Auto Accident Lawyer Tampa, FL
An auto accident lawyer in Tampa, FL from Jeff Murphy Law knows just how severe and potentially life-threatening injuries due to car crashes can be. Drivers and their passengers are both at risk. If you do get involved in an accident where someone else was negligent or at fault, it’s also useful to know that you can consult with a personal injury attorney and may have a case against the offending driver.
Since injuries from motor vehicle accidents are so common, it can be helpful to understand more about how they occur to better protect yourself. Here are some of the most common types of collisions that a FL auto accident lawyer in Tampa from Jeff Murphy Law has represented in the past:
► Rear-End Collisions
Car accidents claim the lives of thousands of people each year and cause severe injuries for many, many others. Rear-end collisions are a common type of motor vehicle accident that tends to happen in high-traffic situations. They also are often a result of tailgating or speeding.
You can strive to avoid these types of accidents and reduce your risk by taking your time and leaving plenty of room on the road between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. If you were involved in a car accident recently, then we encourage you to speak with a Florida auto accident lawyer during a free, no-obligation consultation.
► Side-Impact Crashes
These are often called t-bone crashes, as the other car hits the side of your vehicle at a right angle, forming a “T.” They commonly occur in intersections and often result from running stop signs or red lights. Depending on the force of the impact, such a car collision can cause severe injury for drivers and passengers alike. The speed at which a motor vehicle operator is traveling at the time of impact increases the risk of severe or fatal injuries.
To protect yourself, be alert and cautious when approaching intersections, and don’t assume other drivers will heed the traffic sign or signal and stop. It can also help to avoid running yellow lights.
► Sideswipe Accidents
A sideswipe happens when one vehicle brushes too closely against the side of another. These are common when passing or when one driver is hidden in another’s blind spot. These types of collisions happen more often on multi-lane roads or major highways. They can be dangerous, as they can cause one or both drivers to lose control of their cars. Many times, aggressive drivers who speed, pass in no-pass zones, and fail to yield are to blame for these accidents.
To be safe, be careful when driving alongside other vehicles, particularly trucks. Furthermore, when you pass, be sure to use your signals and allow yourself plenty of space when you change lanes.
► Head-On Collisions
Head-on collisions are quite dangerous and potentially deadly types of accidents. They frequently happen on major highways, freeway exits, entrance ramps, and one-way streets. They are more common at night when drowsy driving and driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications are contributing factors. If you believe that the other driver could have been under the influence of a substance and/or had fallen asleep at the wheel, then you must notify an auto accident lawyer in Tampa from Jeff Murphy Law right away.
► Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents have a higher rate of casualties than other types of crashes. They are more common among SUVs, vans, trucks, and other high profile vehicles, but they can impact any driver. Going too fast for conditions making tight turns or around curves contributes to rollovers.
Taking Legal Action
When you decide that you want to file a personal injury claim with help from an Auto Accident lawyer in Tampa, Florida from Jeff Murphy Law, assume that everyone is watching and listening to everything you do and say. Even before you file, insurance companies will send adjusters out to talk with you. Know that your decisions and words have consequences for your potential settlement and case. If you are going to file or even considering filing a personal injury suit, you need to be acutely aware of the things you do that can have detrimental effects on your claim.
A car accident can be very disorienting. Whether you saw it coming and couldn’t avoid it or it came out of the blue, it can leave you reeling. But there are a few things you must remember to do reasonably and quickly to protect yourself.
What to Do After an Accident
First and foremost, you must make sure that you and anyone else that needs medical attention are taken care of. After that, it’s time to consult a Tampa auto accident lawyer from Jeff Murphy Law. There are also a few things to do immediately before vacating the scene of the crash:
- Call the police
- Get the driver’s license and insurance information from other involved drivers
- Take pictures
- Get witness names and numbers
- Call your insurance company
- Unless your state does not require police on a non-injury accident, the police will take statements, survey the scene, take witness statements and produce a report. They will tell you at the scene how long it will be before the report is ready. Once that time has elapsed, you’ll want to obtain a copy of the report. The documented account is particularly important if you were not at fault, as it may contain information that you can use to support your claim.
