Clearwater Car Accident Attorney

Head-On Car Collision

Getting into a car accident is a very scary thing, and after the initial pain and shock, there is a long road ahead for a victim. There are so many things to think about, like insurance, what to do next, and how to pay for damages. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and not know where to turn. That is why it is important to have an experienced Clearwater car accident attorney on your side.

Your Clearwater car accident attorney will be able to help you through this difficult time by handling all of the legalities surrounding your case. They will work with insurance carriers to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. In addition, your attorney will be able to answer any questions you may have and help you understand your rights.

If you or someone you know has been in a car accident, contact 1-800-Injured to connect with a Clearwater car accident attorney as soon as possible for a free case evaluation. 1-800-Injured is a medical and legal referral service that connects car accident victims with experienced personal injury lawyers across the country.

Only Pay If You Win

Our service is free, and you will have no obligation to work with the lawyer following your consultation. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your case, better understand what you can expect through your claims process, and understand why working with an attorney is such an important step to take early after a crash.

The Clearwater car accident attorneys in the 1-800-Injured network work based on contingency fees, meaning they do not get paid unless they win your case and you receive compensation. This ensures that they are fully invested in your success, and you will not have any out-of-pocket costs for their services. Access to quality legal representation should not be cost-prohibitive, especially while dealing with mounting medical bills, lost income, and other major disruptions to your life.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Get Started Right Away

If you have any questions or would like to get started with a free consultation, contact 1-800-Injured today. Read more below to get a general overview of some important facts regarding car accident claims and lawsuits.

Information About Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater, FL is the county seat of Pinellas County. According to the 2020 census, the city has a population of 115,975.

Clearwater is a popular tourist destination due to its beaches and attractions. Clearwater Beach was ranked as the #1 beach in America in 2018 and 2019 by TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice Awards, and as such, Clearwater, St. Pete, and the surrounding areas are all popular tourist destinations year-round.

Car Accident Statistics in Florida

In 2019, there were 401,496 car accidents in the state of Florida in 2021. Of those accidents, 3,444 were fatal, with a total of 3,731 deaths and another 252,938 injuries reported.

Pinellas County had a total of 16,462 motor vehicle crashes reported, accounting for about 4% of the total accidents reported in Florida, with a total of 9,427 injuries reported, and 146 fatal crashes causing 155 deaths. 

While not all of these car accident cases were in Clearwater, FL, a car accident victim won’t necessarily care about the overall statistics as they are trying to handle their personal injury claim, seek medical treatment, and work to recover from any serious injury they may have sustained in their motor vehicle collision.

The numbers from Pinellas County are much lower than those from all of Florida, and only tell a small part of the story — especially if you are one of the people who were unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor vehicle crash, or lose a loved one in a fatal accident. 

No statistics will ever be able to truly convey the human cost of car accidents, but if you have been affected by one, it is important to know that you are not alone and that there is help available from Clearwater personal injury lawyers. They are ready to help you with your personal injury claim or car accident lawsuit.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

There are many different reasons why car accidents happen. Some of the most common include:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most common and dangerous causes of car accidents. Distractions can come in many forms, including texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, adjusting the radio or navigation system, looking at other passengers, daydreaming, and more. Taking attention off the road for even a few seconds can lead to a serious or even fatal accident.

Speeding

Speed is another major factor in car accidents. The faster a vehicle is going, the less time the driver has to react to hazards on the road, and the more severe the injuries are likely to be if an accident does occur. Many drivers overestimate their driving abilities as well as their vehicle’s ability to handle at high speeds. Because it takes a longer distance to brake and stop at higher speeds, this behavior also increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a major cause of car accidents. Drugs and alcohol impair a driver’s ability to think clearly, make good decisions, and react quickly to changes in traffic or road conditions. 26% of all fatal accidents in Florida were attributed to drug- or alcohol-impaired driving in 2019, according to Responsibility.org.

If you have been involved in a crash with someone you believe is intoxicated, you must call 911 to ensure that police are dispatched to the scene. If the at-fault driver is not cited for DUI, it is much more difficult to prove it during the personal injury claim if there is no police report documenting the driver’s intoxication.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving encompasses a wide range of dangerous behaviors, including street racing, weaving in and out of traffic, tailgating, making illegal turns or lane changes, and more. Reckless driving is often the result of driver impatience or aggression, and it puts everyone on the road at risk.

Fatigue

Fatigue can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence because it too impairs a driver’s ability to make good decisions and react quickly to changes in traffic or road conditions. If you are tired, pull over and take a break — it is not worth risking your life or the lives of others by trying to push through.

Poor Weather Conditions

Bad weather conditions, such as rain and fog, can make it more difficult to see and be seen by other drivers and can also make it more difficult to control your vehicle. If you must drive in bad weather, take extra care to slow down and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

Remember that while weather conditions can play a factor in an accident, something like dense fog won’t help the at-fault driver avoid liability because it is the responsibility of each driver to adjust their driving to the conditions.

