When you’re in a car accident do you know what steps you should take? If you answered “no” to this question, you should know that you’re not alone. The steps you should take are important and easy to remember, which is why we’ll review them here for you.

Stay Put

When you’re in a car accident in Florida, law dictates that you must stop and exchange information with the other driver. Of course, you want to make sure that you don’t obstruct traffic any more than necessary. If anyone has been injured, you must render “reasonable assistance” to them. Failure to take these steps may result in you being charged with a felony if someone is injured or dies. Even if there’s only property damage, you may still be charged with a misdemeanor.

While at the scene of the accident, make sure everyone is fine and if anyone does need medical assistance, call 911 immediately. If someone is killed or there’s injuries or property damage of $500 or more you must immediately notify the police and highway patrol. Regardless, you’re responsible for exchanging information all relevant information (e.g. name, phone number, address, driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, insurance company and policy number). You should also get this information for any witnesses. It’s also in your best interest to take photographs and notes too.

Although you may be tempted to apologize, don’t. You don’t want to discuss liability right now. Doing so may result in you unintentionally or unnecessarily admitting guilt.

Contact Your Insurance

As soon as possible, call your insurance company and report the accident. In Florida you’re responsible for maintaining at least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL). Since Florida is a “no fault” state, PIP will cover you regardless of who’s at fault. Your PDL will cover any damage that you’ve done to another person’s property.

Make sure you’re honest with your insurance company. This doesn’t mean you have to accept their settlement offer though. If this means that you’re struggling to have your claim resolved, then make sure you participate in the mediation that’s offered by the Florida Department of Financial Services. This is also who you should talk to if you have questions or want to file a complaint about your insurance.

Talk to an Attorney

Unfortunately, there are times when you may need to take legal action after a car accident. Oftentimes this will depend on the extent of the injuries and the amount of damage that occurred. For this you must remember that the Statute of Limitations (the timeframe you have for being able to file a negligence or personal injury claim) is four years from the date upon which the accident occurred. Typically, such claims are based on the idea that the other driver was negligent. This means that they were careless and thus caused or contributed to the accident.

You can also seek monetary compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in this manner. There are different divisions of the court that may hear your claim depending on how much financial compensation you’re seeking. For instance, the county civil court will hear any case seeking up to $15,000 while the county civil court hears cases of up to $15,000 and the circuit court is responsible for any case seeking financial compensation above that level.

Don’t try to figure everything out by yourself. When you’re in a car accident in Tampa, give Attorney Juana Maria Rojas right away. She can help you sort through your claim and get the settlement you deserve. Get started today by contacting her now.

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says approximately 80% of reported motorcycle accidents result in either injury or death. This is why safety is so important. Fortunately, there are some things you can do here to help yourself.

Wear the Right Gear

When you’re riding your motorcycle, you should have long pants and sleeves on. It’s best if these are made of leather or another protective material. Additionally, you should also wear gloves, eye protection, and boots that cover your ankles. If you plan to be riding your motorcycle when it’s cold outside, you can either invest in heavier gear that’s been specifically designed for these temperatures or add additional layers of clothing to the ones you typically wear.

You also shouldn’t ever overlook the importance of wearing a helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation and covers your entire face. Light-colored helmets are best because they’re more visible. However, the helmet isn’t only for others benefit, but for yours as well. If you’re wearing a helmet when you get into a motorcycle accident, your much less likely to suffer from a traumatic brain injury. If you do get into an accident, make sure you replace your helmet right away. Otherwise it should be replaced once every 5 years.

Make Sure You’re Seen

You want to make sure the other vehicles you’re sharing the road with can clearly see you. This is why you should wear bright colors and have reflective elements on both your clothing as well as on your bike. Always have the headlight on your motorcycle turned on. Do your best to ride in the part of the lane where you’re most visible to other motorists but if you think they still can’t see you, use your horn.

