Car Accidents

Florida Passes Law Allowing Self-driving Vehicles

Category: Car Accidents |

Under a bill signed in June by Governor DeSantis, self-driving vehicles will now be allowed to operate on Florida roadways without a human presence in the car. The law went into effect on July 1stand states that as long as self-driving vehicles meet insurance and safety requirements, they can travel without a human on board. Before the new law, self-driving vehicles were only allowed on the road if there was a human backup driver present in the vehicle. Lawmakers are hoping to attract companies testing autonomous vehicles to move to Florida. Safety of Self-driving Vehicles While the manufacturers of self-driving vehicles such as Google, Tesla, and Uber claim that their vehicles are safer than those with drivers, it remains to be seen. There are no clear parameters on what is safe when it comes to self-driving vehicles. Florida now has guidelines regarding the safety of these vehicles, and there are federal voluntary guidelines. However, these vehicles can still suffer from technical issues that can lead to serious accidents and injuries. Level 4 and Level 5 self-driving vehicles are vehicles that are completely autonomous and will not have drivers behind the wheel. While these vehicles are now permitted on Florida roadways, no manufacturer has successfully tested a vehicle of this level and placed it on the road. However, even with human safety drivers behind the wheel, accidents still happen. In 2018, a pedestrian in Tempe was struck and killed by a self-driving vehicle that was unable to anticipate her actions when she crossed the street where there was no crosswalk. Both Level 2 and Level 3 self-driving vehicles have been responsible for multiple fatalities. Although car accidents happen every day, driving by humans is still relatively safe. Human drivers are better able to interpret and predict the behavior of other humans, while self-driving vehicles may not be able to do so. Manufacturers of self-driving vehicles would need to find a way to make them safer than human driving in order for the public to feel safe. Contact a Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a Tampa Bay car accident, you may want an experienced attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping the injured. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

The Fourteen Day Rule in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can be complicated to navigate, and not everyone knows what is required to make a claim. One issue that often arises is the “fourteen-day rule.” Following the fourteen-day rule is important for an accident victim to keep in mind in order to successfully pursue compensation. Otherwise, you can face significant hurdles. What is the Fourteen Day Rule? Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, if you have suffered injuries in a car accident, you must obtain medical care within fourteen days of the accident. Failure to do so can jeopardize your ability to collect benefits from your personal injury protection (PIP). The law states that your PIP coverage will cover 80% of your necessary medical bills as long as you have obtained treatment within fourteen days of the accident. Under the law, an accident victim must receive initial medical treatment from a licensed physician, a dentist, a chiropractic physician, or in a hospital. Seeing a physical therapist or a massage therapist as your initial medical contact is probably not sufficient. Purpose of the Fourteen Day Rule The fourteen-day rule was put into place in an effort to curb insurance fraud. If you receive medical treatment closer to the accident, then it is less likely that your injuries were caused by something other than your accident. This prevents people from claiming that injuries they sustained playing sports, for instance, were the result of their previous car accident. Prompt Medical Treatment is Important Seeking medical treatment as soon as possible is important regardless of the fourteen-day rule. Waiting to receive medical care can exacerbate an injury, which can lead to increased pain and higher medical bills. Failing to seek medical care can worsen your prognosis. Even if you feel that you have not been seriously injured after an accident, it is still important to go to a hospital or your doctor to get checked out. Many serious injuries have delayed symptoms that may not present themselves until hours or even days after an accident. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been the victim of a car accident, you may want an experienced car accident attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience handling car accident cases and can evaluate your case for free. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

