According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 200,000 car accidents in Florida every year. With 15+ million licensed drivers in the state, there is a large number of car accident injuries totaling around one hundred thousand annually – and thousands of them result in fatalities. Victims and families devastated by these events rely on their insurance(s) and state accident laws to help receive needed compensation for medical, financial, and property damages. They also depend on the litigation skills of an experienced St. Petersburg car accident attorney to protect their rights and stop corporate insurance companies from minimizing or denying their claims.
If you have been involved in a car accident recently, the car accident attorneys with Marsalisi Law aim to help you make the most of your unfortunate situation. While we cannot undo the effects of a traumatic crash, Frank Marsalisi will personally attend to your case. We handle car crashes-related injuries and accident including:
- Distracted Driving
- Head-On Collisions
- Hit and Run
- Lyft and Uber Accidents
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
- SUV Rollers
- Whiplash Accidents
How a Reputable Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL Can Help
Florida law requires drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage on their insurance policies to help an injured victim seek necessary medical treatment after an accident. This PIP coverage provides $10,000.00 worth of benefits to cover 80% of the victim’s medical bills and 60% of their lost wages. This PIP coverage is considered “No-Fault” insurance because the injured victim can utilize it no matter who caused the accident. However, take note that the PIP coverage does not pay 100% of the injured victims medical bills and lost wages. Additionally, an injured victim’s medical expenses and lost wages often exceeds the PIP benefits of $10,000.00. Therefore, an injured victim must make a claim against the negligent party to be made whole.
An injured victim may have a claim for the following:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Costs of transport to and from doctor appointments
- Current and ongoing medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
- Hiring household help for duties you can no longer do on your own
- Emotional distress
- Wrongful death
- Other costs directly related to your injuries
The painful consequences of a motor vehicle collision make it vital to contact a trusted car accident attorney about your claim as soon as possible after experiencing an accident. Insurance companies aggressively defend car accident claims. They may try to delay the handling of the claim, give low offers in an attempt to maximize their profits at the victim’s expense, or deny the claim altogether. Therefore, it is necessary to hire an experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyer to protect your best interests.
Common types of car accidents include:
- Distracted Driving
- Head-on Collisions
- Multi-Vehicle Accidents
- Rear-end Accidents
- T-Bone Accidents
Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Car Accident
It’s not uncommon for victims to experience an inevitable level shock as their bodies naturally cope with the force and impact of a crash. Many car accident victims do not realize the severity of their injuries until the damage has emerged, sometimes hours, days, or even months after the accident occurred.
That’s why it’s critical for car crash victims to seek medical attention as soon as possible. “Silent” injuries can be traumatic and cause long-term health issues if they’re not treated effectively. Early treatment of your car crash injuries is the key to your future health and wellbeing. If you need to file a personal injury claim, seeking immediate medical attention is necessary for a strong case.
Silent injuries can rapidly turn serious, and in some instances, become fatal.
The trauma that a high-impact car crash has on the body can lead to damaged organs and/or blood vessels’ internal bleeding. A collision force often involves blunt trauma, where a body part collides directly with an object at high speed, causing blood vessels to crush and tear.
The most common causes of internal bleeding are:
- Head trauma,
- Injures near the heart and lungs, and
- Damage to the spleen or liver.
Depending on the severity of the injury, symptoms of internal bleeding differ. However, the most common include a purple coloring to the skin, localized pain, headaches, and stomach pain.
“Talk and Die” Syndrome
Often after blunt trauma to the head, car crash victims appear lucid and perfectly able to walk and talk. Neuroscience physicians warn that special attention needs to be paid after any head trauma, no matter how seemingly minor, because that injured victim could be showing signs of “talk and die” syndrome. “Talk and die” syndrome is a disorder where a “minor” head injury rapidly develops. The victim feels fine after an accident, but they have actually suffered internal bleeding in the skull. Victims are oblivious their skull has a fracture and that bleeding and swelling is occurring. This injury is serious and can become fatal if not treated properly.
Symptoms of “talk and die” syndrome include:
- Sudden drowsiness;
- Nausea; and
- Severe headaches.
These symptoms can manifest anywhere from minutes to three hours from the time of the crash. If you or a passenger experienced a blow to the head during a car accident, it’s vital that you seek immediate medical attention before the condition becomes fatal.
Common Accidents Needing an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your car accident, your case might only require negotiation by a skilled St. Petersburg car accident attorney on your behalf. Yet, in other situations, your case may have to go to trial. Personal injury cases can be quite complex due to the laws involved. The injured victim must prove four essential elements for their claim to be successful in a car accident case:
- The driver of the vehicle owed a duty to the injured victim;
- The driver of the other vehicle breached that duty;
- This breach of duty caused damage to the injured party; and
- The injured victim then must prove their damages.
You must prove these elements for all types of car crashes that happen in Florida, including:
Accidents on the Freeway
Some of the most serious accidents one can experience occur on a major freeway. The combination of high-volume traffic, elevation changes of the roadways, vehicles prone to rollover like SUVs, and high speeds can create a devastating impact. These impacts can cause serious injuries that could leave you permanently injured or can even cause death.