Operate Your Motorcycle with Safety in Mind

New motorcyclists aren’t the only ones who should take a safety course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Experienced riders should also take an occasional refresher course. Not only will such courses get you a discount with your insurance, but they’ll also teach you the importance of:

  • Being alert, especially around anyone who may be texting while driving
  • Watching for intersections, sand, potholes, railroad tracks, road hazards, and other motorcyclists
  • Not drinking or speeding – common causes of over 40% of motorcycle accidents
  • Avoiding bad weather or, at the very least, knowing how to safely operate your motorcycle in rain and wind

While you may think that you’ve learned these things before and since you already know them you’re prepared for anything that you may encounter while riding your motorcycle, you can never grow too secure in your knowledge. Doing so may lead you to become nonchalant in your driving, which could then easily result in a motorcycle accident.

A Head’s Up

In most motorcycle accidents the motorcyclist themselves typically aren’t at fault. When someone else’s negligence behind the wheel leads to your injuries, remember you have the same rights as other drivers. Sometimes this means that you’ll need to have an attorney exert these rights for you. Attorney Rojas used to ride a motorcycle and understands the extra exposure cyclists face. If this happens to you, make sure you get Attorney Juana Maria Rojas at the Rojas Law Group on your side.

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Oftentimes when a person gets into a car accident, they believe that their insurance will take care of everything for them. Unfortunately, when you’re in a fender bender you may underestimate its cost. However, any accident you’re in (yes, even a fender bender) can cost you a lot of money. Even if you’ve been paying your insurance company’s premiums for years, they may still not cover the entire cost of the accident. This is why it’s so important for you to right away decide if you need the help of an experienced attorney. In doing so you must take all the various costs of the accident into consideration.

Repairing or Replacing Your Vehicle

When your car is damaged in an accident, you’ll either pay a mechanic to fix it or buy a new car. If the accident is minor (e.g. scratches, dents), you may still pay a lot of money to have your car fixed.

Damage to Your Personal Property

When you have valuable items in your vehicle (e.g. laptop, camera, phone) during the time of your car accident you’ll need to pay to have the items replaced. This can easily add up to thousands of dollars.

Vehicle Financing

If you’re leasing your vehicle or using any other type of financing, you must continue to meet these obligations after your car accident – even if your car is deemed a total loss. This can be devastating, especially if you must take some time off work to recover from your injuries.

Medical Bills

After the accident, you may need to visit your local hospital’s emergency room. Even if it’s a “minor” accident you may still have medical costs in the future as you get follow up treatment. These bills quickly add up. They can be particularly tricky if you slowly develop symptoms because then your insurance company may say that they weren’t a result of your accident. Sometimes you’ll have to pay out of pocket for medications or for co-pays to see a specialist or have certain tests done. Even if you’ve only been in a minor car accident you should still be seen by a doctor because you don’t want to find out later that you did suffer an injury, only to be left fighting for your insurance company to pay the bill.

Lost Time at Work

When you’re injured you may be unable to return to work for a while. This will result in decreased income and it could also result in missing out on new opportunities that you could have otherwise taken advantage of (e.g. a promotion).

Incidental Fees

Even a minor car accident can result in many incidental fees adding up to a large cost for you to pay. Some of the things you should consider here include:

  • Taking a taxi, Uber, or Lyft to get places you need to be
  • Renting a car because you can’t use other types of transportation
  • Replacing your cell phone because it was damaged in the accident
  • Getting help at home if you’ve been injured (e.g. can’t use your hand)

Legal Fees

If the other driver blames the car accident on you, then you may have to defend yourself. This will result in you having legal fees. You may also have these fees if you must take your insurance company to court to get fair compensation.

Don’t dismiss this incident as not being serious enough to retain legal representation. Look at the costs that are involved and any legal situations you may find yourself in. By doing so you’ll see that contacting the Rojas Law Group is one of the best decisions you can make as you go through this ordeal. Don’t delay, call them today.

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Transporting your children to and from school can be dangerous. This is because the leading cause of accidents and injuries in Tampa to children stems from people not following car safety tips. With extra traffic on the roads during these times, your likelihood of being in a car accident increases. Such an accident can result in serious head or back injuries. Fortunately, there are some safety tips you can use to prevent car accidents from happening.

Know Who’s Responsible for Taking Your Children to School

You want to make sure that whomever is responsible for transporting your children to school is a responsible driver. When you let older siblings drive younger children to school, make sure that you talk to them first about making good choices while they’re behind the wheel.

