- Practice Areas
At the law firm of Salter, Healy, Rivera, & Heptner, our experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of car crashes recover from their injuries and receive full compensation for all damages. We understand that you’re probably feeling anxious and frustrated after your accident. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL and get the help you deserve. Let our experience and dedication work for you.
When it comes to car accidents, states either follow a fault or no-fault system. In fault states, negligent drivers pay for all damages, such as medical expenses or vehicle repairs, after a collision. Florida is a no-fault car insurance state, meaning that every driver’s own car insurance is responsible for his or her initial medical expenses after a car accident.
All Florida drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for their medical bills and other financial losses after a collision. If you are involved in a car accident, your own no-fault insurance will pay 80% of your first $10,000 in medical bills regardless of who was responsible for the accident. We then will present your claim against the at-fault driver for the 20% of the initial bills that are unpaid, all your medical expenses over the $10,000, plus claims for your future medical treatment, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
Vehicle repairs and other types of property damage are not covered by PIP benefits. Under Florida law, drivers must also carry a minimum of $10,000 property damage liability (PDL) benefits. You have the right to file a liability claim against an at-fault driver to recover compensation for damage to your vehicle, and our office will assist you with making that claim.
A PIP insurance policy in Florida not only extends to the driver of a vehicle — it also covers the policyholder’s children, passengers who lack their own PIP coverage, and members of the policyholder’s household. If your spouse is involved in an accident while driving your vehicle, for example, he or she could receive coverage under your own policy.
PIP coverage does not only cover accidents in your own vehicle, but collisions while you or your family members are riding in another person’s vehicle as well. If your children are riding on a school bus or if you are injured in a collision while driving in your parents’ car, you will still receive coverage. PIP coverage also provides protection if you are struck by a motor vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle.
Under Florida law, you can make a claim against the at-fault driver for all amounts that exceed $10,000 in no-fault coverage along with claims for future medical expenses and all past and future lost wages. Also, if it is determined by a medical doctor that you have a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability you then can also make a claim for non-economic or pain and suffering damages both in the past and in the future.
The permanent injury threshold in Florida is any injury that involves:
Anyone who is involved in a motor vehicle collision should speak with an injury attorney right away, even if you don’t have visible injuries right away. The forces involved in car accidents are great and, often, internal injuries such as nerve damage and whiplash don’t manifest themselves immediately. A St. Petersburg car accident attorney can help make sure that you are examined and your injuries are documented appropriately.
You need to keep in mind that you do not have all the time in the world to bring a car accident claim. In Florida, you generally have four years from the date of the injury to file a claim, though the time limits may be much shorter in certain circumstances. Do not take your time. We suggest that you get to an attorney as soon as possible. It takes time to build a strong legal case and you want to be able to give your attorney as much time as possible by calling them right away.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state, which means that the only way to completely bar you from receiving compensation is if you are deemed to be 100% at fault. If you are 0%-99% at fault, then you are eligible for a compensatory reward. The insurance company will try to deem you for as much fault as possible so that they owe you less money. We will make sure that they do not succeed. Your full and fair compensation is our priority. Our car accident attorney in St. Petersburg, FL will strive to get you the biggest award possible by keeping the insurance company from pinning any of the blame on you.
Make sure that you treat your health as a priority after the accident.
In doing all of these things, make sure you avoid saying this was your fault. It might seem like you caused the accident in the moment, but we have experts who have the ability to discern who was truly at fault and it very well might not be you.
There are many actions and situations that create dangerous driving conditions. The most common causes of auto accidents in Florida include:
Additionally, an increasing cause of car accidents is distracted driving. Traditionally, driver distractions have been food, drink or even passengers. But these days, technology is everywhere and people seem to be addicted to it. Drivers are often distracted by electronic devices in their car such as talking on the phone, texting, or changing the radio station. Avoiding these distractions will decrease your risk of being in an accident.
Car accidents can have severe consequences that lead to disputes with insurance agencies over medical coverage. When your insurance company abandons you, our St. Petersburg car accident lawyers work diligently on your behalf to help alleviate your suffering from the following common injuries sustained in car accidents:
Additional injuries from car accidents can include broken bones, nerve and muscle damage, organ damage, and paralysis. We want to emphasize how important it is that you get the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. You won’t get it until we can show the insurance company the damages that their driver caused you. We do that in forms of medical records. Once you seek medical attention, we have proof that the accident caused you harm and we can seek compensation to cover those damages.
Our attorneys work to get you the damages available under the law. Whether at settlement negotiations or at trial, we help you recover compensation for:
Shortly after your accident, it is nearly guaranteed that you will receive a call from the insurance company of the other driver involved in the accident. They will want to get a recorded statement from you, but you need to know that it will not help your legal case if you give them one. In fact, it will most likely harm your case if you talk to them. You have no legal obligation to talk to them and you should let your attorney take over all communication to avoid any reduction to your compensation.
Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system. This means that drivers are typically compensated by their own insurance company after an accident. Your personal injury protection (PIP) benefits cover your medical costs and certain other expenses, but if your injuries are severe enough to be considered permanent, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against another driver or their insurance company. Without an attorney, it can be difficult to stand up to an insurance company and prove your legal case. Never speak to an insurance adjuster without consulting your attorney first.
After a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do next. You may be suffering from severe injuries and facing thousands of dollars’ worth of medical bills. The emotional and physical impact of the injury can also be difficult to deal with. In these situations, you need an attorney on your side.
At Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner, our attorneys have over 60 years of experience representing St. Petersburg, FL residents in their car accident claims. We have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients and are dedicated to achieving maximum possible recovery on your behalf.
Our St. Petersburg personal injury lawyers can deliver significant benefits to your legal case, including the following.
If you have been involved in a car accident that gave you a serious personal injury, please call our St. Petersburg car accident attorneys today for a free consultation. We want to take the weight of your case off of your shoulders so that you can make your recovery your main focus. We will handle the insurance company and make sure that they are being held responsible for their insured’s wrongdoing.
Contact our office today to get the results you deserve. Our lawyers will begin working on your legal case as soon as possible.