How Long to File a Case After a Car Accident
Sometimes, despite your best efforts to get your claims paid through the normal process, it just doesn’t work out. There could be many reasons:
- Denial of legitimate medical claims
- Not offering enough to replace your car
- Insurance company claims that accident was avoidable
- Insurance claims there was no mention of injury at the scene
- When your insurer or another driver’s insurance company denies your claims, it is time to get some professional help from a FL Auto Accident lawyer at Jeff Murphy Law. But how do you know if it’s been too long to file suit? The answer depends on your state’s statute of limitations.
In the example where the injury claim was denied since there was no mention of injury at the site, the statute in some states starts when the accident occurs. In other states, it is the first time that someone reasonable should have noticed the injury. This may not be when the injury was actually discovered by the plaintiff, but when the judge believes it should have been discovered. In yet other states, the statute may start when the plaintiff discovered the injury.
The laws in each state vary when it comes to a statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for a car accident. Due to the range and complexity of laws, it is advisable to consult with us if you need help settling your insurance claims.
Only Speak with Your Lawyer
It is natural to want to discuss your accident, but you should avoid this if you plan on suing. Discussing your potential case in conversation, on the phone, or online in social forums is potentially harmful to the mediation and lawsuit process. Inevitably stories and attitudes change every time a story is told and insurance companies will use every variation to reduce their liability. If you need to talk, speak with a Tampa auto accident lawyer.
Don’t Sign Away Your Rights
Always read everything you sign, and sign nothing without an auto accident lawyer present. Insurance adjusters will likely approach you after an accident and make a generous-sounding settlement offer, but vet the offer with an attorney before agreeing to it. The fact is, you do not know the extent of your injuries or total damages for some time after an accident. Wait and don’t sign.
Follow Your Doctor’s Orders
While this should go without saying, follow your doctor’s orders exactly. If you don’t, insurers will take it to mean that you are not hurt, and may try to use whatever supposed “evidence” they found to deny or minimize your claim.
Refrain From Lying
Insurance companies may hire surveillance to follow you, and they will know when you lie. Do not try to get more out of a settlement by exaggerating your claims because it only hurts your case in the end.
Don’t Wait Too Long To File
While every state varies on their regulations for filing a personal injury claim, most allow only a certain number of years to file. Some instances change this timeline, however. For example, the clock doesn’t start for minors until they turn 18. Contact us to find out what the statute of limitations is for your case.
Insurance companies do not want to pay you money, and they will probably hire investigators to follow you and poke holes in your claim. The best way around this is to be honest and have legal representation.
What Not To Say To The Insurance After An Accident
You should not notify your insurance about your accident immediately after the accident, when you are still reeling and in shock, possibly confused and stressed, or even injured. Take care of your medical needs first, as this can help you protect your legal interests later down the road. You won’t have said anything you shouldn’t.
Never tell the insurance that it was “your fault”, you want to avoid admitting any fault for the accident. When describing the accident, do this by keeping your personal opinion out of the mix. Just tell it as if you were watching it happen from above the accident itself. The insurance companies can work out who was at fault, or most at fault, because there may have been other factors involved like a vehicle with bad parts, distracted driving, a traffic sign that’s hard to see or something else. Avoid making any statements about fault in front of the driver, law enforcement or the insurance company as these may be used against you later.
Never tell the insurance company, law enforcement or other person involved in the accident that you are not injured. This can make it harder for you to claim medical bills later on if you find that you were indeed injured. Don’t state anything that you do not know for a fact is true–with injuries, they can pop up at any time after an accident. Your neck or back can begin to hurt days after the accident, bruises may take time to develop and show. Injuries are not always instantaneous. Don’t sign any release forms from the insurance companies until talking to your lawyer.
You should never tell your “official statement”, before you have been advised by a personal injury attorney. You’re not under any obligation to have your statement recorded, and what you say can be twisted or taken out of context as it’s used to manipulate and serve them instead of you.
