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Tampa Car Accident Lawyers

Our Tampa car accident attorneys can help if you’ve been involved in a car accident. After you get into a car accident, it’s normal to be unsure of what to do next. Our attorneys are prepared to represent your interests and help you work through the legal process.

When a car accident occurs, your car may need repairs or medical attention for your injuries. If you don’t have insurance, you may be worried about how you’re going to handle the financial burden. Our attorneys for car accidents in Tampa have extensive experience handling these types of cases.

How a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

The insurance company is supposed to fairly and quickly pay your claim. Unfortunately, too often, the insurance companies try to downplay claims and convince accident victims to settle for far less than the claim is worth. But you don’t have to deal with the insurance company yourself.

Our lawyers have experience with Tampa car accident cases. Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys has over 37 years of experience as a car accident lawyer in Tampa, FL, and he can help you through this tough time. The insurance companies know that the average person does not understand the complex laws and rules that affect car accident claims in Tampa. Jack and his team of legal professionals are here to handle the process on your behalf so that you can turn your attention to your health.

Our legal team has the experience to help you with the whole process. Here are just some of the ways that our accident lawyers in Tampa can represent you:

  • Understanding complex, state and local laws
  • Filing process
  • Determining what causes of action apply
  • Examining fault in the accident
  • Building the evidence to prove your case
  • Calculating the complete value for your claim
  • Negotiations with the insurance company
  • Preliminary court motions to strategically position your case for a favorable trial
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Jury selection and trial
  • Appeals and post-verdict actions
  • Vehicle damage appraisal and repair

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys we are a full-service car accident law firm in Tampa. Our team knows that it’s not enough just to file court papers on your behalf. We represent you and bring your claim from start to finish. From working with the right medical professionals to speaking with the insurance company, we take it all off your shoulders. Helping deserving accidents victims reach positive outcomes through the Florida legal system is what we do best. Contact our experienced legal team so we can discuss how we can help you.

 

Do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident in Tampa?

When you’re in a car accident in Tampa, your first thought might be whether you need an attorney to help you. There are several ways that our attorneys assist car accident victims.

First, we want to help you evaluate your claim. You may have a right to compensation that you aren’t aware of. Although Florida uses a no-fault system for accidents with only minor injuries, there are exceptions where injured victims can bring third-party claims. A third-party car accident claim allows you to request damages that cover your pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and all types of financial losses. You may have a right to these types of compensation and not even realize it. The types of compensation that you may receive after a car accident include:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation including physical therapy, crutches, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Lost work and altered career path
  • Household expenditures if you’re unable to do household chores
  • Mental injuries like anxiety, PTSD, and panic disorder
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional anguish
  • Property losses

Compensation After a Tampa Car Accident

Another way that our experienced attorneys help you after a car accident claim is by evaluating the offer from the insurance company. If the insurance company offers you a payment, that may not be the end of the story. Insurance companies like to lowball settlement offers in hopes of saving dollars and increasing their profit margins. By working with an attorney, you can explore whether the offer from the insurance company is fair.

Finally, our experienced car accident lawyers in Tampa help you navigate the legal system. Bringing a claim can be complex. It can be challenging to know how to respond appropriately to the insurance company. Having experienced legal counsel can be the difference between handling your claim effectively and not knowing where to start.

Ultimately, working with an experienced attorney may mean receiving a more substantial settlement than you would have received without counsel. It may also mean more streamlined and less stressful management of the legal process and the confidence to know that your claim is being handled appropriately. Becoming the victim of a car accident is a significant life event. It may even be life-changing. Professional counsel can help you manage the aftermath of a car accident in the way that’s most advantageous for you, your family, and your recovery.

Tampa Auto Accident FAQs

Does no-fault law apply to auto accidents in Tampa?

Yes, no-fault law applies to auto accidents in Tampa and throughout the State of Florida. The law requires all drivers to maintain Personal Injury Protection and property damage insurance in minimum amounts. In turn, most car accident claims go through the driver’s own insurance regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Even though no-fault laws apply in Tampa, third-party claims are still available in cases of serious or permanent injury.

What is a typical settlement for an auto accident?

A typical settlement for an auto accident is an amount that represents the losses of the victim. For third-party claims involving serious injuries, that amount can include non-economic damages like pain and suffering. The more serious the injuries, the higher the amount of pain and suffering. Each claim is based on the victim’s actual losses, so there is truly no typical settlement for an auto accident.

In what court do I file an auto accident case in Tampa, Florida?

Usually, you file an auto accident case for Tampa, Florida, in the 13th Circuit Court. The 13th Circuit Court is one of 20 circuit courts. It covers Hillsborough County. Civil cases in Tampa, Florida, generally fall between county courts and circuit courts. The Circuit Court is the place to file a case where more than $30,000 is disputed. Because Florida is a no-fault state, most auto accident cases involve more than $30,000 and therefore originate in Circuit Court.