The Economic Impact of Car Accidents

Category: Car Accidents |

Every day thousands of people are injured or killed in car accidents worldwide. Car accidents and injuries are a major drain on the world’s economy. The economic impact of a car accident also hits close to home and can have a detrimental effect on the wallets of the victims. Medical Bills Even if the injuries resulting from an accident are not severe, the resulting medical bills can be costly. With the skyrocketing cost of health care, even treatment for a minor injury can hurt financially. Unfortunately, it’s far too often that a car accident can result in serious injuries that require extensive treatment. Medical bills for surgeries, hospital stays, medical equipment, medication, and continuing therapies, can quickly pile up and become overwhelming. In some cases, an injury is so serious that an individual is forced to change their life completely. In the United States, two-thirds of people filing for bankruptcy were forced to do so because of medical issues. Lost Wages If you’ve been injured in a car accident, there’s a good chance that you will miss some time from work. Depending on the severity of the injuries, you could be out of work for an extensive period of time. These lost wages can pile up and have a devastating financial impact on a family. In some cases, an accident victim may not be able to return to work at all. Property Damage  When you’ve sustained damage to your vehicle as the result of an accident, your repair bill can be astronomical. If your vehicle is totaled, then you are forced to purchase a new one which can be a costly endeavor. Lessening the Economic Impact There are a number of ways you can lessen the economic impact of a car accident. Making a claim with your car insurance’s personal injury protection (PIP) can help you get coverage for some of your medical bills and lost wages up to your policy amount. If someone else is responsible for the accident and you’ve been seriously injured, you may be able to file a claim against any liability insurance they may have. If that isn’t enough, then you can file a claim against your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Contact a Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident and are suffering from the economic impact, you may need the help of an experienced car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk will evaluate your case for free and offer a no-fee guarantee, meaning you pay no fees or costs unless you win. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Left-Turn Car Accidents

Category: Car Accidents |

Every time you make a left turn in traffic, you are taking a risk. This is because making a left-hand turn involves crossing over lanes of oncoming traffic. Sometimes the vehicles traveling in these lanes are moving at high rates of speed, and a resulting collision can involve serious injuries and property damage. Determining liability in a left-turn car accident can sometimes be a complicated matter. Why are Left Turns Dangerous? Left turns can involve a significant amount of danger and require judgment calls regarding the speed of oncoming cars. You also need to judge whether other cars are going to obey lights and traffic signals. In some instances, views of traffic lanes may be obstructed, and a driver may be tempted to make a blind left turn. Left turns require quick thinking and sound decision making. The Left Turn Driver is Usually Liable Unless they have a green arrow, left-turn drivers do not usually have the right of way. As a result, the left-turn driver in an accident is typically at fault for the collision. It is important for left-turn drivers to be aware of their surroundings, properly judge the speed of oncoming traffic, and only turn when it is absolutely safe to do so. It is also critical that drivers avoid making blind left turns. You should only make a left turn if you can see clearly whether another vehicle is coming. You should also not rely on other drivers to wave you through a left-hand turn. When the Left Turn Driver is Not Liable There are some circumstances where the driver in oncoming traffic is liable for hitting a left-turn driver. If a left-turn driver has a green arrow and oncoming traffic has a red light, the non-turning driver may be liable for running the red light. This frequently happens when drivers are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings. In addition, a driver who is speeding may be liable for an accident. This scenario can be difficult to prove without the presence of a credible witness. A driver who runs a stop sign may also be liable for causing a left-turn accident. Contact a Trusted Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a left-turn car accident, you should consult with an experienced and trusted car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been helping Tampa Bay car accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Common Injuries in Rear-End Collisions

