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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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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Most people understand a personal injury case’s basic premise: If someone hurts you, it’s possible for you to sue them for money to cover your damages. Although this is accurate, it unfortunately doesn’t consider the many nuances that are also involved. There are also a great variety of situations, accidents and injury types as well as circumstances impacting the case.

When these things are taken into consideration the law arrives at a new “legal” definition in which these cases allow victims of preventable accidents and injuries to seek legal remedies from the party who’s at fault. These claims are known as “torts,” meaning they’re a civil legal action that’s filed because of an alleged “wrong” (a negligent or wrongful act).

Damages

This is a civil claim in which the resolution comes in the form of damages awarded. Herein the liable party (a.k.a. the defendant) pays financial compensation to the injured victim (a.k.a. the plaintiff). This is different from a criminal case in which a sanction or penalty (e.g. fines, probation, incarceration) are handed down to the plaintiff. The financial compensation that’s made here is meant to make the victim “whole.” As such, they typically include payment for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income now and in the future
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • A decreased quality of life

Since each case is unique, many variances in recoverable damages are available to victims. Nevertheless, a standard of negligence always exists, meaning the defendant didn’t uphold their “duty of care” in the given situation.

Negligence, Fault and Liability

The negligence can also vary case by case. Typically, this is defined as failure to exert reasonable caution. Some examples here include:

  • Motorists are responsible for ensuring the safe operation of their vehicle. An example of a breach of this would be texting. This person would then be liable for any injuries they’ve caused by texting while driving.
  • Medical professionals are obligated to act in accordance with their profession’s standards. Failure to do so is a breach of duty by which they’re liable for damages.
  • Property owners are responsible for anyone who’s on their property. As such they must address any potential hazards they know about or else be held liable.

Besides negligence, these claims can also be filed on such things as defectiveness, dog bites, and sometimes even assault and battery. Clearly, there’s a far-reaching scope here but as long as there are liability and damages (a real injury must have been suffered resulting in some type of loss) involved, there’s a personal injury case.

Types of Personal Injury Cases

Some of the most common types of personal injury cases today include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents resulting in otherwise preventable injuries
  • Consumer products (e.g. medication, auto parts, medical devices) that have been defectively, manufactured, designed, or marketed
  • Work-related injuries including trauma, occupational diseases caused by exposure to certain environments and construction-related accidents
  • Injuries occurring on another person’s property that could have been prevented if hazardous conditions didn’t exist.

Conclusion

When you believe that you have a personal injury case on your hands, you should seek out the advice of a lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. Their targeted focus on injuries and wrongful deaths has helped them cultivate both the experience and the resources necessary for effectively handling many different types of situations, standards, and types of cases that all exist within this complex area of practice. They’re able to provide you with the support and guidance you need to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. So, whether you have questions about personal injury law or want to discuss a potential claim, contact the Rojas Law Group.

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