Defective Auto Parts

Car accidents can also be caused by defective auto parts, such as faulty brakes, tires, or steering systems. In these cases, it may be possible to take legal action against the manufacturer of the defective product or the auto shop responsible for the installation, in addition to taking action against the at-fault driver.

No Turn Signal

Not using a turn signal is rude, but it’s also dangerous. Every driver has a responsibility to signal their intention to turn, change lanes, or stop so that other drivers can be prepared and react accordingly. Failing to do so can lead to an accident.

Don’t See Your Accident Cause Listed?

This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible causes of car accidents, but it covers some of the most common. If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by something not listed here, 1-800-Injured can still help. We will connect you with a knowledgeable and experienced Clearwater auto accident attorney who will evaluate your case and help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.

The Truth About Insurance Claims

Filing an insurance claim and accepting the first offer the adjuster gives you is straightforward enough, but the reality is that the initial settlement offer is usually not even in the ballpark of what a victim is rightfully owed. This is because insurance companies are in the business of making money, and they make more money by paying out as little as possible on each claim.

When you are first contacted by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they will ask you some simple questions relating to how you believe the accident happened, the nature of your injuries, and other information that, on the surface, seems innocuous. The reality is that the adjuster will be looking for any minor slip-ups in your statements that can be distorted into leverage for a lower payout. Even something as simple as telling the adjuster that you have been working through your injuries may come back to haunt you as “proof” that you have not suffered as much as you and your attorney claim.

This is why it is so important to have an experienced Clearwater car accident attorney on your side from day one. An attorney will know how to deal with the insurance company throughout the investigation and will perform their own investigation to calculate an accurate figure for the damages you are rightfully owed. You may be shocked at the difference between the amount your attorney believes you deserve and the amount the insurer hopes to settle for.

Many people think that hiring a personal injury lawyer is only for people with permanent, catastrophic injuries or those who have lost a loved one. However, the truth is that anyone who has suffered an injury from an accident someone else caused could benefit from legal assistance. The first step is to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, and 1-800-Injured can connect you with a Clearwater car accident lawyer while you stay focused on getting the care you need.

Florida’s Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In Florida, that time limit is four years from the date of the accident, so it is important to take action quickly if you believe you have a case. In some instances, a victim may not realize their injuries for a while; in that case, the statute may begin on the date they first discovered their injuries. Regardless, connecting with an attorney early is one of the best decisions a victim can make.

Four years may seem like a long time to take legal action, but your attorney will be able to use this time to negotiate for a direct settlement after taking the necessary time to gather all of the relevant information about the case — and the details that seem so clear to you now, such as your suffering with your injuries, will fade in your memory over time. When a victim hires an attorney close to the cut-off date, they will need to hurry through their investigation, likely missing important details, and may be forced to file a lawsuit in the Florida courts for a case that otherwise could have been settled without a costly and time-consuming trial.

Common Injuries From Car Crashes

The following are just a few of the many different injuries that a victim may suffer in a motor vehicle collision. Keep in mind that the following examples are meant to give a general sense of the most common injuries, but do not account for the severity of the injuries, the impacts they have on a victim’s life, or any other unique factors of the victim’s individual case.

Whiplash

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries in auto accidents. This soft-tissue injury happens when the head is snapped forward, down, and then back in a rapid “S” motion, tearing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck, lower skull, shoulders, and upper back. As with most soft-tissue injuries, a victim will often not feel the full extent of whiplash for a day or two after the accident as the muscles begin to tighten.

Whiplash is usually treated with rest, ice, and pain medication, but some victims may require physical therapy or chiropractic care to fully recover. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the damage caused by the whiplash.

Broken Bones

A broken bone is another common injury in auto accidents. A victim may suffer a broken bone when they are hit by the force of another vehicle, or when their body is thrown around inside the vehicle and hits a hard object like the steering wheel, dashboard, or window.

Broken bones can take weeks or even months to heal properly, and may require surgery, a cast, or a splint to set the bone correctly. A victim with a broken bone will often be unable to work to their usual capacity while they recover, and may incur costly medical bills.

Traumatic Brain Injury

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen when the head hits an object or is jarred violently in any way. This can happen when a victim is hit by another vehicle, or when their body is thrown around inside the vehicle and they hit their head on a hard object.

A TBI can range from a mild concussion to a severe brain injury that requires lifelong care. Symptoms of a TBI may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, sensitivity to light or sound, changes in mood or behavior, and problems with memory, concentration, or sleep.

A victim with a TBI must seek medical attention immediately to ensure that they do not have any life-threatening injuries. They will likely need to take time off work to recover and may require rehabilitation, therapy, or other long-term care.

Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is comprised of a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down the back and controls the body’s movement. When the spine is damaged in any way, whether by a blow to the head or neck or by an object piercing the spine, the nerves running from the brain to the rest of the body can be damaged or severed, leading to serious issues like loss of sensation, tingling, or paralysis.

A victim with a spinal cord injury will require immediate medical attention and may need to be hospitalized for a long time. They will likely need extensive rehabilitation and assistive devices for most aspects of their life and may never be able to return to their previous level of function. All of these impacts and more must be properly accounted for during settlement negotiations.

