Clearwater Personal Injury Attorney
Representing Individuals Injured in Clearwater Injury Accidents
The Gulf Coast invites residents and tourists to enjoy Clearwater Beach, seaside resorts, and various public parks, restaurants and entertainment. But U.S. 19 and the highways that connect the Tampa Bay area make Clearwater notoriously dangerous. The best way to understand your legal rights after an accident is to discuss your case and injuries with an experienced Clearwater personal injury attorney.
Fortunately for accident victims, Florida law entitles people who are hurt in accidents caused by someone else’s negligent behavior to compensation for these and other losses. Personal injuries can vary widely, and often include traumatic brain injuries (TBI), spinal cord injuries, bone fractures, soft tissue injuries or even simple bumps and bruises. Seeking help from a Clearwater personal injury lawyer at The Fran Haasch Law Group can lead to fair compensation for the losses and damages you have suffered.
If you were injured or you lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, The Fran Haasch Law Group at (727) 274-9973 or contact us online for a free, no-risk case evaluation with one of our personal injury lawyers in Clearwater.
The Fran Haasch Law Group
10300 49th St N Suite 130
Clearwater, FL 33762
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Personal Injury Claims We Handle
There are many ways that a person or business can contribute to someone else’s injuries. For this reason, personal injury lawsuits seek to recover damages for injuries in a wide range of accidents, including:
According to a Dateline NBC study, part of U.S. 19 in Clearwater is the most dangerous road in the United States. The stretch of highway from Pasco County to Clearwater in Pinellas County averaged approximately 52 deaths a year, or 262 deaths in the 5-year duration of a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study.
When serious injuries are caused by another party’s negligent or reckless driving in Tampa Bay, victims often turn to a trusted Clearwater personal injury attorney to seek compensation.
How Does PIP Work After a Car Accident in Clearwater?
In many states, drivers have to fight to receive damages related to their claim and prove that the accident was not their “fault.” Instead, Florida personal injury protection (PIP) auto insurance removes the issue of fault when people have a car accident in Clearwater. Ideally, everyone pays for insurance to cover their own injury expenses, thereby simplifying the process and allowing courts to deal with more serious cases.
Florida drivers who want access to their PIP benefits only have 14 days after their accident to treat their injuries and get coverage for up to $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages. Without receiving treatment in this timeframe, you automatically do not receive coverage. As sometimes happens, a PIP claim can also be denied in the insurance company’s attempt to avoid paying legitimate damages.
Fortunately, The Fran Haasch Law Group offers experienced personal injury lawyers in Clearwater who can help you fight for your claim so that you can get the medical coverage and lost wages that you deserve.
When driving on busy Clearwater highways, the sight of large commercial trucks in traffic
is hard to miss. While commercial trucks on busy roads are the norm, the laws that regulate their safe commutes are more complicated. Truck accidents often occur because drivers fail to uphold the standard of care for public safety.
Trucking accidents are complex because they often involve both federal laws as well as Florida state law. A Clearwater personal injury attorney can help you understand how a violation of the following factors can play an important role in any truck crash case:
- Time Restrictions. Federal hours of service restrict the number of hours that a truck driver can be behind the wheel without rest.
- Alcohol and Drug Testing. By virtue of operating a commercial motor vehicle, a driver must consent to being tested for alcohol at any time.
- CDL Requirements. Drivers must follow requirements to receive or renew a commercial driver’s license, including driving skills tests and medical examinations.
- Local Traffic Code Violations. Distracted driving often contributes to traffic code violations that can result in a car accident in Clearwater.
The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is one of the most popular urban trails in Florida, stretching 38 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and passing through Clearwater and Palm Harbor.
But the experience of cycling carries serious risk, particularly on urban roads. Out of 622 bicycle crashes in Clearwater, roughly 94% resulted in injuries and seven ended in fatalities in 2018. If you have been injured by a negligent motorist, a personal injury lawyer in Clearwater can help you understand your options.
A dog attack can be a traumatizing and debilitating experience with severe injuries. Florida law protects individuals who are the victims of dog bites by making the owner of the dog liable for damages.
In other words, a dog owner does not need to act negligently or recklessly to still be held liable for your injuries. A skilled personal injury attorney can guide you through the process of recovering compensation for your damages.
When a person is injured due to someone else’s negligence, the victim can pursue compensation for their losses. But when an injured person dies and someone else is to blame, Florida’s Wrongful Death Acts tates that a legal claim can often be made on behalf of the survivors or beneficiaries of the person who died.
The following are examples of common scenarios in which a personal injury attorney can help you pursue a wrongful death claim:
- Auto accident fatalities
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Fatal brain injuries
- Workplace or occupational accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional falls account for 52% of all traumatic brain injury-related hospitalizations. This is particularly true for individuals 55 years or older. Under an area of law called “premises liability,” property owners have a duty to keep their property hazard free so that people do not get hurt. Here are several common causes for a slip and fall accident:
- Inadequate lighting
- Lack of handrails
- Uneven flooring
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Inadequate warning signage
- Worn or torn carpeting
- Spilled food or drink
Common Types of Injuries in Clearwater Personal Injury Cases
The damages available in a personal injury case largely depend on the type and severity of the injury that the victim sustained. Clearwater personal injury attorneys often represent clients who have experienced the following types of injuries:
If you can successfully prove that the other party’s negligence was the cause of your injury, the next step is to understand the types of damages you can recover in a personal injury case.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
While some accidents do not produce severe injuries, many others lead to life-changing
circumstances. When you are injured by someone else’s negligence or intent to harm, you may face serious losses that may be recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit, including:
1. Medical Expenses
The cost of any medical treatment you require may be recovered through a personal
injury lawsuit. Doctor’s visits, prescription drugs, medical supplies, physical therapy, tests, and surgeries are all considered in your case if they were necessary to treat your injury. For permanent or long-term injuries, it is essential to work with a Clearwater personal injury attorney to establish if future medical expenses may be necessary.
