Tampa Car Accident Attorneys
New insurance laws dramatically affect your car accident case in Tampa, Florida. Now, if you don’t act within 14 days, you can lose thousands of dollars in insurance coverage you paid for… even if you are not at fault. Don’t wait! Get the protection you deserve. If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident it is now more important than ever for you to immediately consult with an experienced auto accident lawyer.
At the Fernandez Firm personal injury lawyers, our attorneys have been representing Tampa car accident victims and their families for nearly 25 years. During that timeframe, we have helped scores of people to recover their medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by negligent drivers. We have won over $100 million in jury verdicts and settlements and will fight the insurance companies to ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to recover for your injuries. If they don’t pay, rest assured, we will take your case to court!
Injured? Please contact our Tampa auto accident attorneys today to learn more about your legal rights at 1-800-222-8163.
Do You Need to Hire a Lawyer After a Tampa Car Accident?
If you have been injured in a Tampa car accident, the decision to hire a personal injury lawyer should be an easy choice to make. A Tampa car accident lawyer can help you fight for the compensation you deserve against insurance companies and at-fault parties. The reality is that the aftermath of car accidents is complicated and filled with confusion. Just a single accident can result in various insurance companies, injury victims, and other competing interests involved in the investigation and negotiation of your personal injury claim.
It is in your best interest to contact a lawyer soon after your accident to ensure that your rights under the law are protected from the initial moments of your claim and case. The earlier your lawyer becomes involved in your personal injury claim the better your chances at fighting for the compensation you may be entitled to.
Delays or hesitations in hiring a lawyer can translate to delays and additional complications in your case. The days and weeks after a car accident are vital to the determination of damages, fault, and liability in a personal injury claim and case. While a lawyer can step in on your behalf at most points in a personal injury lawsuit it is always best to avoid difficulties if possible and have a lawyer working at your side from the outset of your case.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a car accident in the Tampa area, contact the Tampa car accident lawyers at Frank and Jennifer Fernandez at The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys to discuss the specifics of your case and learn more about how you can seek compensation for the losses you have incurred. We understand the challenges you face as a Tampa car accident injury victim, and can help you fight for the compensation you deserve under Florida law.
When Should You File a Lawsuit After a Tampa Car Accident?
You do not have an indefinite time to file legal action after a Tampa car accident. Each state sets its own rules for when an injury victim must file a lawsuit against those responsible for the damages they have suffered in a car accident. These time restrictions are referred to as statutes of limitations.
In Florida, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim arising from a car accident is four years from the date an accident occurs. If you fail to file an action for damages against the at-fault party within the four years following your accident you will likely be barred from recovering for your losses in a court of law.
Hire Experienced Tampa Car Accident Attorneys
Based in Tampa, the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys have successfully handled thousands of car accident claims, representing victims negligently injured across the Sunshine State. Our experience team of trial lawyers remains dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured by:
- Minor Impact Collisions to Fatal Highway Crashes
- Truck Accidents (involving Semi Trucks, Tractor Trailers, Delivery Vehicles and Commercial Vehicles)
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Rear-End Collisions
- Rollover Accidents, T-Bone and Head-On Collisions
- Hit and Run Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Drunk Driving Accidents
- Distracted Driving Accidents (and those caused by texting cell phone users and drivers not paying attention to the Florida rules of the road)
Whether you were involved in a small “fender bender” or catastrophic car crash, our experienced team of Tampa car accident lawyers, is here to provide you with legal advice, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Who is Liable For Your Losses After a Car Accident in Tampa?
The liability for your losses in a car accident can be straightforward or quite complicated depending on the driver and the actions they were involved in at the time of the accident. Most times a car accident case is between an at-fault driver and the drivers or passengers injured by their negligence. However, if a driver was involved while on the job or driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, other parties might be liable for your injuries.
Who is liable to you for your losses may not always be apparent at the scene of an accident. It can take further investigation to discover that other parties may potentially be responsible for your injuries. A Tampa car accident lawyer can evaluate your case and research all potential liability for your damages.
