Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
With its sunny weather, sandy beaches, amusement parks and numerous entertainment and recreational hotspots, Florida is a great place to live and to visit. However, if you’re driving anywhere in the state, it can also be a very dangerous place. In fact, according to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Crash Dashboard, approximately 400,000 car crashes occur here each year, resulting in more than 250,000 injuries and 3600 fatalities. Last year, in Hillsborough County alone, there were 28,014 car crashes 18,695 car accident injures and 271 fatalities.
People injured in car crashes and their families can suffer horribly after a car crash. In addition to physical pain and having to seek medical treatment, car accident victims often experience mental anguish, loss of income and financial hardship. Their suffering, physical limitations and other losses can be very stressful and challenging for them and their families.
If you or a family member is experiencing the repercussions of a car accident injury, you may be overwhelmed by your present situation and have serious concerns about meeting challenges in the future. The trusted Tampa car accident lawyers at the Dennis Hernandez law firm want you to know you don’t have to face all of these difficulties alone. We have helped hundreds of car accident victims throughout the state and want to help you hold the negligent parties accountable and obtain the financial compensation you deserve.
On this website page, we will explain the criteria and process for filing a car accident lawsuit in Florida. We will also discuss the benefits of having an experienced car accident lawyer advocating for you and provide answers to the questions car accident victims and their families frequently ask us about Florida car accident cases.
When Can I File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
Almost any set of circumstances can lead to a car crash; however, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers are the major cause of accidents, especially those who engage in risky driving. Risky driving includes:
- Distracted Driving – responsible for causing more than 3,000 deaths each year.
- Drowsy Driving – responsible for approximately 700 fatalities per year.
- Speeding – responsible for almost 9,500 deaths each year.
- Drunk Driving – responsible for more than 10,000 fatalities a year.
- Drug-impaired Driving – associated with more than 50% of the drivers involved in serious injury accidents.
If you were injured in a car crash in which the other driver engaged in risky driving or was in some other way negligent, then you may be able to sue for damages. Liability in Florida personal injury cases is based on the concept of negligence, meaning that for a claim for damages to be viable, you have to be able to establish the four elements of negligence:
- The other driver owed you a duty of reasonable care.
- The driver breached this duty.
- The driver’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
- You suffered damages because of your injury. (The damages can be both economic, as in lost income or medical expenses, and non-economic, as in pain, suffering and mental anguish.)
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you can still sue, since Florida is a comparative fault state. Section 768.81, Florida Statues explains that in negligence claims, partial fault does not preclude recovery of damages for injury. Instead, the amount of compensation for an injury is reduced in proportion to the amount of fault attributed to the claimant.
You also have to keep in mind that you must file a car accident lawsuit within a specific time period. According to Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a), you usually have only four years from the date of the accident in which to file a personal injury claim and only two years in which to file a wrongful death claim.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me File a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit in Tampa?
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in the Tampa Bay area, you have the right to sue the at-fault driver for the compensation you deserve, and you are not required to have a lawyer to do so. However, getting advice and help from a Tampa car accident lawyer who is a skilled negotiator and litigator with experience handling different types of injury accident cases can be very advantageous.
The Dennis Hernandez car accident attorneys can answer your questions about the process of filing a Florida car accident lawsuit, advise you on your best course of action and expertly manage the case so you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family. More specifically, we will:
- Examine what happened in your accident and advise you on whether you have grounds to sue another party for your damages.
- Advise you if it is in your best interest to bring a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim.
- Protect your rights under Florida law.
- Negotiate vigorously with insurance company representatives and attorneys on your behalf.
- Collect the evidence necessary to demonstrate negligence on the part of the at-fault driver.
- Gather evidence to establish a fair value of your damages (physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, financial losses and other losses) and support your claim for compensation.
- Advise you on whether you should accept a settlement offer based on the full, fair compensation you deserve.
- Prepare assiduously to fight and win in court in case it is necessary to obtain the full, fair compensation you deserve.
- Answer all of your questions about the case and keep you well-informed of progress throughout the entire process.
