Tampa, Florida, has the undesirable ranking of the 4th-worst city in the United States for vehicle accidents, according to the statistics from QuoteWizard.
Tampa also ranks 37th-worst for DUI accidents, 46th-worst for speeding, and 44th-worst for citations.
Check out our Tampa Car Accident Infographic.
There is a lot of room for improvement in terms of transportation in Tampa. Given these dire statistics, you should educate yourself about the steps you should take if you find yourself the victim of a Tampa car accident.
Essential Steps to Take Following a Tampa Car Accident
Involvement in an automobile accident is a jarring experience for anyone. There is the initial shock of what just happened to you. There is the follow-up stress and anxiety about what you must do to make things right again.
Before you get too panicked or concerned, take a few moments to go through the following steps:
Address All Medical Concerns
The first thing to do after an automobile accident is always the same. That is to say that you need to be in touch with the first responders on the scene. It is to prioritize your injuries and the injuries of all other parties.
Hopefully, your injuries will be minor or non-existent. However, you must receive proper medical care before taking any next step.
Contact an Attorney
No matter what happened in the accident, you must contact an attorney to help protect your rights. That attorney can initially consult you to see where your case stands. They can also begin to formulate a strategy for the next steps in the process.
Retain All Medical Records and Expenses
Your attorney will be able to request your medical bills and records later. However, retaining some of that information can also expedite the process. Turn those records over to your attorney.
Allow Your Attorney to Take You Through the Process
The process of successfully filing a lawsuit after a car accident is a lengthy one. You must show great patience as the technique works through the system.
That said, you should have an attorney helping you out with it. You can turn the wheel over to them and let them guide you along the way.
Why Is an Attorney Necessary?
You should seek to hire an attorney following a car accident for many reasons. All law explains one of the key reasons why you should seek professional legal counsel immediately:
Hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you after a car accident means you will have a professional working for you who is highly knowledgeable about the relevant laws and procedural rules that may affect your case.
It is also true that your attorney can provide information about any potential statute of limitations issues that you may encounter in your case. Every state is different regarding its statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Your attorney can guide what the specific rules are for your condition. They may even decide to take a case or not based on how close to the statute of limitations that particular issue is. This is necessary for the attorney to do in certain circumstances.
They want to save your time and your own on a case that will be thrown out on a statute of limitations violation.
Finally, you will want an attorney to file all the legal paperwork necessary to get your lawsuit filed in court. There are procedures for this kind of thing, which must be followed precisely to the letter.
You may do this work yourself as an untrained individual. However, you will likely get something wrong, costing you the whole case.
How Much Is My Tampa Accident Case Worth?
The amount of money that the victim of a personal injury due to a car accident receives is highly variable, depending on the specifics of their case. Not a specific number can be pointed to for every patient.
Instead, the best we can do is rely on an average figure as provided by Forbes. They cite the Insurance Information Institute, which says the average settlement for a car accident case in 2020 was $20,235.
The number is merely an average of all cases settled in that year. It is not necessarily a representative number. The majority of patients were settled for under $10,000. The standard is higher because some outlier cases received massive compensation payouts.
Certain states impose a cap on a car accident victim's compensation. Therefore, you may find yourself hitting up against that cap, depending on where you live. This is unlikely unless you sustain severe and life-altering injuries that you will never recover from. However, it is essential to note that such caps do exist.
How Long Do You Have to Get a Tampa Lawyer After an Accident?
Tampa is governed by Florida state law regarding the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim following an automobile accident. In most cases, the Sunshine State imposes a 4-year statute of limitations on these lawsuits.
That limit is quite generous compared to what most other states offer. It is common to hear of 2 or 3-year limitations in personal cases for most other states.
However, the 4-year limit that Florida offers allows people to file their cases. This is even if a considerable amount of time has passed since their injury.