Category: Car Accidents |

Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents and a frequent cause of serious injuries. Common injuries that result from rear-end collisions include: Whiplash Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from a rear-end collision. The force of the impact can cause the neck to forcefully move back and forth, resulting in injury. Victims of whiplash injuries can often walk away from a rear-end collision, believing that they have not been seriously injured.  However, symptoms of whiplash, such as neck pain and stiffness, headaches, tingling, and numbness, often don’t appear until hours or sometimes days after an accident. Whiplash can be debilitating and can sometimes result in serious permanent injury. Head Injury A concussion occurs when a person’s brain strikes the inside of the skull. This can cause damage to the brain. Concussions may not present themselves at the scene of the collision, so it is important to monitor patients for 24 hours and seek medical treatment. Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound. In addition to a concussion, more serious head injuries such as hematomas and skull fractures can also occur in a rear-end collision. Fractures The force of a rear-end collision can cause a person’s body to make contact with the dashboard or steering wheel. This can result in serious fracture injuries. Fractures to the collarbone are the most common fracture seen in rear-end collisions. Facial fractures and limb fractures are also common. Herniated Discs A herniation of a disc in the spine occurs when the outer fiber surrounding the disc ruptures or tears due to trauma. The impact of a rear-end collision can result in a herniation injury. Serious herniations can result in long-term back pain, numbness, and mobility issues. Symptoms of a herniation may be delayed due to the adrenaline experienced in a rear-end collision. Contact an Experienced Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, you may want an experienced car accident attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have helped thousands of car accident victims, and they would be honored to help you. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

What Does “No-Fault Insurance” Mean?

Category: Car Accidents |

Florida is one of twelve states that follows a no-fault insurance model for car insurance. But what does no-fault insurance mean? It basically means that if you are injured in a car accident, then your own car insurance will pay some of your medical bills and lost wages. This payment is made regardless of who was at fault for the accident. No-Fault Insurance in Florida In Florida, no-fault insurance is also known as personal injury protection (PIP). Every driver is required to have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage on their car insurance policy. You can opt to have more coverage if you wish. PIP will cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages or lost income that you incur as the result of a car accident. Your PIP coverage is also subject to any deductible you may have. PIP also pays a $5,000 death benefit is someone dies as the result of a car accident. To obtain coverage from your PIP, you must seek medical treatment for your injuries within fourteen days of the accident. A key component of PIP is that you can’t receive compensation for any pain and suffering you’ve experienced as a result of the accident. What if You Were Seriously Injured? If the severity of your injuries exceeds a certain threshold, then it is likely that your medical bills will be substantial, and you’ll have missed a significant amount of time from work. In that case, you may be able to recover from a negligent party’s liability insurance. You may be able to recover for pain and suffering in addition to your medical bills and lost wages. However, many drivers in Florida do not carry liability insurance or do not have enough insurance. If you have your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage, you may be able to make a claim for additional damages. UM coverage would pay any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages after the PIP coverage has been exhausted. Contact a Tampa Bay Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident, navigating the insurance system can be difficult. You may want the help of an experienced car accident attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk we’ve been helping accident victims in Tampa Bay for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Common Types of Car Accidents

Category: Car Accidents |

You never want to find yourself in a car accident. You may be a cautious driver, but chances are, especially in Florida, there are negligent drivers all around you. Distracted drivers, impaired drivers, and reckless drivers can all cause severe accidents. There are some common types of car accidents that result in injury, including: Rear-end Collisions Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accidents. They often occur when the vehicle in front slows down or stops suddenly, and the driver in the rear is not paying attention or doesn’t react quickly enough. Rear-end collisions can also result from tailgating. Whiplash is the most common injury that results from a rear-end collision. Side Impact Collisions Side impact collisions, also known as “T-bone” collisions occur when the side of a vehicle makes an impact with the front or rear end of another vehicle. Depending on the speed at which the cars were traveling, side impact collisions can result in severe, life-altering injuries. Head-on Collisions Head-on collisions result in the most serious injuries. They occur when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide head-on. Both drivers and passengers can sustain injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, fractures, and internal injuries as the result of a head-on collision. Lane Changing Accidents A distracted or impaired driver is likely to move over into another lane and cause a collision. In some cases, a driver may overestimate how much space they have to change lanes and as a result, they cause an accident. Depending on the speed of the vehicles involved, lane changing accidents can be very serious. Multiple Vehicle Collisions When three or more vehicles are involved in a collision, it usually happens on a highway or a busy road. Multiple vehicle collisions can be very dangerous. Cars can get hit from multiple angles by different vehicles. In some instances, people can become trapped. Passengers and drivers can sustain serious injuries such as whiplash, paralysis, and internal injuries. Contact a Trusted Tampa Bay Attorney If you’ve been injured in any kind of car accident, you may want to have an experienced car accident attorney evaluate your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience and have been trusted by over twenty thousand clients to handle car accident cases. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Hit and Run Accidents

