She was on her way to work. She had just hopped on to the 275 on ramp to head south to work. She worked in downtown Tampa. Traffic was bad as usual. But she still was on time.
She didn’t see it coming. At the last second she glanced at her rear view mirror. She saw the truck crash into her. Her head slammed forward and back. Her vehicle jerked forward,. She crashed into he vehicle in front of her. Her head whipped forward and back again.
She got out. Thank god she could get out. She check on the other driver. He said he was sorry. Everyone was “ok”. Thank god no one was dead.
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The Tampa police department arrived. A Hillsborough County Sheriff as well. She got an accident report. The tow truck driver arrived. Her vehicle was towed.
She felt off when she went to bed. But when she woke up she knew something was wrong. Her neck.. hurt. Her back was in pain. She knew she needed to go to urgent care. Or should she go to the ER? Should she call her primary? It was hard for her to think. She had a headache coming on. And insurance reps kept calling her. From her insurance. From the other insurance. Everyone wanted to talk to her.
She was worried. Worried about her vehicle. She knew that the insurance company was not her friend. Worried about getting to work the next day. Mostly, worried about the throbbing pain in her neck that radiated to her arms. She had to talk to someone that would be on her side. She knew she needed to call a Tampa based car accident lawyer.
Why Hiring an Auto Accident Attorney Makes All the Difference
You may think you are tough and everything will be fine.
But human beings have not evolved to withstand the traumatic force of two vehicles colliding.
You don’t feel like your going fast when you are cruising along at 50 miles an hour while driving down the road. But you are. And if your 2-ton vehicle impacts another 2-ton vehicle at a high speed you will suffer trauma to your soft tissues.
These soft tissues are delicate. Ligaments Tendons. The stress from a high-speed impact can cause a disc to tear. Or a herniation. Or a disc bulge. These injuries hurt. Medical treatment is needed for the injuries to heal. Ironically, soft tissue injuries can have more long-lasting implications than hard tissue injuries like broken bones which actually heal back stronger
If you have been injured in a car accident than the bodily injury you have received may have economic value (“settlement value”).
You have a car accident injury claim if
1. You were injured by a motor vehicle.
2. The injury is the fault of another person or corporations negligence.
In other words, if the at-fault driver acted negligently and cause injury to you, then you deserve to both afford to get better with a doctor and to get economic compensation for your pain and suffering, mental distress and other troubles.
Because the reality is that these car accident injuries are severe and have long-lasting permanent consequences. If the at-fault party can’t fix you permanently, the least they can do is have their insurance company make things right with you.
But the problem is that insurance companies don’t want to pay you to settle your case. At least, they don’t want to pay you full value.
Insurance company adjusters get paid for saving the insurance company money. That is their entire job. And the insurance companies know that if they can get you to take no money or very little money for your claim then they are winning big time.
Therefore, the job for your tampa car accident attorney with an insurance claim is to get a fair settlement for your injuries. The lawyer just wants to put you in the best position possible and get the best legal settlement value for your claim.
Of course, in reality, your tampa personal injury lawyer does more than that. The injury lawyer will people with any property damage claim at the onset of your case. Sometimes the property damage adjusters can be a bit unfair when you are trying to resolve the issue of how much money to get for the damage to your car.
And often liability is not crystal clear. When there is a head-on collision, a rollover accident, a side impact collision, or a head-on collision the insurance adjuster and the at-fault driver may try to pin the blame of the accident on you. In these cases, your lawyer works build the entire case from the ground-up by interviewing witnesses, analyzing police reports, setting depositions of third-party witnesses, getting expert witnesses to test cars and trucks involved in your accident, and even testing the road conditions.
A car injury lawyer also works with the Doctors to treat you to gather medical reports and documents. Your medical reports that are created while you get better are often the best evidence of your medical economic damages. They also help indirectly explain pain and suffering, as for how you report your pain and how the Doctors observe your pain will be notated in reports.
In many cases, your attorney will be able to settle your case early before having to get into personal injury litigation.
This is ideal when possible as it allows you to move on with your life quickly.
But sometimes the big insurance companies (think GEICO, Progressive, State Farm, USAA and more) refuse to be fair. And when this happens you want a tampa car accident lawyer with significant trial experience who can file a lawsuit immediately and aggressively and push the insurance company to settle the claim fairly.
Types of Car Accident Cases
Different types of Car Accident Cases Require Different Game Plans:
Rear End Collisions: The benefit of rear-end car accident cases is that liability is usually pretty clear. Florida law requires us to presume that the driver who rear-ends another driver is the faulty party for the accident. In Tampa, the City of Tampa Police and Hillsborough County Sherriff’s department routinely ticket drivers for careless driving when there is a rear-end collision.