Be Extremely Cautious Around School Buses

Not every child has been taught safety tips for school buses. As such, you should expect that children will run out in front of your vehicle and make other poor choices. It’s your job to be prepared for this to happen.

Watch for Pedestrians, Especially in School Zones

When children walk to and from school, they may use skateboards, scooters, and bikes. This means they could potentially be distracted. They may even be listening to music or playing with their friends as they move along to their destination. Although many parents have taught their children traffic safety tips, many parents have not. Regardless of whether they’ve been taught these things, children do sometimes forget these rules so you must be prepared for them to do surprising things and always maintain good car safety tips when you’re anywhere near a school.

Slow Down, Save a Life

If you’re caught speeding in a school zone, the fine is quite costly. Instead of speeding because you’re in a hurry, make sure you give yourself enough time to slow down while in a school zone – especially during bad weather.

Use age Appropriate Safety Systems in Your Vehicle

Your young children should be in age-appropriate car seats until they grow out of them. Older children should ride in booster seats until they’re tall enough to ride in your car without one. Regardless of what type of seat your child is riding in, the safest place for them to ride is in the back.

Entertain Your Children

Children can distract you by trying to tell you things or fighting amongst themselves. This is why it’s important to keep them distracted with games or activities. Doing so helps you maintain your focus on the road.

Watch out for the Sun

Sun causes significant glare, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. This is why you should always have sunglasses with you while driving.

Know who to Call When an Accident Occurs

Accidents aren’t always preventable – that’s why they’re called accidents. When one occurs make sure you call the Rojas Law Group right away. Located in Tampa, Florida, Personal Injury Attorney Juana Maria Rojas will help you understand your rights and get you the compensation you deserve so you can concentrate on healing and getting your life back to normal. Don’t delay when you’ve been injured in a car accident. Call him right away.

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Throughout the world there are billions of people who are active on social media on a regular, if not hourly, basis. This is something that BrandWatch, a social media intelligence company recently reported. According to their research, 2.2 billion people spend around 142 minutes per day on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites.

Considering how popular these social media sites are and how they can help us keep in touch with our family and friends, it shouldn’t surprise you those car accident victims will oftentimes share information there about their accident. However, it’s important to understand that you could be sharing too much here. In fact, there are several reasons why taking to social media about your accident could adversely affect your case.

Why You Should Avoid Social Media After a Car Accident

When you’re injured in a crash, you’ll want to seek compensation for your losses. This is done by filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Employees at this company are highly trained to find weaknesses in your claim so they don’t have to pay you money for your damages or losses. Besides the information you write on your claim and the conversations you have with the insurance company’s employees; the company will also look for other information. Oftentimes they’ll check your social media profile too.

What Information is Used by Insurance Adjusters to Deny Your Claim

Even though you might not have made any statements that aren’t in your best interest while speaking to the insurance agent, your social media post can offer up quite a different story. Many people will post photos of their vehicles and any injuries they’ve sustained there. They’ll also update people regarding how their claim is going. If an adjuster doesn’t like what they see here, they may deny your claim.

According to an accident attorney, there are two important areas where you put your rights at risk here:

  • If you contradict the information that’s in your claim, you’re refuting what you’ve already told the adjuster regardless of what forms or supporting documents you may have given them. For instance, if you post that you’ve enjoyed a hike today but you’ve told them that you broke your ankle, you may lose any monetary award that you’d have otherwise received.
  • Your friends’ and family’s content is posted to your profile when they engage with you via social media. Insurance adjusters will see this content. If they feel that what you’re showing there refutes the claim you’re making, you will lose any monetary award that you may have otherwise been entitled to.

Get Advice From a car Accident Attorney

When you’re injured in a car accident that was no fault of your own, make sure you reach out to an experienced car accident attorney instead of heading to social media to post about your experience. If you reside in Tampa, Florida you should immediately pick up your phone and give the Rojas Law Group a call.

