Were you or a loved one injured in a car crash in Hillsborough or Pinellas County? Florida expert car accident attorneys at Lorenzo & Lorenzo can help you navigate the road to success in your case.
Here in Florida, news stories of serious and fatal car accidents are an everyday occurrence.
Driving is dangerous – especially in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region, which has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the country. A large population and crowded roads means that residents of Tampa are at high risk of being involved in a crash at some point in their lives.
The high prevalence of auto collisions means that the local civil court is easily overwhelmed by endless car accident lawsuits. Getting the maximum compensation possible for your claim in such an overburdened system requires a lifetime of experience and knowledge. The Tampa car accident lawyers at Lorenzo & Lorenzo understand the serious nature of car accident injuries and we will fight hard to ensure that you receive the justice and maximum compensation that you deserve.
“While driving to visit my husband in hospital a flat bed tow truck went through a stop sign. There was no way that I could avoid hitting him. Needless to say I had to be treated for months with broken bones and physical therapy which will be ongoing. The last year has been horrific with my husband dying, selling my house and then moving out of state. Yet through it all George and his staff worked above and beyond to try and make things as easy as possible. I was so surprised with the settlement! It was above and beyond what I expected! Thank you George for helping me through all the issues I have gone through I couldn’t have made it without you!”
|WITHOUT a lawyer
|WITH a lawyer
|Type of injury
without a lawyer
without a lawyer
(adjusted for inflation 1999-2022)
with a lawyer
|Minor cuts and bruises
Note: Adjusted for inflation 1999-2022 (23 years, cumulative price change = 68.76%)
On average, the insurance payout for car crash victims with an attorney doubled or tripled, compared to those who settled without an attorney.
(Source: The Insurance Research Council’s study, 1999 | Enjuris: Car Accident Guide)
Calculating how much compensation you are entitled to in your Tampa car accident case depends on numerous factors, including whether you followed all the proper steps after the collision, what caused the crash, what injuries you or your passengers sustained and who was at-fault.
With so many important factors, it is essential to discuss your case with an experienced car accident lawyer near you as soon as possible.
Another vital factor in Florida vehicle accident cases is Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which all Florida drivers are required to have. In the event of a crash, PIP will cover a percentage of the damages. While this coverage is meant to provide some insurance benefits for drivers, PIP may restrict your ability to file a personal injury lawsuit.
For instance, if you don’t seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident, your PIP benefits may be voided. In addition, most PIP policies only cover 80 percent of medical bills, 60 percent of lost wages, and have a $2,500 cap.
Every person who registers a vehicle in Florida must have PIP coverage that pays at least $10,000 for qualifying injuries and damages to any person hurt in a vehicle crash, regardless of who’s at fault.
<a href="https://www.lorenzoandlorenzo.com/auto-accident-lawyer/car-accidents/" target="blank"><img src="https://www.lorenzoandlorenzo.com/infographics/2021-motor-vehicle-incidents-tampa-statistics.gif" alt="2021 statistics on deaths and injuries from car crashes in Tampa, FL" title="Tampa Car Accident Statistics: 2021 Injuries & Deaths" style="width: 100%; max-width: 800px; display: block; margin: 15px auto;" /></a>
With the help of a car accident attorney, the full benefits available under your PIP policy can be used to partially compensate your financial losses due to a car accident, such as medical bills, property damage and lost wages. However, oftentimes insurance isn’t enough to fully compensate you for your damages in the event of a serious and catastrophic accident.
A driver may also be able to file a lawsuit against a third-party, not including the other driver, if the third-party contributed to the accident. For instance, if a defective car part was a factor in the collision, the plaintiff may choose to sue the manufacturer. Other occasions when third-party lawsuits occur is when an employee of a government agency is responsible for a wreck or when dangerous road conditions contribute to a serious crash. In such cases, an individual may be able to seek compensation from the at-fault party.
