Most car accident victims significantly benefit from retaining a qualified New York or New Jersey car accident lawyer as soon as possible after the collision. Consider the following reasons why it is a good idea to hire an attorney:
Advice – From the moment you find yourself the victim of a car accident, you will have questions without answers. Whose car insurance policy will cover your medical bills? Who pays for the damage to your vehicle? How can you find a doctor to treat your injuries? Are you entitled to pain and suffering damages? Having an experienced New York or New Jersey car accident attorney on your side provides you with invaluable advice from the moment the accident occurred through the resolution of your case.
Direction – Because New York and New Jersey are no-fault insurance states, a car accident claim could be handled in one of two ways. Accidents that involve only minor injuries are usually handled through the no-fault system, meaning your own car insurance policy compensates you for out-of-pocket losses. Accident victims who suffered “serious injuries” are entitled to pursue additional compensation through a traditional personal injury lawsuit.
Communication – A car accident victim should not discuss the case with anyone without the advice of a car accident lawyer. From the moment you retain the services of an attorney, your lawyer will become your voice and handle all communication with your insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company and anyone else involved in the collision.
Investigation— Sometimes an accident reconstruction expert is needed to determine how an accident occurred and who was at fault. A car accident lawyer has the resources and experience required to properly investigate your accident to ensure that you are compensated fully and fairly for your injuries.
Evaluation – How much compensation you are entitled to depend to a large extent on the type and severity of your injuries. Often, the insurance company responsible for compensating a victim will contest the amount of an accident victim’s medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages. Attorneys understand how to properly evaluate all of the medical documentation and other evidence to ensure that you receive proper compensation.
Negotiation— Most car accident cases settle through pre-trial negotiations. Most accident victims have no experience negotiating a settlement of this type, which could lead to either overvaluation or undervaluation of the claim. This can result in the victim being under-compensated or the case not settling. With an experienced attorney on your side, you can rest assured that you have a skilled negotiator fighting for your interests.
Advocacy— While most car accident cases are settled out of court, some do end up going to trial. If this occurs, you need a lawyer by your side to advocate for you in front of a judge and jury. You can be certain that the insurance companies will have lawyers representing their interests. You need an attorney who is on your side in the courtroom.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer at the Ginarte Law Firm Today
Put the Ginarte law firm to work for you. With over 150 years of combined experience, our personal injury lawyers have protected the rights of car accident victims in New York and New Jersey. The claim evaluation and consultation are free. We receive compensation only if you win your case.
Get in touch with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer
On the busy roads and highways of the Tampa area, car accidents are a common occurrence. While some crashes are minor fender-benders, many other accidents can leave a victim with life-altering injuries and put them in a bad financial position. In these cases, it is essential for people injured in Tampa car accidents to speak with a lawyer who can help seek the maximum compensation available under the law.
The car accident attorneys in Tampa of Brooks Law Group are ready to help you understand your rights and legal options, and we’ll help you seek justice. We know that you did nothing to deserve the pain you’ve endured, nor should you struggle financially in the aftermath of this crash.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you during a free case evaluation.
How Our Car Accident Lawyer in Tampa Can Help You
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident in Tampa, Brooks Law Group can help you navigate the minefield of dealing with insurance companies and filing a claim.
Unfortunately, insurance companies work hard to limit the amount of money they pay out for car accident claims. They are not looking out for your best interests.
Our car accident lawyers have experience dealing with insurance companies. We know the tactics they will likely use to avoid making a fair payout on your claim. We will work to negotiate a settlement to fully compensate you for your medical expenses, repairs or replacement of damaged property, pain and suffering, and any future expenses you’ll incur.
If the insurer won’t agree to a fair settlement, we will be ready to take your case to court and vigorously advocate on your behalf to pursue a verdict in your favor.
Compensation for Car Accident Victims in Tampa
If you are the victim of a car accident, you may be entitled to several types of compensation for losses you’ve suffered. Compensation for personal injuries sustained in a car accident fall in two categories of damages: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages may include:
Medical expenses – Medical expenses can include emergency room visits and hospital stays, doctor’s office visits, physical and occupational therapy, surgery, durable medical equipment, prescription medication, and more.
Lost income and wages – You may be entitled to recover income you lose out on due to work missed as a result of your injuries. If your injuries prevent you from returning to work at the same pay as before, you may also collect compensation for future lost earning capacity.
