In a perfect world, you would never need a personal injury lawyer. Unfortunately, accidents can happen anywhere, and dealing with insurance companies can be stressful and challenging. 

When you suffer an accident due to the negligent actions of someone else in Florida, you may find yourself facing mounting medical bills and reduced income. This is where a Tampa personal injury lawyer comes in. 

A personal injury lawyer discusses a case with his client who has his arm in a sling after an accident.

The seasoned team at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, can protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve on your behalf. Here is what you need to know about personal injuries in Tampa and how the right attorney can make all the difference in your claim.

What Qualifies as a Personal Injury in Florida?

According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, a personal injury involves harm to a person’s body, emotions, or reputation. This harm must be caused in one of three ways, including:

  • Negligence: The party that caused the harm failed to behave with the level of care expected
  • Intentional action: The party intended to harm the victim
  • Strict liability: In some cases, intent is irrelevant. In these cases, the defendant is responsible for taking a specific action. An experienced lawyer can identify these types of cases.

Personal injuries are typically differentiated from injury to property.

Common Types of Personal Injury Claims in Tampa

While the definition of a personal injury claim is reasonably straightforward, there are dozens of types of claims that fit into the category. Some of the more common types of personal injury claims in Hillsborough County include:

Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries

According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are almost 23 million registered vehicles in the state. This number includes:

  • Trucks
  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Trailers
  • Buses
  • Water vessels 

With this many vehicles on the roads and waterways — not including visitors to the state — accidents are inevitable. In part because motor vehicle accidents are common, state laws regarding vehicle accidents are more extensive than for other types of accidents. 

Most drivers are familiar with part of the legal process involving car accidents because they are required to understand that process to get a license. Florida car accidents are complicated by no-fault laws that make it difficult for accident victims to understand their rights.

Similar to car accidents, truck accidents involve at least one commercial vehicle. The driver of that vehicle is subject to stricter laws and usually is covered by a corporate insurance policy. 

Motorcycle accidents are some of the most serious accidents, often involving catastrophic injuries or the death of a driver. If the motorcycle driver isn’t responsible, they or their surviving loved ones are usually eligible to file a lawsuit against another driver.

When it comes to boat accidents, regulations for piloting a boat are roughly as strict as driving a car on public roads. If a pilot isn’t obeying those regulations, people injured in an accident can file a lawsuit for negligence.

Slip-and-Fall Accidents

When someone slips and falls while they aren’t in their home, another party may be responsible for that accident. This typically falls under a category of personal injury law known as premises liability.

The basic idea is that the owner or manager of a property is responsible for ensuring that it is safe for anyone visiting the property. This may include customers, guests, or employees. If the owner doesn’t take proper precautions, like inspecting and maintaining the property, they may be responsible for injuries suffered on the premises.

Slip-and-fall accidents are particularly common in places near water, like docks or seaside restaurants.

Dog Bites

This category of personal injury is an example of strict liability. If you own a dog in Florida and it bites someone, you are liable for the harm it caused. It doesn’t matter whether you were aware of the dog’s propensity to bite or not. You are expected to maintain control of your dog and can be liable if you don’t.

Wrongful Death

If your loved one died due to the actions of another, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is almost identical to other kinds of personal injury lawsuits, except that you litigate for the harm caused to another.

What Types of Injuries Are Common in Personal Injury Cases?

If you are injured in a car accident, you will typically suffer different types of injuries compared to if you are bitten by a dog. The following are some common injuries resulting from personal injury cases:

Catastrophic Injuries

Florida defines certain types of injuries as catastrophic injuries. These injuries have a special place in car accident claims. Normally, the no-fault laws prevent you from suing the other driver for non-economic damages. However, if you suffered a catastrophic injury, that restriction is removed. A catastrophic injury involves:

  • Partial or total loss of a bodily function
  • Permanent or likely permanent disability
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

Catastrophic injuries are particularly common in accidents involving trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, or pedestrians.

Brain Injuries

Almost any head injury has a chance to cause some brain damage. A serious blow is likely to cause a traumatic brain injury. These injuries usually result in some type of permanent harm and possible disability. Frustratingly, these injuries often worsen over time rather than improve.

Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are common in certain types of car accidents — primarily rear-end accidents — and slip-and-fall accidents. Harm to the spinal column and surrounding nerves often requires years or a lifetime of therapy. Surgery is typically necessary but does not always solve the issue.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Not all injuries are physical. The anxiety caused by getting attacked by a violent animal or experiencing a harrowing car accident can last long after the injuries have healed. You can potentially receive compensation for therapy costs for PTSD and other mental suffering you endure.

Why Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Is the Best Choice in Tampa

Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, is a personal injury law firm with a long history of success in Hillsborough County. Our dedicated team has the legal resources and extensive knowledge necessary to aggressively fight for your rights. We give every case the personal attention it needs to have the best possible chance of achieving maximum recovery.

If you were injured in a car accident, it is essential to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and learn more about what options you may have going forward.

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Tampa

Our law firm has six personal injury lawyers proudly serving Tampa, including Jack Bernstein and Tim Shanahan.

Jack Bernstein

Mr. Bernstein opened this law firm immediately after graduating from law school. He has spent 37 years helping Florida clients with all types of personal injury cases. He is a hands-on lawyer involved with every case in the firm. 

Mr. Bernstein handpicks the team members for every case based on their specific talents and the needs of the client. In almost four decades of protecting the rights of clients, Jack Bernstein has worked on over 50,000 cases and earned an exceptional reputation in his community.

Tim Shanahan

Mr. Shanahan has a sports law and corporate law background that has often served him well in personal injury cases. He is persistent and has an attention to detail that has helped thousands of clients succeed in their claims. 

Mr. Shanahan also deeply cares about children, ministering to them in church and serving as a Guardian Ad Litem. His caring personality is often a comfort for clients suffering grave losses.

Our Personal Injury Case Results

Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, has obtained hundreds of millions of dollars for clients during the almost 40 years we have served this community. We have had success in every type of case we handle, litigating for almost every injury category among over 50,000 cases.

Some of the successful cases we have litigated over the years include the following:

  • $3 million for neck injuries in a truck accident
  • $2.25 million for a client paralyzed due to medical malpractice
  • $1.75 million for burn injuries in a slip-and-fall case
  • $1.5 million for a leg injury resulting from a forklift accident
  • $1.5 million for a head injury in a maritime accident
  • $962,000 for a shoulder injury due to nursing home abuse

If you want to know about results that more closely resemble the details of your claim, our legal team will be happy to share them during your initial consultation.

Why Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney Is a Good Idea

Some clients wonder whether they even need a personal injury lawyer. Presumably, the law is designed to protect the rights of individuals, and it should be easy to get compensation if you were wronged. While the first part of this principle is accurate, you may be surprised to find that obtaining compensation can be highly difficult.

The law is extremely complex by necessity. This prevents it from being used as a sword to unfairly harm others. Unfortunately, this means it takes extensive knowledge to navigate the legal system successfully.

For this reason, it is always wise to consult an attorney after you’ve suffered an accident. An experienced attorney can quickly evaluate the circumstances of your case and explain your legal options. This puts you in a position to make an educated decision about approaching your claim.

More often than not, clients realize that an attorney offers several advantages that make up for any costs associated with hiring one. Some of the main advantages are that lawyers:

  • Can handle bureaucracy and paperwork while you are incapacitated due to injury
  • Understand the comprehensive value of claims
  • Know all of your legal options and how to take advantage of them
  • Are familiar with legal deadlines and can help you avoid missing them
  • Usually already have a relationship with insurance companies and can leverage that relationship to support your case

The biggest concern that clients usually have about hiring a lawyer is the expense. However, how personal injury attorneys generally handle fees may not be what you expect.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa?

Hiring a lawyer is often depicted as always expensive. The types of cases that see major headlines often involve lawyers who charge thousands of dollars per hour of work. However, personal injury lawyers aren’t those types of lawyers; they don’t use that type of fee structure.

Free Consultation

It’s important to know that your initial consultation is completely free. We will sit down with you and discuss the details of your case in depth without charging you a dime. During that conversation, we can evaluate the likelihood that you will succeed in your claim and provide you with an accurate estimate of its value. 

