Even in a city known for fun and amusement, people sometimes suffer accidental injuries, which can lead to substantial medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more losses. If you or a loved one has been hurt due to another party’s negligence, you may struggle to navigate the situation.
Will an insurance policy cover all your damages, or will you be left with some of the bills? How do you know if a settlement offer is fair?
What if the at-fault party won’t accept responsibility or claims you caused the incident? What if you’re not sure who was at fault?
These are just a few questions people have after a significant accident or injury. It can be challenging to answer them on your own, but an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you gain clarity and understand your options.
The CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm is always available for a free consultation about your personal injury case, so please contact us if you have questions or concerns about your injuries.
How Can a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Help You Recover Your Damages?
Most personal injury cases rest on proving the at-fault party was negligent in some way. Your attorney will investigate the accident and seek out as much evidence as possible to demonstrate the four elements of negligence:
The other party had a duty of care. The duty depends on the circumstances, but in most situations, people are expected to refrain from reckless behavior that is likely to hurt others. Someone who owns a smoothie shop, for example, has a duty to keep the store relatively free from hazards by cleaning up spilled drinks promptly.
The at-fault party failed in this duty. They acted in a way that was reckless or careless and increased the risk of injury to others. In our smoothie shop example, perhaps the manager didn’t regularly check the floors for puddles or other obstructions or failed to clean up a spilled drink for several hours.
This failed duty of care was the cause of your injuries. The other party’s failed duty of care is irrelevant if it isn’t the reason you were hurt. However, under Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws, the other party’s negligence doesn’t have to be 100 percent responsible for your injuries. If you were also careless, you can still collect damages, but you will have to pay for your own percentage of fault. For instance, if you were running and horsing around in the smoothie shop when you slipped on a spilled drink, the store’s negligence may have caused your fall, but your own actions also contributed to your injuries. In this situation, you might be responsible for the percentage of fault you’re ultimately assigned.
You suffered damages due to the other party’s negligence. We might use evidence like your medical records, medical bills, a doctor’s report on the permanent nature of some injuries, pay stubs showing lost income from missing work, bills for property damage repair, etc.
How Do You Know How Much Fault You Have In an Accident?
This is a crucial question to ask. Some clients assume they are at fault because they made a mistake they believe caused the accident or injury or because an insurance adjuster has denied their claim based on the assumption they were at fault.
Unfortunately, if you don’t consider comparative fault and simply take full responsibility for an accident or injury, you could lose thousands of dollars or more in compensation you deserve.
The best way to learn more about your own contribution to an accident is to speak with a personal injury lawyer who can review the details with you. Ideally, you should speak with an attorney before you talk to an insurance adjuster, who may be inclined to believe your percentage of fault is higher than it is.
In many situations, we meet people who tell us an accident was their fault, but after we study the evidence, we find they may only be 50 percent responsible or less. Alternatively, perhaps the insurance adjuster has decided the client is 70 percent at fault when, in reality, their contributions amount to only 30 or 40 percent.
This is one reason why engaging the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is highly beneficial after a serious injury—many people have no idea how much money an insurance adjuster’s estimate of fault could cost them. It’s also challenging to determine if the adjuster’s estimate is fair without assistance from an experienced lawyer.
Do You Have to Prove Fault in a Car Accident In Florida?
For less serious accidents, no. Florida has a “no-fault” law for car accidents that relies on Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance to pay for many medical expenses that follow a car accident.
Florida residents must purchase $10,000 in PIP and also $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. By contrast, residents of “fault” states are typically required to purchase some amount of personal injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance.
Sometimes, people ask us: What’s the difference? Liability insurance covers injuries or property damage other people experienced due to your negligence.
When two people are in a car collision in a fault state, they often make claims on each other’s insurance policies. Claims adjusters for both parties will then decide who was at fault or what percentage of fault each party has.
In Florida, injured parties are expected to file a claim with their PIP insurance for medical expenses related to the accident. In some situations, this system is easier because the injured person doesn’t have to worry about proving fault or how much fault they had.
PIP is “no-fault” insurance, so it makes no difference who caused the accident.
However, PIP claims can still be denied for other reasons—for instance, the adjuster may believe your treatment was unnecessary or your injuries are unrelated to your accident. If you believe your PIP claim was unfairly denied, please speak to a personal injury lawyer who can review the claim and denial.
Another downside to the PIP system is that it will pay 80 percent of your medical expenses, up to the $10,000 limit. If your injuries are severe, you could still have healthcare bills you can’t afford—especially if you need long-term care.