Civil cases involving less than $30,000 start at one of the 67 county courts in Florida. For Tampa, that means the Hillsborough County court. In St. Petersburg, Clearwater or Palm Harbor, that means Pinellas County. There is a county court for each county in the State of Florida.

When the claim is for $30,000 or more, it begins in the Circuit Court. Pinellas and Pasco Counties are grouped into the Sixth Circuit Court while Hillsborough County is the 13th Circuit Court. The threshold amount for filing increases to $50,000 on January 1, 2023. Small claims cases are for amounts of less than $8,000. When cases are appealed, they go to five District Courts of Appeals and then the Florida Supreme Court.

Where do Tampa auto accident laws come from?

Tampa auto accident laws come from State of Florida law as well as from City of Tampa ordinances. Most no-fault laws originate at the state level. For example, Florida Revised Statutes 627.737 creates thresholds when an injured individual may bring a negligence action. State laws also determine the standards for when negligence occurs and what compensation is available to a victim.

There may also be relevant city ordinances. For example, the Tampa Code of Ordinances Chapter 18 gives the City of Tampa the authority to create a police department that may investigate an accident. When you have an auto accident claim, remember that both state and local laws may be a part of the claim. Plus, rules of evidence and procedure play a role in bringing a successful auto accident claim.

How often do auto accident settlements exceed the policy limits?

Although auto accident settlements do not often exceed policy limits, some circumstances are appropriate to settle at an amount that exceeds policy limits. Where liability is clear, the responsible party may be personally liable for the amount of the judgment that exceeds their policy limit. Where the party has significant assets, for example, when the responsible party is a company, it may be possible to collect compensation in addition to the amount of the policy. An attorney for auto accidents can help you determine if this is an option in your case.

How to calculate pain and suffering in an auto accident?

To calculate pain and suffering in an auto accident, evaluate the relative severity of the injuries. For minor injuries where recovery is measured in a matter of weeks, pain and suffering may be less than or equal to economic damages. When injuries are lifelong and extremely severe, pain and suffering may be as much as five times the amount of economic damages. Begin with a careful calculation of economic damages and then consider the severity of the injuries to determine non-economic damages.*

*In Florida law, you are not eligible for non-economic damages unless you have a qualifying third party claim. Qualifying injuries are significant disfigurement, bone fractures, permanent limitations and dysfunction of bodily systems. Learn more about Florida’s no-fault auto laws.

Does Medicare cover injuries from an auto accident?

Yes, Medicare generally covers injuries from an auto accident. However, the interplay between Medicare, PIP insurance and third-party claims is complex. Generally, Medicare is a secondary payer to PIP insurance.

In addition, Medicare does not cover some forms of care and treatment that an accident victim may need, like skilled nursing care and home modifications. PIP or third-party compensation may provide broader coverage. Finally, anyone who receives Medicare benefits is advised to be in full compliance with Florida no-fault laws by carrying at least the minimum amounts of required insurance to prevent unexpected gaps in coverage.

How long for an auto accident settlement?

How long it takes for an auto accident to settle depends on the severity of the accident and the complexity of the legal issues. A relatively minor case where injuries can be quickly valued can be resolved in several weeks. However, a complicated case with severe injuries or legal issues can take a year or more to settle. While the wait can create difficulty, the time may be needed to fully value current and future injuries and prepare the legal case for the victim to receive fair compensation.

Do I need a lawyer for an auto accident case?

You need a lawyer for an auto accident case if your injuries are significant or if there are legal issues that make the case complicated. A lawyer ensures that you value your damages accurately. They have special training in the kinds of compensation available and how to claim it. They also know what happens at mediation for auto accidents and how to negotiate auto accident settlements. They will advocate on your behalf.

A Tampa auto accident attorney also has the training to build the evidence and follow the legal processes to file and advance the claim. In all but the most straightforward cases where liability and value are apparent, having an attorney ensures that you take the right steps to advance the claim and, ultimately, maximize your compensation.

Questions to Ask Your Car Accident Attorney

When you meet with an attorney, there are a number of important questions to ask. Asking the right questions can help you begin to learn about your claim and determine if the attorney is right for you:

  • Do you focus on accident claims?
  • What is your training and experience for handling accident claims?
  • What sets you apart from other attorneys?
  • What is the value of my case? How did you arrive at that estimation?
  • Are there any legal issues that might make my case complex?
  • What things should I be doing right now?
  • Can you talk me through the claims process?

 

Rental Car Accident FAQ

Accidents involving rental cars can leave you with a lot of questions. You need to know who is liable for an accident in a rental car. Florida has laws for rental car accident liability. Our Tampa car accident lawyers answer your most frequently asked questions.

Who Is Legally Liable for an Accident in a Rental Car?