For answers to specific questions about your case, please contact the Dennis Hernandez law firm at 855-529-3366 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website and talk with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer. All consultations are free, and you pay nothing until we win your case.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about Car Accident Lawsuits in Tampa
If you or a family member has been injured in a car accident in Tampa, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns about medical care, insurance and how to get the financial compensation you need. Based on our years of experience helping injured clients, we have compiled a list of questions and answers frequently asked about car accident lawsuits. We certainly suggest contacting us for answers and advice related to your specific situation; however, the following questions and answers can provide helpful general information and guidelines.
- Can I Sue for Car Accident Injury Damages in Florida?
- What Does PIP Insurance Cover?
- Who Can Be Held Liable for My Tampa Car Accident Injury?
- What Damages Can I Claim in a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit?
- How Much Compensation Can I Get with a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit?
- How Should I Handle the Insurance Adjuster?
- Should I Accept the Insurance Company’s Settlement Offer?
- Can I Sue in Florida If I Was Partially At-Fault for the Car Accident?
- Should I Hire a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer?
- What Should I Look for in a Car Accident Lawyer?
- How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer?
The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law does not preclude filing a car accident lawsuit to obtain compensation if you suffered serious injuries that are permanent in nature, resulted in scarring or disfigurement, or caused the loss of important bodily functions. Some examples of injuries that may be considered “serious” under Florida law include:
- Neck and back injuries: The impact of a collision can injure the discs in your neck or back. The damage may be apparent immediately or may get worse over time and may require extensive surgeries and other medical treatments.
- Brain injuries: Vehicle collisions are a major cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which can cause significant and permanent disabilities.
- Broken bones: Bone fractures may cause pain, impair bodily functions, require surgery or other medical treatment, and/or cause chronic health problems.
- Lost limbs: In catastrophic collisions, arms or legs may be torn away or be so severely injured that they must be amputated.
- Spinal cord injuries: Injuries to the spinal cord can be permanently disabling, causing loss of function and/or sensation.
- Burns: When a crash causes a fire, the resulting burns may cause scarring, disfigurement, pain, and/or loss of bodily functions and may require extensive and long-term medical treatments.
There are many instances when filing a lawsuit is necessary to obtain the compensation you need to pay for ongoing medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering and other damages. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can review what happened in your injury accident and let you know if you are eligible for this kind of lawsuit.
Florida law requires all motor vehicle owners to have a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance to cover their own expenses in case of an accident. PIP insurance covers necessary and reasonable medical expenses, such as medical treatment, hospital costs, rehabilitative care and physical and occupational therapy, and 60% of lost income, up to a maximum of $10,000. If there is no medical emergency, benefits are capped at $2,500.
Liability for a car accident is based on negligence. The party or parties who breached their duty of reasonable care are considered negligent and can be held liable for damages in a car accident case. Usually, drivers are found negligent when they break traffic laws, such as speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, not stopping at a traffic light or impaired driving and cause an accident. However, if an accident is caused by defective parts in a motor vehicle, the manufacturer, parts manufacturer or mechanic who did not repair or replace a part property can be held liable.
Also, if you were doing something that could have contributed to the accident, such as speeding or distracted driving, then you could be found partially liable. You can still sue for compensation, however, as long as you were less negligent than the other party.
The damages you can claim depend on the extent of your physical injuries, prognosis, healthcare needs and the effects of those elements on your mental health and family. An experienced Dennis Hernandez Tampa car accident attorney can help determine the damages to which you may be entitled; however, in general, people who are seriously injured in car accidents may seek compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Existing and future medical and care expenses, such as hospital stays, surgeries, medication, diagnostic tests, office visits, assistive devices and equipment, rehabilitative therapies and transportation to medical facilities
- Property damage
- Lost wages and other income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment, disfigurement or scarring
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Your family’s loss of your guidance, assistance and companionship
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
The amount of compensation you may be able to receive from a Florida car accident lawsuit depends on the specific circumstances of your case. An experienced Dennis Hernandez Tampa car accident attorney will consider your physical injuries, medical expenses, need for treatment and care, as well as the present and future effects of your injury on your mental state, income and family life before giving you an idea of what amount would be considered fair compensation for your damages.
