Tampa Car Crash Lawyer
Tampa is a large, spread-out city, so it stands to reason that it has some dangerous roads—and they, in turn, see their share of terrible car crashes that leave vehicles totaled and send people to emergency rooms with expensive bills.
That’s when a Tampa car crash lawyer can prove invaluable to you. If you’re in that position, contact an experienced Tampa car crash lawyer at Boohoff Law as soon as possible. We can help you recover compensation, and you won’t pay a penny in out-of-pocket costs.
Types of Accidents
Car accidents range from minor fender benders to major accidents that total vehicles. Any accident has the potential to cause catastrophic injuries or even death. Even in what seems like a minor accident, if one vehicle hits another just right, the accident could cause a death. The size of the vehicle, the speed of all of the vehicles involved and many other factors determine the severity of the accident. Types of accidents include:
- Rear-end accidents: Someone hits you from the rear, usually because he or she isn’t paying attention to the road.
- Sideswipe accidents: This type of accident might happen if a driver is fatigued, is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, if the driver merges too close in front of you after passing you, when someone drives too fast for condition, especially in curves, or if the driver is driving erratically.
- Roll-over accidents: Some trucks with a high center of gravity could roll over and cause damage to you and your vehicle. Common roll-over wrecks happen when high winds blow big trucks over or when a big rig is taking a curve too fast. Shifting cargo could also cause a truck to roll over.
- Head-on collisions: If someone swerves into your lane, he or she could hit you head on.
- Wrong-way accidents: A wrong-way accident is like a head-on collision. This type of accident usually happens if someone gets confused and goes the wrong way on a one-way road or highway.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other chemical substances: This category includes illegal drugs and prescription drugs.
- Distracted driving accidents: Drivers who are doing other things while driving are distracted. Even talking on a hands-free phone is distracting for some people because they cannot concentrate on their driving. Putting on makeup, texting, looking at the kids in the back seat and eating are all examples of distracted driving.
- Single-vehicle wrecks: Often, someone will wreck because of a medical condition, poor road conditions, poorly maintained roads or because that person is not familiar with the road.
- Hit and run accidents: What might look like a single-car accident is sometimes a multi-car accident, except only one car is at the scene. Often people will cause a wreck and then leave the scene. The reasons are many—the person could have a warrant out, the vehicle might be unregistered or uninsured, or because the person is driving under the influence.
- Multi-vehicle wrecks: Two types of multi-vehicle wrecks exist. Two or more cars crash, or additional vehicles crash into the wreck because the drivers are paying more attention to the wreck than the road in front of them.
- Fender benders: These usually happen in parking lots, but could happen out on the road, too. For example, a driver could misjudge the distance to stop and tap the bumper of the vehicle in front of him.
Causes of Accidents
Many factors could cause an accident, including:
- Driving while drunk;
- Driving while under the influence of illicit drugs and other chemical substances;
- Driving while under the influence of legal or illegal prescription drugs;
- Driving while distracted, including eating, using a phone, fiddling with the radio, putting on makeup or even reading a book;
- Weather conditions, including the sun in your face, wind, ice, snow, fog, and rain;
- Inexperience with driving, whether you are a teen or someone who just got his or her commercial driver’s license and new to driving commercial vehicles, especially big rigs;
- Medical emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke while driving;
- Ignoring traffic signal devices;
- Erratic driving;
- Road rage; and
- Fleeing and eluding the police.
Sometimes, the at-fault driver had a medical problem that caused the accident, or the person who hit you was forced into you by a third party. Other times, the at-fault driver’s negligent behavior caused the accident. Fleeing and eluding police, driving while on drugs or while drunk, or driving while distracted are all clear examples of negligent behavior.
Aggressive driving because of road rage could also be considered negligent behavior. Some courts may find that the driver’s actions were intentional, especially when you can show that the driver was having a fit of road rage.
Tampa Area Accident Statistics
The Tampa Bay Times listed 20 of the most dangerous roads in the city. The stretch of Brandon Boulevard from Falkenburg Road to Dover Road—through Brandon and Valrico—was the most dangerous stretch of road in the area with 180 accidents during a recent five-year period. Other dangerous roads include Boyette, Hillsborough Avenue from Longboat to Fletcher, Fletcher Avenue from Armenia to 50th Street North and Dale Mabry from Hillsborough Avenue to Bearss.
According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), the Tampa area saw 29,037 wrecks during one recent year. This includes 182 fatalities in 175 fatal crashes and 20,112 injuries in 13,185 injury crashes. Of the 29,037 accidents:
- 519 were bicycle crashes with 10 fatalities;
- 656 motorcycle wrecks with 30 fatalities;
- 624 pedestrian crashes with 54 fatalities; and
- 6,401 hit and run crashes with 15 fatalities and 1,615 injuries.
