Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are far too common in Tampa and the surrounding area. They may happen because someone runs a red light, a driver isn’t paying attention to the road or a variety of other causes. No matter the reason for the wreck, if you are injured and the accident isn’t your fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our Tampa car accident attorneys have decades of experience representing victims of injury. Our lawyers have required over $1 BILLION on behalf of our clients. We’ve taken on some of the biggest insurance companies in the country to get our clients the compensation they deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck, it never hurts to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer in Tampa. Give us a call at (813) 553-5352 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
When to Consult a Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa
You should almost always consult a car accident lawyer any time you are involved in a wreck. The only exception is if there was little to no property damage, you’ve been cleared of any serious injuries by the doctor AND your personal injury protection (PIP) policy covers all of your expenses. Even then, our Tampa car accident lawyers always offer free consultations, so it never hurts to give us a call to discuss your case!
You should call a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. You will have to talk to your insurance company and report the accident, even if you weren’t at fault. However, it may be better to speak to a lawyer before you speak with your insurer. The insurance company will record the conversation and look for any reason to lessen the amount they pay out in compensation. Your lawyer can help you figure out the right things to say.
In addition, your insurance company may send you a settlement offer after your wreck. Once you accept that offer, you forfeit your right to seek further compensation. So be sure to consult with a car accident lawyer in Tampa before you accept any kind of settlement offer (beyond your PIP coverage) from the insurance company.
Choosing the Right Car Accident Attorneys
We aren’t going to lie: You have a lot of options when it comes to car accident attorneys in Tampa. However, even the most highly-respected law firm may not be right for you. In order to choose the right law firm for your case, here are a few different questions to consider:
- How often do you handle car accident cases? Though most personal injury law firms handle car accidents on a regular basis, some choose to focus on other types of injuries. You will want to make sure your lawyer not only handles car accident cases on a regular basis, but does so successfully
- How do you normally communicate with clients? Some lawyers choose to call instead of email when they have any updates. Some lawyers choose to only communicate when there are major developments, while others choose to update you when anything happens, small or big. None of these options are wrong, but you need to choose a firm that communicates in a way that you prefer.
- How much will my case cost? Most personal injury lawyers, like our law firm, work on a contingency basis. This means they only get paid if they win your case, and their payment comes out of the settlement or verdict they win for you. The industry standard fee is up to 30% of the total compensation awarded, but some law firms have different pay structures.
- Do you have references? Every successful law firm should be able to provide you with at least a few happy former clients who you can talk to. Be sure to talk to these former clients about the experience of working with the firm, such as how they communicated, how much their case cost in the end, etc.
What Your Lawyer Will Help You Prove After Your Car Accident
One of the most important factors your lawyer will help you prove after your accident is that you were not majorly at fault. Florida follows a comparative fault statute. Under this statute, you can still recover compensation after an accident; however, the amount of compensation you recover will be lessened by the percentage you are found at fault.
Theoretically, you could recover compensation even if you are 99% at fault for the accident; you would just receive 1% of the total compensation. However, most lawyers won’t take your case if you carry the majority of fault for the wreck.
Your lawyer will also help you prove that you are injured and deserve compensation beyond the money you receive via your PIP coverage. In order to do so, however, you have to avoid a few common mistakes. For example, you absolutely must follow all doctor’s orders, including taking your medications, avoiding physical activity, and others. Otherwise, the other side could say you clearly weren’t injured since you didn’t need to listen to your doctor.
Further, you should avoid discussing your case with anyone but your lawyer — including posting anything about it on social media. Anything you say or post publicly can and will be used by the opposing counsel to diminish your case.
Elements of a Car Accident Case in Tampa
The most important element in a car accident case is the legal theory of negligence. Virtually every accident happens because of someone else’s negligence. However, some happen because someone caused it intentionally or, in extremely rare cases, they really were true accidents for which no one can be held accountable.
In legal terms, a person acts negligently when they act in a way that a reasonable person wouldn’t, and therefore causes injury. In order to prove negligence, you must prove four general criteria are met. These include:
- Duty of care: Every driver has a duty to follow all rules and laws of the road and take reasonable steps to avoid causing a car accident.
- Breach of duty of care: If a driver fails to follow their duty of care, they are said to have breached it. However, if an accident is caused by unforeseeable circumstances, the other driver may not be held liable.
- Injuries caused by the accident: You must also show that you suffered injury as a direct result of the car wreck. This may also include worsening of previous injuries.
- There are real, compensable damages: Finally, you must show that you suffered damages above the limits of or otherwise not covered by your PIP coverage. This may include lost wages, medical bills over $10,000, and more
Getting Compensation for Your Car Accident Injuries
After you report your accident to the insurance company, your PIP coverage will kick in. This coverage is mandatory for all drivers who live in Florida, and cover many of your different expenses after an accident regardless of fault. However, there are only certain expenses that are covered under this policy.