Our attorneys have helped injured clients obtain multi-million-dollar awards and will put their successful experience to work helping you obtain the full, fair compensation you deserve.
Following a car crash, the other party’s insurance company will undoubtedly contact you to ask about the accident and your injuries. Although the talk may seem harmless, it can be detrimental to your case to communicate personally with them, since you could inadvertently say something that they could use to show that you were negligent and, in some way, responsible or partially responsible for the crash or that your injuries are actually minimal. In other words, any information you share with an adjuster or other insurance company representative can potentially be used to deny payment or diminish the amount of compensation you receive.
Having an experienced lawyer handle the communication with the other party’s insurance company can definitely be beneficial. You can tell insurance company representatives that your attorney will contact them so you do not have to be concerned about what you do or don’t say to them. Your Florida car accident attorney knows the tactics insurance companies use to deny or undervalue claims and will be prepared to negotiate aggressively with them to get you the maximum compensation.
People injured in Florida car accidents often feel pressured to accept the insurance company’s settlement offer, even if it is too low to cover their medical expenses. Sometimes insurance companies need more information to make fair offers, and often they try to pay out as little as possible.
This is where an experienced Tampa car accident attorney can be especially helpful. The Dennis Hernandez lawyers are skilled negotiators who know the tactics insurance companies use to pay as little as possible. We will not back down until you have a fair settlement offer to cover all of your damages, and if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement amount, we will be well prepared to go to court to win a fair award.
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means you can still receive compensation for an accident even if you were partially responsible for it. According to Florida Statute § 768.81, however, the amount will be reduced in proportion to the amount of fault attributed to you.
A Dennis Hernandez Tampa attorney who handles car accident cases will work diligently to gather the evidence necessary to demonstrate that the other driver was mainly or completely responsible for the crash to help prevent a reduction in your compensation.
Getting advice and help from a trusted Tampa car accident lawyer will help you navigate successfully through the legal claim process. The Dennis Hernandez accident attorneys have years of experience helping injured clients win the settlements or awards they need and deserve. We are skilled negotiators and litigators who don’t back down until we get the results our clients want.
When you work with our firm, you do not have to pay anything to hire us. Our advice and legal services are free until you get the compensation you need.
When looking for a car accident lawyer, you should look for experience, a record of success, communication and commitment. Most personal injury law firms claim they are committed to leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of justice, but few have the experience and record of success in helping clients get the full, fair financial compensation they deserve. At Dennis Hernandez, we say we never back down, and we mean it. We are not afraid to fight for what is rightfully yours and insurance companies and their attorneys know it.
We have years of experience helping hundreds of clients throughout Florida secure the compensation they deserve for their car accident damages. We communicate often with our clients, answering all questions and keeping them abreast of the progress we’re making on their case. We have achieved multi-million-dollar awards for seriously injured clients and will put our experience, commitment and skill to work fighting to get you the settlement or award you deserve.
You do not have to pay anything up front to hire a Tampa car accident lawyer, since we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you do not pay anything until we help you secure the compensation you deserve.
After you have been awarded the substantial settlement or court award you deserve, we will accept our fee for representing you throughout the legal process based on an agreed-upon percentage of the amount you receive for your damages.
Get the Help You Need from a Tampa Car Accident Attorney
All automobiles accidents are stressful, but injury accidents are especially devastating because of the necessary medical treatment, pain and suffering involved. Unfortunately, these problems can be compounded by having to deal with medical bills and insurance forms.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, talking with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer as soon as possible is in your best interest. The skilled Dennis Hernandez attorneys know how to handle insurance companies, collect the evidence necessary to win your case, and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, pain, suffering and losses. We assure that all evidence is gathered in a timely manner to prove negligence, and we negotiate directly with insurance companies on your behalf. We will prepare your case to fully demonstrate your need for substantial compensation for physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the car accident.
Many injury lawyers will do everything in their power to settle with insurance companies and avoid going to trial, but we never back down. We will leverage our trial experience to fight for the compensation you deserve. Working with the Tampa car accident attorneys at Dennis Hernandez means being supported through the entire legal process.
Call us at 855-529-3366 or fill in the FREE CASE EVALUATION form on our website to talk with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer and get started on your case.