Non-economic damages include:
Pain and suffering – Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate a car accident victim for the physical and emotional or mental anguish caused by their injuries. It also compensates for the loss of quality of life caused by injuries, such as if an injured party is unable to do activities they enjoyed before their accident.
Loss of consortium and companionship – Your spouse and family may be entitled to claim damages for the loss of your companionship, society, and services to the family.
In addition to personal injury compensation, you may also be entitled to compensation to repair or replace personal property damaged or destroyed in the crash, such as your vehicle or any contents of your vehicle.
Time Limit for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida
The law imposes a time limit for filing a lawsuit for compensation for a car accident. This time limit is called the statute of limitations.
Under Florida law, the statute of limitations for a lawsuit for personal injuries or property damage suffered in a car accident is four years from the date of the accident. If your loved one was killed in a car accident, you have two years from the date of their death to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations means the court will dismiss your case in virtually all situations.
Under limited circumstances, a court will pause or extend the statute of limitations, known as “tolling”. One of the most common circumstances for tolling the statute of limitations is called the discovery rule, which says that the limitations period does not begin running until a claimant knows or reasonably should know of the facts giving rise to their claim.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Car Crash
If you have been hurt in a car accident, there are steps you can take to protect your legal claim to compensation, including:
Seek medical attention – You should visit an emergency room, urgent care center, or your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Symptoms can worsen days or weeks after your accident. Prompt medical attention may make your recovery quicker and improve your prognosis.
Contact the police – If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should call the police to investigate the accident, even if the other drivers insist on not getting the police involved. A police accident report may provide important information about who is responsible for the accident.
Take photos – Use your cell phone to fully photograph the accident scene. Waiting too long to take pictures may mean that you lose evidence of critical details about the crash. Details you should photograph include the lighting and weather conditions, skid marks, damage to the vehicles, injuries you have suffered, and anything else that seems relevant.
Collect insurance information and eyewitness contact information – You should exchange insurance information with other drivers involved in the accident. If they decline to give their insurance information, the police will collect it. If there were eyewitnesses to the crash who are still on the scene, try to get their contact information.
Get help from a lawyer – Most importantly, you should also speak with a Tampa car accident attorney who can advise you as to your legal rights and options and what kind of compensation you may be entitled to for your injuries and damages.
How Will Florida’s No-Fault Law Affect My Case?
Florida is known as a “no-fault” state. Under the no-fault car insurance system, if you are involved in a car accident, your own insurance coverage initially pays (up to your policy limits) for your medical bills and other economic damages under what is known as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of who was responsible for the accident.
If you wish to file a lawsuit against the driver or other party responsible for the accident, your injuries must be deemed “serious” under state law. Florida law considers an injury to be serious if it involves one of the following characteristics:
Permanent limitation of organ or member
A significant limitation of a bodily function or system
Substantial full disability for at least 90 days
If your injuries meet one of these criteria, you are not limited to obtaining compensation solely from your own insurance company. Instead, you may also file a lawsuit against the responsible parties for not only economic damages but also for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Common Car Accident Injuries in Tampa
Some of the most common car accident injuries include:
Injuries to muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft-tissue injuries
Joint damage, especially in the legs, caused by crushing injuries or hyperextension
Broken bones, including ribs, ankles, legs, hips, shoulders, arms, and wrists
Internal bleeding or perforation of internal organs
Herniated discs and other back injuries
Lacerations (scrapes and cuts)
In addition to physical injuries, a car accident can also inflict psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), development of phobias, and survivor’s guilt.
Common Causes of Accidents in Tampa
Car accidents are unfortunately all-too-common, especially in a densely-populated region such as the Tampa area. The majority of car crashes are caused by some form of human error, such as:
Distracted driving, usually caused by cell phone use, eating, self-grooming, or turning to talk to other occupants of the vehicle
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
Reckless driving, including excessive speeding, changing lanes without signaling, and other aggressive, non-defensive driving styles
Running red lights or otherwise failing to heed stop or yield signs or lights
Poor lighting condition, especially at night
Design or manufacturing defects in the vehicle
Potholes or other defective road conditions
Your car accident attorney in Tampa will be able to investigate your accident to determine the precise cause. From there, they will be able to identify the liable party, which may be another driver, vehicle manufacturer, or government responsible for maintaining the roadway.