We will also explain our fee structure in detail and ensure you understand it thoroughly before deciding. If you choose to go another way, we will shake your hand and wish you well.

Contingency-Fee Based Representation

Tampa personal injury lawyers aren’t as expensive as you might believe because they take cases on contingency. This means that you don’t pay anything unless we win.

If we win you money, we take a percentage of that compensation as our fee. The percentage we take is set before we take your case, and there are never any hidden fees or hourly fees.

How Much Is Your Personal Injury Claim Worth?

There are competing answers to the question of how much a personal injury case is worth. An experienced personal injury lawyer thinks your case is worth as much as the law allows you to seek, given the circumstances. The insurance company believes your claim is worth as little as it can get away with giving you. The reality often depends on how much evidence you have to support your claim.

In most cases, your attorney will gather as much evidence as possible before acting. They will then negotiate for a fair settlement with the insurance company. A fair settlement gets you full compensation for economic damages and as much compensation for non-economic losses as can be negotiated.

If a fair settlement is not possible, your attorney may advise you to take your claim to court. There, a lawyer can work to prove the value of your case before a jury. 

Overall, the value of a personal injury claim depends on the circumstances of the case. Typically, you will be eligible for two types of damages: economic and non-economic. The former represents expenses and losses you incurred due to your injury. The latter are damages meant to cover pain and suffering.

Economic Damages You Can Collect

Economic damages are easiest to calculate because the value of this type of damages can be proven with documentation. Some economic losses must be estimated when they won’t be incurred until after the case is done. However, even in these cases, your attorney can prove their approximate value. Common economic losses are:

  • Medical expenses: This includes all treatment you have already received and future treatment you expect to receive, so make sure to save medical bills to properly document these costs
  • Lost wages: Compensation for lost wages is easy to document, as your attorney just needs to show that you missed work because of an injury and how much you would have earned if you hadn’t
  • Property damage: This is particularly common in car accidents, but it can cover any type of property damage resulting from an injury
  • Permanent disability: If you suffer a disability that prevents you from making a living or performing daily chores, you can get compensation, and this category also covers disabilities like chronic pain and disfigurement

Emotional Distress

The most common type of pain and suffering is emotional distress. Even though the value of this type of pain can’t be precisely calculated, it is typically compensated as a multiple of economic damages.

Loss of Enjoyment

Some injuries can remove the joy from your life. For example, if you lose your legs, you may never drive or ride a bike again. Non-economic damages can compensate you for that loss of pleasure.

Loss of Consortium

Just as unfortunately, some injuries may limit your ability to have meaningful social relationships. For example, significant facial scarring may prevent you from having a meaningful dating life. This loss is also subject to compensation.

How the Florida Statute of Limitations Affects Personal Injury Claims

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Florida is typically two years from the date you were injured. If you don’t file your claim before the statute of limitations runs out, the judge will usually dismiss your case, and you can’t refile.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

Some exceptions apply to the statute of limitations. The most common are:

  • Intentional action: When someone acts intentionally, you have four years to file a lawsuit
  • The discovery rule: In medical malpractice claims, the clock starts when you discover or should have reasonably discovered the injury
  • The defendant fleeing: If the defendant flees the state or goes into hiding, the time limit isn’t counted while they are hiding
  • The litigant being legally disabled: The clock doesn’t run for minors and anyone who is mentally incapable of assisting counsel

Keeping this statute in mind is critical for ensuring your case is not unnecessarily dismissed.

Proving Negligence Is Essential to Winning a Personal Injury Lawsuit

A key to winning a personal injury lawsuit is proving the other party was negligent. Legally, your lawyer must prove each of the following elements to prove the other party was negligent.

Duty of Care

The defendant had a duty to protect you from harm. This duty can be explicit, like the duty a nursing home attendant has. It can also be implicit, like the duty a driver has not to cause accidents.

Breach of Duty

The next element that needs to be proven is that the defendant breached that duty. Typically, this means your lawyer must show some carelessness or intentional action that violated that duty.


