In 2019, there were over 400,000 vehicle accidents in Florida, according to data from the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). In Hillsborough County alone, there were nearly 30,000 crashes that same year, which resulted in nearly 20,000 injuries and 219 deaths.
If you or a loved one was in a vehicle accident in Tampa or a surrounding city in Florida, you may qualify to pursue compensation through a personal injury case. A Tampa car accident lawyer from Distasio Law Firm can lead your case and provide legal counsel as it goes through the litigation process. Have more questions? We’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions our law firm receives about car accident cases.
Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents in Tampa, FL
You’ve been in a car accident in Tampa, and you’ve got questions. Our car crash legal team has answers to the questions you are most likely to ask first.
In this article, we go over the following topics:
- How long do you have to file a car accident lawsuit in Florida?
- Do you need a car accident lawyer in Tampa, Florida?
- When to get a lawyer for a Tampa car accident?
- Why hire our lawyers to help with your Tampa car accident?
- How much is my car accident claim worth?
- Is it worth getting an attorney for a car accident in Tampa?
- Do I need a lawyer for a minor car accident?
- How much can someone sue for a car accident in Florida?
- What damages can I claim in a car crash lawsuit?
- What is the average settlement in a Florida car accident claim?
- Can your lawyer help if you were partly at fault?
- Should I talk to the insurance adjuster after a car accident?
- What if the first settlement offer is not enough?
- What do you need to know about PIP in Florida?
- Who is liable in a car accident in Tampa?
- How much is hiring a car accident attorney going to cost?
- How will my personal injury lawyer prove liability?
- How long does it take to settle a car accident claim?
- How do I choose the right car accident lawyer?
- Call now to start working with a Tampa car accident lawyer at Distasio Law Firm
How Long do You Have to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida?
Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) dictates that if you would like to file a lawsuit about your car accident injuries and damages, you generally have four years from the date of the accident to do so. This statutory deadline might change if your case involves special factors, such as a municipality listed as a liable party or a minor serving as the plaintiff.
Our legal team can pinpoint your case’s deadline when reviewing your case, especially if we have a copy of the official crash report, which will have the date when the accident occurred. We can prepare documents to submit your case as well as send a notice to the liable party or parties about your intention to sue on your behalf.
No. Later in the same statute, Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d) sets a two-year filing period for people who would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their late loved one. This window period starts on the day of your loved one’s death, so you may need to present a copy of your loved one’s death certificate to confirm this date.
Do You Need a Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa, Florida?
Plaintiffs are not obligated to work with a lawyer on their Tampa car accident case; however, receiving legal insight from someone who handles various types of cases has benefits when you are unfamiliar with the claims and litigation process.
Our car accident attorney in Tampa can provide insight on:
- Whether you have grounds to sue a specific party for your damages
- Whether you may be able to sue more than one party based on who or what caused the accident
- Whether there is evidence to support your claims based on their investigation in your case
- Whether you should move forward with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit
- Whether you should accept a settlement offer based on the estimated value of your damages
- What statements should or should not be made while your case is in progress
If you also have specific questions about your case and are unsure where to find the answer, your lawyer can be an immediate source, as it is their duty to provide legal counsel for the benefit of their client.
When to Get a Lawyer for a Tampa Car Accident?
If you would like to take legal action against a negligent party and are unaware of how to begin building your case, you should hire a lawyer as soon as possible, as your case may be nearing its statutory deadline.
