Did your life change due to an auto accident?
Focus on your recovery, and let us handle the rest.
If you’ve landed on this page, chances are you or a loved one were recently in a serious car crash which resulted in personal injury, property damage, missed time at work and other damages. For many people affected by a car accident, the injury and recovery are only half the battle. Dealing with insurance companies and trying to get adequate compensation for accident injuries can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting.
You should know that you’re not alone.
Each year, more than 37,000 people die in motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and another 2.35 million are injured or disabled as a result of an auto accident. These statistics from the Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) show just how devastating roadway accidents can be. In an instant, lives are lost or forever changed as a result of careless or reckless driving.
Allowing a Tampa car accident attorney to represent you can provide the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone is fighting for you. It allows you the opportunity to focus on your own physical and emotional recovery and well-being, knowing that you have help from an experienced injury attorney in getting the financial compensation you deserve for the suffering you have endured.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured in a car crash?
You may be entitled to compensation.
Learn more about your legal rights by completing our free case review form today.
Help! I’ve Been in a Car Accident. What Should I Do?
Screech! Crash! An accident can happen in the blink of an eye, leaving you in shock. The moments after a car crash are extremely important. Here are 5 things you should do to protect your health and ensure you have a strong case:
- Call 911. First and foremost, you or someone at the scene should call the police to ensure that everyone is safe. Tell the operator if you or anyone else is injured so they can send an ambulance. When the police arrive, give them a detailed account of what happened and answer their questions as honestly as you can. Never admit fault, even if you think you might be responsible, because you don’t know all of the facts.
- Seek medical help. If you or a loved one are seriously injured, wait for the ambulance to arrive and follow their instructions. Even if you think you weren’t really hurt, go see a doctor anyway soon after to get a checkup and make sure there were no internal injuries. Sometimes, adrenaline can mask pain or injuries until much later.
- Gather evidence. If you’re able to do so safely and without hurting yourself, gather information before leaving the accident scene—or ask someone else to it for you. Take pictures and video of everything using your phone or a camera, including the road, the vehicles involved, the surroundings and weather, etc. Write down the names and contact information of eyewitnesses. Record the name, contact info, and insurance company of the other driver. When you get home, write a detailed account of everything you can remember about the accident. Start saving any documents relating to the accident or your injury as this information may be used to calculate the value of your case later on.
- Notify your insurance company. Report your accident to your insurer as soon as possible after the crash. They will assign you a claims adjustor. Again, don’t admit fault until you know the facts and don’t accept an offer until you’ve had a chance to talk to an attorney.
- Call an attorney. There’s no harm in discussing your case with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer at Tragos, Sartes & Tragos since we offer free consultations. Plus, we can help give you peace of mind by helping answer common questions like:
- Do I really need a lawyer?
- How much is hiring an attorney going to cost?
- How much is my case worth?
- Who will cover my damages?
Florida Accident Law
Under Florida Law, all vehicle owners are legally required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which may cover up to 80% of the insured claimant’s injuries and as much as 60% of their lost wages resulting from the accident, regardless of who was at fault. However, in serious accidents, PIP may not be sufficient to cover the full extent of damages and it may actually limit your ability to take legal action.
For instance, if you fail to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, typically, PIP will not cover any of your medical bills. If you suffer an “emergency medical condition,” only 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of lost wages will be covered by PIP, and compensation for non-emergency medical conditions are usually capped at $2,500.
For this reason, it’s extremely important you contact an experienced lawyer immediately following a car accident.
Outside of PIP, Florida law allows car crash victims to sue those responsible for additional expenses. There are three types of damages that accident victims may seek via a personal injury lawsuit:
- Economic damages. This includes objectively verified monetary losses such as property damage (replacing or repairing a car), lost wages from missing work, and bodily injury (past and future medical bills).
- Non-economic damages. This includes non-monetary losses that are subjective but can still be assigned a dollar value such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, inconvenience, impairment, etc.