Talk to our Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney in Tampa, FL Now
If you have been involved in a car accident in Tampa that was not your fault, you may have the rights to compensation.
When you get into a car accident, there are certain steps you may want to take in order to help make sure everyone is safe, to follow the law and to get the insurance claim process started.
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the following steps may help guide you through important decisions you need to make if you’ve been in a car accident, whether you were at fault for the accident or not.
1. CHECK YOURSELF FOR INJURIES
If you’re injured, call 911 or ask someone else to do so. If you’re seriously injured, try not to move, and wait for emergency personnel.
2. CHECK ON THE WELL-BEING OF YOUR PASSENGERS
If you’re not too hurt to move, check on the other passengers in your car. If anyone’s injured, get on the phone with emergency services or ask a bystander to call for help.
3. GET TO SAFETY
If you’re able to, move to the side of the road or a sidewalk. If your car is safe to drive and is causing a hazard where it is, pull it to the side of the road. Otherwise, leave it where it is and get yourself to safety.
4. CALL 911
Whether an accident is considered a minor fender-bender or a major collision, calling the police is important — and in some states, it’s legally required. The responding officers will fill out an accident report and document the scene. If the police can’t come to the scene of the accident, you can go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself, according to the III. When you file a claim with your insurer, they may ask for a copy of the police report to help with the claims process.
5. WAIT FOR HELP
Turn off your engine, turn on your hazard lights and use the road flares in your emergency car kit to warn other vehicles to slow down.
6. EXCHANGE INFORMATION
After making sure you and any passengers are uninjured, exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. According to the III, here’s the most important information drivers should exchange after an accident:
Full name and contact information
Insurance company and policy number
Driver’s license and license plate number
Type, color and model of vehicle
Location of accident
The III recommends that you avoid discussing fault when going over the facts with the other driver. When you file an insurance claim, the adjuster reviewing your claim will determine who’s at fault based on an inspection of the vehicles/property damaged, information provided by you and the other parties involved in the accident, and any supporting documentation, like the police report or photographs from the scene.
7. DOCUMENT THE ACCIDENT
In order to help protect yourself, the III recommends taking the following steps:
Identify the officers. Once the police arrive, get the name and badge number of all responding officers.
Get a copy. Ask the police officers present where you can obtain a copy of the accident report. Your insurer may ask for a copy of the report when you file a car insurance claim.
Take pictures. Document the accident thoroughly by taking pictures of your vehicle from different angles, showing the damage done to both cars. It might also be a good idea to take pictures of the other car’s license plate. You may be able to share photos with your insurer during the claims process to help support your claim.
Take down names. Write down the names and addresses of all parties involved, including any passengers in the other vehicle.
Talk to witnesses. If there were any witnesses to the accident, take down their names and their contact information, as well.
8. NOTIFY YOUR INSURER AND START THE CLAIMS PROCESS
You may want to call your insurance agent while you’re at the scene. That way, they can tell you exactly what they will need to in order to process your claim and what to expect during the claims process.
An accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled, but following these steps may help protect you from unnecessary worries. That way, you can focus on working with your insurance company to get your vehicle repaired as smoothly and as quickly as possible. Contact us for more information.
Several different factors, not all of them obvious, determine who is liable for damages or injuries resulting from an automobile accident. For instance, a motorist is seriously injured when another motorist cuts in front of her after turning onto the street. However, she may be found liable if she was speeding or made an illegal lane change prior to the collision. The decision of who pays for damages or injuries in car accidents rests primarily on motor vehicle statutes, rather than the traditional, common law definition of “fault.”
This article explains the meaning of fault in car accidents with respect to common law and motor vehicle codes, since it differs from other types of claims.
Statutory Guidance for Car Accident Liability
The automobile insurance industry lobbied state legislatures to base car accident liability more on motor vehicle statutes than on common law notions of fault. This has made it easier for insurers to challenge fault and liability when the other party in an accident has violated a traffic law, especially since liability insurance is required in all states.
For example, a motorist lacking liability insurance may not be able to collect for damages even if the other motorist was at least partially negligent for a traffic accident.
Car Accident Liability and Common Law
In its purest form, “fault” for causing an accident is either created by law or defined by common law. Common law recognizes four basic levels of fault:
Negligence generally means careless or inadvertent conduct that results in harm or damage, which is quite common in automobile accidents. One can be negligent by failing to do something, such as not yielding the right-of-way to avoid an accident, as well as by actively doing something (such as running a red light).
