Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorneys
Holding Insurance Companies Accountable Since 1984.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) estimates that almost 400,000 traffic collisions occurred on Florida roads in 2018. About 165,000 of those crashes involved injuries, resulting in over 250,000 injuries in total, and about 2,800 of those crashes involved fatalities, with nearly 3,000 traffic fatalities in the state that year.
In Hillsborough County, home to Tampa Bay, the number of crashes (27,660), injuries (21,380), and deaths (228) have all increased in recent years.
With a growing population, great weather, and activities that attract hordes of tourists, Florida motorists have a high risk of being involved in a car accident at some point in their lives. Not all accidents require medical treatment or legal action, but when one person’s negligence causes another individual to suffer severe or life-changing injuries, Florida law entitles the victim to seek damages in court.
At The Florida Law Group, our Tampa personal injury lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience bringing justice to the families who have suffered due to the negligence of others. Our top-notch legal team is led by a national board certified civil trial specialist, a certification that only 1% of lawyers in Florida have achieved. It is this dedication to professional excellence that we bring to all of our personal injury cases.
Injured in a Car Crash? Call Us Today
Our car accident lawyers have earned a reputation for the relentless pursuit of arrogant insurance companies and their so-called “adjusters” and garnering maximum settlements for our clients in even the most challenging of cases. We provide individualized representation to each of our clients and are resolute to support you in every step of your claim. Our efforts have allowed us to recover millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, earning us membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®.
Our team can fight to recover maximum compensation for all of your damages and losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Pain & suffering
- Property loss
- Wrongful death
- Post-traumatic stress
- Lost earnings
How to Deal With the Insurance Company After an Accident
If you were involved in a serious auto accident, it won’t be long before an insurance adjuster comes knocking on your door. Their goal is to settle your claim as quickly as possible, for as little money as they can manage. When you are faced with costly medical expenses and time spent away from work, it may be tempting to accept the first settlement offer you receive. However, that could be a huge mistake.
What the insurance company won’t tell you is that you may be entitled to far more money than they are willing to offer. Unfortunately, some “adjusters” will try to take advantage of the fact that you are hurting—not only physically and emotionally, but financially. You can only settle your case once, so it is highly recommended that you discuss your options with a car accident attorney before you make any decisions.
Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida
No matter what the cause of your car accident was, our attorneys will aggressively pursue payment from those who are responsible. The Florida Law Group can address any type of auto collision caused. Many car accidents are caused by:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Auto defects
- Reckless driving
- Driver fatigue
- Dangerous roads
- Improper maintenance
- Failure to yield
What Types of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
Damages refer to the losses—financial, physical, and emotional—that a victim might incur as a result of an accident and resulting injury. Florida, like most states, broadly divides damages into two categories: compensatory and punitive damages, both of which are discussed below.
When a plaintiff prevails in a car accident lawsuit, the court generally only awards compensatory damages, which are meant to aid victims and their families in recovering losses that they incurred as a result of the accident and resulting injury. Compensatory damages sometimes confuse those who are not familiar with the law, because they include monetary awards for both economic and non-economic losses, some of which are intangible. For clarity, it helps to divide compensatory damages into two separate categories: (1) concrete, tangible loss that lawyers, insurance companies, and courts can measure easily and (2) less clear intangible losses that may require expert witnesses and case precedents to determine an exact value. Below we provide examples of each type:
Tangible losses that might be included in court-awarded compensatory damages include the following:
- Medical expenses, such as ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospitalization, surgery, radiology, diagnostics, prescription medication, and more. Florida residents are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, so car accident victims must file a claim with their own carrier after an accident. PIP insurance, however, only covers 80 percent of medical expenses. Victims may seek damages beyond what PIP covers through a personal injury lawsuit.
- Rehabilitation costs, including physical therapy, assistive devices—like canes, walkers, and prosthetic limbs, and assistive technology to help those with severe and catastrophic injuries.
- Lost wages for car accident victims whose injuries force them to miss days, weeks, or even months from work. Recovering from a serious injury requires both physical and mental rest. Accident victims whose jobs require physical labor may have work restrictions that require even longer absences from their jobs.
Intangible losses, known in Florida as general damages, that a court might award a car accident victim include:
- Future medical expenses are usually involved in cases that settle before a victim fully recovers from his or her injuries or in those that involve lifelong injuries. Oftentimes, parties involved in a car accident settle the case prior to the victim’s full medical recovery, so experts estimate the value of his or her remaining cost of treatment. This might include projected rehabilitation costs, but it may also include future surgeries, treatments, and doctor visits until the victim makes a complete recovery. Unfortunately, not all car accident victims will make a complete recovery; some will suffer from long-term disabilities. Many of these lifelong conditions require long-term medical treatment or around-the-clock healthcare, all of which must be factored into damages as future medical expenses.
- Lost earning capacity is the more formal name for future lost wages. When car accident victims sustain severe or catastrophic injuries that prevent them from returning to work, damages awards include compensation for lost earning capacity and sometimes the value of lost employment benefits. This additional compensation is especially critical for child victims of car accidents who suffer permanent disabilities that prevent them from engaging in any kind of meaningful employment as adults, as well as for car accident victims who—prior to their accidents—provided the main source of income for their households.
- Pain and suffering involves compensation for both the physical and mental trauma associated with a car accident. In addition to the pain and the potential inability to perform some activities, victims might be humiliated, depressed, angry, fearful, or have other emotions as a result of the accident. According to Florida law, a victim must have a “permanent injury with a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.”
- Scarring and disfigurement is a type of pain and suffering that Florida law treats separately when determining compensation. It often includes victims who suffer amputations or burns during a car accident. These injuries require extensive recovery and multiple surgeries, and victims are often saddled with a permanent disability or scars that cause mental anguish, humiliation, anger, and more.
- Loss of consortium refers to the loss of relations, sexual and otherwise, between a victim and his or her spouse after an injury. Severe injuries carry large amounts of physical, emotional, and financial stress, which can negatively impact marital and other familial relations.
Under Florida law, car accident victims may also seek punitive damages, meant to punish defendants for particularly egregious behavior; however, the specific circumstances must meet certain thresholds. In car accident cases, Florida courts rarely award punitive damages, sometimes called exemplary damages. To qualify for a punitive damages award, a court must find that a defendant was “guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.“
- Intentional misconduct involves defendants who know that their actions are wrong and likely to cause harm to other individuals and choose to follow through with those actions regardless of the potential consequences.
- Gross negligence refers to careless conduct deemed so reckless that it represents a conscious disregard for “life, safety, or rights” of other individuals exposed to that conduct.
Florida law also places the following limits on punitive damages:
- Punitive damages may not exceed either three times the amount of the compensatory damages involved or $500,000, whichever is greater.
- If the negligence that led to the accident was motivated solely by financial gain, and those in charge of the defendant—such as an agent, director, or officer—knew about the intentional action, punitive damages may exceed either four times the amount of compensatory damages or $2,000,000, whichever is greater.
- If the defendant intended to harm the claimant, Florida law imposes no cap on punitive damages.
We know that the aftermath of a car accident can have long-term emotional, financial, and medical ramifications for you and your family. The Florida Law Group wants to ease your concerns and get you on the road to recovery.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident that involved extenuating circumstances, such as intentional harm on the part of the defendant or another cause for seeking punitive damages, our attorneys will discuss these details with you and advise you on the best course of action.
We are nationally respected for our legal prowess and have been honored with inclusion on the Super Lawyers® list. You can be confident in our ability to assist you in all aspects of your claim.
Please contact our office today to speak with a Tampa car accident attorney. Your initial consultation is free!