After determining liability, our Tampa car accident attorneys can calculate how much your case is worth. A number of factors are taken into account when estimating the value of your case, including:
- Medical costs – both current and future expenses related to treatment of the injuries sustained in an accident, such as hospitalization, rehabilitation, medicine, etc.
- Lost wages – compensation for past and future missed time at work as a result of injury recovery/rehabilitation
- Property damage – compensation for damaged or destroyed personal property as a result of the wreck, including the market value of your totaled vehicle or the cost of repairs.
- Pain and suffering – mental and emotional trauma caused by the accident, such as depression, anxiety, fear and other non-physical injuries
- Loss of a loved one – financial costs associated with the death of a loved one in a fatal car accident, such as funeral expenses, loss of consortium and other wrongful death damages
Car accidents are completely unexpected, which means you probably feel like your life is turned upside down when tragedy hits you. However, during this crisis, it is important to remember the necessary steps you need to take in the minutes, days and months after a crash. Safeguard your legal rights by following these post-accident tips:
Dial 911.Your number one priority following a car wreck is the safety of you and your passengers. Call the police if someone hasn’t done so already, and find out if anyone involved in the collision – including the other driver – is injured and needs an ambulance. When the police arrive, be cooperative and ask them for a copy of the police report to keep for your records.
Seek medical attention.Even if you feel fine after an accident, you should always seek medical care from your doctor, an urgent care clinic or a nearby hospital to ensure you aren’t injured. People often experience an adrenaline rush in the moments following a collision which can conceal pain that crops up later, such as whiplash injuries.
Gather information.While still at the scene of the accident, try to collect as much information as possible – including eyewitness accounts and contact info, photos of the accident scene, the name and insurance information of the other driver (name of insurer and policy number), the other vehicle’s license plate number, vehicle parts that broke off, etc. In the coming months, be sure to keep all documents and receipts pertaining to the accident or your medical treatment from the crash.
Notify your insurer.Inform your insurance company about the accident. They will likely ask you some questions and assign you an adjuster to handle your claim. Don’t sign anything or agree to a recorded statement until you’ve first spoken with an injury attorney.
Never admit fault.At no point should you admit liability to bystanders, police, the other driver or insurance agents. Such an admission of guilt could hurt your future car accident claim. It’s best to leave all correspondence to your attorney.
Consult a car accident lawyer.In addition to looking out for your legal rights, a skilled personal injury attorney with the right background and experience in car crash cases can expertly navigate you through the complex and tedious legal process of filing an injury lawsuit in Florida.
How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
Here in Florida, survivors of car crashes or family members of individuals killed in a fatal accident have a limited amount of time to file a civil claim for personal injury damages. This strict legal deadline is referred to as the “statute of limitations.”
Generally speaking, you must file your lawsuit to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver or party before this deadline or else your claim will be forever barred. There are only a few rare exceptions to the statute of limitations.
Two years might sound like a long time, but conducting negotiations and filing the necessary legal paperwork can be time-intensive. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start preparing your claim and secure your benefits.
When do I have to report a crash to authorities?
Florida’s accident reporting requirements (Florida Statute 316.065) essentially say that you must report an accident to the local police, sheriff or highway patrol if:
- You suspect the other driver is intoxicated or impaired
- The other driver fled the scene (hit and run)
- Anyone was injured or killed
- There is property damage of $500 or more
What if I’m partially at-fault for the accident?
Even if you are partially to blame for the crash that caused you physical, emotional and/or financial harm, you may still be eligible for damage compensation. This is because Florida follows a pure comparative fault system. Under this rule, your damages would be reduced based on the percentage or degree of liability assigned to you, but you are still eligible for some compensation.
For example, let’s say the police report says you were 25 percent at-fault for the accident, and the other driver was 75 percent liable. In this case, you could still pursue compensation from the other driver, but your final award amount would be reduced by 25 percent to account for your own liability. If you were seeking $100,000 in damages, then this would mean you would be eligible for $75,000.
Do I need a lawyer for a minor car accident?