Tampa Car Accident Law
Effective January 1, 2013, those injured in a Tampa car accident only have 14 days from the date of the Tampa car crash to seek medical care or risk forfeiting the right to receive thousands of dollars in accident-related medical care.
Now, failure to obtain medical treatment within this very limited timeframe may completely bar a car accident victim’s right to receive payment of any insurance benefits due under their automobile insurance policy, regardless of fault. Given the foregoing, it is critical accident victims immediately consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer to protect their legal rights.
In addition, under this new law, only victims diagnosed with an “Emergency Medical Condition” (EMC) are entitled to the full $10,000.00 in no-fault medical coverage they purchased from their insurance company. Only certain medical specialists — medical doctors (MDs), osteopathic physicians (DOs) , dentists (DMDs), physician assistants (PAs) or advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) — are “qualified” under Florida law to make this newly-imposed EMC diagnosis; a chiropractor cannot make this determination.
Car Accident Damages You Can Recover
Tampa car accident victims are generally entitled to receive compensation for the following types of economic and non-economic damages:
- Medical Expenses – Past and future medical treatment.
- Lost Income – Lost past and future wages and the loss of earning ability.
- Pain & Suffering – Pain, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of Consortium – Loss of a loved ones companionship.
To learn if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, contact the Tampa car accident lawyers at our firm today. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case and explain the damages you may be able to recover under state law. At the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys, there is no charge for our consultations and, if there is no recovery, there are no attorneys’ fees or costs due. We don’t get paid unless we win!
Tampa Car Accident Facts
Most Tampa drivers get to their destinations without incident, but as the accident statistics for Tampa prove, thousands of drivers, passengers, motorcycle operators, and cyclists are hurt or killed on Tampa roadways each year.
An injured accident victim may recover financial compensation from the at-fault driver. Our Tampa car accident attorneys can help.
Data About Tampa and Florida Accident Rates
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects information about traffic accidents and fatalities in the U.S. In 2019, the NHTSA reported nearly 36,560 motor vehicle accidents nationwide, including thousands of seriously injured victims. Florida accident numbers are equally severe.
How Common Are Car Collisions in the Sunshine State?
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) collects data for car accidents in the state. One recent year saw 330,753 motor vehicle accidents throughout Florida.
The report from the FLHSMV further breaks down the statistics from these collisions:
- 205,978 people were injured in a Florida car accident
- 3,106 people perished in fatal traffic accidents
- 20,242 injuries were caused by hit-and-run accidents, resulting in 3,106 fatalities
Understanding what kind of vehicles were most likely to be involved in a catastrophic or fatal crash may help you stay safer on Tampa roadways.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles documents which vehicles were involved in fatal collisions:
- 145 deaths occurred from bicycle accidents
- 655 pedestrians died after being struck by a car
- 477 fatalities happened from motorcycle accidents
Cyclists, pedestrians, and motorcycle drivers lack the protective shell of metal that car, truck, and SUV drivers have. Therefore, when they’re involved in a collision with one of these vehicles, they typically come out much worse than the driver. In fact, 41 percent of Florida traffic accident fatalities were bicyclists, motorcycle operators, or pedestrians.
In Florida, about 52 percent of all fatalities come from single-vehicle accidents. Furthermore, 44 percent of all deadly accident victims were not wearing seatbelts at the time of their accidents. Alcohol played a role in 4,984 car wrecks in one recent year, and 378 people died from drunk driving accidents.
Traffic Accident Statistics in the Tampa Area
The FLHSMV report breaks down Florida accident statistics by county, as well. Hillsborough County, which contains the greater Tampa metro area, had some of the most accidents in the state. In just one year, 199 people died in a Hillsborough County car accident, and 16,068 people were injured.