Who is responsible for rental car in an accident is the first question you might have if considering renting a car in Florida. Legal liability for an accident in a rental car is the same as liability for accidents involving cars owned by their drivers. Negligence, reckless driving and disobeying traffic laws can be ways drivers are liable for their actions if they are driving a rental car.

Even though legal liability for an accident in a rental car is the same as other kinds of accidents, there’s an increased chance that there are insurance policies in play that may provide additional coverage than private policies alone.

What Is Florida Law for Legal Liability for a Rental Car Accident?

Florida law for legal liability for a rental car accident comes from Florida Revised Statutes 627.7263 [1]. The law states that the personal insurance policy (PIP) of the motor vehicle’s lessor is primary to their rental car insurance. Each person first looks to their own PIP insurance, or any other personal insurance policy, in order to cover their damages up to the limits of the policy. If the claim falls outside that amount, supplemental rental car insurance, uninsured and underinsured coverage and traditional no-fault law exceptions may apply to create additional paths to compensation.

Do You Have To Stop at the Scene of a Rental Car Accident?

Yes, you have to stop at the scene of a rental car accident. Florida law 316.061-316.063 [2] applies to all accidents, even when a driver is operating a rental car. Be sure to stop immediately in a safe manner and comply with requirements to render aid and provide information. A person has to stop at the scene of a rental car accident in the same way as any other driver involved in an accident in the State of Florida.

Is a Rental Car Company Liable for an Accident That Involves a Rental Car in Florida?

A rental car company may be liable for any accident that involves a rental car in Florida. Florida law 324.021(9)(b)(2) [3] says that a rental company is deemed the owner of a motor vehicle for the purposes of determining liability up to $100,000 per person, $300,000 per incident and $50,000 for property damage. Liability may extend up to $500,000 combined property and bodily injury, but this amount may be satisfied from insurance held by the renter. Also, the driver has liability for their driving behavior.

Can a Car Rental Agency Have Liability for a Defective Vehicle?

Yes, a car rental agency can have liability for a defective vehicle. Car rental companies are in the business of renting vehicles for profit. The law requires them to take special care to ensure that their vehicles in operation are in good working condition. If a defective vehicle results in injuries to an occupant of the rental car or an occupant of another car, the car rental company may be liable.

Do You Have To Have Car Insurance To Rent a Car in Florida?

Yes, you have to have car insurance to rent a car in Florida. Florida law imposes mandatory minimums for all drivers in the State of Florida. These minimums apply to rented vehicles as well as to privately-owned vehicles. You can typically purchase this coverage easily through your rental agreement. However, it may not be necessary to buy it separately because your auto insurance may already cover car rentals.

Be sure to know whether or not you need to buy insurance before you rent a car in Florida. It’s essential to make sure that you’re covered either through purchasing a policy or through your personal auto insurance.

What Do I Do if I’m in an Accident in a Rental Car?

If you’re in an accident in a rental car, call the police. Render aid to anyone who may be injured. Exchange information with the other driver and gather the names and contact information of any witnesses. Be sure to take photographs of both vehicles and any apparent injuries. Contact your insurance and the car rental agency to notify them of the accident. Then, take the proper steps to make insurance claims and a legal claim, if appropriate. If you’re in an accident in a rental car in Florida, you may have the assistance of a car accident attorney.

Does an Accident in a Rental Car Affect My Insurance?

Yes, an accident in a rental car may affect your insurance. There may be damage claims through your insurance, and it may impact your rates in the future. However, if you purchased additional rental insurance when you reserved your vehicle, the claims may not go through your private insurance. However, your driving history, such as drunk-driving-related accidents or citations that you receive, may also impact your insurance rates.

Does a Rental Car Accident Go on My Driving Record?

Once there is a police report filed, a rental car accident becomes public record. It may become a part of your driving record. It most likely will become a part of your record if it occurs in the state where you hold your license. While a rental car accident is a part of public records, centralized driving records may not be kept or coordinated between states. What happens in another state may not find its way back to your home state of record. However, it is a part of your driving record whether or not your in-state record is complete.

Attorneys for Car Accidents in Rental Cars

Have you been in a crash while driving a rental car in Florida? You may have more specific questions following your accident. Does AAA cover rental cars after an accident? How do I get a rental car after an accident? Does insurance cover rental car after accident? Our legal team has answers.

Work with the Florida car accident attorneys with decades of experience handling complex car accident cases, including rental car crashes. Contact us today for your free consultation with our Tampa legal team.

Legal References:

[1] FLA. STAT. § 627.7263

[2] FLA. STAT. § 316.061-316.063

[3] FLA. STAT. § 324.021(9)(b)(2)

Free Consultations With Our Car Accident Attorneys in Tampa

If you’re wondering what to do after a car accident, our attorneys can help. Jack Bernstein and his team of legal professionals can put their decades of experience to work for you. A car accident can be a sudden disruption in your life. Our legal team wants to help you in every way possible. There is no fee unless you win. Contact us today for a free consultation and to begin your claim.

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