On average, there are 77 car accidents per day in Pinellas County. In addition, there are well over 6 million car accidents each year in the United States alone. Contrary to the popular belief that the number of car accidents is going down since we have better technology, car accidents are actually on the rise. Keeping this information in mind, it is imperative that you have a thorough understanding of what to do in the case that you are involved in a car accident. While calling the police is typically mandatory if property or bodily injury has occurred, there are other important steps to take. In addition, Florida is one of 12 states that maintain no-fault insurance laws, so it is important that you understand what you are liable for in the case of any accident, devoid of fault. Enlisting the services of a reputable and experienced Tampa car accident lawyer should be the next step you take after calling the police and exchanging information with other drivers.
Car Accident Statistics
With over 6 million car accidents per year in the United States, it is necessary to understand the importance of driving safely and the implications of this high number of accidents. Below, you will find pertinent facts and statistics relating to car accidents.
- In 2018, there were 17,869 accidents in Pinellas County alone. Of those accidents, almost 7,500 resulted in more than 10,000 injuries. These crashes resulted in 119 fatalities.
- Florida has a higher percentage of uninsured drivers than any other State in the Union.
- According to a SmartAsset survey, Florida drivers are among the worst in the country.
- More than 50% of reported accidents involve only one vehicle.
- Teenagers between the ages of 16-19 are three times more likely to get into an accident than those over the age of 20. In addition, this age group represents the demographic that is most likely to get into an accident of all groups.
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the most dangerous time to drive each day is between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Also, the most dangerous day of the week to drive is Saturday.
- Men cause considerably more accidents than women, but also drive considerably more.
Most Common Types of Car Accidents in Tampa
The most common types of car accidents in Tampa and the surrounding areas do not involve injuries. However, of the almost 18,000 car accidents that took place in 2018, more than 10,000 included some form of property damage. In addition, there were slightly over 500 accidents that involved pedestrians and approximately 620 accident that involved bicyclist. Year over year, Pinellas County saw a slight decrease in the overall number of car accidents from year 2017 to 2018.
Common Causes of Tampa Vehicle Collisions
While there are no specific studies conducted on the most common causes of car accidents in Tampa, there is information that can be extrapolated from national reports that offer a glimpse of potential causes of accidents in the Tampa area. See the top four most common causes of vehicle collisions below:
- Distracted Driving: According to the CDC, distracted driving is steadily increasing each year and represents approximately 10% of all car accident related deaths at just over three thousand per year. The three main types of distractions are visual (looking anywhere other than the road), manual (taking your hands off of the steering wheel), and cognitive (taking your thoughts off of the road).
- Drunk Driving: Each year, over 10,000 people die from drunk driving related accidents. This is almost 30% of total car accident related fatalities.
- Negligent Driving: Whether it be speeding or driving recklessly in general, these two categories represent a large swath of car accidents that happen each year in the United States.
- Inclement Weather: Driving in heavy rain, snow, winds, etc. can be dangerous for everyone on the road. Not only can inclement weather negatively affect the performance of your car and tires, but it can also severely alter your vision and cause you to “over correct” when driving.
Traffic and personal injury laws can be difficult to navigate alone. If you have been involved in a car accident, it is recommended that you connect with a reputable Tampa car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Florida Car Accident Laws
As previously mentioned, Florida is a no-fault car insurance state. If you get into an accident, you must file a claim using your own PIP (personal injury protection) insurance. This must be done regardless of fault (in most situations). Additionally, Florida car accident laws allow for “pure comparative negligence” which means, if you get into an accident the cost of the damages can be split depending on who owns which percentage of the fault. For instance, driver ‘A’ may be 70% at fault and driver ‘B’ may only be 30% at fault. The cost of the damages, repairs, rehab, etc. will be split in the same fashion. With driver A paying 70% of driver B’s damages and driver B paying 30% of Driver A’s damages.
What is PIP Insurance?
Personal Injury Protection Insurance (PIP), is mandated by the State of Florida. In the event of an accident, it will automatically cover your medical expenses up to $10,000. In addition, it offers a death payout of $5,000 to cover funeral and burial expenses. If you get into an accident, your PIP insurance will automatically be used until fault is determined in the accident.
When to Call a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been in a crash that caused injuries or property damages, if possible, it is best to contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to discuss your options as soon as possible. Also, there is a four-year statute of limitations on pursuing car accident lawsuits/claims. With this in mind, it is recommended that you consult with a professional quickly after an accident has taken place.
