A car accident. It is not something you think about until it happens to you. Unfortunately, for too many of us, we have all been there. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), the average driver will likely crash their car between three and four times in a lifetime.
In Florida, approximately 200,000 car crashes are recorded every year, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). That equals more than 500 accidents every day.
Understanding the scope of your accident goes a long way to determining the right you have. Accidents range from fender benders to fatalities, and everything in between, so having the right information, the right representation and the right plan of action is paramount.
Here’s a snapshot of the different types of auto accident claims that are filed each year in the Tampa area:
Accident Liability Claims Against Another Driver
This is the most common car accident claim, which involves another motorist hitting you. Depending on the incident, the driver could be in a car, truck, motorcycle or a bicycle, or a pedestrian who was hit by any one of those. Typically, these types of accidents do not involve unusual circumstances, but instead are a result of poor decisions like being distracted or traveling too fast for conditions.
Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Accident Liability Claim
Some accidents involve an at-fault party who does not have any or adequate insurance to cover their claims. Florida is a no-fault state, which means it does not require bodily injury coverage. When bodily injury liability insurance is purchased, the policy includes uninsured motorist (UM) coverage in the same amount as the bodily injury liability coverage. This is activated when the at-fault driver is either underinsured or uninsured and must be contained in the insurance policy unless the insured individual specifically waived this coverage.
Product Liability Claim
If an auto accident results from a defective vehicle or defective part, you can sue the automobile or automobile part manufacturer for damages related to the accident and injuries. Motor vehicles defects come in three different types, including design defects that make the product unreasonably dangerous; manufacturing defects that occur when assembling cars, shipping cars, or at any point during and after production before the first owner takes delivery; and information defects, which include a manufacturer failing to warn a consumer of inherent dangers associated with the using the product as intended. These types of claims often result in class action or tort legislation, as the issue happened to more than one driver.
Auto Accident Liability Claims Against the Government
If your accident was caused by a poorly designed or maintained road, you might have a case against the jurisdiction responsible for road building and upkeep. But lawsuits against government agencies have limitations. In most cases in Florida, you can collect no more than $200,000 in compensatory damages, or $300,000 if more than one party is involved.
Wrongful Death Claim
If you lose a loved one in an auto accident, Florida law entitles survivors to file a wrongful death accident liability claim against the at-fault party. This must be done on behalf of the estate and surviving family members. While this can include any of the previously-listed claims, the deceased victim’s survivors only have two years from the time of death to take legal action (it is four years for other personal injury claims).
Dram Shop Liability Claim
This is a third-party type of liability involving driving while under the influence of alcohol. Dram shop laws allow you to sue an establishment that served alcohol to someone who later caused an accident because he/she was drunk. However, this only applies under specific circumstances. Bars or restaurants that knowingly serve a minor can be liable under state law if the minor causes an accident or injury, except for in states like Florida. Under Florida law, you can only hold an establishment liable for harm caused by an adult drunk driver if the establishment knowingly served “a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages.”
Medical Malpractice Liability Claim
While Medical Malpractice Liability Claims are not that prevalent, they do happen. This involves an accident by you or another driver because of medical malpractice, your doctor and the facility at which they practice. Examples include a doctor failing to diagnose a serious illness or condition which caused the driver to have a medical emergency while driving, a doctor releasing a person to drive too early, etc.
With more than 56 years of experience, our legal team at Trentalange & Kelley P.A. is committed to making your case personal. From negotiating with insurance companies to aggressively representing your rights, our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to giving you the advantages you need. Call the Trentalange & Kelley P.A. team to get the peace of mind you need at 813-226-1080. Get a free consultation today.