Tampa Car Accident Attorney

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When you are injured or lose a loved one in a car crash, you may be in pain, need medical care, and be unable to work. On top of this, you are somehow expected to navigate a personal injury claim. You do not have to do this alone. By hiring a car accident attorney, you will have someone to handle the insurance claim processes, identify the liable party, and pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries. Contact attorney Brett Metcalf for help because of his commitment to the Tampa community and his significant litigation experience. Brett has been included in the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” and “Top 40 Under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers. He also was named a 2018 Top Lawyer by Tampa Magazine. Call (813) 258-4800 to schedule a free consultation.

 

What to Do After a Car Accident

After being involved in a car accident, whether you were a driver or a passenger, our Tampa car accident lawyers recommend you take a few steps:

Call 911 or the Tampa Police Department:

If it is a serious crash blocking traffic or if anyone is injured, call 911. This is the fastest way to get police and emergency responders to the scene. For more minor accidents that still require a report, you can contact the Tampa Police Department directly.

Seek medical attention:

There are many emergency rooms in Tampa, including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, AdventHealth, Memorial Hospital of Tampa, and Tampa Community Hospital. We recommend you seek medical help at the nearest ER. Of, if you are not badly injured, see a trusted physician as soon as possible. You should be fully examined to determine if you are suffering from any hidden injuries.

Collect evidence, if possible:

If you are able to do so, we recommend you take photos and videos of the aftermath of the crash. Take photos and video from different angles and distances. Also document any surrounding property damage, marks on the pavement, and your injuries.

Exchange car insurance info:

Ask any other drivers involved for their names, contact information, and auto insurance information.

Witness statements:

If any witnesses stayed at the crash site to help, ask for their names and contact information. You do not have to ask them for a full statement at the time, but it can help to have record a voice memo of what they saw.

Call a car wreck attorney:

Once you are able to leave the scene and get medical help, we recommend calling a lawyer who has experienced with car accidents in Tampa, FL. You will benefit from an experienced lawyer guiding you through the insurance claim and litigation processes.

Who Is Liable For my Car Accident Injures?

Following a car crash, it is important to determine who was directly at fault. Who was the careless driving who collided with your vehicle? You may have this information already, but if not, a car accident attorney will uncover it for you. In most car accident claims, the liable party is the negligent driver. You will pursue a recovery from that driver’s auto insurance policy.

That being said, determining who was at fault is not always the same as identifying who is liable for your injuries. Another person or business may be responsible for the crash, or even if they were not at fault, they are responsible for compensating you. Your attorney will scrutinize the evidence and determine if one or more parties is liable for the crash and your injuries.

What Is Negligence?

Determining who is at fault and who is liable for your car crash injuries requires identifying the negligent party.

Negligence is the failure to uphold a duty of care, which causes another person harm. In regard to driving, all drivers must uphold a duty of ordinary care. This means they must act as a reasonably prudent driver would under the same or similar circumstances.

Negligence occurs when a driver fails to act as a reasonably prudent driver in any given situation. It may be that the driver broke a traffic law. Maybe the driver was speeding, ran a red light, or failed to yield the right of way. Negligence also can mean the driver simply acted carelessly while driving. The driver may have been distracted by their phone and failed to pay close enough attention to the road. Or, the driver may have gotten behind the wheel after a sleepless night when they were fatigued and had a hard time staying awake and alert.

This breach of duty, whether it was or was not a traffic violation, led to the driver causing a crash, which in turn resulted in your injuries.

To learn more about how to prove another driver or party was negligent, contact our Tampa car accident attorneys.

Implied Negligence

Typically, to obtain car accident compensation, you must prove the other party was negligent. This requires establishing several elements: a duty of care; breach of duty; cause in fact of the accident; proximate cause of the accident; a compensable injury.

However, there may be accidents in which another party is liable for the accident, but you cannot prove each of the elements. Instead of establishing each elements of negligence, you provide evidence that negligence by the party can be implied under the law.

Car Owner Liability

In some car accident cases, the car owner is liable for a crash and the resulting injuries without being in the car at the time. This liability may arise under Florida’s dangerous instrumentality doctrine, which says a vehicle is an inherently dangerous tool. An owner can be liable for another person’s careless or reckless operation of that dangerous tool.

The crash and your injuries should be covered under the car owner’s auto insurance policy. This gives us a primary or secondary policy to pursue compensation under. When necessary, a car wreck lawyer could file a lawsuit against anyone on the vehicle’s title based on this legal doctrine.

Agency Relationships

A common situation that arises is employer liability after a crash. This arises when an employee causes a car accident while on duty. Though the employee is directly at fault for the crash, the employer is liable under the law. This is known as res ipsa loquitor, which means the thing speaks for itself.

