Clearwater Florida Car Accident FAQs

These FAQs will help you better understand Florida's traffic laws, safety measures to take, common injuries car accident victims sustain, the most common car crashes and general questions on how the personal injury claims process works. Our FAQs are updated frequently by our team of local experts on behalf of Clearwater car accident attorney, Jim Dodson.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a vehicle collision as a result of someone’s carelessness on the road, we are here for you. Our personal injury law firm has over 25 years experience successfully representing car accident cases and wrongful death claims. You need to feel certain that you can turn your personal injury case over to a lawyer who cares about you. If you have immediate questions and want to speak to a car accident lawyer, call our office at 888-815-6398 to schedule a time to discuss your accident case. There is never a fee for a consultation.

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  • What are the Common Causes of Intersection Car Accidents?

    When drivers ignore traffic laws and disregard red lights and signs around intersections, accidents are common. These are some of the most frequent causes of intersection car accidents in Florida:

    Intersection crashes often result in fatalities or very severe injuries. In 2010, 829 people died in Florida intersection car accidents — nearly a third of the state’s total traffic deaths. Nearly 9000 people died in intersection accidents nationwide that year.

    To reduce the number of these very serious accidents, traffic safety experts have proposed building more roundabouts and installing red-light cameras at intersections.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What Determines Who Is Responsible for a Florida Traffic Accident?

    In any Florida traffic accident, someone is liable. The simple rule is, whoever was careless was the liable party. In some cases one party violated a traffic law in which case determining negligence fairly straightforward. Others instances aren’t so clear-cut.

    Some states, including Florida, use what is called comparative fault to measure damages. This means that negligence in a Florida traffic accident can be shared among involved parties. For instance, let’s say Tricia was involved in an accident with Allison. It was determined that Tricia was 80% responsible and Allison was 20% responsible for the accident. Total damages to Allison’s car were $10,000. Allison would be able to recover $8,000, or 20% less than the total amount. She would be liable for the remaining $2,000 in damages.

    The insurance claims adjuster will initially determine comparative liability in a car accident. This can be based on the accident report, an assessment of the vehicles involved, and other factors.

    This is where hiring an attorney can be very useful and a financially astute move. An attorney is experienced in negotiating with insurance adjusters and can help compile evidence to prove the other party’s liability in your case.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are Some of the Potential Long-Term Effects of a Severe Brain Injury After a Car Accident?

    After an accident, brain injury can occur, which often times leads to long-term effects including motor damage and certain neurological diseases.

    Brain injuries can affect cognitive, physical and psychological skills. In addition to the direct symptoms and effects of a brain injury, such as loss of consciousness, mental confusion and blurred vision, numerous long-term effects may develop over time.

    Post-Injury Problems of Brain Injury from Car Accident

    • Parkinson’s Disease – Parkinson’s, a chronic and progressive disorder, may develop after a brain injury as a result of damage to the basal ganglia, a brain structure that controls movement.
    • Alzheimer’s Disease – the more severe the head injury, the higher the chances are of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, neurodegenerative disease.
    • Dementia – dementia, which is characterized by long-term memory problems, can result from accidents that cause a coma-inducing brain injury.

    Life can change in the blink of an eye when you or a loved one is involved in a car accident. Getting the best medical treatment available, both immediate and long-term, is vital to maintaining the highest possible degree of health.

    To seek compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident, including long-term medical treatments, speak with a Florida brain injury attorney. You shouldn’t have to worry about paying for expensive medical treatments when someone else may be to blame for your injuries.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What are Florida’s Laws for Rear-End Collisions?

    Every rear-end collision is unique, but in most cases Florida law finds that the driver who hits the other vehicle is liable for the crash. If you have been involved in a rear-end collision in Florida it’s best to contact a injury attorney to examine your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim.

    Usually the Driver Who Causes the Rear-End Collision Is at Fault

    Florida traffic laws state that drivers must maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them to avoid a rear-end accident. If you are following too closely and the car in front of you has to stop abruptly you increase the chances of causing a rear-end car accident.

    There Are Instances Where the Following Driver May Not Be at Fault in a Rear-End Accident

    However, there are some instances in which you may not have been liable for the rear-end collision, even if you were the driver who hit the other vehicle. If the other driver was driving recklessly and needlessly stopped without allowing you proper time to react, you may not be at fault.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Is a Car Making a Left Turn Always at Fault in a Florida Accident?

    If you were injured in a car accident when someone made a left turn, the car that made the left turn will most likely be held liable. In left turn accidents, the fault is almost always placed on the person who made the left turn.