If you don’t know an actual answer, never answer it. There’s no need to say “I think…” because it’s not factual and can be misconstrued by the insurance companies. Stick to your basics, too, never bother giving insurance companies the names of family members, friends or physicians that are involved in your case. They may take you to court and request information on the mentioned individuals to use against you.
Never accept a first offer, as it is going to be severely lowballing you. They are not going to offer you enough to cover your medical bills or the wages you have lost at work, and you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries. Discuss with a personal injury lawyer before you take a settlement, so that your lawyer can advocate for you. Also never admit to the insurance company that you do not have a lawyer, try to obtain a lawyer right away because a lawyer is going to have more experience and keep the insurance company on their toes, so that you will get more compensation for recovery, medical bills, wages lost, property damage and more.
If you have been injured in a crash and would like to find out what legal options you may have against the driver who caused the crash, contact an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, Florida from Jeff Murphy Law today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Five Myths About Auto Accidents
Myth: If I Hire a Lawyer, I’m Going To Spend a Lot of Money and Have To Go to Court
Hiring a lawyer is actually a great way to avoid having to go to court for a personal injury case involving a car accident. Your lawyer can advocate for you with the insurance company and can often reach a fair settlement before you ever have to see the inside of a courtroom. As for spending a lot of money, you don’t have to pay a dime up front. Standard practices in the industry call for a free initial consultation, followed by a contingency fee; that means if your lawyer doesn’t win your case, he doesn’t get paid.
Myth: I Have To Notify My Insurance Company Immediately After My Accident
The first thing you have to do after your accident is call 911, then make sure your medical needs are taken care of. If you’re cleared medically, talk to an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, from Jeff Murphy Law to get an idea of what you might want to say when you call your insurance company. Depending on your policy, you may have 24 hours or several weeks to inform the company of your car crash.
Myth: My Insurance Company Works for Me
Your insurance company does not work for you. It works for its stakeholders, and is in the business of not paying out its policyholders’ claims. Your insurance company is not on your side; don’t let them trick you into thinking otherwise. Talk to an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, about how to deal with your insurance company. He may advise not making any recorded statements and keeping what you do say purposefully vague.
Myth: If I Feel Fine Right After the Accident, I Don’t Need Medical Attention
The majority of injuries you sustain in a car accident, you won’t feel until hours or even days later. This is because of the adrenaline that’s coursing through your veins as part of your body’s stress response. Adrenaline makes you hyper-alert so you can deal with the stressor most effectively, but it masks any pain you would otherwise be feeling. Shock can also obscure injuries.
Myth: The Settlement Offer My Insurance Company Makes Is the Highest Amount My Claim Is Worth
The settlement offer your insurance company made is the least they think they can get away with paying you. It typically has nothing to do with the actual merits of your claim. Your auto accident lawyer in Tampa, from Jeff Murphy Law, may be able to negotiate a settlement that’s fair and reasonable for you.
Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer Infographic
4 Factors That Can Influence A Car Accident
Whether you are traveling to visit family for the holidays or you are just taking a drive to a new restaurant in town, you may become injured in a car accident you did not see coming. Many factors can influence this, and understanding more about them may help you in the future.
Sleet, snow, rain, and hail all cause slick and slippery roads for drivers. Not only does this require people to drive more cautiously, but it also means that there should be a bigger distance between cars on the road since it is harder to come to a complete stop in bad weather.
This situation can be even more dangerous if someone is driving late at night and does not use his or her high beams. If someone else crashes into you, contacting an auto accident lawyer may be a prudent next step.
Being on the road with someone traveling far above the speed limit can lead to a serious crash. Road rage, which happens when someone feels the need to tailgate or possibly harm another driver, is one common cause of these kinds of car accidents.
Talking to an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, Florida, such as someone from Jeff Murphy Law, can help you figure out what action if you are hit by someone who was speeding.
Using a cell phone or trying to eat while steering is a serious mistake too many people make. A driver who takes his or her hands off the wheel or diverts his or her attention away from the road for even a few seconds can crash into another vehicle.
Paying attention to the road is always more important than any other task. An auto accident lawyer in Tampa at Jeff Murphy Law is there to help you if you are struck by someone who was distracted while driving.