The employer is responsible for the employee while they are working because the employee is an agent of the employer-individual or business. The employer is responsible for employee’s actions and the consequences of those actions.

Family Purpose Doctrine

Under Florida’s family purpose doctrine, the owner of the car is liable for damages caused by that vehicle no matter which member of the family or household was driving at the time. So if you were injured in a crash caused by a teen driver who does not own the car or pay for the auto insurance, you can pursue damages under the owner’s insurance policy, and in some cases, file a lawsuit against the vehicle owner. If any member of the owner’s family caused you harm, a car accident attorney will pursue compensation from the owner.

Negligent Entrustment

Sometimes, a car owner lends their car to someone they should not—someone who cannot be trusted with it. Under Florida’s negligent entrustment law, you can pursue damages from the vehicle owner when they negligently allowed someone to use their car, and as such, put other people in danger.

To prove negligent entrustment, you must establish that the car owner supplied their personal property—their car—to someone else. The car owner must have known, or had reason to know, that due to the other person’s youth, inexperience, or other issues, lending the car might endanger the borrower or other people.

Our car crash attorneys have established negligent entrustment in many car accident cases and have helped crash victims obtain full and fair compensation for their injuries from the vehicle owner.

Liability of the Passenger

It may come to light during a car accident investigation that the passenger was fully or partly to blame for the crash. It may be that the passenger grabbed the driver’s wheel. We also have handled situations in which the passenger was distracting the driver. In this situation, we will pursue compensation from the passenger, either under their auto insurance policy, or through a personal injury lawsuit.

Dram Shop Liability

If you were hit and injured by a drunk driver, we will investigate where that individual obtained the alcohol. Florida’s dram shop laws mean that alcohol vendors can be held responsible for the consequences of serving someone who is underage or visibly intoxicated. For example, if we determine the other driver was being served several alcoholic beverages at a bar before getting into their car, driving impaired, and causing the crash, we may file suit against that bar.

Products Liability

Under Florida product liability law, businesses that make, market, and sell products are responsible for ensuring those products are as safe as possible when used as intended. If a vehicle on the road has a defect, this can make that vehicle inherently unsafe. That defect could lead to a crash or other single-vehicle incident, and under these circumstances, the vehicle manufacturer or seller may be liable for your injuries.

Highway Designs and Road Hazards

When a poorly designed road, poorly maintained road, or hazard in the road, such as construction cones, construction equipment, or debris from a crash, is to blame for your crash and injuries, talk with our car injury lawyers right away. Under these circumstances, a private business or a local government agency may be responsible. Pursuing compensation from a municipality can be tricky, and it requires acting fast. The government agency may require notice soon after the accident.

Vegetation

We have handled more than one car accident that arise from poorly maintained and untrimmed vegetation. Trees, bushes, shrubs, berries, wildflowers, and other weeds can grow large enough to block road signs or to diminish visibility around corners. The property owner is responsible for maintaining that vegetation in such a way that does not cause problems for drivers. When they let the vegetation grow wild, they may contribute to a crash. In this situation, a private owner or municipality may be liable for your injuries.

Common Defenses to Negligence Accusations

When another driver or other party is accused of negligent, there are many ways for them to defend themselves. You should work with a car accident attorney to be prepared for these arguments.

Comparative negligence:

The negligent individual may claim that another party was also negligent—or more negligent—and is fully or partly responsible for the crash.

Intervening factor:

The other driver or liable party may claim that an intervening cause broke the direct link between their negligent actions and the crash. They may argue that the other factor is a superseding cause means that their original, negligent act was not the real cause of the crash.

Lack of proximate cause:

It is often possible to say, “if not for event A, event B would not have happened.” So, “if not for the driver’s conduct, the crash would not have happened.” This is cause in fact. But for a negligent person to be liable for your injuries, you also must establish proximate cause, which means the crash and your injuries were within the foreseeable risks of the other party’s negligence conduct. If the crash was not a foreseeable risk, then the other party is not liable.

Lack of duty of care:

Some individuals will argue that they did not owe you a duty of care and therefore, could not have been negligent or liable for your injuries.

Assumption of risk:

The other party may argue that you voluntarily entered into a situation you knew or should have known as dangerous and could cause you harm.

What Our Clients Are Saying

Brett is the best attorney I’ve ever had. I would recommend his services to anyone in need.
Pink Taylor

09.18.2019

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08.14.2019

“He did an amazing job for me in Polk County! When I got involved in a situation that needed a criminal lawyer, I was terrified. Having only lived in Florida a few years, I was not prepared for the complexity…

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Lisa Welsh

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01.11.2019

“Mr. Metcalf is very knowledgeable, friendly, and on top of things. In the midst of my confusion and thoughts of the worst possible outcome, Mr. Metcalf took charge and handled the situation with professionalism and tact. I am very pleased…

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08.06.2018

“Brett is an extremely knowledgeable attorney who is a straight shooter, hard worker, and always willing to go the extra mile to fight for his clients. I’ve had to use him two separate times and was more than pleased with…

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06.19.2017

“Brett went far out of his way for my multiple cases and managed to keep me a free man even with all the charges that were put on me. 100% behind him from Plant City.”