Attorney Juana Maria Rojas is dedicated to giving you the good, solid advice you need as you make your way through the claims process. He’ll help you avoid any of the pitfalls that could possibly affect your right to monetary compensation. When you’re ready to speak to an experienced accident attorney, contact his Tampa office to set up a consultation.

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A new program has been implemented in Florida for drivers that break the texting law while driving in Florida. Under this program, fines will be waived and points will be removed from the license as long as a remedial class is taken. This program started on July 1, but there are hopes that it will help make law enforcement even stronger when it comes to texting while driving.

This new driving and texting law is tougher than the past law, which was enacted in 2018. Under the old law, texting while driving was only listed as a secondary offense, so a ticket could only be issued if the driver had been pulled over for another cause, such as speeding. This year, texting while driving in Florida was made a primary offense. School safety zones are listed now as hand- free zones. This means if a driver is just holding a cell phone, they can receive a ticket. Another hands- free zone will be active construction zones. In order to be classified as active, the construction zone will need to have workers completing the construction work at that time.

Anyone driving will still be allowed to use their cell phones. However, the only way around it will be to use some sort of hands-free device or technology. Under this law, drivers will be permitted to pick up their cell phone once the car has come to a complete stop, such as when the light is red. If traffic on the interstate has stopped completely, a cell phone may then be picked up by the driver.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers have given 542 tickets for texting while driving, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. There have most likely been many warnings that have been issued as well. These tickets have been given since the law passed on July 1. For a first offense, a $30 ticket may be issued, but then there are court costs that are associated with this. That may bump the ticket up to well over $105. A second offense will result in a $60 fine, with court costs as well.

This new program does have guidelines that must be followed on who can enroll in the texting while driving program. A motorist who has received a ticket for $60 in fines for not utilizing the hands free zones in schools can be enrolled. Once completed, all points related to the driving and texting ticket, along with the fines, will be removed.

There could be some tough enforcement on this program. Those motorists that are given tickets can avoid the penalties by completing the program. This could make law enforcement officers give fewer warnings and write motorists more tickets.

This program was voted on unanimously. Under the texting law in Florida, a person can not type any message, nor may it be sent while driving. The driver may also not read any messages that anyone has sent them a text message either. This also holds true for email messages, instant messaging, and social media page posts, comments, and messages.

If you have been a victim of a driver who was using a cell phone while driving, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to assist you in this matter. The best professional attorneys, such as Rojas Law Group, will be on your side and help you with every aspect of your claim.

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Almost daily the question is posed by someone: “Do I need a car accident attorney?” The quick answer is there are certain times when you definitely will.

There’s Been Serious Injury, or Someone has Died in the Accident

If a person was seriously injured or killed in the accident, you need to immediately contact an experienced lawyer. These types of accidents can result in complicated lawsuits or you may even need to file a lawsuit of your own to recoup the cost of your injuries’ medical treatment. Regardless which side of the law you’re on, the court will need to consider all the complex issues that are involved to determine the amount of the settlement. Since this could be quite costly you don’t want to represent yourself. Your car accident attorney will know what is fair and be able to guide you through this process. This typically begins with a free consultation so you don’t initially have to worry about consulting with an attorney

You Need Ongoing Care so You Can’t Work

When you’re injured so badly you can’t return to work afterwards a lawyer ensures that you receive the maximum compensation possible. It’s their job to calculate the amount of compensation to which you’re entitled. As they do so they’ll take into account any time you’ve missed from work, as well as how much your medical treatment will cost both now and in the future.

More Than one Person was Injured

Accidents involving three or more vehicles, pedestrians, property, or commercial entities complicates your insurance claim’s settlement and negotiation process and may result in several lawsuits. When you’re injured in this type of accident you should contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your case. They’ll help you fight for the compensation you deserve while keeping your liability to the minimum. They’re also responsible for communicating with the other parties’ attorneys as well as all insurance companies involved – something that can save you a huge headache.

There was an Uninsured Motorist Involved

If anyone didn’t have insurance at the time of the accident, it’s important to get a car accident attorney immediately. Motorists are required to have insurance to pay for any accident they may cause while driving. Unfortunately, not everyone obeys the law and when this happens your lawyer will help you evaluate your options and, if necessary, file a civil lawsuit to recover your monetary damages.