Just because someone violated their duty doesn’t mean that action caused your injury. Your attorney needs to provide evidence that the breach directly resulted in the harm you suffered.


Finally, your attorney needs to show you suffered significant losses. If you didn’t suffer any meaningful losses, expenses, or pain, you generally don’t have a legal case to pursue.

Comparative Negligence and Collecting Partial Damages

Personal injury cases aren’t always black and white. You may have suffered an injury mostly due to the actions of another and partially due to your actions. For example, suppose that another vehicle ran a red light and collided with your vehicle. If you weren’t wearing your seat belt, a jury might determine they were 80% responsible for your injuries and you were 20% responsible.

In this situation, Florida’s comparative negligence laws would allow you to receive partial damages, reduced by the percentage you were responsible for. This means you would get 80% of the jury award instead of 100%.

Insurance Companies and Personal Injury Claims

Insurance companies are corporations, and corporations aim to make a profit. They make money by paying as little as possible on claims. If you don’t have a lawyer to speak with the insurance company and represent your interests, it will likely try to lower your payout in the following ways:

It Will Leverage Your Lack of Knowledge

The insurance company likely won’t tell you all the losses you can claim. If you fail to include something in your claim, you will receive less than you deserve.

It Will Take Advantage of Your Desperation

After a serious injury, many claimants are drowning in medical bills and need money as quickly as possible. Many insurance companies swiftly make a lowball settlement offer that claimants may feel forced to accept to pay bill collectors.

It Will Act Like It Is Helping You

Typically, any insurance agent you speak with will act like they are on your side. They may be sympathetic and seemingly go out of their way to help you. But this can be a strategy to guide you to take the lowest possible payout.

It Will Use Your Words Against You

Be very careful what you say and who you say it to after any type of serious injury. If you say anything that implies that you may have been partially at fault in an accident, the insurance company may take that opportunity to diminish or deny your claim.

You also need to be careful when using social media. Insurance companies might scour your social media pages to see what you have recently posted. If you post anything about your injury, the insurance company might use that information against you, even if it is out of context.

Is It Worth Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney?

When people hire a personal injury lawyer as early as possible, they generally obtain more compensation than if they don’t hire a lawyer. This is even true once attorney fees are deducted.

How Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Can Help With Your Tampa Personal Injury Claim

Our legal team doesn’t just fight to get you money. We fight to get you the results you want. We discuss the case and your desired outcome before developing our strategy. Only once we fully understand your needs will we move forward with your case.

Let Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys of Tampa, Fight for You

If someone else is responsible for causing you harm, you shouldn’t be responsible for paying for it. At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we can fight to get you the compensation you deserve after you suffer a serious injury. 

Were you injured in a car accident? Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, now.


FLA. STAT. § 327.

FLA. STAT. § 627.730.

FLA. STAT. § 627.737.

FLA. STAT. § 767.04.

FLA. STAT. § 768.21.

FLA. STAT. § 768.81.

FLA. STAT. § 95.11.

Tampa Car Accident + Personal Injury Lawyers

Jack Bernstein Personal Injury Attorney

For more than 40 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Throughout his career, Bernstein has been a strategist thoroughly dedicated to the idea of protecting the rights of his clients. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Mr. Bernstein has the experience and expertise to handle a wide range of injury cases. Among the types of plaintiffs Mr. Bernstein represents are individuals involved in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or other exhibiting negligence, medical complications resulting from carelessness caused by a physician or a medical facility, including brain injury, bicycle, motorcycle, moped and truck accidents, admiralty law and cruise ship accidents, accidental drownings, all types of wrongful death lawsuits, along with most injury, catastrophic occurrences and legal malpractice issues.

Our firm handles every type of personal injury and accident case, using negotiation and litigation tactics effectively. We handle cases throughout Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. With a staff of approximately 40 people, including six lawyers and 34 support personnel, we have the legal resources to get the justice you deserve and the maximum recovery for your losses. Schedule your free consultation today; we are always here to help.

Free Case Evaluation

No Fees Unless We Win

No upfront fees, no risk, and no out of pocket cost to you or your family.

Entirely confidential – we respect your privacy, consultations are privileged.