The 4-year limit provides a nice cushion for those involved in an accident. However, victims of accidents should not wait longer than necessary to get the legal representation they require. Lawyers need to look over the specifics of your case. They obtain relevant medical and law enforcement records.
They get several documents filed with the court before that case is set in motion. Those things take time, and you want to avoid putting your attorney under unnecessary pressure to get everything filed under the wire.
All car accident victims in Tampa (or anywhere else, for that matter) should come forward with their claims as rapidly as possible. You can avoid losing out on a golden opportunity to claim some justice in your case.
Types of Damages One Can Sue for in an Automobile Accident
Victims of an automobile accident may sue for several different types of injuries that they may have sustained as part of the accident.
The injury types that one includes in their lawsuit fall into different categories. Each of these categories is worthy of exploration.
The most common type of injury that one is likely to include in their lawsuit is for medical damages sustained during the accident. The victim may acquire medical bills due to the injuries sustained during the accident.
Why should car accident victims be responsible for paying medical bills for something they didn't cause to happen to themselves? Most of society agrees that this is unfair to the victim.
This is why medical damages are nearly always included in a lawsuit following an accident.
It is almost certain that one's vehicle will be damaged during an accident. The vehicle may become totaled. Regardless of the property damage's severity, this can and should be rolled into an accident lawsuit.
The cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle may be sought in a lawsuit.
Car accident victims frequently have to miss substantial time from work. They lose more than the money they would have made if they had worked during that period. However, their job chances may suffer as a result.
This includes money that may have been gained through job advancements. A court will have to examine every relevant data item regarding an individual's future income that it can locate to determine how much that individual likely lost out on because they were wounded and in the hospital.
Pain and Suffering
Most states have a limited scope on how much one can receive for pain and suffering in their lawsuit. Florida has no specific cap on what a jury may award for pain and suffering.
Still, an attorney can help you set appropriate expectations on what you might receive when you speak with them about the specifics of your case. This is considered a non-economic form of compensation.
The amount awarded for this will likely be lower than that for other aspects of your case.
SSurviving family members of an individual who perished in a car accident can sue for wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit might include additional damages that fall under this category.
For example, the family may pursue damages related to the funeral and burial cost of their loved one. Wrongful death penalties are often higher than those in a standard injury case. Juries recognize the extreme suffering that a family goes through when they have to bury a loved one.
Additional Dangers to Tampa Drivers
AAs mentioned, Tampa is rated as one of the most dangerous driving areas. Statistically, it has many accidents compared to the number of people who live and go there.
It would be best if you always practice safety measures when driving no matter where in the country you are, but there are additional dangers in the Tampa area to be mindful of as well, including:
- Alcohol-Impaired Drivers - Tampa is in the top 50 US cities for DUI arrests. Studies have been conducted regarding drivers' reaction times when they are impaired. Those studies found that drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more (the legal limit in the United States) would travel an additional 12 feet due to their delayed reaction to an incident on the road. Their delayed reactions pose a risk to all drivers on the road, and you need to be specifically mindful of them in the Tampa area.
- Distracted Driving - Drunk driving is not the only type of driving to be concerned about. It would be preferable if you were likewise worried about inattentive drivers. The problem with distracted drivers is that they are becoming more prevalent. What appears to be a casual peek at one's smartphone might quickly turn into a possibly fatal mishap. Even if one's eyes are pulled off the road for a short time, it can have disastrous results, yet many individuals admit to distracted driving.
These risks and others are why it is essential to pay extra attention to what you do when you are out on the roads in Tampa. It can get very dicey and dangerous if you are not extremely careful.
Call Ryan to get the legal help you deserve
If you have been involved in an automobile accident in the Tampa area, we are here to help.
Our team of experienced lawyers knows how to fight these cases for you, and we are happy to be your advocate.
Once hired, a lawyer from our staff will begin filing your case and walk you through the process each step of the way.
We can answer your questions and will be your most prominent advocate to get the largest settlement possible for your case.