    According to Florida traffic laws, a car making a left turn should yield to oncoming vehicles and only turn when it is safe. Therefore, a motor vehicle accident is often the fault of the driver making the left turn. The only times this rule may not apply are when:

    • the other driver was driving above the speed limit;
    • the other driver failed to stop at a red traffic signal; or
    • an unexpected event caused the car to stop during the left turn.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • How is Fault Decided in Florida and How Does the Comparative Fault Affect My Personal Injury Case?

    After a car accident in Florida, negligence is determined when insurance companies investigate each party’s degree of fault, or in a court of law if the claim goes to trial. Under Florida’s law of comparative negligence, the victim’s compensation will be reduced by their own percentage of fault. In essence, Florida law reduces the total amount of damages you are awarded in a personal injury case based on how much you contributed to your own injuries.

    This is different from Florida’s No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection.

    Here is How it Works

    For example, if you were injured in a car accident when another vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign, but you were speeding at the time of the crash, then it may be determined that you were partially at fault for the accident. Let’s say you were 25% at fault. In this case, your compensation would be reduced by a total of 25%. If a jury awards you $100,000, you would actually receive a $75,000 award.

    Getting your Case Settled

    To better understand Florida’s comparative negligence law, you can get the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney. With the guidance of an attorney, you may claim damages for your medical expenses, pain and suffering and lost wages, as well as other losses.

    Recovering from your injuries after a Florida accident should be your main priority, not dealing with insurance adjusters and complicated legal paperwork. Before accepting a lowball settlement offer from an adjuster who just wants your case to go away, order a complimentary copy of our consumer guide, Five Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case and contact us to set up a no-cost consultation at 727-446-0840.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Are There Exceptions to PIP Coverage in Florida?

    Yes, there are absolutely exceptions to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. But in order to understand these exceptions you must first understand what PIP insurance does cover.

    PIP Insurance Coverage

    PIP, or “no fault,” auto insurance is required for all motor vehicle owners in the state of Florida. As the owner of the vehicle, you are named on your Florida PIP insurance policy and are covered as the “named insured.”

    Aside from yourself, as the driver of a vehicle in Florida, there are several other conditions and parties that are covered under your PIP insurance. Other covered parties and conditions include:

    • Yourself, as a pedestrian outside of your vehicle, struck by another vehicle;
    • Yourself, as a passenger in another’s vehicle;
    • Your children living with you, as drivers, pedestrians or passengers; and
    • Any other relatives living with you, as drivers, pedestrians or passengers.

    Coverage will apply out of state so long as you, your children or relatives are injured in your insured vehicle.

    Exceptions to PIP Coverage

    Unfortunately, the above listed parties and conditions included in Florida PIP insurance coverage are not absolute. The exceptions to Florida PIP insurance coverage include:

    • Your relatives residing with you or passengers in your vehicle who have their own vehicle licensed in Florida; or
    • Your relatives residing with you or passengers in your vehicle who have their own vehicle that is required to be licensed in Florida.

    These individuals are not covered by your Florida PIP insurance because they are required by state laws to have PIP insurance of their own.

    The final exception to your coverage comes into play if you are out of state and not in your own insured vehicle. If you are not in your own vehicle and not in the state of Florida, your Florida PIP insurance will not cover your injuries.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Am I Required to Go to a Compulsory Medical Examination Requested By My Insurer After a Florida Car Accident?

    In most cases, you will have to undergo what was once called an independent medical examination (IME) after a Florida car accident. It is now referred to as a compulsory medical examination (CME) because ‘independent’ was a misnomer. Many accident victims are skeptical of the CME, and rightfully so, since it is essentially an examination with a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing.

    Although an CME is just a one-time appointment, it can unfortunately be used as a way to stop or deny benefits you could receive from a personal injury claim. This means if the treatment you’ve been receiving after your accident really has been helping you, and the physician performing the compulsory medical examination deems future treatment unnecessary, you may be left to shoulder any future costs yourself.

    If an insurance company has asked you to submit to an CME, you may want to consider hiring a car accident lawyer to prevent insurance adjusters from taking advantage of you during this vulnerable time. You attorney will make sure certain steps are taken and restrictions imposed on the examination to protect you.

    Your lawyer will do the following:

    • Review your insurance policy – you may not have to submit to an independent medical examination, depending on your policy’s stipulations.
    • Insist on videotaping the examination – this way, if a doctor makes a questionable diagnosis, you can have another physician review the footage or show the exam to a jury. We have seen doctors write up 12 page reports on a patient after a quick 15 minute examination.
    • Brief you before the exam – your Tampa car accident lawyer knows what the insurance company is looking to hear, and that the doctor may be looking for any discrepancies between your story and your current injuries.