Evidence Concerning the Accident Needs to be Collected

When you’re injured in a car accident a lawyer can help you collect and analyze evidence to show who’s at fault and the monetary amount of the damages that occurred. If you’re driving a newer vehicle this is easier because they’ll typically contain a “black box” that records critical information when an accident occurs. This information can be used to establish how fast your vehicle was moving during the time of the accident and if you’re wearing your seatbelt. To access the other driver’s black box you’ll need a court order.

There are Upcoming Settlement Talks

Typically, a car accident lawsuit is settled before going to trial. This means you’ll receive a settlement from the driver who’s at fault. Unfortunately, this is usually an unreasonably low amount of money. You don’t have to settle for anything that isn’t fair because if you do, you’ll give up your rights. This is why it’s important to understand the extent of your damages and injuries before you engage in any negotiations. This is where an experienced car accident attorney can oftentimes get you a more favorable settlement.

When you find yourself in need of a car accident attorney in Tampa, FL make sure you reach out to the Rojas Law Group. They have the experience you need on your side.

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There are over 250,000 scooter trips happening in Tampa, FL this year which is why safety is now a concern. As such, while the City Council is praising the city’s scooter program, it’s also asking for more information about safety and injuries. This isn’t because they’re out of touch with reality because City Council member John Dingfelder admits that while he enjoys going fast on his scooter, hitting a bump and almost falling off recently has him scared. However, transportation director Jean Duncan says that the city doesn’t always know about a scooter accident and its accompanying injuries unless it’s horrific.

Data Surrounding Scooters in Tampa, FL

Statistics are a bit concerning and include:

  • A Consumer Reports investigation found that over 1,500 people have been injured in a scooter accident since 2017.
  • The Centers for Disease Control said that during a three-month period 271 people received injuries from riding their scooters.
  • Dr. David Wein, director of emergency medicine at Tampa General Hospital says they’ve seen “a fair amount” of people who have received sprains, bruises, and concussions in scooter accidents.

Understanding the Data

Unfortunately, even with these statistics it’s difficult to come up with an exact number of injuries. This is mainly because the word “scooter” includes everything from medical scooters to mopeds. There’s also no way to know for sure whether the scooter is to blame when an accident does occur since medical journals publish the headlines that local governments and scooter companies tend to monitor and if there isn’t a hospital or law enforcement report attached to the record then nothing more is known than the accident has simply occurred.

There isn’t a centralized, comprehensive data source that contains this information. As such, some professionals are in discussion regarding creating a more comprehensive tracking method. This information would be gathered from hospital emergency rooms, police departments, and scooter companies.

The Center for Urban Transportation Research in Tampa is also working to create formalized reports. They’re looking at how many of these vehicles are legal. In addition, they’re evaluating the frequency, severity, and causes of scooter collisions as well as their economic and environmental impact.

Why Research is now Being Conducted

The city is also receiving complaints regarding scooter safety concerns (e.g. racing between pedestrians, too many people on the scooter, riding on sidewalks). According to city bicycle and pedestrian engineer Calvin Thornton Tampa isn’t getting this information from the four major vendors (Bird, Spin, Jump, Lime) even though they can do so. Thornton says it simply isn’t necessary and that the only information the city needs from them is in regard to scooter usage, ridership, and performance. This is because he doesn’t believe that people would use these apps to report their own injuries because then they’d be liable for any damages.

When you get in a scooter accident, you should at least make sure that you have an experienced law firm on your side. This is why you should have the number for the Rojas Law Group. If you’re injured while riding your scooter, make sure you give them a call right away.

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You may wonder how so many parking lot car accidents are happening today. These areas have some of the lowest speeds on the road, yet you oftentimes hear about cars crashing into buildings, driving off parking garages, and running people over. It’s enough to make you think you’re dealing with bumper cars in a maze.

Parking lot Accidents in Florida

These accidents often encompass more than a simple fender bender. In Florida there were over 32 people killed in such crashes last year while another 7,000 people suffered injuries. These numbers continue to grow each year in Tampa Bay. In fact, between 2015 and 2018 there was a 16% increase with over 5,600 accidents in 2018 alone. Unfortunately, this number is higher than all alcohol-related, motorcycle, and pedestrian accidents combined.

