Tampa Car Accident Lawyer
Thousands of people are injured in car accidents in Hillsborough County every year. However, if you have been injured in an auto accident in the Tampa area, it’s easy to feel alone – especially if the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligence.
In the aftermath of being injured in a car accident, it’s crucial to seek medical care right away. It’s also imperative to retain the help of a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced Tampa personal injury attorney won’t just help you build a strong claim; they will also ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the total amount of compensation that you are owed.
Have you been injured in an automobile accident in the Tampa Bay area? After seeking medical attention, do yourself a favor and contact the Tampa auto accident attorneys at Couture Law P.A. We will deal with the insurance company on your behalf, gather evidence to develop a strong claim and otherwise assist you through this stressful, upsetting time.
Tampa-area car accident statistics
If it seems like you’re constantly seeing ambulances racing to car accident scenes constantly around Tampa, it’s not your imagination. Unfortunately, the area ranks in the top five for car crashes across the state. Many of these crashes result in injuries and fatalities, keeping local Tampa car accident attorneys busy throughout the year.
According to the Traffic Crash Facts Annual Report 2020, published by the Florida Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles department, 24,168 automobile accidents occurred in Hillsborough County in 2020. Those accidents caused 16,450 injuries and 213 fatalities. Per the same report, the three-year average for the county stood at 27,453 crashes, 18,789 injuries and 203 fatalities.
Unfortunately, things aren’t getting better. According to the Tampa Bay Times, car accident fatalities in Hillsborough County reached an all-time high of 255 in 2021. In other words, nearly five people died in car accidents per week across the area that year.
You’re not alone if you’ve been injured in an auto accident in Tampa. If the incident occurred because of someone else’s negligent actions, it’s imperative to seek and obtain all of the damages you are entitled to. By hiring the skilled Tampa car accident lawyers at Couture Law P.A., you’re far more likely to succeed in that regard.
Injured in a Tampa car crash? Here’s what to do.
Nobody expects to get into a car accident when they get behind the wheel. However, as evidenced by the sobering statistics highlighted above, it’s an all-too-real possibility in the Tampa Bay area. Even if you are a diligent, defensive driver, all it takes is one negligent driver or another third party to wreak havoc on your life.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed or even in shock following a car crash. However, it’s important to take the right steps to ensure your safety and to lay the foundation for seeking damages for your losses. In the aftermath of an auto accident, follow these steps:
- Get to safety – If possible, exit the vehicle and find a safe spot well off of the road. If your vehicle is surrounded by traffic, you may have to sit still until help arrives. If you or anyone else appears to be seriously injured, call 911 for an ambulance right away.
- Call the police – After ensuring that you and others are safe, call the police using the local number – not 911. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s crucial to have the incident recorded by law enforcement professionals. They will generate a police report, so ask for the report number before leaving the scene.
- Gather information – Collect information from the other driver involved in the incident, including their name, phone number, address and car insurance policy details. If there were passengers in the other vehicle, collect their information too. Make sure also to collect the names and phone numbers of any people who witnessed the accident.
- Document the scene – Use your phone to take photographs of the accident scene as soon as possible. Wreckage is typically cleared away fast, so acting quickly is vital. Take photos of the other vehicle’s license plate and any injuries.
- Seek medical treatment – If you’re seriously injured in a Tampa car crash, an ambulance will most likely transport you to the nearest hospital for medical care. Even if you appear to be fine, however, you should still seek medical attention as soon as possible following the accident. Many injuries aren’t apparent right away, and they can be made worse by delaying medical care.
- Don’t talk to insurance company representatives – It probably won’t take long for insurance company representatives to descend on the scene or otherwise contact you. Remember that their goal is to pay as little – or nothing – on a claim as possible, and they’ll use anything you say against you in that regard. Don’t speak to any insurance company reps or sign anything until you’ve met with a qualified attorney.
- Contact a car accident lawyer in Tampa – If you are injured in an accident because of someone else’s careless actions, the sooner you retain a skilled personal injury attorney, the better. If you’re worried about affording a lawyer, the attorneys at Couture Law P.A. don’t collect any fees until you obtain monetary recovery from your personal injury claim.
Why do you need a Tampa auto accident attorney?
Technically speaking, you don’t need a lawyer to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, given Florida’s complex legal landscape and other variables, it’s in your best interest to do so right away.
Insurance laws are incredibly complex, and they are stacked against policyholders like you. Insurance companies fight tooth and nail to pay as little as possible on claims; in fact, their ultimate goal is not to pay anything. They have access to vast networks of legal resources, making them the Goliath to your David. If you try going it alone, your odds of recouping all of your owed damages will be extremely slim.