Florida residents do have the option to purchase Medical Payments coverage (MedPay), which is another type of no-fault insurance for medical bills related to an accident. Unlike PIP, MedPay is not required by the state, but it does provide additional coverage in many situations.
If you have MedPay, you can use it for the remaining 20 percent not paid by PIP, but MedPay policies also have limits. In more severe accidents, it’s likely your own insurance will not be sufficient.
Fortunately, it is possible to file a fault-based lawsuit in these situations. If you or a loved one are struggling with healthcare costs for severe or permanent injuries and your insurance coverage is barely making a dent in your bills, please speak with a lawyer to learn your options.
Golf Carts and Accidents: Not Just for the Golf Course Anymore
Pinellas County has more registered, street-legal golf carts than any other county in Florida—around 1,900 registered with the state. In many suburbs and neighborhoods, these carts can be driven on roads with a speed limit of 35 MPH or less, providing they meet certain requirements—turning signals, a parking brake, and a windshield, plus license, registration, and insurance.
Check your local regulations before taking your cart out on the street.
Unfortunately, the proliferation of golf cart usage also comes with an increased risk of accidents, both on and off the golf course. The risk of injury is particularly high for children and teens, and on a national level, about 6,500 minors are injured in golf cart accidents each year.
Due to the increasing number of Florida kids and teens suffering cart injuries, Florida passed legislation restricting who can drive golf carts on roads. Previously, teens of at least 14 could operate a cart, but now drivers under 18 must have a driver’s license or learner’s permit.
It’s also important to remember that younger children may be unsafe in golf carts, even as passengers. Lacking seatbelts and doors, golf carts make it much too easy for a small child to fall out of or be ejected from a cart after even the most minor mishap—taking a curve too sharply, for example.
It’s best to limit riding with young children, especially if you plan to drive on the roads. Remember, you might drive carefully, but you can’t be sure others will do the same.
How Can You Seek Compensation After a Golf Cart Accident?
First, we need to determine who was at fault for the accident, which is sometimes more complicated than you might think. Potentially liable parties include:
The golf cart’s owner. This could be an issue if the cart wasn’t maintained in good running condition and a malfunction caused the crash. Or, if the owner allowed an unqualified driver to operate the cart, they could be liable.
The golf cart’s driver. A reckless or careless driver is a problem whether driving a car or a golf cart. Although carts don’t usually go much faster than 20-25 MPH, you can still be seriously injured in a crash.
The driver of another vehicle. This could be the driver of a car if you’re injured on a roadway or someone operating another golf cart.
The property owner. Sometimes, the accident isn’t caused by someone’s actions but rather by their inaction. If your cart crashed due to a hazard on the property—like an unexpected hole in the ground or an obstruction in your path—the owner might be at fault. In these cases, we will need to show the owner knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to fix it or warn you away from it.
The golf cart manufacturer. In other situations, the cart may malfunction due to a faulty component or manufacturing error. If this is the case, the manufacturer could be responsible.
A service company that worked on the golf cart. If the cart malfunctioned not due to an inherent defect but because of poor work by a mechanic or service shop, they may be at fault.
As you can see, identifying the at-fault party or parties can be challenging, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will investigate and gather evidence to show what happened. Please contact us as soon as possible after your accident so we can get started.
Will Boat Insurance Cover Your Injuries in a Boat Accident?
Many people come to Tampa for the beaches, boating, and water sports, so it’s no surprise that accidents happen on the water. Clients often ask us if boat insurance will cover their damages.
In some cases, the answer is yes, but this depends on several factors, including fault and the specific type of insurance coverage.
Like golf cart accidents, boat accidents can also have many potentially liable parties, from the boat owner to the operator to third parties such as manufacturers or service providers. Boat liability insurance typically covers situations where the owner is liable, such as when they crash into another boat.
It’s helpful to understand that boat liability insurance usually only covers named operators, like the owner and family members. If they allow an unnamed operator to drive the boat and this person causes an accident, the liability policy probably won’t pay.
However, we might be able to file a lawsuit against the owner and/or operator. In other situations, we will explore the options for recovering compensation from the at-fault party.
What if You Rented a Boat and Signed a Waiver?
Boat rentals are common in the Tampa area, and most conscientious business owners will ask rental customers to sign a waiver. It will probably say that the business is not responsible if you have a boat accident and get hurt, and may also mention that you are responsible for any damage to the boat.