Why so Many Accidents are Occurring

There are so many parking lot car accidents happening today because of distracted driving. The statistics the National Safety Council has gathered about people driving through American parking lots today is scary. It found that:

  • 66% of drivers admit to talking on their cell phones
  • 56% say they text and send or receive emails
  • 49% admit to taking photos and watching videos

It seems as if drivers believe that since they’re not driving on a main thoroughfare the same rules no longer apply. Obviously, this isn’t true at all. In fact, Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the Florida Highway Patrol strives to remind drivers that they’re driving a two-ton vehicle whose physics don’t change regardless of where you’re driving it at. He says that even when you’re driving a vehicle at a slow speed, the fact that you’re moving means that you have 5,000 pounds of metal and steel rolling through your hands that could cause injury or death. Unfortunately, many drivers seem to no longer understand or remember this fact of basic physics when they climb behind the wheel of a seat of a car.

Since drivers aren’t paying enough attention to what’s going on around them it means that pedestrians must be on the lookout for these drivers. One person admitted that they saw the car coming from one direction when it hit them leaving a bruised hip behind. This is one of the minor things that happens to a growing number of people each year. Other more drastic things include cars crashing into stores and people getting ran over. About 7,000 people suffered from injuries due to such accidents and another 32 people died – this just in the state of Florida during the year of 2018 alone. It’s a 16% increase from the 5,600 accidents that occurred in 2015, only three years earlier.

Conclusion

Hopefully you’ll never be involved in a parking lot car accident, but if you are, you should know that you have someone on your side. The Rojas Law Group is there to help you recuperate your losses so you can continue living the life you knew before the accident. So if you ever get into one of these accidents, make sure you contact them right away.

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Summertime in Florida often brings strong storms and torrential downpours. Unfortunately, these conditions oftentimes catch drivers by surprise and may result in a dangerous car accident. The best way of avoiding such accidents is to know what to expect and how to manage these difficulties when they arise.

Safety Tips for Driving in a Rainstorm

Since you can’t always avoid driving through a rainstorm, you may be able to avoid a car accident by adhering to some safety tips, including:

  • Keep a close eye on weather conditions when planning to drive
  • Pull off to the side of the road until a bad rainstorm passes
  • Always carry a roadside emergency kit in your vehicle

Knowing how to Maintain Your Vehicle

By taking proper care of your car you’ll make it less likely that you’ll lose control of it when driving in wet conditions. One of the most important things to always remember here is to replace your wiper blades every 6 months and rotate your tires every 6,000 miles. If your windshield still becomes foggy you should use defrost on warm or open your rear windows so air flows throughout your car.

Knowing how to Drive Properly on wet Roads

When you’re driving in wet conditions there are some tips that’ll help you not to skid, hydroplane, or lose control of your vehicle. These include:

  • Slow down because it takes longer to stop and maneuver in the rain.
  • Stay in the middle lane since water is known to collect in the outer-most lanes.
  • Allow the car in front of you to act as a guide since the road will be dryer there.
  • Stay away from large trucks that reduce your visibility.
  • Since brakes take on water, limiting your ability to stop, make sure you limit the amount of braking you do.

Knowing When to use Your Hazard Lights

When you suddenly happen upon a rainstorm you may want to turn on your hazard lights. This isn’t always a good idea though. While they make it easier for others to see you, they may also think that you’ve stopped and need help. Additionally, they may reduce your ability to use your turn signals and brake lights which could result in a car accident. There are also places where it’s illegal to use them during a rainstorm.

Knowing how to Drive with Flash Flooding

It’s very dangerous to drive your car through floodwaters. Not only could it potentially damage your vehicle’s electrical system and braking mechanism, but it could also harm you and your passengers who may easily be swept away by the rushing water. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t see the road under the water, don’t drive through it.

Know who to Call When You’re in a car Accident

Serious vehicle accidents may still occur and when they do you should contact the Rojas Law Group. Their skilled attorneys routinely help those who are involved in these accidents obtain the compensation they deserve for the injuries they’ve sustained.

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