It’s crucial to hire a qualified car accident attorney in Tampa after being injured in a car accident because they understand the ins, outs and intricacies of dealing with insurance companies and the complexities of Florida’s legal system. Your attorney will work on your behalf, providing informed advice and negotiating with insurance companies. They’ll gather evidence, enlist experts’ help and otherwise take steps to protect your rights and develop a solid personal injury claim.
Why should you call Couture Law P.A. after a Tampa car accident?
There are countless personal injury law firms across Greater Tampa and Hillsborough County, so why should you call Couture Law P.A. after being injured in a car crash?
Like most people, you’re probably unsure of what to do after a car accident. It’s easy to make missteps that may negatively impact your ability to receive all of your owed compensation. It’s vital to enlist the help of an experienced, qualified local personal injury law firm, and Couture Law P.A. is ready to help.
By contacting us as soon as possible after being injured in a Tampa car accident, you dramatically increase the odds of being fully and fairly compensated for damages and losses from the incident. The following are just a few of the things we will do to assist you during this traumatic time:
- collect police and accident reports from the City of Tampa Police Records Division
- question any witnesses to the accident to determine the precise cause of the incident
- reconstruct the scene of the accident to understand better how it unfolded
- collect and analyze your medical records relating to the accident to start forming a basis for the amount of compensation you are owed
- enlist the help of expert witnesses to review records and other types of evidence
- review the records and driving history of the at-fault party
- communicate and work with insurance adjusters on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement
Florida’s statutes of limitations regarding personal injury cases
It’s important to file a personal injury claim quickly following a car accident not only because evidence fades quickly but also because strict statutes of limitations apply in the Sunshine State.
Per Florida Statute 95.11, you must file a personal injury claim within four years from the accident date. If you are filing a claim against the state or any of its subdivisions, you must submit the claim in writing within three years of the accident.
For personal injury claims involving death, you must file within four years of the death. If you are filing against the state, you must do so within two years of the date of death.
Types of car accident claims
Auto accident claims span many categories, including the following:
The majority of personal injury claims filed in Florida courts involve the negligence of another party. Most of the time, the at-fault party failed to exercise the appropriate level of care behind the wheel. Examples of negligent behaviors that often cause injuries to innocent parties include the following:
- distracted driving
- driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- reckless driving
- texting while driving
- driving the wrong way
- aggressive driving
- ignoring stop signs or traffic lights
- hit and run accidents
When you hire a Tampa auto accident attorney from Couture Law P.A. after being injured in a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence, they will gather evidence that demonstrates how their negligent actions caused your injury – or the death of a loved one.
POOR ROAD CONDITIONS OR DESIGN
You may also be injured because of the bad condition or poor design of a roadway. Construction zones along I-75, I-275 and elsewhere often create hazardous conditions, increasing the odds of crashes, injuries and fatalities. Other times, potholes, uneven lanes, malfunctioning traffic lights, missing signs or steep inclines may be to blame. In this case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the entity responsible for the design, construction or maintenance of the road. Such entities may include city, state or county governments, maintenance companies and construction companies.
If your personal injury lawyer believes you have a case against a government entity, they will advise you of special provisions. For example, you may only collect a maximum of $200,000 in punitive damages under such circumstances.
You may also be injured in a car crash because of defective airbags, tires, brakes or other components. If your injuries occurred because of defective products, your lawyer will work to hold the appropriate manufacturer responsible. These personal injury cases require extensive amounts of evidence and expert testimony. Couture Law P.A. knows how to work with claims like these effectively.
Suppose a loved one died in a car accident because of someone else’s negligence. In that case, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for funeral and burial expenses, lost companionship, lost wages and more.
Getting compensation for your car accident
According to no-fault laws in Florida, all drivers must carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage and at least $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. As outlined in Florida Statute 627.736, PIP provides benefits to the policyholder, any relatives in their household, the person operating the vehicle and their passengers and anyone hit by the vehicle.
If you experience a medical emergency, PIP reimburses 80% of all initial medical care from 14 days after the accident up to $10,000. If you’re injured but don’t experience a medical emergency, you may receive up to $2,500 for medical care.
PIP also covers 60% of lost income or earning capacity if your injuries keep you from working. There is also a $5,000 death benefit per individual.
Since insurance companies fight against paying these types of claims, it’s crucial to enlist the help of an experienced car accident lawyer in Tampa as soon as you can.
Seeking additional compensation
If your injuries are particularly severe, insurance benefits may fall short of the total amount needed to make you whole. Florida law allows injured people to file personal injury lawsuits against at-fault parties to recover additional, special damages if they experienced permanent injury, significant and permanent loss of bodily function, disfigurement, scarring or death.
Courts only award punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits in Florida for cases involving gross negligence, using them to punish offenders and discourage others from doing the same thing.
Injured in a Tampa car accident? Contact Couture Law P.A. today.
If you have been injured in a car crash in the Tampa area because of someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced auto accident lawyers at Couture Law P.A. today for a free consultation.