If you and the other driver are insured, and there is only minimal property damage, then you may be able to work it out without hiring attorneys. In such cases, the cost of the damage should be covered under your PIP insurance policy.
But if your accident involved moderate to serious injury and/or extensive property damage, or if the insurance company denied your claim or is “low-balling” you, then we strongly encourage you to at least talk to a qualified attorney. Even if your injury seems minor and “not a big deal,” we urge you to see a doctor and meet with our lawyers to explore your options and ensure that you aren’t getting short-changed by the insurance company or at-fault driver. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve talked to folks who thought they only had a minor injury—like a headache or neck stiffness—only to find out later that the injury was severe and long-term. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to obtain compensation. For instance, if you don’t seek medical attention until more than 14 days after the accident, PIP insurance may not cover the cost of your care.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
Auto insurance is required by law in Florida. Unfortunately, many people break this rule and fail to carry insurance while driving. It is estimated by the Insurance Research Council that more than 1 in 5 Florida drivers are uninsured.
If you were hit by someone who doesn’t have auto insurance, then your best bet may be to turn to your own insurance for compensation for medical bills, lost wages and property damage. PIP coverage is a no-fault policy, which means that you should be covered under this policy regardless of who was at fault. Florida drivers can also opt into uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage to provide additional compensation in the event you are in an accident with an uninsured driver.
If your accident was so serious that you have exhausted all insurance remedies, then you may be able to sue the uninsured driver to recover the rest of your damages. Our Tampa car accident lawyers can help you explore this option.
What should I bring to the initial consultation?
When you reach out to our Tampa attorneys, we’ll schedule a free initial consultation to evaluate your case and explain your options. In order to better assist you, we’ll ask you to bring the following forms and documents with you to the consultation:
- A copy of the official police report
- Pictures and video of the accident scene
- A list of eyewitnesses and their contact information
- The other driver’s name, insurance and contact information
- Receipts, statements and bills from your medical treatment
- Receipts and estimates for your vehicle repair or replacement
- A log of how many work days you missed
- A list of any other out-of-pocket expenses
Will my case go to trial?
Sure, it’s possible that your car accident case will proceed to court if negotiations break down or you aren’t happy with the settlement offer. However, a vast majority of injury cases are settled out of court. This is because insurance companies typically prefer to avoid the cost, time and bad publicity of going to court. If your attorney is known as being an aggressive and successful trial attorney, then insurers may be particularly inclined to settle before trial.
Based on data from the U.S. Department of Justice, only 4-5 percent of personal injury cases go to trial. So there’s a 95-96 percent chance that your case will be settled pre-trial.
How much does it cost to hire a car accident attorney?
We can’t speak for other law firms, but here at Lorenzo & Lorenzo your initial consultation is 100 percent free—no commitment, no cost. What’s more, we work on a contingency fee basis in most cases, which means that we’ll recoup the cost of our representation from your final award. If we aren’t successful in winning your case, then you don’t owe us a penny. It’s that simple.
Although the term car “accident” is widely used, the reality is auto collisions all have a cause. Most crashes aren’t accidents at all, but rather the result of someone’s negligence, a product malfunction, or other external factors. The most common causes of car crashes in Tampa include:
Dangerous roads.Government entities can sometimes be held partly liable for accidents and injuries caused by improperly maintained or dangerous roads. For instance, insufficient lighting or potholes may be to blame for an injury, in which case the city or local municipality may be liable.
Driver error.A majority of accidents can be blamed on a driver’s negligence while behind the wheel. Whether speeding, driving distracted, running a red light or driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, a driver who puts others at risk by failing to act responsibly can be held liable for injuries they caused.
Weather/poor visibility.Bad road conditions caused by rain, hail, fog or wind can reduce driver visibility or control, leading to an accident.
Mechanical failure.Accidents resulting from a defective vehicle part can lead to a product liability lawsuit in which the manufacturer is held liable for injuries and damages.
