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Car accidents are unfortunately common throughout the state of Florida. Each year, Tampa residents suffer severe injuries, vehicle damage, and other losses due to the negligent actions of other drivers. The aftermath of a car accident can lead to significant financial hardship due to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
If you are injured in a Tampa motor vehicle accident, you may be eligible for financial compensation. In these situations, the Tampa car accident attorneys at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner can guide you through the insurance claims process and help you secure the damages you need to recover.
Car accidents can happen due to a number of circumstances. For example, a government agency may neglect roads, leading to potholes and other types of damage that can lead to a collision. Inclement weather conditions and defective automobile parts may also cause an accident. In many cases, however, car accidents occur due to negligent driving behaviors and breaches of traffic law.
Examples of driver negligence include the following.
When handling car accident cases, states typically follow a fault or no-fault system. Most states are fault-based, meaning that negligent drivers are financially responsible for the losses that their victims sustain in an accident. Florida, on the other hand, follows a no-fault system. This means that a driver’s own insurance policy usually covers their losses unless certain thresholds are met.
Florida’s insurance laws require all drivers to hold at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which pays for the policyholder’s financial damages like medical expenses and lost wages following a car accident, regardless of fault. Florida drivers must also carry $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage, which pays for vehicle repairs for other parties injured in an accident that the policyholder caused.
If you are injured in a Tampa car accident, you can obtain compensation for your losses by filing a PIP claim. You can also recover damages for vehicle repairs by filing a PDL claim against the at-fault driver. However, having a Tampa personal injury attorney on your side can make the process much smoother and ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you are owed.
While your own insurance will pay 80 percent of the first $10,000 in medical bills, we can present a claim against the at-fault driver for the other 20% of the initial unpaid bills, all medical expenses over the $10,000, along with future medical bills, past and future lost wages, and pain and suffering damages.
Under Florida law, a car accident victim can escalate their case to a third-party insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit if his or her injuries meet certain criteria. Florida defines an injury as serious if it meets at least one of the following criteria.
For example, if you are involved in a Tampa car accident and you sustain bruises, lacerations, and a sprained wrist, your injury will not likely qualify as serious. However, if your wrist was broken in the collision, you could pursue a third-party claim. Additionally, there are various types of catastrophic injury claims that will almost always rise above the thresholds needed to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Speak to an attorney at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner as soon as possible to determine your eligibility and optimal legal pathway. Depending on the circumstances, you may not need to meet the serious injury threshold.
Car accidents can result in devastating losses that can have a severe impact on your quality of life. You may be unable to go to work, drive your vehicle, or pay for your medical expenses. Through a car accident lawsuit or insurance claim, however, you can recover compensatory damages to pay for your economic and non-economic losses.
Examples of damages available to Tampa car accident victims include the following.
As discussed above, Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to vehicle accident claims and insurance settlements. However, we did mention the thresholds necessary for a claim to rise above the no-fault system and allow individuals to file a civil personal injury claim against another party. When it comes to third-party personal injury claims, we must also examine the pure comparative negligence law in Florida.
This is a system designed to determine compensation when there is more than one party at fault for an incident. Individuals can recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for an incident, even if they are up to 99% at fault. However, compensation amounts are reduced depending on a person’s percentage of fault for their own injuries. For example, if a person would typically be awarded $100,000 for their injuries through a successful civil personal injury lawsuit, but they were found to be 40% responsible for their injury, then they would receive $60,000 instead of the full $100,000 to account for their percentage of fault.
There are various timelines you need to be aware of when it comes to a vehicle accident claim in Tampa, Florida. First, the vast majority of claims will be handled through insurance carriers. Since Florida is a no-fault state, individuals will turn to their personal insurance carrier for compensation in most situations. These insurance carriers will have fairly strict reporting deadlines, often within a day or two after the incident occurs. Please file the claim with your insurance carrier as soon as possible to avoid any delays.
If your case rises above the threshold necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit against another party, then a different statute of limitations applies. Based on Florida law, individuals have four years from the date an accident occurs to file a lawsuit against an alleged negligent party. Failing to file a lawsuit within this time frame will result in the person becoming unable to recover compensation for their losses.
If you are filing an insurance claim or lawsuit for a car or truck accident in Tampa, you need an attorney on your side. Navigating Florida’s car accident claims process can be difficult after a recent injury and hiring an attorney will provide you with the resources, experience, and knowledge necessary to develop a compelling case.
A Tampa car accident attorney from Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner can deliver several benefits to your claim, including the following.
At Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner, we are proud to offer free consultations to all clients. You can come to us so we can help determine the next best steps without having to worry about handing over any initial fees. Additionally, we take car accident claims on a contingency fee basis. This means clients pay absolutely no legal fees until we secure the compensation they are entitled to. If we do not win, our clients do not pay anything.
Are you recovering from the aftermath of a Tampa car accident? The lawyers at Salter, Healy, Rivera & Heptner can help you secure the compensation you need to recover from your losses. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and strategize your optimal path to recovery with a Tampa car accident lawyer.