Head-on Car Accidents
Another potentially fatal type of accident is head-on collisions. These occur when a driver swerves into oncoming traffic or out of their lane to avoid another driver making sudden maneuvers. One might run into a guardrail or streetlamp when trying to swing around traffic in an aggressive move. Even medical conditions, like stroke or a heart attack, have debilitated motorists who crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with other vehicles or objects head-on.
Lyft & Uber Accidents
While ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are convenient ways to get around, accidents can still occur. To know how to properly handle these situations, one should contact a lawyer.
Accidents on Buses or Public Transportation
Due to the increased carrying capacity of public transportation, when accidents do occur they can affect many more people at once. Issues such as identifying parties at-fault, and liability when public entities are involved can be tricky to mitigate without the help of a dedicated car accident attorney.
Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 30 people die every day from a drunk driving car accident. Any driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level of 0.08 is considered legally intoxicated under Florida law and can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). Even one drink can impair your judgment and reaction time, so even those who think they can handle their alcohol can cause a car accident and be charged with the criminal offense of DUI.
Distracted Driving Collisions
Distracted driving causes an increasing number of car crashes each year. According to the NHTSA, 400,000 people were injured in a car accident involving distracted drivers in 2018. Often, drivers are texting or using their cell phones when they’re distracted behind the wheel. However, various activities can distract drivers when their focus should be on the road, including:
- Talking to passengers,
- Adjusting their GPS,
- Changing music or the volume,
- Applying makeup,
- And more.
Distractions behind the wheel are categorized as visual, auditory, cognitive, and manual. Texting while driving may involve all four of these types of distractions. While distracted driving is often unintended, any driver who causes an accident because they were distracted is negligent.
In 2018, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that more than 3,000 drivers died in Florida vehicle crashes. This cold reality emphasizes the fact that it isn’t always possible for everyone to survive a car accident. Families that lose a loved one this way should contact an experienced attorney right away to get the case reviewed.
Hit and Run Collisions
Florida Highway Patrol released its 2018 hit and run collision statistics, and the number was shocking. More than 98,000 hit and run crashes were reported in the Sunshine State last year. A hit and run collision involves a vehicle striking another car, person, or object, then fleeing the scene for whatever reason. Many times, they flee because they do not want to be caught and suffer the consequences of their wrongdoing. If you or a loved one is a victim of a hit and run collision, you should immediately contact an experienced St. Petersburg car accident lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve.
What to Do After a Car Accident in St. Petersburg, FL
Although auto accidents are a daily occurrence, nobody expects to be involved in a crash when they leave their home for the day. Car crashes are extremely common in places like St. Petersburg, where residents and visitors rely on driving a vehicle as their primary means of transportation. Yet, accident victims are often taken aback when they end up in a crash and are rarely confident about what their next steps should be. Even crash victims who have an idea about what to do are often so shaken up from the crash that they struggle to think clearly or remember how to handle the situation.
St. Petersburg car accident attorney, Frank P. Marsalisi, understands many of the thoughts and feelings that victims go through after being involved in an accident because he has worked with so many victims over his career. While he can obtain the information he needs to build a strong case, there are a few post-accident tasks you can complete to help boost your claim. They include:
Seeking Medical Treatment
If the negligence of another party caused your accident, you could be entitled to compensation under Florida State Law. While it is important to file your claim quickly, your first priority after a crash should always be to seek medical treatment from a qualified physician.
This will not only provide you with the best chance at making a full and speedy recovery but will help support your injury claim significantly. Receiving medical attention right away is essential evidence that you were injured. Timely and professional medical documentation will help link your injuries directly to the crash, making it more challenging for an insurance company or at-fault party to claim that your damages were triggered by something other than the accident.
Remember to acquire a copy of your medical records so that you have personal documentation detailing your treatments after the crash and the progress of your recovery. These are critical pieces of evidence in personal injury claims.
Modern-day car accident victims benefit from cell phones with high-definition cameras that allow them to take detailed photos right at the scene of the crash. If you are able to do so, try to take pictures of your damages before leaving the scene. Take photos of:
- Your vehicle;
- The other driver’s vehicle;
- Any other vehicles involved;
- Your visible injuries;
- Damaged vehicles;
- Debris or brake marks on the roadway;
- Any other property damage;
- The overall scene of the accident;
- Anything else you think might be relevant.
You can never take too many photos after an accident because you never know what might be beneficial or crucial later.
Collecting Contact Information
Look for anyone who may have witnessed the incident, including other drivers, pedestrians, or business owners. Ask these witnesses what they saw and take notes of their story or record their account on your smartphone if you have their permission.
Do not forget to collect witness names and contact information so they can be contacted again in the future if needed.
Working With Law Enforcement
Sometimes, police are dispatched to crash scenes without a victim or at-fault driver calling them. However, most often, it is up to the victim or other driver to contact local law enforcement. Even if you do not feel like your accident was that serious, you should still call the police.
The officer who arrives on the scene will complete an official accident report documenting the scene and occurrence. This report will include any traffic citations issued to the other driver and may contain the officer’s opinion on who could be to blame for the crash.
