Tampa is home to an eclectic mix of people, beautiful beaches, scorching sunshine, and is generally kept clean and fresh. This makes it a wonderful place to live and attracts thousands of tourists each year.
However, Tampa holds claim to some darker facts too, Florida, in general, is one of the most dangerous places to be both a driver and a pedestrian. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), Florida suffers 400,000 car accidents every year, which results in nearly 3,500 deaths. Whenever a car accident occurs, it has the potential to change the lives of those involved and the lives of their families. Injuries could require long term treatment, vehicles must be repaired, jobs are lost, and in the worst-case scenarios, families suffer the loss of a loved one.
The worst thing is that the majority of these accidents are entirely avoidable and caused by one individual’s recklessness. Examples of reckless driving include excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and failure to look out for pedestrians.
If you have been involved in a reckless driving accident, it is important to get good representation to secure the compensation that you deserve. At The Law Place, we have dealt with a huge number of cases just like yours from both sides of the courtroom. We have extensive knowledge and skill in reckless driving cases in Tampa and Florida. Contact us today on (941) 444-4444 for a free case consultation from a Tampa personal injury lawyer.
What Is Reckless Driving?
The definition of reckless driving, according to Florida Statute 316.192, is:
There is a lot of room for interpretation of this definition, and it is often up to a police officer to judge whether someone was driving recklessly. You may have been in an accident with someone who was clearly behaving recklessly, or perhaps you have been unjustifiably charged. Either way, we can help. Some examples of reckless driving might include:
- Improper passing.
- Disregarding the presence of children.
- Failing to reduce speed prior to impact.
- Failing to look for pedestrians.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Traveling in the middle of the road.
- Driving through a crowded residential area.
- Ignoring traffic control devices.
What Is the Punishment for Reckless Driving?
Reckless driving is categorized as a misdemeanor. Therefore, it could result in:
- Up to 90 days in jail.
- A fine of up to $500.
- A combination of both.
Repeated offenses can result in fines of $1000 and up to 12 months behind bars. Furthermore, if bodily injury and property damage is involved, then the perpetrator could be facing fines for their damages, such as:
- Medical bills, past, and future – All medical bills that a victim has incurred.
- Property damage – Any damage to the victim’s property.
- Pain and suffering – If an accident has caused the victim to change to their way of life, this will be calculated.
When reckless driving causes serious bodily harm to a victim, then the reckless driver could face a third-degree offense. Third-degree offenses are punishable by a fine of $5000 and up to five years in jail.
How to Decide If You Need a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer?
Following a Tampa car accident, you should always, at the very least, seek a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer.
The first hurdle you will come across is informing your own insurance company about the auto accident in Tampa, FL. Your policy will inform you how long you have to inform them, but it is often around 24 hours. Insurance companies are big business, and they will be looking to devalue or reject your claim. Therefore, you must be very careful what you say to them, especially so soon after the accident where you are unlikely to know the full extent of the damage or have all of the correct information. It is important that you do not admit fault or go into details about your injuries.
If you contact an accident attorney first, they will be able to advise you on how to approach them. They might even be able to speak to your insurance company on your behalf, informing them of your auto-accident, taking off a lot of the pressure from you.
In Tampa, reckless driving incidents occur all the time. And often, people get away with acting negligently because the victim fails to hire a skilled car accident attorney to assist them with their case.
At The Law Place, we work on a contingency basis, which means you will not pay anything upfront, and we will only be paid if you win a settlement. Although you have to pay for your personal injury lawyers’ services, studies show that cases supported by a lawyer result in a payout that is 60% higher than those who seek compensation alone.
Depending on the severity of your damages, you may be covered by your own insurance policy, or you may have to seek compensation from the at-fault parties’ insurance company. Either way, they are unlikely to give you a fair settlement if you do not have a personal injury lawyer on your side in Tampa, FL.
Even when you feel your auto accident was a minor one, speak to a lawyer. We will offer a free consultation and will advise you on what your next steps should be. It is not uncommon for injuries to manifest weeks later after the muscles have relaxed, and adrenaline has left the body. The sooner you contact us, the better, but according to Florida’s statute of limitations, you could have up to four years to make a claim in Tampa.
What Should I Do at the Scene of the Accident in Tampa, FL?
Car accidents in Tampa happen all too frequently, and when they do occur, it is important that you know what to do.
- Safety – The first thing you should do after a car accident is check for injuries. Your top priority should be your own safety and the safety of you’re passengers. Move out of the way of any hazards such as oncoming traffic if you can. If anyone’s injuries seem serious, then stay where you are and phone 911 immediately. Next, if you are able, you should check in on people in the other vehicles.
- Police – If there are injuries or serious property damage, then Florida law dictates that the police must be called. They will do a police report. Try and get the name and badge number of the police officer, you can ask for the report at a later date which will assist you in your case.
- Evidence – If you are in a position to do so, you can now begin gathering evidence about the car accident. Start with the other drivers, personal, vehicle, and insurance information. If there are any witnesses, get their personal information so that they can be contacted at a later date. You should also take photos of everything, including vehicles, skid marks, road conditions, and anything else you think could be relevant.
- Sketch – Next, you may want to sketch the scene of the car accident. Draw a picture of the roads, and label the vehicles. Clearly show what direction vehicles were moving in. It is a good idea to do this while your memory is still fresh; it may help you later on.
- Hospital – You should get checked over by a medical professional, even if you do not think that your injuries are very serious. The adrenaline may be hiding the true extent of your injuries, and the sooner you seek treatment, the better you will able to prove that your injury was a result of the car accident. In order to make a personal injury claim, you have 14 days to seek medical treatment, but the sooner, the better.
- The Law Place – As soon as you are able, you should give your car accident attorney a ring. They can speak to your insurance, and start gathering evidence while it is still fresh.
How Much is a Tampa Car Accident Settlement Worth?
The amount awarded to claimants of reckless driving car accidents in Tampa varies massively and depends on several factors, such as:
- The age of the injured victim.
- How expensive are your medical bills?
- How severe are the injuries?
- The effect the accident has on your enjoyment of life.
- Past and future medical expenses.
- Who is at fault.
These numbers are quantifiable, which means that you will be graded on each one. By using these grades, a settlement will be offered to you.
If you agree with this offer, you can take it, but usually, it will initially be a lot less than what you deserve, and a car accident attorney will help you to fight for a more reasonable figure.
Should I Get a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault?
Car accidents can leave people seriously out of pocket, even when they had no part to play in the accident. If you want to seek the compensation you deserve, you should seek help from a lawyer.
Their insurance adjuster is going to make low offers and pressure you to accept them—most people into this trap when they aren’t represented.
By having an attorney with a reputation for winning injury cases in Florida on your side, the insurance company will most likely offer a higher settlement as they will be afraid to go to court.
When you chose The Law Place to represent you in your case, you get a reputable law firm and a team of skilled car accident attorneys that will defend and fight for you. Most injury cases never go to court, but if your case does go to court, then we will be ready. We will already have all of the evidence we need to strike.
Contact The Law Place Today!
Here at The Law Place, we know how stressful car accidents can be. We have worked on hundreds of cases in Florida and have over 75 years of experience collectively. We know Florida law and will work as a team to help you seek the maximum compensation available to you.
Reckless drivers get away with their actions far too often; in fact, Florida sees over 400,000 car accidents every year. Leaving thousands of people with serious injuries or the loss of their loved ones. Don’t let negligent drivers get away with it! Fight for the compensation you deserve.
On the other hand, if you are being unjustifiably accused, then we also have defense attorneys ready to support you.
Our phone lines are open 24/7 for a free consultation, contact us now on (941) 444-4444.