These waivers help rental companies avoid expensive litigation in many situations where they aren’t at fault.
That said, it’s crucial to know that a waiver doesn’t exempt the rental company from responsibility in every situation. The company still has specific responsibilities, including providing a reasonably safe product or service to its customers.
If they negligently gave you an unsafe boat and this negligence caused your injuries, they could still be liable regardless of any waiver or release.
For instance, let’s say that you rent a boat. Somehow, a fire occurs on board. You go to grab the fire extinguisher and discover there isn’t one (or maybe there is, but when you follow the instructions and try to use it, nothing happens). The fire gets worse, and you suffer severe burns.
The rental company has a responsibility to ensure that every boat they rent out has an appropriate number of fire extinguishers for its size. They should also check on these periodically to determine if they’re still in good working condition and replace any that aren’t.
If the company failed to outfit the boat with a working fire extinguisher, they could be liable despite any paperwork you signed.
However, comparative negligence would also still play a role. If you negligently started the fire in the first place, you might be expected to pay for your share of the damage.
In these situations, we will work to ensure the other party or their insurance company doesn’t overestimate your role in the accident.
How Does Florida Rank in Pedestrian Accidents and Deaths?
Unfortunately, Florida ranks number two in the nation for both pedestrian deaths per capita and overall number of pedestrian fatalities. People who live in low-income areas have the highest risk, which may be due to a lack of marked crosswalks or other design issues.
Still, a vehicle-pedestrian collision can happen to anyone, anywhere.
To reduce the risk of an accident, pedestrians should use sidewalks whenever they’re available. Always obey signs and stoplights when crossing a street, and try to do so at a marked intersection or crosswalk.
Look thoroughly in both directions before crossing, and clear the street as quickly as possible.
It’s also helpful to pay attention to your surroundings, on or off the road. Avoid wearing headphones or becoming engrossed in your phone—instead, pay attention to where you’re headed and other people or vehicles in the area.
Vehicle drivers should also do their part to keep pedestrians safe. If you see someone walking near the street, slow down and proceed carefully.
You never know when a pedestrian might trip or stumble onto the road.
Florida statutes require drivers to come to a complete stop when a pedestrian is using a crosswalk and to remain stopped until they have cleared the motorist’s half of the road. If you‘re in the right lane, for example, and the pedestrian has reached the left lane, you should remain stopped until they have reached the other side of the street.
Who Is at Fault in a Pedestrian Accident?
This is frequently disputed in pedestrian accident cases. The driver might claim the pedestrian is at fault for running out in front of the car, crossing against the light, failing to use a crosswalk, etc.
In many cases, a pedestrian is at a disadvantage because they are often seriously hurt in a collision with a car. While the driver tells the responding officer their version of events, the pedestrian could be unconscious or in too much pain to answer questions accurately.
It’s not unusual for us to meet pedestrians who discovered, several weeks after their accident, that the driver and their insurance company claim no responsibility for the pedestrian’s extensive injuries. For these reasons, we encourage you to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after your pedestrian accident.
We’ll go to work studying the police report, canvassing the area, interviewing witnesses, and seeking out traffic or doorbell camera videos that might show the collision. If we find evidence the driver was at fault, we can seek compensation for your medical bills, lost income, permanent disability or disfigurement, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Does PIP Play a Role in Pedestrian Accidents?
If you own a vehicle but are hit by a car while walking, you can still use PIP to pay 80 percent of your medical costs, up to $10,000. However, as mentioned in the previous section, pedestrian injuries are often very serious, so you may still have considerable bills beyond your PIP coverage. In this situation, we can seek damages from the at-fault driver or their insurance.
Additionally, some people walk because they don’t own a car, so they will not have PIP coverage. If you are in this situation, please contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options for recovering damages from the driver or their liability insurance.
How to Get Help From a Tampa Personal Injury Law Firm
Personal injuries can happen in almost any situation, not just the common types of accidents discussed in this article. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury and believe another party may be responsible, please contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm for a free consultation.
We’ll review the details, answer your questions, and explain your options. There is no obligation, and if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.
Mr. Awad and his team have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for their clients and have over twenty years of combined experience. When he’s not hard at work in the courtroom or the boardroom, you can find Mr. Awad on social media, offering no-nonsense legal advice to more than a million followers.
Call us today at (833) 254-2923.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?
The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.
Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?
During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process.
Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today.
We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.
Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.