Reckless or wanton conduct refers to a willful disregard for the safety and welfare of others. Strict liability may be imposed, even in the absence of fault, for accidents involving certain defective products or extra hazardous activities (such as the transporting of explosive chemicals).
Under common law, individuals who have caused a car accident have committed a “tort,” a private wrong against another (but not rising to the level of an intentional tort or crime). Those who have committed torts are referred to as “tortfeasors” under the law. Many automobile insurance policies use the word “tortfeasor” to refer to people who are at least partly at fault for an accident.
There’s rarely a question of fault when a motorist has engaged in intentional or reckless misconduct, such as drunk driving. But when it comes to general negligence, as in fender-benders or other routine accidents, establishing fault becomes more complex. More than one motorist may be found at least partially responsible. When this is the case (and there are multiple tortfeasors involved), state law dictates who must pay for damage to property and injuries to the involved parties.
Motor Vehicle Statutory Violations
Every state has passed multiple laws regulating the manner in which drivers must operate their vehicles upon public roads. Many of these statutes are actually codified versions of the common law, while others are the result of legislative initiative.
The important point to remember is that a violation of any of these statutes generally creates a presumption of negligence as a matter of law. For instance, most states require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Failure to do so is an act of negligence, which may affect liability in an accident.
Thus, fault in an accident may be established merely by citing a statute that has been violated. A motorist presumed to have caused an accident by virtue of a statutory violation bears the burden of proving that this act of negligence was not a proximate cause of the injuries.
For example, the motorcyclist who fails to wear a helmet suffers a serious brain injury after a motorist driving a car accidentally sideswipes him. The motorist may have been negligent, but so was the motorcyclist who didn’t wear a helmet.
The simplest way to apply the concept of proximate cause to an automobile accident is to ask whether it would be true that, “but for” the violation, the accident would not have occurred. With respect to the motorcyclist example, the helmet would not have prevented the accident but most likely would have limited the motorcyclist’s injuries. Therefore, the motorist may not be held liable for the motorcyclist’s brain injury.
Get Legal Help with Your Car Accident Fault and Liability Questions
If you think that someone was at fault in an accident you were involved in, you should have the facts of your claim reviewed by an attorney as soon as possible. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer today to learn if you may be able to collect damages to cover your losses.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering exactly how an attorney can help you. In this article we’ll cover what a car accident lawyer brings to the table, including:Related Products
organization and analysis of key evidence and records
a network of investigators and experts who can help strengthen your case, and
negotiation taking that will get the best outcome for your car accident claim.
What Will My Car Accident Lawyer Do?
While much depends on the specifics and the complexity of your car accident case, in general a lawyer can:
communicate with the other driver’s insurer
obtain the necessary evidence with respect to fault for the accident
organize your medical records and bills
communicate with your health care providers to obtain missing records
work with your doctors to make sure they provide the medical information you need so that you can prove damages in your claim
organize and present the evidence in order to prove liability and damages
negotiate with lien holders on your claim (such as health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurers) to potentially reduce the amount of those liens, and
negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the insurance adjuster or defense attorney.
Let’s look at a couple of these things in-depth.
Communicating with the Other Driver’s Insurer
In any personal injury case, your lawyer will open up a line of communication with the insurance adjuster for the other party (or parties) involved. The adjuster has the pocketbook, and so it is critical for a plaintiff’s lawyer to have good communications and a good relationship with the adjuster.
Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Liability
A good lawyer can help obtain all of the evidence that you will need to prove liability in a car accident claim. Although you may have already taken photographs of the accident scene, your lawyer will probably go back to the scene him/herself to see what it looks like. While a picture may be worth a thousand words, actually seeing the scene can be worth a thousand pictures.
The lawyer will make sure to get all of the accident or police reports in the case and will often speak with the investigating police officers and witnesses. A good lawyer will leave no stone unturned when it comes to obtaining evidence of liability. Learn more about proving fault for a car accident.
Obtaining Necessary Evidence of Damages
This is where a good lawyer can be essential to your case, especially when you’ve suffered significant car accident injuries.
It is critical to obtain all documentation related to your injuries, but it isn’t always easy to get your hands on those records and bills from health care providers. Although the records are technically yours, and you have an absolute right to them, sending medical records to patients and lawyers is just not a health care provider’s first priority.