Nearly 100 people died in fatal collisions in the Tampa Bay area, including:
- 50 pedestrians
- 25 motorcycle drivers
- 13 cyclists
In one recent year, 6,857 hit-and-run accidents took place in Hillsborough County. Over 1,600 of those accidents injured drivers or passengers, and 19 people lost their lives.
The Role of Alcohol in Tampa Bay Accidents
Drunk drivers are a significant concern for drivers in Hillsborough County and Tampa.
In 2019, according to the FLHSMV, drunk driving was responsible for:
- 481 accidents
- 20 deaths
- 256 people injured
Various factors like weather, poor road conditions, or malfunctioning vehicles can contribute to deadly collisions.
However, many causes of a Tampa car accident are avoidable, such as driving under the influence (DUI). Distracted driving in other forms, like texting and driving or eating and driving, also constitutes negligence that could be fatal.
In addition, Tampa is a year-round hot spot for tourists and visitors, many of whom don’t know the city’s streets very well. Tourists following maps and GPS navigation can drive distracted on roads where many Tampa natives may already know to remain wary.
Regardless of the factors contributing to a car accident, if you were involved in one and weren’t the at-fault driver, a Tampa car accident lawyer can help you recoup damages for losses you suffered.
When you call Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys, your initial consultation is free.
Tampa Car Accident FAQs
Tampa’s roads can be chaotic and busy throughout most daily commutes and travels. Car accidents are a common sight along Tampa roadways, but the injuries suffered by many car accident victims are anything but an everyday inconvenience.
Car accident injuries can have significant impacts on your health, your daily life, your finances, and your ability to work. When you are injured in a car accident, you may have questions about how to protect your legal rights, the personal injury claim process, lawsuits, and the monetary recovery of the losses you have suffered.
Below, Frank and Jennifer Fernandez will explore some of the most frequently asked questions The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys receives regarding car accidents in Tampa. If you need assistance now, contact The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys to speak with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney.
Do You Need to Contact Law Enforcement After a Car Crash in Tampa?
The answer to this question is almost always yes. There are very few circumstances where you could proceed without contacting law enforcement. It is time-consuming and inconvenient to wait for the police to arrive and investigate a car accident, but even in minor collisions, this step is necessary to protect your legal rights after a crash.
The most common example of drivers not calling the police is in a parking lot collision. A parked vehicle is struck but the vehicle owners can resolve the damage through their insurance companies. However, just because you can go forward without police involvement does not mean you should.
While the police will not issue citations on a private property crash they will complete an informational report that will provide the date and time of the accident as well as all the parties involved. This informational report is beneficial for an insurance claim and can also prevent another party from making accusations of a hit-and-run against you.
When Should You Contact the Police After a Tampa Car Accident?
In all other collisions, you should always notify the police of the accident. Many states require you to notify law enforcement of a car accident that results in injury, death, or significant property damage.
In Florida, the property damage threshold is just $500; which when it comes to car accident repairs, can seem minimal. Once the police come to an accident scene, they will collect the information of all involved, conduct a preliminary investigation of the accident, and may issue citations to any driver who violated a traffic law. They will provide all parties involved with the informational report at the scene with identifying information of drivers and passengers and will provide a crash report of their findings later on.
Drivers must always be cautious of suggestions to not call the police by other motorists. In these situations, the other driver could provide you fraudulent insurance information or identification or wait for you to leave and then accuse you of a hit-and-run collision.
Oftentimes, individuals that make these suggestions do so because either they know they are at fault, are insured, unlicensed, or might be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not calling the police to an accident scene could result in many complications for you later on and can jeopardize your ability to seek compensation for any damages or injuries you discover after the accident.
Why Must I Contact My Insurance Company After a Tampa Car Accident?
Another common area of confusion for individuals involved in a car accident is whether they are required to contact their own insurance after an accident. Regardless of the issuance of a citation in an accident, you are likely required to contact your insurance company after a crash occurs.
Keep in mind that your relationship with your insurer is defined by your policy agreement that was agreed to when you purchased the policy. Under this contract, most insurance companies have set out notification requirements of when you must contact them after an accident occurs.