    The car accident claims process can be daunting, to say the least. If a CME is unavoidable in your case, your lawyer will work with you to make sure you don’t inadvertently damage your personal injury claim.

    How We Can Help

    If you or someone you know was hurt in a vehicle accident, you should be aware of your rights you have through the insurance company. Your own PIP/No-fault insurance will pay for up to $10,000 in medical expenses and wage losses if you meet certain requirements.

    However, negotiations with the other driver’s insurance adjuster and possibly your own adjuster for Uninsured Motorist coverage are trickier. We can handle these discussions so you don’t have to worry about the back and forth of recorded phone calls and confusing questions designed to trick you into admitting liability.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • Does an MRI Help in a Neck Injury Claim in Florida?

    When you suffer a neck injury and experience chronic pain, you may have a disc injury that is best detected by an MRI scan. Your primary doctor, or even a chiropractor, can order an MRI to determine the extent of your injuries. If you are filing a Florida personal injury claim with the help of a personal injury lawyer you will find the results of an MRI can be a critical part of your claim evidence.

    After you have the MRI, it will be read by a professional technician or doctor. The scan will be conducted at an outpatient imaging center, a hospital, or even in some doctors’ offices. You will want to request a copy of the MRI as well as the report for your lawyer to use in your claim.

    If your MRI shows signs of a serious neck injury such as tears in the neck ligaments, herniated discs between the neck vertebra or bulging spinal discs, this can be excellent evidence for your Florida personal injury claim. The more medical evidence you have of your neck injury the better as it will help your personal injury lawyer support your claim.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

  • What is Cervical Spinal Fusion Surgery?

    After a rear end collision, an injury that sometimes occurs when the car you are in is hit from behind, is a herniated disc in the neck area, or cervical spine. This can cause considerable pain and limitation in the victim’s daily activities.

    Understanding What a Herniated Disc Is

    The spine is formed of bones called vertebrae, which are cushioned by small, spongy discs. The discs are shock absorbers for the spine and help maintain its flexibility. When the neck is injured in a rear-end car accident, this may cause a disc to bulge from between the vertebrae or to rupture. This is what is referred to as a herniated disc or a ruptured disc. The most common locations for herniations of the cervical spine are at the C5 – C6 level and the C6 -C7 level. The next most common is the C4 – C5 level.

    What are the Signs of a Cervical Herniated Disc?

    A herniated disc in the neck, or cervical spine, causes painful pressure on the nerves in the neck. The pain often radiates into the shoulders and arms and down into the hand, causing numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. You should report these symptoms to your doctor, who will perform additional tests, usually an MRI or a CT scan, to determine if you have a herniated disc.

    How Will My Doctor Treat a Herniated Disc in My Cervical Spine?

    Doctors will start with conservative treatment, including ice and heat, cervical traction, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, a short round of steroidal anti-inflammatory medication or narcotics, steroid injections, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants. Physical therapy, exercise, or osteopathic manipulation can sometimes help.

    Surgical Treatment

    When conservative treatments fail to stop the symptoms, it may become necessary to undergo cervical spinal fusion surgery to relieve the pain caused by nerve impingement and to create space for the decompressed spinal cord and nerve roots.

    How is Cervical Spinal Fusion Surgery Done?

    There are two kinds of cervical spinal fusion surgery: anterior and posterior. Anterior cervical fusion is when the surgeon reaches the cervical spine through an incision in the front of the neck. Posterior cervical fusion is performed through the back of the neck. The surgeon uses a special microscope while removing the disc to eliminate the pressure on the nerve and inserts a bone graft that will fuse the vertebrae. The bone graft may come from the patient’s own hip or pelvis, from a cadaver, or may be synthetic.

    The neurosurgeon generally uses metal plates or pins to ensure that bones fuse properly.

    Are There Risks to Having Spine Surgery?

    Cervical spinal fusion surgery must be undertaken with caution. Complications sometimes occur. These could include anesthesia problems, infection, thrombophlebitis, or nerve damage.

    What Should I Expect After the Surgery?

    In the first days following the surgery you will usually remain in the hospital where you will rest in bed and be given anti-inflammatory medications. You may also receive intravenous antibiotics. Once the inflammation has subsided, you’ll get out of bed and begin to walk.

    You will then begin to take short walks, and will progress to mild exercises and finally to physical therapy.

    The outcome will depend on how well you follow your physical therapist’s instructions and maintain a healthy lifestyle, especially avoiding smoking, which interferes with the grafting process.

    Have You Been Injured In A Car Accident?

    If you've been hurt in Florida car accident you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 727.446.0840 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.