash location
- Time and date of the accident
- At least the name of one of the drivers
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.
Contact Our Tampa Attorneys for a Free Consultation
Sorting out a car accident case is time-consuming and requires the collection of a lot of information. In 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.