If You’ve Been the Victim of a Negligent Driver in Pinellas County, Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Founded in 1903, with over 250,000 citizens, St. Petersburg is the fifth most populous city in the state and the second-largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. The area includes towns such as Gulfport and St. Pete Beach.
Located in southeast Pinellas County, its abundant natural beauty, beaches, and warm weather make it a renowned tourist destination and popular with retirees. Due to an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, the city earned the nickname “Sunshine City.” Unfortunately, it is also home to an inordinate number of car accidents.
If you’ve been involved in a serious St. Petersburg car accident, it is essential to have a highly competent and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. The Fran Haasch Law Group has actively supported the community for over 20 years and are active members of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce (SPACC). Our legal team has helped several injured victims get the money they need to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
The car accident attorneys at the Fran Haasch Law Group are experts at investigating all the evidence that may prove you’ve been the victim of a negligent driver. In addition, they’re highly experienced at building a case to hold the responsible parties liable for the damage they’ve caused. Contact one of our car accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation.
Florida Car Accident Statistics
Vehicle accidents can be catastrophic, resulting in grievous bodily injury and death. Most people will be involved in some accident or fender bender in their lifetime. Data shows the average to be about four accidents over the lifetime of an individual driver and that 43% of first-year drivers are involved in car accidents. However, sometimes a car accident results in much more than a bent fender or scraped bumper.
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 401,142 car crashes in 2021, with a car crash defined as the operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage, complaint of bodily injury, or bodily injury or death to any person.
Of those crashes, 252,885 people were injured as a result, and 3,757 resulted in fatalities. In Pinellas County alone, there were 16,459 crashes, 160 crash-related fatalities, and 9,429 people injured in those crashes.
According to data, Florida is the third state with the greatest number of fatal motor vehicle accidents, and it is the second most dangerous state for drivers.
Speeding is the number one factor causing collisions in Florida, followed by disobeying traffic signals, texting on the phone while driving, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, another factor responsible for the number of auto accidents that is unique to Florida is the age of drivers. Seniors account for a large portion of the state’s population and are thought to be responsible for as many car accidents as teenagers.
The Most Common Types of St. Petersburg Car Accidents
There are many types of vehicle accidents, but these six are the most common:
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- T-bone collisions
- Hit-and-run collisions
- Intersection Collisions
Florida law requires people involved in any kind of accident to stop and contact the police, but people often don’t. If you’re involved in a hit-and-run, make sure you remain at the scene until police arrive, even though the other driver has left. The driver may ultimately be found and held accountable, but even if they aren’t, you may still be able to file a claim.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we work with experts who evaluate factors like distance, speed, and time to determine liability in your case. We also look at documented witness statements, medical records, and physician statements in order to help you fight your personal injury case and recover the damages you deserve.
What to Do After a St. Petersburg Car Accident
If you’ve been in a St. Petersburg car accident, be sure to take the following steps immediately:
- Move to safety and get medical help for any injuries.
- Call the police to report the accident, and remain at the scene until they arrive.
- Take pictures of the scene. Evidence gathered by documenting what happened will help you file a thorough accident report and claim for compensation.
- Get the contact information of the other driver or drivers. Write down their name, phone number, insurance information, and driver’s license number.
- If possible, get the contact information of witnesses who may have seen the accident.
- Stay at the scene until the police have finished the investigation and give you permission to leave. Even if you’re not at fault, leaving the accident scene could qualify it as a hit-and-run and could damage your compensation claim.
- After the accident, you might need to request an accident report from the St. Petersburg Police Department located at 1301 1st Ave N or by going to their website and requesting online.
- Contact a St. Petersburg car accident attorney at the Fran Haasch Law Group to start your claim against the liable party.
Do not admit to any fault, as that can be used against you later. Even if you think you’re responsible for the accident, you may be incorrect. Never be persuaded by another driver who pressures you not to report the accident or any injuries you may have received, and don’t make any deals.
The Importance of Going to the Hospital
People sometimes do not recognize the importance of going to the hospital after a collision because they’re in a state of shock and may not even feel they have been significantly injured. However, this supposition can be misleading and cost an accident victim dearly in the long run.
For one thing, people may sustain serious injuries that are not visibly evident. For example, traumatic brain injuries often cannot be seen, and if not quickly detected using diagnostic testing, they can be deadly. A person in a car accident may also have internal bleeding, spine injuries, and neck injuries they aren’t aware of.
Furthermore, having documentation that a victim sought medical attention is important for building personal injury cases and preventing insurance companies from arguing the validity of the victim’s injuries and denying their claims.
Why Do I Need a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer?
Car Accident Cases Can Be Complex
A car accident case can be complex for a variety of reasons. One major factor is the extent and types of a victim’s injuries. While some injuries are immediately apparent, it may take days or weeks for symptoms to appear with traumatic brain injuries. Certain symptoms could be erroneously attributed to stress, such as irritability, mood swings, depression, and an inability to concentrate. A brain injury can range in severity from a mild concussion to a severe injury resulting in coma or even death.
Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury
Auto accidents are a major cause of closed brain injuries, which can be caused by the sudden, rapid forward or backward movement and shaking of the brain inside the skull upon impact. This can result in bruising and tearing of brain tissue and blood vessels. At the time of impact with another vehicle or object, a person can suffer a profound, primary brain injury. However, over time, they may also develop what is referred to as secondary brain injury, which is the progression of stages of cellular, tissue, chemical, and blood vessel changes that cause further damage and deterioration of brain tissue. These types of injuries require special types of diagnostic testing, such as CT and MRI scans, and are a major reason why it is so important to go to the hospital after you’ve been in a car accident.
Another consideration contributing to the complexity of car accident cases is determining who or what is responsible for the victim’s injuries. Some of these various parties and causal factors could include:
- A negligent driver
- A vehicle part malfunction
- A negligent mechanic
- An unsafe road due to poor construction
- An improperly prescribed medication
Insurance Companies May Try to Avoid Paying Your Medical Bills
Having competent legal representation is also crucial to avoid being taken advantage of by insurance companies. For example, if you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else, their insurance company may try to contact you immediately, ostensibly out of concern, but with the primary goal of getting you to agree to an inadequate settlement.
A car accident can have costly financial repercussions. You may be dealing with:
- Serious injuries that result in significant medical bills.
- Lost wages due to time in the hospital.
- The inability to return to work.
- Ongoing medical and rehabilitation costs.
You deserve to have the peace of mind of knowing that an insurance settlement will amply pay for all your medical expenses and lost wages.
Insurance Companies May Try to Obstruct Your Legal Rights in Other Ways
Insurance companies may also employ the following tactics to avoid paying you fair compensation for the damages you’re entitled to:
- They might tell you that certain damages are not covered, even when they should be.
- They might request authorization to access your medical records, then use the information against you by saying your injuries were pre-existing.
- They might pressure you to sign paperwork before speaking to a lawyer.
- They might discourage you from hiring a lawyer who can tell you what your rights are and help you get the recompense you deserve.
Florida Motor Vehicle Insurance Law is Unique
Unlike most other states, drivers in Florida are not required to have bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Most states require this to cover the costs of injuries that drivers cause another person in the event of an auto accident, and it serves to protect drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
Instead, Florida insurance law only requires drivers to have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance worth $10,000. As a result, Florida is referred to as a no-fault accident state because PIP insurance covers 80% of an individual’s own injuries, regardless of who is responsible for the accident.
If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of a car accident, you’ll want a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney with a solid understanding of the law. If someone involved in the accident has an optional BIL policy, you can file a claim to have it pay the remaining 20% of your medical bills not covered by PIP insurance, as well as other damages.
These are some of the myriad reasons you should consult an experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at the Fran Haasch Law Group if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident. We are well versed in the potential complexities of these often catastrophic events and can help you navigate the difficulties so you can focus on healing and rehabilitation. Call us today for a free case evaluation.
What Kind of Damages Can A St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me Claim?
Economic and Non-Economic Personal Injury Damages
Victims of automobile accidents may suffer extensive injuries and may also be affected by various other physical, emotional, and personal hardships. If you’ve been injured in a St. Petersburg auto accident, you are entitled to claim economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages you may qualify to pursue include:
- Medical bills to treat your injuries
- Ongoing medical expenses and rehabilitation
- Lost income due to injuries and hospitalization
- Lost future earning potential
The non-economic damages you may qualify to pursue pertain to your quality of life after the car accident. They include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life due to disability
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium due to a spouse’s injuries or disability
The St. Petersburg personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Fran Haasch can help you determine which damages are relevant to your unique case and will help ensure you receive a fair settlement for your pain and suffering. Car Accidents are one of our several practice areas, and we possess extensive experience in representing residents of Clearwater, Tampa, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg, FL.
Wrongful Death Damages
If someone you love was killed in a car accident due to the negligence of another person or entity (such as a car manufacturer), you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Economic damages that can be recovered for wrongful death are meant to compensate for the value of the financial contributions the victim would have made to the survivors if they didn’t die, such as:
- Medical and funeral expenses connected to the death
- Loss of the deceased’s expected earnings
- Loss of the victim’s benefits, such as medical coverage or pension plans
- The value of the goods and services that a victim would have provided
Non-economic damages you may pursue in a wrongful death case pertain to the loss experienced and survivors’ quality of life after the victim’s untimely death, including:
- Survivors’ pain and suffering
- Survivors’ mental anguish
- Loss of the care, protection, guidance, and advice from the deceased
- Loss of companionship and love from the deceased
- Loss of consortium from a deceased spouse
At the Fran Haasch Law Group, a personal injury attorney can compassionately guide you through the painful process of determining whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Although nothing can bring back your loved one, we fight to ensure that negligent parties are held accountable and that any settlement you receive is just compensation for your tragic loss.