Car accident cases can take time to build, as your lawyer will need to perform several steps to retrieve information, whether that involves:
- Contacting the at-fault or liable party, their insurer, and/or their legal attorney
- Contacting witnesses who might have seen the accident or can provide information not captured on film
- Request copies of video footage from nearby businesses or residences that captured the accident on surveillance cameras
- Request information from the opposing party, such as black box information, dashcam footage, or insurance information
You do not want to risk waiting too late to build your case if you are unable to submit it in time. If you fail to file within your case’s filing deadline, a supervising judge may dismiss your case and absolve the opposing party of any liability to compensate you for your injuries.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Tampa, call (813) 259-0022
Our Auto Accident Team Handles Various Cases in Tampa
At Distasio Law Firm, we represent the following types of vehicle accidents:
- Passenger vehicle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Uber and Lyft accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
If you were in a hit-and-run accident or you find out the opposing party is uninsured/underinsured, you may still have options to pursue compensation for your damages. Our legal team can review your case and read over your insurance policy to see what steps we can take to potentially recover your financial situation.
Why Hire Our Lawyers to Help with Your Tampa Car Accident?
When you work with a Tampa car accident lawyer from our firm, we give you the “Distasio Personal Touch,” meaning we treat you as more than just another case on our roster. We aim to fight for compensation that reflects the car accident’s impact on you and your life, which means we’re not willing to settle for the first offer if it doesn’t meet your demands.
With the Distasio Personal Touch, you can also expect this kind of customer service treatment:
- We truly listen to what happened to you and give you space to tell us how the accident occurred and what losses you suffered afterward.
- Whenever you need to discuss your case, we have representatives to take your call as soon as possible and ease your concerns.
- We don’t apply a lump sum to the value of your case – instead, we tally up each expense, factor the physical and emotional pain you suffered, and even consider future damages you might experience based on your injuries.
- We only charge our attorney’s fees if we win your case because we understand you might not be in a financial position to afford a lawyer until you recover compensation.
- We go the extra mile to investigate your case because we don’t believe in cutting corners when representing our clients.
Feel free to read our Google reviews to get first-hand examples of how our clients feel about our legal services.
How Much Is My Car Accident Claim Worth?
Every car accident claim is unique in its value because plaintiffs bring individual factors that are exclusive to them. For example, the following factors can affect how much compensation you may be entitled to receive:
- The cost of your medical treatment
- Whether you might require future medical treatment
- Your salary and other job-related benefits
- The cost to repair damage to your vehicle
- The value of your vehicle if it was totaled and is beyond repair
- Whether you required psychiatric treatment due to trauma from the accident
- Whether your injuries caused permanent disabilities, disfigurement, or chronic symptoms you must live with (e.g., chronic pain)
- Whether you lost your ability to engage in previous hobbies or activities because of your injuries
- Whether you lost relationships due to the strain your injuries put on them
Our legal team can review your damages and calculate an approximate value we may shoot for when negotiating a settlement for your case.
Is It Worth Getting an Attorney for a Car Accident in Tampa?
A personal injury attorney from our firm serving Tampa can be a huge help to you. It can be difficult to represent yourself in a car accident claim, and if someone else was at fault for your damages, you shouldn’t have to pay for them yourself. Our firm has the resources to investigate your crash and gather evidence.
Our team knows how to prove that the other party caused your accident, and we know how insurance companies will try to trick or bully you into a lower settlement. We can also protect your case and counterargue any claims from the opposing party, who might try to place partial liability on you.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?
The reality is that what may seem like a minor car accident can be more expensive and more damaging than you think. Often, injuries can pop up weeks after your accident, and medical bills can be exorbitant. Trying to get compensation for a small accident can turn into a long and costly legal battle.
Hiring a lawyer can help ensure that, no matter how minor your car accident was, you get the compensation you deserve. Remember that property damage and injuries can cost much more than you might originally think. If someone else was responsible for your accident, you shouldn’t have to pay all your bills yourself.
How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident in Florida?
Your compensation for a car accident in Florida depends on your situation, the extent of your damages, and who was at fault in your crash. When you speak with our Tampa car accident team member during your initial consultation, they may be able to give you an idea of how much you can expect from your claim.
According to the Florida Bar, in 2020, the minimum amount for which you can sue in the state of Florida was increased to $8,000. Now, if you wish to bring your lawsuit to a Florida county court, you can seek compensation between $8,000 and $30,000. If you wish to bring your claim to a circuit court, where most car accident lawsuits happen, you must be suing for over $30,000.