First and foremost, PIP will only pay for 80% of your medical bills, up to $10,000 (unless you pay for additional coverage). Your policy will typically cover medical services, medications, rehab, surgery, hospital costs, ambulatory services, and more. However, if your injury isn’t considered an “emergency,” you will only receive $2,500 in benefits.
PIP policies also cover 60% of your lost wages, up to $10,000. If your loved one is killed in a wreck, their PIP coverage will provide $5,000 for funeral and burial expenses.
If your injury leaves you with medical and other expenses above what PIP will cover, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover your losses. In general, these damages are divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages pertain to compensation for the real money you lost, such as:
- Medical expenses above $10,000
- Lost wages above $10,000
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
And more. In addition, your lawsuit may also help you recover compensation for noneconomic damages you suffered. These are losses that have nothing to do with real money. Instead, noneconomic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Emotional pain or distress
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
Dealing With Insurance Companies
If the expenses related to your car accident are covered completely by PIP, dealing with insurance is generally simple. Just submit your medical bills, pay stubs and other evidence to claim your benefits. Even so, it’s always a good idea to speak with a lawyer before you speak with the insurance company.
If you decide to file a lawsuit later on, whatever you said to the insurance company will be used against you in your case. Before you ever give a written or recorded statement, always consult with a lawyer. Otherwise, you may find yourself unable to get the full compensation you deserve.
What’s more, if your car accident does warrant more compensation than what your PIP policy will cover, you may receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. Chances are, that offer will be well below what you really deserve. In addition, the settlement offer letter may include language that suggests you won’t get a better number.
Don’t believe it! The moment you accept the settlement offer, you forfeit your right to seek greater compensation. Instead, call an experienced Tampa car accident attorney to discuss all of your legal options.
Types of Car Accident Cases We Handle
At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, we handle virtually any kind of car accident case. However, some car accidents are much more common than others. Some of the most common types of cases we handle include:
- T-bone collisions, which almost always happen when someone fails to obey a stop sign or red light at an intersection and therefore collides with the side of another driver (or causes another driver to ram them in the side)
- Rear end collisions, which often happen on highways and at intersections when a driver is coming too fast from behind and rams into the driver(s) in front of them who are either stopped or going a much slower speed
- Head-on collisions, which typically happen when a driver is coming the wrong way down a one-way road or down the wrong side of the road
- Hit-and-run accidents, which often require victims to have uninsured motorist coverage to recover compensation unless the other driver is caught
- Distracted or drunk driver accidents, in which victims are rarely held at fault, and are the main type of accident for which punitive damages may be assessed
And many more. No matter the cause of the accident, our Tampa car accident lawyers will devote our full legal knowledge and experience to fight for the compensation you deserve, both in and out of the courtroom.
Our legal representation of Tampa car accident victims has resulted in many past successful case results, including:
- $11.5 MILLION Car Accident Settlement for a case that resulted in the death of our client’s close family member.
- $5.9 MILLION Car Accident Verdict for a client who sustained serious nerve injuries.
- $835,000 Car Accident Verdict for a client who was struck by a police officer working for the City of Delray Beach.
- $700,000 Car Accident Award for a collision caused by a vehicle with no lights.
Common Injuries After a Car Wreck in Tampa
While car accidents can result in a variety of different injuries, some of the most common include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spine, neck and back injuries
- Broken legs and arms
- Broken ribs, which can lead to punctured organs
- Internal injuries, including internal bleeding
- Cuts, scrapes and bruising
- Soft tissue injuries, such as whiplash, sprains and strains
And many more. While some of these injuries are relatively minor, they can all have serious consequences. It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you have suffered any injuries that require medical attention above what is covered by PIP.
How Common Are Car Accidents in Tampa?
According to the The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 402,385 car wrecks throughout the state in 2017. These accidents resulted in 3,116 deaths and 254,310 injuries. Negligent driving and failing to yield were two of the most common causes of serious accidents that year.
In Hillsborough County, there were a total of 27,909 car accidents in 2017. This was a less than 1% increase over 2016. These wrecks resulted in 191 fatalities and 20,682 injuries. Compared to the rest of the state, Hillsborough County had the fourth-most wrecks in 2017, behind Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange Counties, respectively.
Alcohol was a contributing factor in 466 of all accidents in Hillsborough County in 2017, resulting in 15 deaths and 295 injuries. In addition, drugs played a role in 59 wrecks, leading to 31 deaths and 41 injuries. Finally, both drugs and alcohol were confirmed in 19 collisions, resulting in 7 deaths and 26 injuries.
Speak to a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a car wreck in the Tampa area, you have legal options. At Steinger, Greene & Feiner, our experienced lawyers know the ins and outs of local and state laws, and we are intimately familiar with the local court systems. As such, we know what it takes to help you get the compensation you deserve.