Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer

Serving Auto Accident Injury Victims in Clearwater

The white sands of Clearwater Beach and the scenic Gulf Coast views off the local highways make Clearwater an economic hub along the causeway and on both sides of U.S. 19. Unfortunately, the north-south highway that makes the city a metropolitan area also results in over 11,000 car accidents every year and injuries that require the advice and representation from a Clearwater car accident lawyer. Our experienced auto accident attorneys at The Fran Haasch Law Group have seen the hardships that can happen to victims and their families in the aftermath of an accident. If you have experienced injuries from someone else’s reckless driving, call a Clearwater auto attorney today at (727) 784-8191 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Request Your Free Case Evaluation

Do You Need Help with Your Florida Car Accident Claim?

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Clearwater, you might need help understanding your legal rights and obligations in addition to complex state law. You might also ask the following questions before you hire an auto attorney:
  • Do the car accident injury lawyers have the financial resources to handle your case and retain experts who can strengthen your claim?
  • Does the law firm have a strong reputation for trying car accident injury claims before a jury?
  • What experience do the auto accident lawyers have at handling car crash cases in Clearwater and Florida?
The Fran Haasch Legal Group regularly employs accident reconstruction experts and has successfully tried and won cases in court in Clearwater and the greater Tampa Bay area. Contact a Clearwater car accident lawyer for a free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case and determine the best strategy for getting you the money you deserve. Call us at (727) 784-8191 or contact us online today.
Fill out the form to get started or give us a call to speak with our legal team directly.

3 Most Dangerous Intersections Reported in Clearwater Car

According to a study by Smart Growth America, Clearwater and the greater Tampa Bay area hold the deadliest roads and intersections in the country. Although statewide, Florida was responsible for over 390,000 crashes in the last year alone according to the FLHSMV, intersections running through Clearwater and Pinellas County consumed a large percentage of those auto accidents.

The following intersections are reported by Forward Pinellas as the most high-risk for Clearwater car accidents:

  1. S.R. 60 and Belcher Road – Reported a total 141 crashes in a single year and a 5.23 intersection crash rate
  2. U.S. 19 and Drew Street – Reported a total 131 car accidents in a single year and a 3.07 intersection crash rate
  3. U.S. 19 and Curlew Road – Reported a total 128 crashes in a single year and a 3.03 intersection crash rate

While most people think that intersections are dangerous due to traffic violations such as running red lights and stop signs, violations only account for 165,000 accidents annually. Instead, the following factors render Clearwater intersections and highways more hazardous than others:

  • Long straightaways leading up to an intersection allow drivers to gain high speeds
  • High volumes of traffic pass through these intersections
  • Intersections contain confusing configurations and markers
  • High pedestrian traffic puts walkers at risk
  • Location on or near a highway increases the likelihood of tourist driving

If you were involved in a car accident in Clearwater, The Fran Haasch Law Group can help you fight for a fair recovery. An auto attorney can help you recover damages for your injuries by holding the at-fault driver responsible.

FLHSMV Reported Car Accident Injuries in Clearwater, Florida

Tampa auto accidents increased by 70%, and their resulting injuries increased by 80%, over a six-year span between 2012 and 2018.

Source: F​LHSMV

What Causes Car Accidents to Happen?

There are many reasons why car accidents occur, some of which are out of a driver’s control and some of which can be attributed to negligence. In order to hold another driver responsible for your injuries in a car accident, you have to prove that their negligent driving caused the collision. There are many common ways that drivers do not uphold their duty to drive safely, including:

Speeding

On the highway, many drivers ignore the speed limit and drive 10, 20 and sometimes
even 30 mph over the limit. The faster a person drives, the slower their reaction time will be if they need to prevent an auto accident. According to the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) 2018 Highway Safety Plan:

“The chances of dying in a crash doubles for every 10 miles per hour (mph) a car travels above 50 mph. Speeding reduces the time a driver has to react to a dangerous situation and increases the impact energy and risk of death in the event of a crash.”

Distracted Driving

In addition to the “Put It Down” public service campaign, the state also passed the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law. Texting and other forms of typing on a mobile device, such as emailing and note-taking, are now treated as a primary offense. Officers can stop drivers based on suspicion that they are texting and driving.

According to the FLHSMV, distracted driving resulted in car accidents with over 15,000 injuries and 160 fatalities. By definition, the government report does not limit distraction to smartphones but also to general inattention, distractions inside the vehicle from passengers, external distractions found in the crash report, and electronic devices such as DVD players and GPS screens.

Impaired and Drunk Driving

Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol have a slowed reaction time, limited
short-term memory, decreased hand-eye coordination, weakened concentration and difficulty judging time and distance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2.1% of Florida drivers report driving after drinking too much as compared to a 1.9% national average.

Under Florida law, alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, prescriptions, and over-the-counter medications can all cause impairment. Drivers convicted of impaired or drunk driving face expensive fines, license revocation and potential jail time.