Our legal team can review your damages to see if you at least meet the minimum requirement to sue. In many cases, plaintiffs have cases worth more than the minimum to cover their medical expenses, property damage, and pain and suffering, among other losses.
What Damages Can I Claim in a Car Crash Lawsuit?
When filing a claim for a car accident, in order to know how much compensation to sue for, you first need to know the extent of your damages. These can be split into economic and non-economic damages, both of which you can receive payment for.
Economic damages include any monetary expenses that you have paid or will have to pay in the future. These can include:
- Medical bills
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Income loss
- Reduced earning capacity
You may qualify for other types of financial-related damages, depending on how your injuries limit certain aspects of your life. For example, if your injuries forced you to be bedridden for six months, you might have needed to pay for domestic care services to handle homecare and childcare tasks, which would entitle you to compensation.
Non-economic damages are damages to your quality of life or mental health. Non-economic damages in your car accident case can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of companionship
Our motor vehicle accident lawyer in Tampa will calculate your past and future damages to show how much you’re owed.
What is the Average Settlement in a Florida Car Accident Claim?
In general, the average settlement for a Florida auto accident is around $15,000. Settlements in car accident claims in Florida can vary greatly based on the extent of your damages, though, and the actions of the at-fault driver. Because of that, it’s difficult to provide an average number for what your settlement might be without first knowing the details of your case.
When thinking about your settlement, it may help to look at our firm’s case results to see what could be possible for your settlement. Our results include:
- $1,490,000 for a bicyclist injured by a car
- $1,000,000 for a car driver hit by a truck
- $480,000 for a rear-end collision
- $225,000 for a T-bone accident
During your free consultation with one of our Tampa personal injury team members, they will give you a general idea of what compensation you can expect based on the details of your accident, but you won’t know for sure until we can fully investigate your case.
A personal injury lawyer in Florida will be able to help if you were partly at fault for your accident. Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means you can still receive compensation for an accident that you contributed to. However, your payment will be reduced.
According to Florida Statute § 768.81, a plaintiff’s compensation can be reduced proportionally to the amount of fault they had in their accident. That means if you stand to receive $10,000 from your claim, but you were 30% at fault, then your payment will be reduced by $3,000.
An attorney from our firm who handles car accident cases will know what to do to prove that you had little to no fault in your accident so you can avoid having your compensation taken away. By gathering hard evidence from the scene of your accident, we can show that you were the victim of someone else’s negligence.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Adjuster After a Car Accident?
Talking to the other party’s insurance adjuster after you’ve been in a car accident is like walking through a minefield. If you say one wrong thing, they will use your words against you in order to prove that you were somehow at fault for the crash or that you deserve less compensation.
That’s why, if an insurance adjuster calls you, you should be polite but say as little as possible. Simply get their contact information and tell them that your attorney will be in touch with them. Anything you say might be misconstrued and used against you, which can affect whether you receive a settlement or its value.
When you hire a Tampa personal injury lawyer, they will help you negotiate with the insurance company. Our attorney knows their tricks, and we know what to say in order to get the maximum compensation for your car accident.
We can relay messages you receive from the insurance company, including whether they offer a settlement deal worth considering based on your damages.
What If the First Settlement Offer is Not Enough?
If the insurance company offers you an initial settlement that is too low, don’t worry. The settlement process is a negotiation, so your initial offer isn’t necessarily what you’ll end up with in the end. It’s just a first step.
Sometimes, the insurance company might offer you a low settlement because they don’t have enough information about your situation. By sitting down to calculate your damages, both economic and non-economic, you may find more things that you need to be paid for.
The process of figuring out what your past and future damages are can be difficult, though. A personal injury attorney in Tampa will be able to do that for you. Lawyers know what to look for in your case, and they know what to do with a low initial settlement.
What do You Need to Know About PIP in Florida?
