Car Accidents At Michles & Booth, You Will Not Be a Victim Twice.

Tampa Car Accident Lawyers

Acclaimed Advocates Pursuing Justice for Auto Accident Victims

Every day, we get into our cars and drive to work, to the store, or to see friends and family. Yet despite knowing that traffic collisions are a real possibility, we hardly expect to be involved in a major car accident. This only makes it all the more unnerving when it happens -- and even more so when we are not at fault for the accident.

When another driver’s negligence injures you in a car accident, you have the legal right to be compensated for your damages. At Michles & Booth, our seasoned trial lawyers are renowned for our skill and acumen. If you qualify for legal action, we could help you obtain compensation to cover medical bills, short- and long-term disability, physical therapy, pain and suffering, future lost wages, mental anguish, and/or any other damages you have incurred.

Hire Effective Legal Representation

Michles & Booth is a leading personal injury practice serving communities throughout the state of Florida. We recently opened our Tampa office to better serve our growing client base. If you have been injured, our team of trial lawyers -- backed by the support of our firm’s paralegals, medical investigators, and former detectives and police officers -- will help you assert your case with confidence.

Our approach to legal representation focuses on you, the client. We cannot guarantee a favorable resolution, but we will work directly with you to ensure your case keeps your voice front and center. We know that we work for you, not the other way around as some lawyers may act. This grounded, personalized approach has allowed us to recover millions of dollars for injured state residents over the years. Let our effective legal team advocate for your rights.

Why wait any longer? Contact Michles & Booth online today for a free consultation with our Tampa car accident attorneys.

When and How to File a Car Accident Lawsuit

Anyone injured by another driver’s negligence can file a lawsuit against that driver. Before you assert your right to sue, you should go through your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. (All Florida drivers are required to have this coverage.) Still, it is best to consult an attorney as early on as possible. Insurance companies are notorious for denying valid claims; our attorney team can protect you from an insurance agent’s attempts to make you a victim twice.

We will work to build a strong legal case on your behalf through:

  • Reconstructing the accident
  • Interviewing witnesses and obtaining their testimonies
  • Consulting law enforcement officers regarding the 911 call and accident report
  • Consulting medical experts (including our own in-house medical investigators)
  • Reviewing any pertinent records or information regarding the crash

Just because your insurance claim was denied does not mean you have a weak case. Through a civil lawsuit, our legal team may help you recover compensation for the losses you have experienced.

PIP Insurance: What You Need to Know

As mentioned, all drivers throughout the state are required to have PIP coverage, or no-fault insurance, which will kick in regardless of who is at fault for the accident. It is of the utmost importance to report any accident and injuries to your PIP provider as soon after the accident as possible. Likewise, it is crucial that you seek medical help immediately -- your provider will likely deny any claim for medical coverage if you wait longer than 14 days after the crash to see a medical professional.

In general, PIP will pay up to 80% of your necessary medical expenses, 60% of the wages lost due to your injury, and all household services. The downside is, it will only pay out up to $10,000 -- or as low as $2,500 if you have not sustained an emergency medical condition -- for all these expenses combined. If you have suffered a serious injury, such as a spinal cord injury, your medical expenses alone will easily surpass your policy limit.

Therefore, you may also sue the at-fault driver if they caused you severe injury, such as the following:

The earlier you start the legal process, the more likely it is that you will recover compensation. It is common for the defense to use gaps in time against you, claiming your injuries resulted from another event or someone else’s negligence.

Proving Fault in a Car Accident Lawsuit

Oftentimes, when people come in to visit with us, they’ve been involved in a traffic accident. It can seem pretty clear to them at the time who was responsible. Those are circumstances where you might be waiting at a red light or you’re in traffic and somebody runs into you from behind. Clearly, in that case, you didn’t do anything to cause the car crash. In fact, that person probably got out and took responsibility.

There are other times when it’s a little more complex. In those circumstances, it’s important that you do everything you can to try to protect as much evidence to prove that you weren’t responsible and to prove that the person who hit you was responsible.

Start With the Accident Report

One of the first things we have to discuss with people when they come to meet with us is the accident report. Oftentimes, the accident report will have the other driver receiving a ticket or giving some type of a statement, accepting responsibility.

And people wonder, “Is that good enough? If they told the police officer that they were responsible, or if the officer gave them the ticket even when they denied that they did anything wrong, doesn’t that prove that they were responsible?”

The short answer is no. In Florida, in car accident cases, anything that’s said to a police officer, or any statement that’s written down in the accident report itself, is not and cannot be used as evidence if you have to try that case.

An example:

The driver gets out of the car and tells the highway patrolman, “Hey, it’s my fault. I did it. I’m sorry.”