Small doctors’ offices may not have the staffing or the time to respond to medical record requests on a timely basis. Large hospitals may have specific procedures that must be followed in order to respond to medical record requests. If you don’t follow their procedures (which they often don’t publicize very well), they simply won’t respond to your request.
Then, when the health care provider does respond to the request, the records may be incomplete. Any lawyer’s secretary or paralegal will tell you that they often have to request the same records more than once and that they have to follow up endlessly with the provider’s office.
Finally, it may turn out that the doctor did not use the “magic words” as to causation, prognosis, and disability in his or her notes. In order to successfully prosecute any type of personal injury claim, you must be able to prove, through medical evidence,
exactly what your injury, disability, or physical limitation is, and
Doctors often don’t mention causation and extent of the injury or disability in their medical records. If this happens in your case, your lawyer will write the doctor and ask for a special letter in which the doctor gives his/her opinion that the accident caused your injury or disability and that, as a result of the accident, you will be hindered or disabled for a specific period of time.
Negotiating With Lien Holders
If you received benefits from a health, disability, or workers’ compensation insurer, that insurer will have a lien on your claim. A lien means that the lien holder gets paid before you do, out of any settlement or judgment you receive. A good lawyer will work with the lien holder to try to get the lien holder to reduce its lien. This is important work. Every dollar less that the lien holder takes is one more dollar that goes into your pocket. Learn more about health care provider liens on personal injury settlements.
Negotiating With Insurers/Defendants
Negotiation is a very specific skill (some might even call it an art). A personal injury lawyer is always going to be far better at settling a car accident case than a layperson would be. A good lawyer knows how much the case is worth and knows how to work the case and conduct the negotiations in order to arrive at the best outcome for the client.
When Can I Handle a Car Accident Claim Myself?
If you weren’t hurt all that badly, if you’re comfortable gathering necessary evidence and documents, and (most importantly) you’re ready and willing to engage in the settlement negotiation process, you can certainly handle your car accident claim yourself. But there’s really no substitute for a skilled legal professional’s help. Learn more about the advantage of legal representation in our personal injury reader survey results.
If anyone has been involved in a car accident, he or she can need to hire acar accident lawyer. A skilled lawyer may assist them in obtaining damages arising from an accident in a vehicle or reduce the heavy amount of paperwork, red tape, and trouble often associated with claims for auto accident insurance. It may make the difference between a justly settled dispute and owing or losing substantial monetary damages to know when individuals need competent legal assistance.
Why people need to employ a lawyer for road accidents
Sadly, car accidents are regular occurrences. Many of the collisions, in the form of a fender bender, result in minor vehicle damage and can usually be managed alone by direct communication with an insurance agent. A skilled lawyer may assist persons to obtain compensation to cover any damages suffered due to the crash, such as medical costs, missed income, and repairs to the vehicle.
When hiring a car accident lawyer, what to look for
Car accident lawyers handle a variety of concerns resulting from personal injuries, unintentional death, loss of property, and determinations of liability. People should reflect on their expertise, skill level, involvement, venue, and fee structure when searching for a lawyer. The attorney should, for instance, be well versed in state and national transport regulations, know how to negotiate with insurance and health care providers, and know-how to plan and settle a case effectively. It is also important that they review the history, references, and track record of the attorney. Finally, if the car accident lawyer thinks their case has any merit, a successful lawyer would usually take the case on a contingency or no win-no fee basis, so it’s necessary to verify the standard fee arrangement of the lawyer.
When to Hire a Lawyer for car accidents
To prevent any expensive errors, it is best to employ a lawyer early. The period for making lawsuits for personal injuries varies from state to state. Because people can have to pay medical bills and cover missed jobs, the sooner they contact a car accident lawyer, the better. In general, within a week or two of the accident, but before making a settlement with the insurance provider, a person can contact an attorney shortly after the accident happens.
Moving forward, individuals should provide as many accurate details and data about the car crash and any accidents or financial damages as possible before speaking with a lawyer. The insurance policy, details shared at the crash scene, and medical reports, among other items, might include documentation they may want to show their lawyer after a motor vehicle accident. On a contingency or no win-no payment basis, most vehicle accident cases are treated. This ensures that they do not receive a fee if the solicitor does not win or settle the case on their behalf. On the other side, they would get a share of the personal injury settlement if the attorney wins the case.