Workers coming home from a late shift or anyone who has been driving without proper rest may be especially prone to falling asleep at the wheel. Fatigue and exhaustion can cause someone to lose control of the vehicle and slam into your car without warning.
Seeking the advice of an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, FL after this kind of crash may help you. Many of these crashes occur on highways or on smaller back roads, and can also leave you in pain and confusion afterward.
Tampa Auto Accident Law Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), car accidents take place every minute of the day. Yes, you just read that properly. Every minute of every day, somebody is involved in a vehicle mishap or accident.
While not all of these mishaps lead to a casualty, the frustrating majority of them lead to some kind of injury, residential or commercial property damage or legal lawsuits.
The car insurance coverage industry approximates that all motorists are likely to be involved in a minimum of 4 car mishaps in their lifetime. Furthermore, really young or amateur motorists are more likely to be involved in an automobile mishap, instead of more knowledgeable and older drivers.
Other factors that may also increase the threat of being involved in a car accident are:
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI/ DWI).
Speeding – Nearly one-third of all automobile mishaps are caused by someone driving over the speed limit or driving too quickly for the existing weather condition and/or road conditions.
Driving while distracted – which includes texting, consuming, applying cosmetics, or any other habits that take a motorist’s attention away from the road.
It is important to note that data from the Annual United States Road Crash Stats journal recommends fatal car and truck mishaps are more likely to happen throughout specific days of the week, as well as throughout particular times of each day. The following is a breakdown of the days of the week and times of day when a deadly vehicle accident is probably to happen:.
- Monday– 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Tuesday– 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Wednesday– 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
- Thursday– 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Friday– 9:00 p.m. to midnight.
- Saturday– midnight to 3:00 a.m.
- Sunday– midnight to 3:00 a.m.
There are also additional facts to think about when going over the frequency of car accidents and deaths, such as:
- Over 37,000 people pass away in auto accidents each year.
- Every 16 minutes, an automobile accident occurs that leads to death.
- Almost 8,000 people are killed in crashes including people in between the ages of 16 and 20.
- Over 1,600 kids under the age of 15 die in vehicle wrecks each year.
If you have been injured in a vehicle wreck in Florida, or if a loved one has been hurt or killed in a Tampa car accident, get in touch with the experienced Auto Accident Lawyer in Tampa by reaching out to Jeff Murphy Law today. We are willing to address any questions you may have concerning the car accident, also we are willing to discuss your legal rights and any settlement you may be entitled to due to accident and losses.
FAQs About Auto Accident Cases in Florida
Is It Necessary To Go To Court To Get Compensation for an Auto Accident?
In Florida, most car accident cases don’t end up going to trial. Not going to court is generally in your best interests because it means you can get compensation more quickly. Many insurance companies prefer to stay out of court to avoid costs. That said, at Jeff Murphy Law, we are fully prepared to represent you in court if needed. Our team has extensive courtroom experience.
One of the ways an auto accident lawyer in Tampa, can help you is by negotiating a settlement agreement with the insurance company. It’s important to have an attorney by your side even when pursuing a settlement because insurance companies take lawyers more seriously. We look out for your interests and follow your instructions to the letter.
When Is Filing a Lawsuit Needed in Car Accident Cases?
If the insurance company absolutely refuses to reach a reasonable settlement offer, going to court would be the next step. No matter what the insurance company tells you, you’re never obligated to accept a settlement if you feel it doesn’t meet your needs.
When a loved one passes away in a car accident caused by a reckless driver, surviving family members sometimes prefer going to court so they can seek punitive damages against the driver. An auto accident lawyer in Tampa, can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit if needed.
Another situation that can happen is that a driver’s insurance coverage doesn’t provide enough compensation to cover your medical bills and other damages. At Jeff Murphy Law, we can help you know how much your case is worth and what options you have for getting the compensation you require.
Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident If I Don’t Feel Injured?
It’s usually a good idea for you to seek medical attention after any type of car accident. You may have injuries that you haven’t noticed yet due to the rush of adrenaline in your system. Some injuries take weeks to appear, and others affect you without being visible.
