Tampa Bay Car Accident Lawyer

Tampa Clearwater Auto Accident Attorney

Automobile Accident or Automobile Negligence?

We tend to call them Auto Accidents, but the use of the term “accident” is really a denial of responsibility by the person at fault. “It was an accident.” What does that mean? The person at fault made a decision to either not pay attention to what they were doing, or took a risk and made a misjudgment that resulted in a car crash, or other incident. This terminology may seem like a small thing, but using the word “accident” as a description of negligence somehow implies that the at fault person bears less responsibility for their actions. The person may not have intended to cause a crash and injure you, but they certainly acted with intent and made a conscious decision to pull out in front or you, or look at their phone instead of the road.

Featured resource: Auto Insurance 101

Automobile Negligence has many forms: car crashes, motorcycle crashes, truck crashes, bicycle and pedestrian injuries. All of these “accidents” involve someone who was not paying attention and following the safety rules of operating their automobile. By not following the safety rules, these drivers have violated the safety rules that are in place to avoid crashes.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A CAR, TRUCK OR MOTORCYCLE CRASH.

If you are injured in a crash, assuming you are able to, you should always call 911. Be safe! Sometimes getting out of your car after an accident can be dangerous. Be sure that other traffic has stopped and you are not at risk of being struck by oncoming traffic. Do your best to get the names and contact information of any witnesses. You never know if the other driver will be honest about what happened. In some crashes, it is obvious that you need to be taken to the hospital; however, many times paramedics will ask if you want them to take you. You will have to determine if you need to go to the hospital by ambulance, or if you can drive yourself, or if it can wait until the next day. When in doubt, take the safest option. It’s better to go to the hospital and not need to, than to need to and not go. If you are able to take pictures of the scene, do so, preferably before any of the cars are moved.

Can I use my health insurance pay for my medical expense?

Yes, you can; however, your personal injury protection or “PIP” coverage should be primary and will pay 80% of your medical bills, but only if you see a provider for treatment with 14 days of your crash. It is incredibly important that you do this, even if you are only a little stiff, so that your coverage is preserved. Many times it can take days, weeks or even months for symptoms to manifest significantly. You are always better to seek treatment early in the event that your “minor” injury turns our to be not so minor. Typically medical providers will send your medical bills to your PIP carrier first, as they should. Once you have reached the limit of your PIP insurance benefits, your health insurance may be billed and should pay subject to the terms of your health insurance policy.

What if the other driver doesn’t have any insurance?

If the other driver is uninsured, then check your policy to see if you carrier Uninsured Motorist coverage. If so, that coverage should apply to cover your loss. Florida Law only requires drivers to carrier “PIP” coverage and Property Damage Liability coverage with a $10,000 minimum limit.  This means: drivers are not required to carry any bodily injury coverage, which is the coverage that pays for the injuries of another when you are at fault.

Do I need a lawyer?

The reason personal injury lawyers have jobs is because insurance companies save money by not paying the full value of claims. A personal injury lawyer can help evaluate your claim and make sure that you are not being taken advantage of. There are also many questions that the vast majority of people do not know to ask. For instance: if the other driver’s insurance is limited, do I have to accept the policy limits for a settlement? (While it may be the most practical course, no, you don’t have to accept it). Does it matter if the other driver was on his/her way to work, or if he/she was driving as a part of his/her work? (Yes, it matters). What do I do if my medical bills are more than the available insurance coverage? How do I make sure that I know about all of the available insurance coverage? Are there any other potential defendants? These are all questions that an experienced personal injury lawyer can find the answers to and help you out. Following an car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle crash, you need to focus on your health and recovery. Let us guide you and take care of everything else.

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