Aside from economic and non-economic damages, victims of car accidents can also pursue punitive damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish a defendant for egregious negligent behavior. These are not always warranted and are awarded the least. The personal injury attorneys at the Fran Haasch Law Group can help you determine if you have a reasonable basis to bring a punitive damage claim. We fight to maximize the amount our clients are awarded and to punish wrongdoers when necessary.
What Kind of Compensation Can I Recover for My St. Petersburg Car Accident?
Every car accident and personal injury claim is different and must be evaluated on an individual basis. A knowledgeable accident attorney in St. Petersburg can provide this evaluation for you. However, certain factors may increase the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive, including:
- Type and severity of injuries
- Victim’s financial situation before and after the accident
- How the accident affects various aspects of the victim’s life
- The likelihood of making a full recovery from injuries
- Physical disfigurement and scarring caused by the accident
The St. Petersburg car accident attorneys at Fran Haasch Law Group will gladly review your case for free and help you understand what it may be worth. You may have a claim against the other driver, insurance company, or another party. Our track record includes obtaining multi-million-dollar settlements and jury verdicts for the victims of car and motorcycle accidents, wrongful deaths, and catastrophic injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File A Claim?
According to Florida law, the statute of limitations to file a car accident personal injury claim is two years. Waiting longer than this may cause you to lose your right to pursue compensation. However, Florida does acknowledge some exceptions to this two-year rule, and in some cases, you may have up to five years to file a claim.
Nevertheless, time is of the essence. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, various types of evidence may be necessary to argue your personal injury claim. This can include but is not limited to:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Doctor statements
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Photographs and video footage
It is easier to obtain this type of evidence and help ensure it is accurate if you act promptly by going to the hospital right away, taking pictures at the accident scene, and reaching out to a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at the Fran Haasch Law Group. We make certain our clients’ cases are backed by the most comprehensive body of evidence possible, so we can fight for the settlement they deserve. We will help you assemble all of the records and information required to win fair compensation for what you’ve endured.
Liability is Important in St. Petersburg, FL Accidents
As with all personal injury claims, it’s essential to establish liability to argue an auto accident case successfully. If a person, entity, or another party can be demonstrably shown to have acted negligently, and if it can be shown that said negligence was the cause of the victim’s injuries, that is sufficient to file a claim. However, the negligence does not have to be intentional for the victim to take legal action against the liable party or parties.
Comparative Negligence Law
Florida recognizes a pure comparative negligence law when it comes to personal injury claims. This means that more than one driver can be deemed to be at fault for an auto accident.
An example of this would be a collision where one driver was traveling slightly over the speed limit, but the other driver in the accident was intoxicated and clearly caused the crash. The speeding driver was injured and filed a claim against the drunk driver. An investigation showed the first driver was speeding, and a jury decided he was 10% at fault for the accident. In this scenario, the speeding driver’s compensation would be reduced proportionately to the fault allocated to him. Although the speeding driver’s fault was minimal, it still impacts his final settlement.
Defense attorneys in Florida frequently try to argue that the victim of a car accident is partially to blame in order to reduce the amount of compensation they are able to receive.
Questions to Ask a St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorney
If you’re the victim of an automobile accident caused by someone else’s negligence and you’ve suffered injuries, there are certain questions you should ask prospective car accident lawyers that can have a major impact on your legal outcome.
- Do they have the financial resources to handle your case and retain experts necessary to strengthen your claim?
- Will your case go to trial? If so, do they have a strong reputation for trying car accident personal injury claims before a jury?
- What experience do they have handling car accident cases in St. Petersburg, Florida?
- What fees and costs will you be responsible for? How will they charge for your case?
The car accident lawyers at the Fran Haasch Legal Group have a long and proven record of securing multi-million-dollar settlements and jury awards for our clients. We investigate every car accident case thoroughly and regularly employ accident reconstruction experts. We are skilled and experienced litigators who aren’t afraid to take your case to trial if need be. Call us today to speak to a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer.
St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys Who Don’t Back Down
Surrounded by beautiful scenery, St. Petersburg is home to a Major League Baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays, and their stadium Tropicana Park. Landmarks such as the world’s largest shuffleboard club and the Salvador Dali Museum can be found near the waterfront. St. Petersburg is home to high-profile companies such as Raymond James and Home Shopping Network that employ thousands of local citizens making the Sunshine City a wonderful place to work and live for many.
If you’re a car accident victim, enjoying all the city offers becomes difficult. You may not be able to work, drive, or even walk. The first thing you should do is get in touch with a car accident attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve.
At The Fran Haasch Law Group, We are experienced and capable lawyers who have successfully negotiated multi-million-dollar settlements and jury-awarded compensation in personal injury cases. We stand up to insurance companies, and we have the testimonials to back up our record of tenaciousness and dedication to getting justice for our clients, no matter how complicated the case. Learn more about it through a free consultation from an experienced attorney at our law office.