After you have been in an accident, give 1-800-Injured a call to connect with qualified accident attorneys and car injury doctors. Accidents already cause severe emotional and physical strain, give us a call to learn more about how we can potentially help.
Finding A Car Accident Lawyer
Finding the right car accident lawyer will require you to do some research as well as use your intuition. It is best that you work with an attorney that comes recommended by someone that you trust or one that is highly rated and favorably reviewed. When you first receive your free consultation, ensure that you inquire of their experience with similar cases. Additionally, you should gauge your personal comfort level with your chosen attorney.
Learn if your potential attorney has ever been disciplined by an ethics committee in the past. If they have, you may want to do additional research to ensure that they are the best fit for you. Lastly, inquire of their “trial” experience. Many lawyers have experience settling, but not all are comfortable with going to trial. Remember, you do not want to go to court with an attorney that is not experienced taking a case to trial.
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. The attorneys and doctors that we work with are reputable and experienced in this area of the law.
How Much Does a Car Accident Lawsuit Typically Cost?
At 1-800-Injured, we understand the financial hardships that an accident can cause on a person’s life. Not only can it affect the amount of money that you must spend out of pocket towards your insurance deductibles, but you may also experience a period of time where you are unable to work. With this in mind, it is best that you partner with attorneys who work on a contingency basis, which means that they only get paid if you win your case.
Why choose 1-800-Injured?
1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service. At 1-800-Injured, the attorneys within our network all work on a contingency basis. They only get paid if you win your case. Give us a call today and allow the attorneys and medical professionals in our network to handle everything so you can focus on making a full recovery. Remember, there is a statute of limitations on car accident litigation. It is best to consult with a trusted Tampa car accident lawyer soon after an accident has occurred.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do I have to report an accident to the police?
According to Florida Statute 316.065, you must report an accident to the police, county sheriff or highway patrol under the following circumstances:
- Death or injury occurred
- It was a hit and run accident
- Property damage in excess of $500
- Caused by an intoxicated driver
What should I say to law enforcement officers?
It is important that you are honest and with police officers about your account of the accident. Answer the questions asked of you directly and resist the urge to “over explain”. In addition, do not admit fault under any circumstances. If you believe you are at fault, have that discussion with your attorney, not at the scene of the accident. Do not admit fault to police officers, bystanders, or the other party involved in the accident.
Why should I call a Tampa car accident lawyer?
Getting into an accident can cause havoc in many areas of your life to include your health, finances and professional opportunities. Connecting with an attorney can help you with regard to negotiating with your insurance company as well as the insurance company of the other party involved. If your case is denied or disputed by the insurance companies, it is best to have a proven effective car accident lawyer to help you to navigate the intricacies of the law.
I can’t work since the accident, how can I afford a lawyer?
Personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis. If you don’t win your case, they don’t get paid. Give us a call today for a free consultation with an attorney.
How long do I have after the accident to file a claim?
According to Florida Statute 95.11, the statute of limitations to file a claim after an accident is typically four years. In the case of your PIP insurance, it is best that you seek medical attention within 14 days in order to receive compensation through your PIP insurance (Florida Statute 627.736(1)(a)). If you wait to seek medical attention past the 14-day deadline you will forfeit your right to any compensation from your personal injury protection insurance.
What if I’m at fault?
Even if you think that you are at fault, it is best to consult with your Tampa car accident lawyer first. There are many cases wherein you may not actually be at fault due to other evidence or eye witness accounts. Remember, always be honest about the facts of the accident with the Police, but do not admit fault.
What if the other driver is 100% at fault in the accident?
In the case that the driver is found to be 100% at fault, their insurance will have to pay 100% of your damages. Though this does not happen all the time in a no-fault state such as Florida.
What financial damages can I recover?
As a result of your car accident, you may have suffered physical and financial hardships. In addition, accidents typically cause some form of property damage. You can file a claim to recoup all or some of your damages depending on the percentage of fault assigned to each driver.
What if the other driver is uninsured?
If you are in an accident with an uninsured driver, you will more than likely have to rely on your own insurance to cover your damages. For this reason, many Florida drivers carry an uninsured motorist policy in addition to the mandatory coverage. This covers any gaps in your coverage due to the other driver being uninsured. Additionally, you can sue that driver and seek to recoup your damages from them, but it is best to connect with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer before deciding on which path is best for your specific needs.