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04.10.2017

“If you’ve decided to scroll past all the other positive reviews and find yourself reading mine, I’ll start out by saying Brett’s the man. He handles business efficiently and professionally, with the clients’ best interests in mind at all times….

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04.09.2017

“Mr. Metcalf was there for me at the most difficult and life-changing time in my life. I was treated respectfully the whole entire process, despite my embarrassing and shameful mistake. He extended honesty and professional courtesy throughout my case, guiding…

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08.06.2016

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02.27.2019

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Average 5 out of 5 rating based on 44 Reviews

Common Causes of Car Accidents

Some of the most common causes of car crashes in Tampa, FL include:

  • Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Distracted Driving
  • Dangerous and Defective Roads
  • Speeding
  • Reckless Driving
  • Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
  • Work Zones
  • Low Speeds
  • Inexperienced and Teen Drivers
  • Drivers over 65

Common Types of Car Accidents

Our car accident lawyers are prepared to handle any type of crash claim, including:

  • Roll-over
  • Head-on Collision
  • Side-impact Collisions
  • Rear-end Collision
  • Departure from the Road
  • Hit & Run Car Accidents
  • Intersection Accidents
  • Accidents After Attempted Pass
  • Diagonal Parking Accidents

Compensation in a Car Accident Claim

When you are injured in a car crash that is someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to pursue compensation. A majority of accident claims are resolved through an insurance settlement. However, you may need to take your claim to court and seek compensation at trial.

Under either circumstance, you can request compensatory damages for your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. These are divided into two categories:

Special Damages/Economic Damages:

These encompass your losses and expenses, including your past and future medical bills, lost wages, lost employment benefits, out-of-pocket expenses related to the injury, property damage, and reduced earning capacity.

General Damages/Non-Economic Damages:

These include your pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of affection from a spouse.

Punitive Damages

In car accident cases when we are able to prove the other person is guilty of gross negligence (recklessness) or intentional misconduct, then we will ask for punitive damages. These are not meant to compensate you for an injury. Instead, instead, punitive damages punish the wrongdoer.

Florida caps punitive damages at three times the amount of your compensatory damages or $500,000.

Wrongful Death and Survival Damages

If your loved one passed away because of a car crash, talk with a car accident attorney about pursuing a survival claim or wrongful death lawsuit.

A survival claim is a personal injury claim that arose during your loved one’s life and survives your relative’s death. Your relative must have lived for a period of time after the crash to have had a personal injury claim. Their estate can pursue certain compensatory damages.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim for you and your surviving family member’s injuries. When your relative passed away because of their car crash injuries, talk with an attorney about filing a wrongful death lawsuit and obtaining compensation for the loss of your relative’s financial support, services, and companionship and your own mental anguish.

Proof of Damages

Whether you file a personal injury claim, pursuing a survival claim, or file a wrongful death car accident claim, you need proof of your damages, including your economic losses and non-economic injuries. This proof can be found in your medical records, medical bills, pay stubs and other records of your wages, and your receipts. We may hire a vocational expert or economist to testify regarding your future losses.

Proof of your non-economic damages comes from your medical records, medical expert testimony, your own testimony, a daily journal of your pain and experiences, and your relative and close friends’ testimony.

How Will Preexisting Conditions Affect My Damages?

If you had a previous injury or medical condition from before the crash, you cannot recover compensation for that injury or condition. However, it is likely that accident made your injury or condition worse. In this case, you can pursue compensation for the degree to which the other party’s negligence worsened your injury or condition.

You may have a medical condition that makes you more prone to injury. This cannot be used against you. The at-fault party and their insurer must compensate you for the harm the party caused, even if that harm was more severe than another person would have suffered.

Subsequent Injuries

Did you suffer additional injuries after the car accident? Inform your car accident attorney right away. These subsequent injuries can affect your claim. If the injuries were sustained in another accident, we will take steps to prove your damages from the first crash and differentiate between your previous and subsequent injuries.

However, if your additional injuries are still connected to the car accident, such as if a serious injury becomes infected, we may pursue additional compensation.

Contact Our Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you are injured in a car crash in Tampa, Florida, contact experienced car accident lawyer Brett Metcalf. He is located at 2011 W. Cleveland Street, Suite A-1 in Tampa and is available 24/7 for his clients.

Call (813) 258-4800 or use the online form to request a consultation.

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