While the CDC reports that more than 75% of treatment costs occur during the first 18 month following a crash injury, a single injury incident can have a lasting effect. Officials report that the average cost of an emergency room visit is $3,300, while the cost of several nights of hospitalization can climb to $57,000. Over a patient’s lifetime, the number increases into the billions on a national scale.
Lifetime Medical and Productivity Costs of Injuries
2. Lost Wages
Calculations to determine your lost wages will usually factor both the work you had to
miss due to medical treatment (whether it was paid or unpaid time off) and work that will likely be missed in the future. Further, if you have become permanently unable to work – or if you were forced to take a job that pays less than the job you had before due to your injury – lost wages over your lifetime may also be calculated.
3. Property Damage
Negligence does not always result in physical injuries. Under Florida law, both personal
injury and property damage are considered recoverable in a negligence case. If you suffered an injury in a car accident and your car or items in your vehicle were damaged, the replacement cost may be included in your personal injury lawsuit.
4. Non-economic Damages
Non-economic damages are funds awarded to victims to cover the intangible negative impact of their injuries, which may include the following:
- Pain and suffering, both emotional and physical
- Emotional distress
- Lost sexual function and lost companionship, also known as loss of consortium
- Permanent disfigurement
- Lost enjoyment of life
Each situation is unique, so discussing your injuries with a personal injury attorney in Clearwater can be helpful when determining which non-economic damages to request.
How Do Punitive Damages Work in Florida?
If you are injured in Clearwater, you may be eligible for punitive damages. In Florida, an award of punitive damages is a two-step process intended to punish a defendant for extremely negligent behavior. These are in addition to your compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
One of the most large-scale actions for punitive damages is a 1998 case in which representatives of Florida smokers filed against the tobacco industry. They initially won $145 billion in punitive damages. The case was eventually overturned, but it did lead to subsequent personal claims that awarded millions to smokers. Although punitive damages are rare, they are awarded in two types of personal injury cases in Florida:
Under Florida law, if another party intentionally harms you, then you might be awarded punitive damages.
When the defendant’s actions were so egregious that they displayed a disregard for others, you might also be awarded punitive damages.
The general rule dictates that courts in Clearwater and across Florida may not award more than three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, certain caveats in Florida law remove this cap in specific circumstances.
How Long Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Clearwater?
Your time limit to file begins on the day of the accident and ends after a four-year statute of limitations. During this time, you may contact a Clearwater personal injury lawyer, have your case evaluated, and choose whether to file and pursue a lawsuit. In cases where you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death claim.
Understanding the grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit can be complex and require investigative resources. After you have been injured, do not hesitate to contact a personal injury attorney from The Fran Haasch Law Group. We can answer your questions in a free, no-risk consultation and help you redirect your focus to recovering from your injuries.
Personal Injury FAQs
Do you have questions about personal injury law? Here are our answers to some of our clients’ frequently asked questions.
All forms of documentation are helpful to share with your personal injury lawyer. Photographic evidence from the scene of your accident, including vehicular damage, roadway debris and traffic signals and signs are helpful if they could have contributed to your injury.
Witness statements and contact information can also help your personal injury attorney reconstruct the accident scene. In addition to these notes, keep a record of all doctor’s visits, changes in medication and time lost from work.
Even if you do not feel hurt at the scene of an accident, you may still have a personal injury case. When you experience a traumatic situation, your biological response includes a rush of adrenaline which can reduce the sensation of pain in the short term.
You may begin developing symptoms days, weeks or even months later. That is why you should get examined by a medical professional immediately after an accident, then contact a personal injury attorney to schedule a free consultation.
You should call your own insurance company as soon as possible and inform them that
you have been in an auto accident. This includes providing them with strictly factual information, including the location of the accident, the conditions of the road, the date and time of the accident and a list of the people involved.
However, you are not obligated to speak to the other driver’s insurance company or to record a statement. In fact, speaking with an insurance adjuster could work against you if you are not represented by an attorney.
Personal injury car accident cases are the most common civil litigation seen in Florida
courts, which is why Florida law requires that your injuries meet certain qualifications if you wish to sue a driver. The reason for this limitation is Florida’s no-fault status, as the state assumes your recoveries will be covered by your PIP insurance policy.
There are four injury categories in Florida that would allow you to pursue compensation beyond your no-fault carrier:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury or permanent aggravation of a pre-existing condition
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
While sprains and bruises are not likely to meet the threshold, broken bones likely will. Another important note is that a victim cannot pursue non-economic damages from pain and suffering if they do not meet the “serious injury threshold.” Consult with a Clearwater personal injury attorney to discuss the specifics of your case.
Can I Afford a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Contingency fees are based on your outcome. They are a payment you make to a personal injury attorney when you get monetary recovery in court. In personal injury cases, this means that the payment to your attorney is entirely contingent on you also receiving compensation. This is particularly helpful if you are injured and in need of legal representation but cannot financially cover legal costs.