Car Accident Lawyer Tampa
Around six million Americans get into auto accidents each year. Some car accidents result only in property or vehicle damage. However, other accidents resulting in serious injury or even death create life-altering situations for the drivers, passengers, or pedestrians involved, as well as their families. According to the National Safety Council, roughly 40,000 people die each year in motor vehicle accidents, and 4.6 million roadway users become injured enough to require medical attention at an estimated cost to society of $432 billion annually.
If you or a loved one gets into a car accident, your first priority will be to address any injuries and follow-up on medical treatment, as well as work with your insurance company to get the vehicle repaired. In addition, make sure to seek the help of an experienced auto accident attorney so you can pursue any compensation to which you are entitled. Matthews Injury Law employs a team of personal injury lawyers in Tampa who have recovered millions in verdicts and settlements for car accident victims.
Auto Accident Settlements and Verdicts We’ve Won
Below are just a few of the personal injury verdicts and settlements* we have won for our clients, primarily in the Tampa metro area, as well as Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, and Sarasota counties.
- Spinal Cord Injury (Motor Vehicle Crash), $19,300,000 Verdict
- Wrongful Death (Truck Crash), $11,000,000 Verdict
- Traumatic Brain Injury (Motor Vehicle Crash), $16,400,000 Verdict
- Shoulder and Low Back Injuries (Car Accident), $4,000,000 Settlement
*Each case is different. Past outcomes are not indicative of future results.
Seeking Medical Help After a Car Accident
Too often, we see victims of a car accident wait until the pain becomes unbearable before seeking medical treatment. Their hesitation to visit a doctor hurts their ability to recover physically, hurts their case, and results in a loss of rightful compensation. The signs of injury after an auto accident may not always be apparent, but seeking medical attention immediately is paramount to your insurance claim or court case, both for medical and legal reasons.
Once an auto accident happens, the clock starts ticking on your insurance benefits. From the time of a collision, you have 14 days to seek medical attention – otherwise, you risk the loss of your full $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. Waiting longer than 14 days to see a doctor means you may only be able to recover $2,500 of your PIP benefits, and in some cases, it can disqualify you from receiving any amount. Though you may feel physically fine after an accident on the road, prompt medical attention can uncover injuries that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Often, the signs of an injury from a collision will not show for a few weeks. Common injuries related to auto accidents can include:
- Herniated Discs
- Internal Bleeding
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury
Do not hesitate after a crash. Seek medical attention and talk with an attorney as soon as possible.
When to Pursue a Car Accident Injury Claim
After an auto accident, before speaking with the at-fault driver’s insurance adjuster, seek the advice of a car accident attorney. If the car accident results in a wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years. In Florida, there is a limited window of time to file a lawsuit, known as a statute of limitations per Florida Statute § 95.11(3)(a), which varies depending on the type of case being filed and other circumstances that may extend or shorten the deadline.
For filing a car accident claim in court in Florida, the statute of limitations is four years, starting from the date of the accident. Failure to make that deadline, in most cases, results in the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case. However, you should not wait that long – or anywhere close to that long – to start pursuing your claim. Early treatment and communication will help you both recover physically and recover the most in your insurance claim.
Taking the initiative to partner with an auto accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident can, therefore, be a determining factor in how much value your claim is worth.
Your Matthews Injury Law attorney understands the intricacies of Florida’s car accident and truck accident laws and will work with you on ways to prepare for these interactions, and coach you on areas of uncertainty. Divulging certain details of an event or relaying incorrect or incomplete information to an insurance adjuster can negatively affect the settlement of your claim.
Why You Need an Auto Accident Lawyer
Working with an experienced auto accident attorney helps ensure you recover physically and get the most from your insurance claim. The insurance company of the at-fault driver’s sole purpose during this time is to settle your claim as quickly and with as little payout to you as possible. Because of this, the insurance company may try to pressure you into settling on a less than ideal settlement, and even defend the at-fault driver with their own high-powered legal team. Choosing an attorney with an extensive background in auto accident and insurance cases is important to maximizing your settlement. If the case goes to court, a car accident lawyer with courtroom litigation and trial experience can also improve your odds of a bigger verdict or settlement.