For example, back injuries, neck injuries, and head trauma from whiplash can affect you a long time after the accident. A doctor can perform an in-depth evaluation to take care of your health.
A thorough examination can help your car accident claim as well. Medical records and other proof are helpful for your auto accident lawyer to put pressure on insurance companies for a settlement.
Why It’s Beneficial to Hire an Auto Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a car accident caused by another motorist, you have the right to pursue compensation. You may wonder if you should handle the case yourself or work with an auto accident lawyer. Although you’re not required to hire legal representation, it’s recommended. Here are a few benefits of hiring an auto accident lawyer in Tampa.
- Gather evidence. In order to have a successful auto accident claim, you must have sufficient evidence, like photos of the accident scene, police report and witness statements. An experienced lawyer will know the type of evidence you need and help you obtain it before it disappears.
- Know the true value of your claim. Too many car accident victims do not know the true value of their case. As a result, they may accept a low-ball settlement offer from the insurance company. That is another good reason to have an auto accident lawyer by your side. He or she will consider multiple factors, such as current and future medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering, to determine the true value of your claim.
- Negotiate with the insurance company. Even if it is clear that the other motorist is at-fault, that person’s insurance company may still try to get out of paying you what you deserve. They may assume that you are not knowledgeable about the law and try to take advantage of you. A skilled auto accident lawyer will not let that happen. He or she will know how to successfully negotiate with insurance adjusters.
- Allow you to properly recover. An auto accident can result in physical and emotional injuries. The last thing you want to deal with is a personal injury claim. You need plenty of time to focus on your recovery. If you hire a skilled lawyer, he or she will handle all the legwork and let you take care of your health.
- Represent you at trial. The majority of auto accident claims get settled out of court. However, if you do have to go to court to obtain a fair settlement, you’ll want an experienced auto accident lawyer standing next to you. He or she will represent your case in front of a jury and make sure that you are prepared for everything.
If you were injured in an auto accident, it’s in your best interest to talk to an auto accident lawyer in Tampa. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your losses. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about auto accidents.
Should I Contact the Police After an Auto Accident?
Yes, it’s important to call the police immediately following an auto accident. They will come to the scene of the accident and file a police report. The report will include important information about the accident, such as when and where it occurred and the names of everyone involved. Make sure to obtain a copy of the report for your records.
Am I Required to Give a Recorded Statement to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?
Absolutely not. Providing the other motorist’s insurance company may actually hurt your case. Insurance adjusters are trained on how to ask questions that trigger a response that could be used to jeopardize your claim. If the insurance company tries to contact you after a car accident, tell them that you can’t speak to them without a lawyer.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
No two auto accident claims are the same. How much your claim is worth depends on several different factors, such as the cost of your medical bills, severity of your injury, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Do I Have to Hire a Lawyer?
If you want to pursue compensation for your injuries, it’s wise to work with an experienced auto accident lawyer in Tampa. A lawyer can help you gather necessary evidence, negotiate with the insurance company and stand up for your legal rights. If you have a skilled lawyer on your side, you have a better chance of obtaining fair compensation.
Is It Necessary to See a Doctor If I Feel Fine?
It’s actually not uncommon to feel fine after an auto accident. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re not injured. Certain injuries, like whiplash and concussions, don’t always have immediate symptoms. That’s why you should always seek medical attention after an auto accident. A doctor will give you a proper evaluation and then recommend the appropriate treatment plan. If you delay medical care, you could put your health and injury claim in jeopardy.
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“Jeff Murphy was recommended to me by a friend, and I’m so glad he was! I was helping a friend navigate the insurance world for a car accident he was involved in, and Jeff took our case, and proceeded to help my friend get the settlement he deserved. Jeff is very knowledgeable and effective. He knows the insurance rules and knows what has to be done, and how. He was available to us whenever we called, and answered any and all questions we had, no matter how trivial. We were not familiar at all with the legalities of insurance claims, and Jeff knew exactly how things worked, and took the lead … and with that lead, took our worries away. I would recommend Jeff Murphy whole-heartedly.” Karen L.