Just because they told that to the police officer, it doesn’t mean that they can’t argue otherwise to a jury because those statements will never come in. Or the driver said, “Hey, I’m not at fault,” but the police officer gave him a ticket anyway, we can’t tell the jury that they got a ticket because that’s not admissible in a civil case.

There are some exceptions to that.

Anything that a police officer observes at the scene can be used. For example, where the vehicles were located or where the damage or evidence of the collision is in the roadway. Anything that that police officer observes independent from witness statements can be used as evidence in a trial.

Any statements that anybody gives at the scene, if they’re not talking to a police officer, those statements aren’t protected either. If the driver comes up and tells you they’re responsible, you can testify about that in court. If you overhear the driver on the phone telling somebody that they were at fault, that’s evidence that can be used as well.

Why would a driver deny responsibility?

From a practical standpoint, if a person was clearly at fault for the accident and the police officer did issue them a ticket, many times that person’s insurance company won’t try to come back later and argue that their driver wasn’t at fault. There are cases where, even in spite of a ticket, or in those accidents where the police officer arrives after the crash and doesn’t issue any tickets, that an insurance company may deny that their driver was responsible.

So, what can you do if you’re faced with that situation?

Find Witnesses

At that point, the most important thing you can do is try to find any witnesses to the crash; the statements of those witnesses will be very important to your case. Remember, you can always testify about what happened in a traffic accident, but the insurance company or the defendant may stand up and argue to the jury that you’re just saying that because you’re the one who is asking for damages. In other words, they’re going to attack your credibility.

Witnesses to a car crash will add extra weight to your argument, especially if they are not the ones bringing the lawsuit and more so if they are not a family member or friend. Their testimony can be useful in proving that the other driver was responsible for the crash.

If you’re in an accident and there’s somebody riding with you, make sure that you keep in touch with that person so that you can get their statement later if you need to prove that the other driver was responsible.

If it was a multi-car accident where another vehicle was involved, make sure you get the contact information for the other drivers as well because they may be able to support your version of what happened and put the responsibility and the blame on the person who caused the crash.

If there were other people around you when the crash occurs, you may want to try to flag them down. Stay safe and do it in a responsible manner, but you need to get their information if they witnessed the crash so you can talk to them later on.

Again, this is all about protecting yourself from those situations where an at-fault driver tries to avoid responsibility.

Video Cameras

One other thing to keep in mind is if you have a crash in front of any businesses, they may have video cameras that record the event. It’s worth going inside and talking to those employees to get their information, to see if they witnessed anything or, more importantly, to see if they have access to the video or can put you in touch with somebody who can give you a copy of that.

A number of times we’ve represented people who have been involved in crashes in front of gas stations and the video cameras show exactly what happened. That’s proved useful on more than one occasion when the at-fault driver has tried to say that they either didn’t run into our client or that our client did something to cause the crash.

When you’re able to play that video at trial, it shows a completely different story that can help you prove liability and uncover and expose the false statements that that other driver is making.

Take Pictures

There may be occasions where you’re just not able to get any witness statements. We would recommend that – as long as you can do so safely and without exposing yourself to the risk of getting struck by another car – you take some pictures before you move your vehicles out of the roadway. You want pictures that show where the damage to the vehicles is and where the vehicles were located when the collision occurred.

Make sure you take pictures not only of the damage but of the surroundings as well so that we can later reconstruct where your vehicle was and prove that the crash occurred the way you say it did. Those pictures can also be useful when taking the deposition of the at-fault driver, as it can help show contradictions in their testimony if they try to change their story later.

Gather As Much Evidence As You Can

Ultimately, these are all important steps to keep in mind if you or a loved one have been involved in an accident because you don’t want to be faced with not only having to prove your injuries as a result of the crash but also proving that you didn’t do anything to cause the crash.

Just because the driver of the other vehicle received a ticket, that doesn’t mean that you may not have to prove that they were at fault for causing the crash later on. Take those steps that we suggest immediately following a crash to help preserve the vital evidence that may be necessary to prove your case.

At the end of the day, if you can’t prove that the other driver caused the crash, the jury may never get to consider whether or not you were hurt as a result of that crash. Proving the other driver to be responsible is often the most important part of any personal injury case.

Call (813) 981-7780 for a Free Consultation

Our trial lawyers at Michles & Booth share more than 80 years of experience in litigating car accident cases. Our success has won us acclaim from the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Super Lawyers®, the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and many more. Above all, we are most honored by the respect and confidence of our clients and peers. With our team of Tampa attorneys, you can trust that we will fight tirelessly for you in your case.

Don’t be a victim twice. Call (813) 981-7780 to connect with an award-winning Tampa car accident lawyer.

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