Something to keep in mind is that if you were involved in a collision with a semi-truck or commercial vehicle, you likely need to speak with a truck accident attorney. Car accident cases are different from truck accidents cases. Finding an attorney who specializes in your type of vehicle accident case will give you better odds of a favorable settlement or verdict.
What is a Typical Auto Accident Settlement?
There is no “typical” settlement for car accident claims because every case is unique, but as you can see from our list of settlements and verdicts above, the compensation can be quite large for serious injuries, such as spinal cord or brain injuries. An auto accident settlement will take into account:
- Your medical bills for diagnosis and treatment of your injuries from the accident
- Future potential medical bills directly related to the injuries
- Lost wages following the accident
- Pain and suffering as a result of the accident and related injuries
An experienced auto accident and trial attorney can discuss how these types of damages can affect the value, and settlement, of your case.
What are the Most Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida?
According to 2019 crash data from Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Florida has more than 400,000 crashes annually, resulting in more than 250,000 injuries and 3,000 fatalities. Hillsborough County alone, including the Tampa area, had nearly 30,000 crashes and 20,000 accidents, including more than 200 fatalities. In other words, the injury rate for crashes in Hillsborough is higher than the state average. On the whole, Florida also has the third-highest number of fatal motor vehicle crashes, according to IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) fatality facts.
The cause of your auto accident may play into how the case is handled. Some types of car accidents can be prevented, and it’s always recommended that you drive as safely as possible. However, you cannot control what another driver does, or pure accidents related to things like weather or road conditions. The most common causes of Florida auto accidents include:
- Distracted driving, including texting while driving
- Drunk driving
- Reckless Driving
- Running red lights
- Driving improperly in work zones
Summer Car Accidents
The period from Memorial Day to Labor Day represents the most dangerous time for drivers in Florida. The summer months mean that teens are out of school and behind the wheel, families are on the road taking trips, and drunk drivers are out in large numbers because of holidays like July 4, Memorial Day, and more.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often referred to as the “100 deadliest days” for teens, where teen driver crashes increase almost 14 percent during this time. Nationally, according to CDC data, more than 10,000 people die in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all traffic-related deaths. According to recent data, distracted driving was also the cause of 25 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities.
If you’re the victim of a car accident during the summer, or any time of year, make sure to consult our attorneys to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Getting in an Accident with a Commercial Vehicle
If your auto accident involves a semi-truck or other commercial vehicle, even more variables come into play. Various people could potentially be held accountable, including the driver of the other vehicle, their employer, or the owner of the vehicle. In this situation, you will need to ensure that your attorney has specific experience in handling commercial vehicle accidents — Marc Matthews has dedicated much of his practice to truck accident cases.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer
When you meet with a Matthews Injury Law car accident lawyer for the first time, these are the following questions we’re prepared to answer to demonstrate our expertise of Florida car accident cases:
- How long have you practiced personal injury law?
- How many auto accident cases have you taken to trial?
- How many auto accident cases have you previously handled?
- Do you have experience representing victims of auto accidents with injuries or sustained medical problems resulting from a crash?
- Do you have the financial resources to go up against large insurance companies?
- Are you the attorney who will be working on my case through trial if necessary?
You will likely have questions of your own, as well. Review the FAQs below for answers to common questions. If you don’t find the answer you need, please ask us during your consultation and we’ll be happy to provide you with an answer.
Car Accident Injury FAQs
Auto accidents happen every day. But that doesn’t make them any less challenging to deal with. Whether you were in a car accident recently, or you want to be prepared in case one happens to you, these FAQs answered by Matthews Injury Law attorneys will help guide you through the proper steps to take to be safe and get the maximum settlement—and justice—you deserve.
What should I do first after a car accident?