Side Impact Collision: Side impact collisions often cause unique injuries to the spinal column and the next. If you are in the vehicle and you are hit on the near side the injuries can be much worse. Side impact collision cases often have contested liability, meaning your Tampa auto accident lawyer will fight aggressively to prove fault from the very beginning of representation.
Rollover accidents: Rollover accidents can lead to head trauma and brain injury among other injuries. Much like side-impact collisions, the accident lawyer is looking for liabilities signs at the onset of representation for the settlement claim.
Head-on Collisions: Head-on collisions have the greatest chance of traumatic injury or death because two vehicles are traveling at high speeds towards each other. Head-on collisions can often benefit from the use of an auto re-constructionist expert at the beginning of the case.
Pedestrian Accidents: Pedestrian accidents often cause extreme injuries. The reason is obvious: A person walking on foot is no match for a two-ton vehicle. Cases with more severe injuries might need expert witnesses insurance company (or jury) how the injuries impact a victim’s future.
Truck Accidents: As part of the I4 corridor Tampa’s interstate and highway system sees massive truck traffic yearly. With massive truck traffic comes trucking accidents.
Motorcycle accidents: Motorcycles are no match for cars and trucks. Motorcycle accident cases have unique insurance and injury issues.
School Bus Accidents: Like trucks, school buses are dangerous machines that require special care to protect the public.
Types of Car Accident Injuries and Compensation
We see the same types of injuries over and over.
Specifically, injuries that our Tampa car accident lawyers collect compensation for an accident cases may include:
- back strain
- herniated discs
- disc bulges
- head injuries
- cuts and scars
- knee damage
- shoulder injuries and damage
- joint muscle neck and other injuries
- wrongful death
Predicting the Settlement Value of Your Case
The settlement value range is determined after we know the extent of your injuries and the degree of permanency to your injuries. As we move through the process we help you understand the settlement value and will encourage you to let us go for the maximum amount possible.
We can work towards predicting the settlement value of your case from the moment we take the case.
First, we want to determine what insurance is available. Although you technically can sue the at-fault driver personally, most of the time the insurance coverage is the single best source from which to draw the settlement.
Now we need to find out all possible insurance sources. This includes PIP (Personal Injury Protection) Bodily Injury, Uninsured Motorist (“UM”), Umbrella Policies and, in some cases, even Home Owner Insurance policies.
Now that we know what we are working with in terms of coverage we need to understand what your medical bills are and the injuries you have sustained as a result of the accident. The injuries, how you respond to your treatment, and the pain and suffering that you deal with because of the accident all play into how we value the settlement.
Of course, we have our way of valuing a claim. But we also want to know how the insurance company will value your claim so we know what to expect. (That’s why we hire lawyers and assistance from the insurance companies. information is power!)
We can calculate a range of settlement possibilities while you are still treating. After your treatment is complete and you have reached what the doctors call “maximum medical improvement” we can really nail down the settlement value of your case. Then it is our job to make it happen.
Factors that Influence the Value of Your Settlement in Your Injury Case
Some of the biggest factors that can effect the value of your settlement claim include:
Your treatment plan
Your job is to get better. The more you listen to your doctors and do everything you can to get better. After all, it would not make sense for us to argue to a Jury that was greatly impaired because of your accident for life when you are not trying to heal using the best available medical treatments.
The nature of the accident
The degree of impact is important for your tampa car accident attorney in determining the value of your settlement claim. Certain impacts are known in the medical community to lead to more lasting injuries.
The extent to which liability is clear versus contested
The more clear it is the other side caused the accident and was at fault the higher the value of the claim That’s because with contributory negligence in Florida we know that you should not recover a settlement for injuries that were your fault. So if you are 20% at fault for your injuries, expect the value of your claim to be reduced by 20%.
The seriousness of the treatment
Naturally if your treatment is chiropractic in nature because your injuries are less severe then the value of your case will have a certain cap. But if you need injections or even surgery because you are really really hurt and in pain then expect the value of your claim to naturally increase with the seriousness of your treatment.
Hiring A Tampa Car Accident Attorney
The process for hiring a tampa car accident attorney is as follows:
- pick up the phone to reach out to our office. We have staff available 24 hours a day to take your call. If it’s after hours we have legal assistance that will take a message and forward your information on to an on-call attorney or car accident paralegal. You can always expect a call back within 15 minutes.
- Set a meeting with our intake specialist or accident lawyer. We can do this in our office is which are conveniently located throughout the Tampa Bay area. Or we can come see you. We could even meet you at the hospital at your doctor’s are at a place of your choice. In today’s digital world, we can even set up Skype or Google hang out videos for us to have our initial consultation.
- If you wish to proceed you simply sign an engagement letter with us that allows us to operate on your behalf. We’ll also have some authorizations and releases will need you to sign so that we can go and speak with your doctors, the insurance company, and retain experts when needed on your behalf.
After that our auto accident lawyers take control. Throughout the process will keep you informed with regular meetings and summaries of your case.