There are several types of damages you can claim in a personal injury lawsuit – one of which is medical expenses for treatment of injuries sustained during the car crash. Injuries can range in scope from moderate to severe, and most commonly include:
Head and back injuries.Trauma to the head and spinal cord are one of the scariest and most serious car accident injuries. Skull fractures, herniated disks and paralysis often leave victims unable to work and in tremendous pain.
Brain injury.Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can range from a mild concussion to a coma, and have long-lasting physical, psychological and emotional scars. Medical treatment for these injuries are complicated and costly, leaving victims financially injured as well.
Whiplash and neck injuries.A sudden and violent jerk of the neck can often result in serious injuries. Whiplash is the most common car accident injury, and occurs most frequently in rear-end collisions.
Broken bones.The blunt force of a high-speed collision can fracture or snap bones in a moment. Complex fractures and breaks can take months or even years to recover from, and prevent a person from being able to work.
Wrongful death.A fatality might be considered the ultimate injury a victim of a car crash can experience. When such a tragedy occurs, surviving family members and loved ones may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible driver or party.
Car accidents can come in many shapes and sizes. In Tampa, the most common types of crash cases we handle are:
- Rear-end accidents – “Fender benders,” as they are sometimes called, are one of the most common types of car accidents that can lead to whiplash and chronic injuries requiring long-term treatment.
- Side-impact crashes – This type of vehicle collision occurs when the side of a vehicle is hit by another car (also called a “T-bone” or “broadside” accident).
- Head-on collisions – Frontal crashes are a frequently fatal accident that occurs when the front-end of two vehicles collide, often at high speeds.
- Multi-vehicle wrecks – Also known as “pile-ups”, these most common on busy roads and interstates, especially in the Tampa area, these accidents involve 3 or more vehicles.
- Rideshare accidents – when passengers or other drivers are injured in an auto accident involving an Uber, Lyft or other rideshare driver.
- Single-vehicle crashes – Not all crashes involve 2 or more vehicles; sometimes just 1 car or truck collides with a stationary object (like a tree or light post) or swerves to avoid some obstacle in the road (like an animal or road debris).
- Rollover crashes – High-profile vehicles such as SUVs, vans and trucks are more likely to rollover, which more commonly results in serious injuries or death when a person is thrown from the vehicle or not wearing a seatbelt.
- Sideswipe collisions – A sideswipe collision occurs when another vehicle moves into the side of your vehicle while either passing you or going the opposite direction.
- Interstate/highway accidents – Crashes that occur on interstates and highways are particularly dangerous and deadly because of the high speeds of the vehicles involved.
- Intersection collisions – Collision at intersections are among the most common crashes due to people running red lights, failing to yield or not paying attention.
- Parking lot accidents – With so many vehicles backing out and pulling into such a concentrated place, parking lots are among the most likely locations for pedestrian and vehicle collisions.
- Hit and run crashes – When a driver flees the accident scene, they can be charged with a criminal hit-and-run offense in Florida, as well as be liable for any damage or injury they caused.
Don’t take a risk with your injury settlement.
Hire an attorney.
In addition to ensuring you receive the maximum benefits possible under your PIP policy, our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can help you explore other options—including, if necessary, helping you file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver by proving that your injuries are severe enough to warrant additional compensation.
If your insurance claim is denied or inadequate, our skilled injury lawyers can also negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf for the maximum payout. If the insurers are unable to reach an agreement, we are fully prepared to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and other parties involved in the accident to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Make no mistake that the insurance companies employ teams of high-paid attorneys whose sole job is to save them money by minimizing or denying your claim. These corporate lawyers know every detail of Florida’s legal landscape and will not hesitate to use the smallest misstep to their advantage. The only way to properly defend your claim and ensure you get the maximum compensation possible is to hire your own attorney whose job is strictly to represent your best interests.
When disaster hits, contact us to speak with an experienced Tampa car crash lawyer at Lorenzo & Lorenzo. We are experts in personal injury and car accident cases. During your FREE consultation, we’ll show you how our family is committed to fighting for you.