Immediately after an accident occurs, make sure that you, your passengers, and, if possible, your vehicle are moved to a safe location away from moving cars. The shoulder of the road is usually a safe location to wait. Don’t stand in the road or anyplace where traffic can hit you.
Should I call the police after an accident?
Whether or not there are apparent injuries, you should always call the police to the scene of a car accident. Do not let another driver persuade you to exchange information and leave it at that. Wait for the police to create an official record of the crash scene and circumstances. This will prove useful in supporting your claim against the other driver’s insurance company.
What information should I take down after an accident?
Your insurance company will need full names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved – including passengers, pedestrians, and any other witnesses present during the accident. Aside from this, inquire about the insurance status of the other parties’ vehicle, determine who the registered owner of the vehicle is, and obtain the badge numbers of police officers at the scene. These details will make submitting your claim easier.
How can I document a car accident?
If you have a phone or camera readily available, take as many photos of the damaged vehicles and accident scene as possible. Important things to document include license plates, skid marks on the road, damaged vehicles, and debris from the collision. Also, take photographs of any nearby intersections, traffic lights, traffic signs, traffic control devices (like barricades), and any nearby construction that may have affected the crash or the vehicles involved in the crash. If there are any apparent injuries, photograph those as well. The more photos that you can take, the better chance you will have to identify every potentially negligent party and to support your claims.
When should I seek medical attention after an accident?
It is important that you see a doctor immediately if you have any ache, pain, or symptoms following a car accident. Oftentimes, accident victims do not even know the extent of their injuries, and they wait to see a doctor until the pain is unbearable.
If you plan to pursue damages, waiting to see a doctor can work against your case in two ways:
- the forces on your body when you are involved in a car crash are much more than those involved when you hurt yourself at home because of the weight and speed of the vehicles involved, so you may be more injured than you realize
- you are only able to recover the full amount of your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits if you see a doctor within 14 days
To help your case, see a doctor immediately to assess your injuries and establish a record of your pain, symptoms, and damages suffered in the accident. Hopefully, your pain will get better and your life can return to normal within a few days or weeks. However, if your injuries are worse than they seemed, you made the right move in proactively seeking injury treatment.
Additionally, to recover your full $10,000 in PIP benefits, you must see a doctor within 14 days of the accident. Your doctor must diagnose you with an emergency medical condition. If you wait and do not see the doctor, you may only be able to recover $2,500 in PIP benefits, or worse yet – no PIP benefits.
Should I contact a personal injury attorney after an accident?
Getting in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after an auto accident will help guide you through the process and deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, letting you focus on getting better. The sooner you contact a car accident attorney, the faster they can start an investigation to gather all the insurance information and evidence necessary to maximize the value of your claim. Additionally, there is a limited time to file lawsuits in Florida (statute of limitations). The law varies depending on the type of case, but the sooner your attorney can get to work, the better chance you have of getting the best recovery possible. And if the insurance company does not treat you fairly and you have to file a lawsuit, your attorney will get your case ready for litigation and trial.
Contact Matthews Injury Law About Your Case
The experienced team of attorneys at Matthews Injury Law has fought for justice on behalf of hundreds of injured drivers and passengers in Tampa and across Florida. We are familiar with the details of insurance claims and state driving and injury laws. For example, we know that Florida’s texting and driving laws don’t always protect against distracted driving and that the effects of an auto accident can leave lasting impressions on the lives of victims and their families. We’ve represented clients in high-profile cases, in addition to the thousands of clients and families, we have helped behind the scenes to get their lives in order. In each case, we work personally with our clients to navigate them through this stressful time in their life and help them obtain the compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has fallen victim to an auto accident, do not hesitate to contact Matthews Injury Law for a free consultation.
About Attorney Marc Matthews
All the information on this page was written or reviewed by attorney Marc Matthews, managing partner of Matthews Injury Law. Mr. Matthews is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Law with honors. He has lived and practiced law throughout the state of Florida, including in Orlando, West Palm Beach, and Tampa. Mr. Matthews’s case experience includes personal injury, auto and trucking accidents, wrongful death, and more both in Florida and across the nation.