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) is insurance that all registered drivers in Florida are required to have. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), PIP is meant to cover 80% of all necessary medical expenses up to $10,000 after an accident. This is regardless of fault.
In the event that you are injured so severely that you cannot work, PIP covers up to 60% of lost wages. It is primary over any other health insurance you might have. Drivers in Florida are also required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL).
The Florida government is attempting to repeal PIP, though, which may increase your insurance rates, according to WFLA News. The new bill would require drivers to carry insurance providing $25,000 protection for personal injuries, $50,000 for injuries to multiple people, and $10,000 for property damage.
Who is Liable in a Car Accident in Tampa?
In general, liability in a car accident case is based on negligence. Someone is negligent when they fail to meet a standard of care that they should reasonably be held to. Often, someone is found negligent when they are breaking traffic laws by doing something such as speeding or distracted driving.
You can share liability for your accident, even if it was mostly someone else’s fault. If you were doing anything at the time of the crash that could have contributed, then you could be partially at fault. However, as long as you were less negligent than the other party, you could be eligible for compensation.
How Much Is Hiring a Car Accident Attorney Going to Cost?
A Tampa car accident lawyer from our firm decides their fees based on the details of your case, and they won’t be paid unless you get the compensation you deserve. You won’t have to pay anything up front.
When you hire our lawyer to represent you, our firm will discuss what portion of your settlement will go toward our attorney’s fees. After you recover payment for your damages, the check will be sent to our firm. Your attorney will take out the agreed-upon amount, then send the rest on to you so you can move on with a new chapter of your life.
How Will My Personal Injury Lawyer Prove Liability?
To prove liability in your case, your auto accident lawyer will have to gather evidence. That can include:
- Investigating the scene of your accident
- Gathering information from witnesses
- Collecting pertinent records and documents
- Getting expert testimony
Your lawyer will use this evidence to show that the other party has a history of negligence or was acting recklessly at the time of your accident.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Car Accident Claim?
The length of time it will take to settle your Florida car accident claim can vary based on:
- The amount of money you are seeking
- The facts surrounding the case
- How long it takes you to recover from your injuries
If the insurance company is not convinced of the amount of fault the other party played or the amount of money you need to recover from your accident, the process can be incredibly drawn out.
If your claim requires a lawsuit because the other party won’t settle, the process could take longer than a year. However, given a clear case and the other party’s compliance, it could take as few as 30 days to settle your claim. Our team aims to build a strong case that goes through quickly and efficiently.
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Near Me (813) 259-0022
What Can a Tampa Lawyer Do for My Car Accident Claim?
A member of our car crash team in Tampa can discuss the details of your case during a free consultation. In that initial consultation, they will assess your case and let you know the next steps. After you hire our Tampa car accident attorney, they will get to work on:
- Gathering evidence of the other party’s fault
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating with the other party and the insurance company
- Fighting for you in court if necessary
Remember, our personal injury attorney works on a contingency-fee basis, which means we don’t get paid until you get the compensation you deserve.
How do I Choose the Right Car Accident Lawyer?
When looking for the right car accident lawyer, you should look for four things:
- Communication: Your lawyer should be clear and forthright about what is going on in your auto accident case.
- Ability: A good attorney will be resourceful and willing enough to do what is needed to get you the compensation you deserve.
- Experience: It’s important that your law firm have decades of experience under their belt so they will know how to handle anything that comes your way.
- Results: You should look for a law firm that has secured compensation for many clients in the past.
Distasio Law Firm works hard to meet these standards so that our clients feel secure with our legal representative. You can read some of our client testimonials to hear how we have been helping accident victims for years.
Call Now to Start Working with a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer at Distasio Law Firm
Are you ready to experience the Distasio Law Firm difference? Our team is ready to review your case and see what steps we can take to build your case and hold the appropriate party or parties accountable for their negligence.
Get a free consultation with one of our representatives when you call us at (813) 259-0022.