Protect Your Rights After a Car Accident in St. Petersburg
After a car accident in St. Petersburg, there are a few steps to take to ensure your rights are protected, as well as to support an injury claim should you need one.
File a Police Report
After medical treatment, it’s critical that you provide a statement for a police report. Law enforcement may be present at the scene of the accident. If not at the accident scene, you can provide a statement to the police at the hospital or in the immediate hours after your accident. Florida law requires accident victims to submit a long-form police report within ten days of the car accident. The information you provide in this report is critical documentation for a potential lawsuit that may follow.
Do Not Speak to Other Drivers
After a car accident, it’s essential that you do not make any admissions to the other driver that can be used against you in the future. They may tell you that they’re sorry and act concerned, or they might coerce you to admit the accident was your fault. You never know what the other drivers’ motives are, so the best approach is to keep silent and wait for the proper authorities to handle it.
Do Not Immediately Settle with Your Insurer
While Florida law requires that you speak with law enforcement, you do not have to speak with the other driver or the insurance company’s attempt for you to accept a settlement. Before agreeing to the final settlement amount, have your claim reviewed by an experienced car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL. Insurance companies are in the business of making money, and people who work in the claims department are aware that accident victims are often overwhelmed immediately after the accident. It’s not uncommon for insurers to push for a quick settlement and use your lack of knowledge of the laws and your vulnerability their advantage.
At Marsalisi Law, protecting clients’ rights is our top priority. The experience of a car accident is unsettling and difficult for anyone to go through alone. Victims must face a variety of difficulties relating to their health, finances, and future wellbeing. Car accident attorney Frank P. Marsalisi takes his client’s legal situations personally and is committed to obtaining full and just compensation for all damages they sustain.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in St. Petersburg, FL?
According to Florida’s statute of limitations, a car accident claim must generally be filed within four years of the accident, or else it will be inadmissible. This deadline applies to most personal injury cases and is set up to guarantee that a claim is filed in a timely manner. If your claim is not filed within this four-year period, you risk waiving your rights to monetary restitution.
Although four years may seem like a long time, preparing your claim can take a significant amount of time and the sooner you start, the better. Also, this date is subject to change in light of certain factors. The victim’s age, the circumstances surrounding the accident, and the type of injuries received may affect your case’s statute of limitations.
Let A Professional Car Accident Attorney in St. Petersburg, FL Handle Your Claim
At Marsalisi Law, you’ll find the most dedicated personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg, Florida. Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi is here with you every step of the way during this challenging and stressful time. Your rights and wellbeing are a top priority in every step he takes. If someone you love has been injured due to a car accident, don’t hesitate to contact Frank right away to begin taking steps to safeguard your rights and potential recovery.
Here at Marsalisi Law, we expect no payment unless we win! Our contingency fee basis makes it possible for you to focus on more important things, including doctor appointments and therapy visits to work on feeling better. Our car accident lawyers will take the burden of filing a claim and dealing with the insurance company off your shoulders.
You don’t deserve to suffer and struggle because of someone else’s negligence. If you need help in Spanish, Attorney Frank P. Marsalisi is fluent and can help you file a claim. Contact our office today at (727) 800-5052 to get the help you need and start the journey to financial, emotional, and physical healing today.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Damages Can I Recover In A St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawsuit?
As a victim of a car accident, you may qualify for compensation regarding costs associated with:
- Property damage to your vehicle – repairs or totaling out the car
- Personal property damage – items in the vehicle, cell phone, jewelry, work tools, etc.
- Past, present, and future medical care
- Lost wages
- Future income loss
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Any other accident-related costs
Do I Have To Go To Court For My Car Accident Claim In St. Petersburg?
Generally, if you are not at fault for the car accident and your injury claim gets resolved in the claims handling process and without a lawsuit, you more than likely will not need to go to Court. One exception to this is if the at-fault party contests a citation they received, the Court may subpoena you to appear at traffic court as a witness to the violation.
Should I Hire A St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer For My Claim?
Due to the No-Fault laws in Florida, it is strongly encouraged for you to hire a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer if you suffer injuries and seek medical treatment after a car accident. The reason for this is that your auto insurance will typically cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages up until $10,000.00 benefits are paid out. The 20% of your medical bills, 40% of your lost wages, and anything over $10,000.00, you will have to obtain from the at-fault party. A car accident lawyer takes on these responsibilities, so you can truly focus on getting better after an accident.
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– Testimonials –
“You can’t go wrong with Frank Marsalisi!”
Frank was referred to me by a former client of his after my accident with nothing but great reviews, both professionally and personally. From day one there was a level of comfortability and trust built based on what would be in my best interest moving forward. Never once did Frank make my case about what was in it for him but about healing my injuries in order to move on as normal as possible with my life.
“One of a kind lawyer …brilliance!”
Frank has exceptional auto accident liability law abilities and he is also very well-versed in state auto insurance laws. One of the things I like about Frank is that he never tried to sugar coat anything for me. If we were headed for trouble, he would let me know what the trouble was and what our options were. I always appreciated his honesty. This is trait that I do not find in many of today’s lawyers but Frank has performed integrity well beyond his means.
– Ms. C. M. Fraser