Pure Comparative Negligence

If you were partially at fault for the accident, you might still be able to seek compensation for your damages, but it will likely be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you under Florida’s Comparative Negligence law. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault, you would get 80% of the compensation you are owed.

If the other driver was completely at fault, you might be able to recover 100% of your damages. However, even if the other driver was clearly at fault, their insurance carrier will likely still try to minimize the amount they have to pay out, whether by avoiding certain damages, misconstruing your statements, or attempting to pin additional blame on you. This is why it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side.

Making Sense of Damages In a Clearwater Car Accident Case

When people who aren’t familiar with personal injury law hear the word “damages,” it’s easy to understand why they would assume that this term is simply referencing the actual damage done to a victim’s personal property, like the damage to their vehicle. In this sense, though, “damages” are actually referring to the various losses a victim experiences as a direct result of their injuries.

In order to have a successful claim, your attorney will need to prove all of the ways in which you have been damaged by another person’s negligence, which will fall under one of two distinct types of compensatory (meant to repay a victim) damages:

Economic Damages

Economic damages are quantifiable losses that are easy to document with objective evidence but are best left to Clearwater car accident lawyers because of the variety of damages that can be connected with the car crash.

Past and Future Medical Expenses

This could include ER visits, hospital stays, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and any other type of medical treatment you have received or will need in the future as a direct result of your injuries.

Lost Wages

If you had to miss work because of your injuries, or if you are unable to return to work in the same capacity as you could before the accident, you may be able to recover your past and future lost wages.

Property Damage

This would include repairs or replacement costs for any personal property that was damaged in the accident, such as your vehicle.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are more subjective losses that are more difficult to quantify with objective evidence. Insurance companies are quick to downplay the severity of these types of damages, but an experienced car accident attorney will know how to properly value them using a number of different calculation methods.

These damages could include:

Pain and Suffering

This type of damage accounts for the physical pain and emotional suffering you have endured because of your injuries.

Mental Anguish

Closely related to pain and suffering, mental anguish damages compensate a victim for the emotional distress caused by their accident and injuries.

Loss of Companionship

If your injuries have caused a loss of companionship or consortium with your spouse, you may be able to recover these damages.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

If your injuries have hindered your ability to enjoy activities that you once loved, you may be able to recover these damages.

There are countless other damages that an experienced car accident lawyer will be able to identify and calculate to be included in your negotiations with the insurance carrier. All of these damages are unique to the accident and your individual circumstances, and so any attempts to calculate either economic or non-economic damages without a detailed investigation by a Clearwater auto accident attorney will be inaccurate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Claims

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have about car accident claims:

If you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not have insurance, you may still be able to recover compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. Unfortunately, 1 in 4 Floridians do not have insurance, although Florida law requires it. Getting into an accident with one of these people is a frustrating process that a car accident lawyer can help you with.

In Florida, the statute of limitations to file a car accident claim is four years from the date of the accident. This may seem like a long time, but it’s important to remember that insurance providers will often drag their feet in an effort to delay or lowball a settlement offer, so it’s always best to begin the claims process as soon as possible.

There are a number of reasons why an insurance company may deny a car accident claim, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily correct in doing so. If you have been denied coverage, or if you feel that the insurance company is not treating your claim fairly, you should reach out to an experienced car accident attorney for help. In fact, car accident victims will best protect their interests by partnering with a Clearwater car accident lawyer before making contact with the insurance company.

There is no simple answer to this question as the value of your case will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries, whether you are able to work and earn an income, how much property damage was caused by the accident, and more. Working with experienced car accident lawyers is the best way to have a professional evaluate your case and give you an estimate of what it may be worth.

In Florida, injury victims can still recover compensation for their automobile accident injuries even if they were partially at fault for the accident through pure comparative negligence. However, your total recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for an accident that caused $100,000 in damages, your total recovery would be reduced to $80,000.

Not wearing a seatbelt can be used as evidence of negligence in a car accident case, which means it could result in a reduction of your total recovery. However, you may still be able to recover compensation for your injuries, even if you were not wearing a seatbelt.

The length of time it takes to resolve a car accident case will vary depending on the circumstances. Some cases can be resolved relatively quickly through an out-of-court settlement, while others may take months or even years to resolve — especially if you need to take the claim to the Florida courts.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as each car accident case is unique. However, if you have been seriously injured in an accident, it’s generally a good idea to hire an attorney. The best way to decide whether or not legal representation is appropriate in your situation is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Clearwater car accident lawyer who can review the details of your case and give you their advice on how best to move forward.

The vast majority of car accident lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means they only charge a fee if they are able to recover compensation for their clients. In most cases, the attorney’s fee will be a percentage of the total settlement or verdict — typically between 33% and 40%. So, if you receive a $100,000 settlement, the attorney’s fee would likely be between $33,000 and $40,000.

You will have the opportunity to talk about fee structures during your free consultation, so contact 1-800-Injured immediately to connect with a lawyer in your area as soon as possible.

Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer Today.