There are three key elements that make up a good Tampa Bay accident case.
Typically all of 3 are needed, to some extent, to make a strong case. Below you will find a brief discussion on the 3 elements of an accident case. You are welcome to call us for a free and detailed discussion on whether or not you have a case.
The Liability element of a Tampa Accident Case means that you must establish that someone other than yourself was at-fault or liable for the accident. It is important to preserve as much evidence from the accident as possible. Some of the best liability evidence includes but is not limited too : police reports, photos of the scene and the vehicles, eye witness accounts, traffic tickets given, criminal or DUI charges against another driver involved in the accident, and when necessary an expert accident reconstructionist.
Florida is a comparative liability state. This means that one person can be found 100% at fault or that fault can be divided among multiple people who each share a portion or percentage of the fault. Thus the importance of preserving and properly presenting your liability evidence is obvious.
In order to make a Tampa personal injury claim you must have suffered an injury. The injury can be as slight as a strained muscle or bruise to as serious as a catastrophic brain or body injury. The damages that can be recovered include but are not limited to : past medicals, future medicals, past pain and suffering, future pain and suffering, loss or diminished quality of life, disfigurement, economic losses, vocational rehabilitation and loss of earning capacity. Some of the most common accident injuries are listed below :
- Spinal Cord Injuries such as bulging or herniated discs
- Muscular strain and sprain
- Head and brain injuries
- Muscle, ligament and cartilage tears
- Bone fractures
- Shoulder injuries
- Knee injuries
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eye injuries or loss
- Broken or lost teeth
Treatment for these injuries can range from physical therapy to surgery.
There are 6 types of insurance that can come into play in an auto accident case. They are Personal Injury Protection (PIP), Property Damage (PD), Bodily Injury Liability (BI), Underinsured Motorist (UM), Medical Pay (MP) and Personal or Group Health.
- PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION (PIP)
This is the type of insurance that all motorists in Florida, except for motorcycles, are required to carry. This insurance can be used to pay up to 80% your accident related medical bills and 60% of your lost wages. This is the first insurance you should turn to if you are injured in an accident. A Tampa Injury Attorney can advise you on how to make a claim under PIP Insurance.
- PROPERTY DAMAGE (PD)
This is the insurance that is used to repair your vehicle if it is damaged in an accident. It not only provides money to pay for the repairs, it can also be used to provide a rental car while you wait for completion of the repairs. If it is determined that your vehicle is “totaled” this insurance will buy your vehicle for its “fair market value” prior to the accident. Property Damage Insurance will also pay “loss of use damages” for the time that you were without a vehicle.
- BODILY INJURY LIABILITY (BI)
The purpose of this insurance is to protect the at-fault driver from getting sued personally. Bodily Liability insurance is meant to cover the past and future medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages of the injured person which are not paid by the PIP insurance. This insurance is not mandatory and can range from $10,000 to millions of dollars in coverage.
- UNINSURED and UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE (UM)
UM protects you against drivers who are un or underinsured. It kicks in when PIP and BI are exhausted. By Florida law, if you purchase BI insurance you must be offered UM. If you are not offered UM or you do not sign a UM rejection form, the insurance company could be required to provide UM to you in the amount of your BI coverage if you are in an accident.
- MEDICAL PAY
Some auto insurance policies have a medical pay provision. This represents additional money that can be put toward medical bills for an auto accident.
- HEALTH INSURANCE
Health coverage is not part of an auto policy. You should avoid using your personal or group health until after your accident case is settled. If you pay accident related bills with your health policy before your case is resolved you will have to pay your health carrier back. This is called subrogation and it is Florida Law.