Not Using a Turn Signal

This seemingly minor offense can play a major role when a Tampa car accident lawyer
works to determine negligence and fault. Without a turn signal, other drivers cannot anticipate a driver’s next move. This is particularly dangerous in auto accidents that involve motorcycles, pedestrians, and bicyclists when reaction time and abilities are slowed.

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) report on turn signal usage rates, 1 in 5 of all crashes in the United States can be attributed to neglected turn signals. The most common accidents following failure to use a turn signal are rear-end accidents.

Failure to Yield Right of Way

The FLHSMV reports that nearly 15,000 injuries and almost 400 fatalities were a direct result of failing to yield the right of way. The simple safe-driving technique is the culprit behind the majority of intersection accidents. A driver’s failure to wait to turn left against oncoming traffic, to yield to the driver on the right at a 4-way stop, or to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to cross safely is considered negligent and unsafe driving. If you have sustained injuries in a car crash that you believe might not have been your fault, contact a Tampa car accident lawyer who regularly represents car accident injury victims. An experienced auto attorney will be able to investigate your case and help you seek compensation.

What Can a Clearwater Car Accident Lawyer Do for Your Case?

After a car crash, you will be faced with challenges such as getting your vehicle repaired, making appointments with doctors, and missing time from work. An auto attorney in Clearwater can help maximize the value of your case and recover your losses by helping you with the following case elements:

Ensure You Make Claims to the Right Party

Florida law states that the at-fault driver’s insurance company may be responsible for your property damage repair costs over certain limits. They may also be held liable for lost wages, medical bills that exceed your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, and other damages. The complicated laws surrounding filing claims in Florida often require the help of an experienced car accident lawyer.

Determine What Damages You Are Eligible to Collect

Do you know how much compensation you might be eligible for after a car accident? How do bills for vehicle repairs and hospital emergency room visits contribute to what you are owed? A Tampa auto attorney can help you figure out whether you could file for the following damages:

  • Future expected medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

File a Lawsuit or Negotiate an Out-of-Court Settlement

The at-fault driver should be responsible for your damages, but insurance policies only cover up to the driver’s policy limits. When that is exhausted, you might have to pursue an auto accident claim on an individual basis for any additional compensation you deserve. To do this, a car accident lawyer can calculate your claim’s value, pursue the at-fault party outside of court, and, if necessary, file a lawsuit to try your case in front of a jury.

Case Results and Settlements in Clearwater Car Accident Injury Cases

The Fran Haasch Law Group has earned a reputation for doing what it takes to recover maximum financial compensation for our clients. If you have been involved in a car accident in Hillsborough County, Pinellas County or Pasco County, our Clearwater car accident attorneys are ready to provide compassionate and proven representation. The following are clients we have helped to recover significant damages:

  • $1.3 Million – Pinellas County, FL – A 33-year-old female client was rear ended while stopped at a traffic light in Pinellas County while her three children were in the car with her. The accident resulted in multiple surgeries and complications.
  • $700,000 – Pinellas County, FL – A 50-year-old female client had the defendant attempt to make a left across the client’s path. This caused the client to T-bone the defendant with the vehicle ending up on its side. The client sustained a broken rib and required neck surgery.
  • $650,000 – Pinellas County, FL – A 50-year-old male client was stopped at a traffic light on U.S. Highway 19 when he was rear ended by the defendant, who said his foot slipped off the brake. The police officer estimated the defendant was traveling at about 45 mph at the time of the accident, totalling the client’s vehicle.
  • $640,000 – Pinellas County, FL – A 29-year-old male client T-boned the defendant after the defendant violated his right of way.

Learn more about the successful cases we have handled and view more case results here.

Steps to Take Immediately After a Car Crash

Taking specific actions after being involved in a car accident can be crucial to the
success of your claim and the compensation you may be able to achieve for car repairs, medical expenses from resulting injuries, and other bills that may be piling up.

  1. Take photos.
    Photographic evidence should be taken of the damage to both vehicles, any additional property damage, traffic signs and lights that may have been involved, and road conditions.
  2. Record contact information.
    Exchange contact information with witnesses and the other driver such as name, address, phone number, insurance and policy details, license plate, vehicle details, and driver’s license information. While it may be difficult to refrain from apologizing for an accident, do not admit fault. Anything you say at the crash scene can be used to reduce your ability to recover full compensation.
  3. Call the police and cooperate with a full police report.
    A police report offers a permanent narrative of what happened at the accident scene. Allow several weeks for officers to compile a final report, then obtain a copy for your records.
  4. Document your injuries and treatment.
    After a car accident, it is possible for injuries to go unnoticed because of adrenaline’s pain-reducing effect on the body. You should seek immediate medical attention and fill out all forms for both major and minor injuries.
    Although a knee striking the dashboard may appear harmless right after a crash, some clients have progressed to knee surgery later. Records and exams from the initial days of the injury can serve as persuasive evidence in an injury case.
  5. Report your accident to your insurance company.
    The next step is to report the accident to your insurance company. Under Florida law, you have 10 days to report an accident. If possible, consult with and hire a Clearwater car accident lawyer before reporting.
  6. Consult with and hire a Clearwater auto accident attorney. 
    The attorneys at The Fran Haasch Law Group have years of experience dealing with insurance companies, varying insurance policies, and those in need of filing insurance claims. From PIP to bodily injury coverage, we can answer all your questions with the confidence of an award-winning, reputable law firm.