When you do take the moment to notify your insurer of an accident keep your communication to whom, what, when, and where. You can provide information on the parties involved in the accident, what type of accident occurred, the date and time of the accident, and the location of the accident. Do not provide any information regarding injuries or your opinions on the events leading up to the accident.
Insurance companies, including your own, are looking for any discrepancies or indications to reduce or deny an insurance claim during these conversations. While you initially may believe your claim will be paid by the at-fault party’s insurance there are some circumstances where you may need to file a claim with your own insurer either due to an uninsured motorist, delays, or policy limitations. In these situations, you should discuss your options with an attorney to plot the best course of action for your interests.
Should You Answer Questions From any Insurance Company Shortly After an Accident?
No. Call us and have us do that for you.
Your insurance company and that of the at-fault party’s will contact you in an attempt to get a recorded statement on how the accident and your injuries occurred. Do not make any statements or answer any questions on how an accident occurred and the injuries you have suffered without first consulting with a car accident attorney. Experienced car accident attorneys like Frank and Jennifer Fernandez can manage the communications with the insurers on your behalf.
How is Fault Determined in a Tampa Car Accident?
Oftentimes those involved in a car accident will confuse the issuance of a citation with the fault determination for an accident. A police officer can issue a traffic citation for any number of reasons after an accident. In addition, law enforcement officers will often issue their findings in an accident through their crash report.
A citation and a crash report do not determine fault, but insurance companies and lawyers use them as evidence of fault. This is an important distinction because there are circumstances where evidence may arise after an accident which can more clearly show the party responsible for the accident and damages.
Insurance companies will make fault determinations during a personal injury claim for purposes of the settlement of a claim to those affected by the accident. Unlike a police investigation, the insurance company will base its fault determination on the elements of negligence under the law. The fault determination of an insurance company can affect a personal injury claim including whether a claim is denied or the amount of financial compensation for damages offered in settlement by the insurer.
While the determination of fault made by an insurance company will affect your case, it does not always mean it is final. There are circumstances when you can challenge the fault determination made by an insurer and proceed to a determination by a court if necessary.
What Does It Mean to Be in a No-Fault State?
The term no-fault is a source of the most common confusion when it comes to car accidents in Florida. No-fault does not mean that there is no fault attributed in a motor vehicle accident but rather has to do with how insurance claims for injuries are filed after an accident.
In Florida, every automobile driver is required to carry personal injury protection with a minimum of $10,000 in coverage. If an accident occurs and there are injuries sustained, each injured party will file an injury claim with their own insurance company regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
However, if your injuries are serious and exceed your policy coverage you may seek additional compensation for your losses against the at-fault party. In other words, even though Florida is considered a no-fault state and your primary source of recovery for your injuries is your own insurer, at-fault parties can still be liable for the damages they have caused to you when those losses exceed the limitations of your PIP coverage.
What Happens if You are Injured by an Uninsured Driver in Tampa?
Uninsured motorists are a common concern in Florida. If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that is the fault of an uninsured driver, your recovery may be limited to your own policy coverage.
You will first look to your PIP coverage for recovery of losses related to your injuries; you will then look to see if your policy includes an Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist rider which may provide additional coverage to you for compensation for injuries, property damage, and other losses.
Accidents with uninsured motorists can be a headache. Maximize your odds of recovery by partnering with dedicated Tampa car accident lawyers like The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys.
Call Our Tampa Car Accident Attorneys For a Case Evaluation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Tampa, Florida, contact our office at 1-800-222-8163. Our Tampa car accident lawyers are available 24/7 to discuss you case.
At the Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys, we don’t get paid unless we win and …We Want to Win!
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I had an extraordinary experience at The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys. They were so professional and kept me well informed about my case. I would highly recommend them.
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The Fernandez Firm Accident Injury Attorneys
2503 W Swann Ave #100
Tampa, FL 33609