- Punitive damages. This includes damages awarded with the aim of deterring intentional or especially reckless behavior by punishing the offender; rare in personal injury cases.
It’s also important to know that car accident cases have a deadline. Under Florida statute of limitations, you have four years from the date of the accident, or from when the accident-related injury was discovered, to file an injury claim in civil court. Exceptions to this deadline are rare, which is why you should act swiftly when pursuing a case or else you may lose your chance to receive compensation.
Determining Fault in a Car Accident
How can you prove who was at fault in a car accident? Determining liability in a car crash can be difficult because everything happens so quickly, but this step is essential to the compensation process. In some cases, it seems as if the accident simply couldn’t have been avoided. However, almost every auto accident has driver error at its core.
Negligence is more easily determined when a crash involves one of the following conditions:
In each of the above circumstances, an accident could have been avoided if the driver had taken responsibility for safe driving: getting a sober ride home, staying focused on the task of driving, obeying traffic laws, not driving while drowsy, etc.
Sometimes, liability may be less obvious initially. Having the representation of a skilled attorney can help you determine all sources of liability, which may include employers, auto manufacturers, parents, bar and restaurant employees, and more.
In addition, Florida follows a pure comparative fault system. This means that your compensation will be reduced if you’re determined to be partly at fault in the accident. Even if you’re partly responsible, you may still be able to recover monetary compensation. It’s important to consult with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer to calculate how much compensation you’re eligible for.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of unintentional injury death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents were ranked as either the first or second leading cause of accidental injury death among all age groups.
Injuries associated with car crashes range in severity from minor bumps and bruises to catastrophic or fatal injuries. Injuries such as whiplash or concussion are common, and even though a person eventually recovers from these injuries, recovery can be painful, resulting in lost wages and missed work. Medical expenses for emergency treatment and follow-up care can add up.
Other injuries are much more severe. Serious car accident injuries, which may not be covered under PIP and warrant contact with a car accident lawyer in Tampa, include:
Types of Car Accidents
A collision can be minor or severe, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some accidents may be fatal, while others cause no serious injury and just a few scratches or dents on your car. By knowing what types of crashes are most common, you can learn how to avoid them and keep your family safe.
Our Tampa car accident lawyers are experienced in all types of collision cases. Some of the most common types of car accidents we see are:
Wrongful Death & Fatal Auto Wrecks
Sadly, some crashes are so severe that it results in the death of a person or multiple people. In such cases, under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act (768.16, 768.26), the surviving loved ones of a deceased victim may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
If negligence is properly established, damages can be awarded for economic losses (medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, etc.) and non-economic losses (loss of consortium, pain, suffering, etc.). In rare cases where extreme recklessness or intentional criminal conduct played a role, punitive damages may also be awarded.
When to Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported a total of 388,032 car crashes in Florida in 2017, and 2,892 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents that year alone. The CDC reported that fatal car accidents in 2013 had an economic impact of $32 million in medical costs and $2.99 billion in work loss costs. This total cost of more than $3 billion only encompasses traffic fatalities. Injury accidents may incur not only work loss costs, but medical costs that last for years beyond the initial injury.
If you or your family are facing the financial burden after an auto accident, it’s time to contact a Tampa car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Time is running out on your opportunity to receive compensation. At the Law Offices of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos, we will work diligently to get you the financial compensation you need and deserve from those liable for your accident.
We’ve been able to secure positive outcomes for past clients with similar cases:
- $400,000 settlement for client who was rear-ended and required disc herniation surgery
- $300,000 settlement for client who suffered a broken bone in her wrist as a result of a motor vehicle accident
- Confidential settlement for our client, John Graziano, who was catastrophically injured by the reckless driving of Nick Bollea, son of wrestler Hulk Hogan
Most cases have lower recoveries than the ones mentioned above. You shouldn’t assume that your case will get the same results. Instead, reach out to one of our Tampa car accident lawyers to see how much your case is worth.