Of the total crashes, 510 involved a drunk driver. Drunk drivers caused 18 deaths and 296 injuries. People who were using drugs but were not drinking, caused 48 wrecks with 14 fatalities and 44 injuries. Finally, people who were on drugs and drinking at the same time caused 28 accidents.
Auto Accident Injuries
Injuries sustained in a car accident could range from minor cuts and bruises to major injuries that could last year or might be permanent. If your medical team believes your injuries will affect you for the rest of your life, you have the right to be made whole again. Although money does not heal injuries nor does it bring back a loved one that died in an accident, it does relieve the stress of paying bills on a single income. Auto accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries, including minor concussions;
- Neck and shoulder injuries;
- Back and spinal cord injuries;
- Simple fractures;
- Compound fractures;
- Internal injuries;
- Sprains, strains and other soft tissue injuries, such as pulled muscles; and
- Cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
Any of these injuries could take longer than normal to heal because of complications and underlying conditions. If you have diabetes or you are taking a drug, such as chemotherapy, that lowers your immune system, you are more susceptible to infection if you have an open wound.
Additionally, internal injuries and external infections could lead to more severe infections like sepsis. And, if you must spend some time in the hospital, you always have the risk of getting MRSA and other infections that are spread around the facility.
Even if you are not suffering from underlying conditions, if you do not properly care for open wounds, the wound could become infected, which causes a longer recovery.
Negotiations and Litigation
We recommend that you never settle with the insurance company on your own. Insurance companies are in business to make money. For every claim they must pay, their bottom line drops. Thus, insurance companies, even your own, will try to find any way they can to deny your claim. If they cannot deny the claim, they will offer the least amount possible.
When you retain an experienced Tampa car accident attorney, the insurance companies know that there is a good chance that they will end up in court. Thus, the insurance company will make a better offer when you involve an attorney. If the insurance company has to go to court, not only will it most likely have to pay your claim, but it might have to pay more, plus pay its attorney on top of it.
Additionally, when you retain an attorney, the process to convert from negotiations to litigation is smoother because the attorney already knows the ins and outs of your case.
Working With Insurance Companies
Florida is a no-fault state, which means that your insurance covers your injuries and losses. However, if your policy isn’t large enough to cover everything, you could end up with a very low settlement. In these cases, your accident attorney will also file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance and may even sue the at-fault driver. If the driver is a commercial driver, the driver may not be the only person at fault for the accident. The company, the truck manufacturer and even the dispatcher could share in liability.
Under Florida law, you can collect three types of damages: Special, general and punitive damages.
Economic damages, or special damages, have a dollar amount attached to them. They are for your injuries in an attempt to make you whole again. Special damages include:
- Past medical expenses for injuries you sustained in the wreck;
- Future medical expenses, including additional surgery and followup appointments for injuries or secondary conditions related to injuries you suffered in the wreck;
- Past lost wages if you cannot work after you are injured;
- Future lost wages if you cannot work after a settlement or court order;
- Replacement or repair of personal property damaged in the wreck; and
- Burial and funeral expenses.
Non-economic damages, or general damages, do not have a dollar amount attached to them are paid to try to make you whole again. While money does not wipe out the injuries you have and does not bring back a loved one, the money will help you pay bills and take care of other expenses even though you now have one income. In most cases, non-economic damages are only paid if your injuries are long-term or if you lose a loved one. General damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of companionship if you cannot participate in activities and events with you that you normally would;
- Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse;
- Loss of use if any body part or function, such as an arm or your eyesight, is partially or totally unusable; and
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you normally do, including but not limited to home maintenance, lawn maintenance, shopping, cleaning, and other chores.
Punitive damages are only ordered if the defendant’s actions were grossly negligent or intentional. Driving under the influence and distracted driving are two examples of negligent behavior. This type of damage is not meant to make you whole again, but to punish the defendant in the hopes that he or she does not repeat the horrendous behavior that contributed to or caused the accident.
Contact a Tampa Car Crash Lawyer
Always get medical attention as soon as possible, even if you believe your injuries are minor. Some injuries take hours or days to manifest. Also, never admit guilt when you are speaking to the police. Finally, be careful of what you say to the insurance company. It’s better if you tell them only that you were in an accident and the location of the accident, and then refer the insurance representative to your attorney. The insurance company could twist your words to make it look like you are guilty when you might not be guilty.
Contact an experienced Tampa car crash lawyer at Boohoff Law at (877) 999-9999 to schedule a free consultation as soon as possible, even if you are still in the hospital. We will come to you.
3351 W. Bearss Avenue
Tampa, FL 33618
Phone: (877) 659-2417