How You Can Prepare ​Before a​ Car Accident

Having a plan before a potential car crash can actually strengthen your auto accident case should you decide to pursue a lawsuit against another driver in the future. The following is a list, created by experienced Clearwater car accident lawyers, of items and behaviors that you should put into practice just in case:

  1. Consider buying stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM): Health insurance is often not enough to cover accident-related medical bills. If you carry liability insurance, your carrier has to offer you the same amount of UM. Consider opting for stacked coverage, which means that your UM limits can be multiplied by the number of vehicles insured under the policy.
  2. Purchase MedPay coverage: MedPay strictly covers medical bills without regard to fault and is optional in Florida. MedPay can offer additional assistance when it comes time to pay your medical bills since it can cover deductibles and copays.
  3. Always wear your seatbelt: Not only is wearing a seatbelt the law in Florida, but it can save your life. Failure to wear a seat belt can be used against you to reduce the full compensation you would be otherwise owed.

Clearwater Car Accident FAQs

If you have questions about car accidents and how a car accident lawyer can help your case, read what other clients frequently ask to determine whether a case evaluation might be right for you.

Should You Hire a Car Accident Lawyer for a Minor Accident?

At The Fran Haasch Law Group, we encourage anyone who has been injured in a car
accident in Clearwater to contact one of our auto attorneys. No matter how minor or severe your car accident injuries, there are several ways to get compensation:

  • File a claim based on your personal injury protection (PIP) policy; or
  • Meet the state’s serious injury threshold and file a claim based on the at-fault
  • driver’s auto liability policy

It is important to hire a car accident attorney so that they can review your case and explain which choice is best for you. Typically for minor injuries, a PIP policy’s $10,000 minimum policy limit will be enough to cover more routine medical treatment — x-rays and a cast for a broken arm or leg.

If your injuries prove to be more serious, you will require more treatment and expenses that will exceed these policy limits. If your injuries fall in this category, a car accident lawyer can help you take the next steps to either file a claim or pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

Can You Wait to File a Clearwater Car Accident Injury Lawsuit?

When it comes to filing a personal injury lawsuit as a result of a car accident, Florida law allows four years for you to file a claim. This time limit is called a statute of limitations, and it decreases to two years for wrongful death claims. Some victims wait to consider filing a lawsuit until their injuries have progressively worsened over several years. But as time passes, it becomes more difficult to obtain evidence, record witness statements, and even locate medical records. Auto attorneys also need time to prepare their cases, since they must carefully review all evidence. If you have been injured in an auto accident in Clearwater, do not hesitate to contact an attorney from The Fran Haasch Law Group as soon as possible.

What Happens If You Were Injured but Partially at Fault for a Car Accident?

Florida’s comparative negligence statute allows the court to assign a portion of the blame for an accident to more than just one person. While you are still able to pursue damages after a car crash, you will be unable to recover full compensation for your losses.

Examples of partial fault include failing to wear a seatbelt or speeding when you were hit by another vehicle. Insurance companies often allege comparative negligence in order to reduce the value of a settlement payout.

Even if you do share some of the blame for the car accident, it is the job of our auto injury attorneys to ensure that the court assigns a fair percentage of fault based on your actions.

What is Florida’s 14-Day Rule in PIP?

One issue that often arises after a car crash in Clearwater is Florida’s 14-day rule in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. You must obtain medical care within 14 days if you suffer injuries in a traffic accident in Florida, or else run the risk of your insurance company denying your claim.

Why does the 14-day rule exist? Its primary goal is to stop insurance fraud. For instance, an auto insurance company can now deny medical benefits if someone injures their neck while riding a bicycle but attempts to blame the injury on a car accident that happened in the past.

The rule also prevents increased insurance company costs when people wait too long to seek medical care and allow their injury to worsen. Ultimately, the time limit should result in lower insurance coverage costs in Florida.

Request Your Free Case Evaluation

Do You Need Help with Your Florida Car Accident Claim?

If you have been injured in an auto accident in Clearwater, you might need help understanding your legal rights and obligations in addition to complex state law. You might also ask the following questions before you hire an auto attorney:
  • Do the car accident injury lawyers have the financial resources to handle your case and retain experts who can strengthen your claim?
  • Does the law firm have a strong reputation for trying car accident injury claims before a jury?
  • What experience do the auto accident lawyers have at handling car crash cases in Clearwater and Florida?
The Fran Haasch Legal Group regularly employs accident reconstruction experts and has successfully tried and won cases in court in Clearwater and the greater Tampa Bay area. Contact a Clearwater car accident lawyer for a free consultation with our legal team. We will review your case and determine the best strategy for getting you the money you deserve. Call us at (727) 784-8191 or contact us online today.
Fill out the form to get started or give us a call to speak with our legal team directly.