Category: Car Accidents |

Leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal offense in Florida, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens. In fact, Florida has one of the highest rates of fatal hit and run crashes in the country.  A driver who causes an accident is required to stop their vehicle and remain at the scene. They also must provide reasonable assistance to anyone who has been injured. However, for a number of different reasons, including lack of insurance or drunk driving, a negligent driver may leave the scene. If you’ve been injured by a hit and run driver, you may wonder what your options are. After the Hit and Run Accident Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to follow a driver who has fled the scene of an accident. Your safety and the safety of your passengers should be your number one priority. The first thing you should do after the accident and after making sure that everyone is safe is to write down a description of the vehicle and the license plate number if you were able to see it. You should also record any other information that you or any witnesses can remember. This information can help the police when they arrive at the scene. Coverage for Your Injuries After a Hit and Run Accident If you’ve been injured in an accident with a hit and run driver, you may not always be able to hold the negligent driver responsible for your injuries. Some hit and run drivers are never found. You can, however, pursue compensation from your own insurance company. In Florida, you are required to have personal injury protection (PIP) as part of your car insurance. PIP will cover some of your medical bills and lost wages up to the limit of the policy. However, if you have been seriously injured, PIP may not be enough to fully compensate you for your losses. This is why it is important to have uninsured motorist coverage (UM). UM coverage will help compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, and any pain and suffering sustained as a result of the hit and run accident. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a hit and run accident, you may need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the insurance process. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your no-obligation free consultation today.

Continue Reading

New Texting and Driving Law in Florida

Category: Car Accidents |

Everyone knows that distracted driving can have disastrous results. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,166 traffic fatalities in 2017 alone. Texting is one of the most dangerous distractions as it takes a driver’s visual and cognitive focus off the road. As a result of the dangers presented by texting and driving, Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill in May that toughens up Florida’s ban on texting and driving. Cracking Down Under the new law, which goes into effect on July 1st, texting and driving will now be a primary offense. Texting and driving has been illegal in Florida for several years, however in the past, police could only pull someone over for texting while driving only if they were committing another traffic offense at the same time. Now, police will be able to pull over and ticket drivers even if texting and driving is their only offense. The hope is that the new law will be a deterrent and keep drivers away from their phones. Drivers will still be allowed to text while their vehicles are stopped. If the culture changes under the new law, then hopefully people will put down their phones the same way they buckle their seatbelts. Does the Law Go Far Enough? Many people criticize the new law for not going far enough. Drivers in Florida are still legally allowed to engage in other distracting behaviors such as programming their navigation systems and talking on the phone while driving. The only exception is in school and work zones where drivers are not permitted to touch their phones except for emergencies. That portion of the law goes into effect on October 1stbut will not be fully enforced until January 1st. In addition, the penalties for texting and driving are still not very harsh. For a first offense, a driver will have to pay a $30 fine plus court costs. For a second offense, a driver will have to pay $60 plus courts and receive three points on their driving record. Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident with someone who was texting while driving, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. For over 30 years the attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been helping Floridians injured in car accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading

Car Accidents Caused by Wrong Way Drivers

Category: Car Accidents |

Wrong way drivers cause hundreds of fatalities on roadways every year. In fact, Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for accidents caused by wrong way drivers. The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDSMV) found that in 2015 alone, there were more 1,400 wrong way crashes and 96 fatalities in Florida. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way crashes in the state. Hillsborough was fourth, Pinellas was sixth, and Pasco came in eighth.  Causes of Wrong Way Driving Accidents A wrong way driving accident occurs when a driver drives into a lane of traffic that is going in the opposite direction. This can result in serious head-on collisions with cars that are going in the right direction for the lane. Wrong way driving accidents typically occur at night and can result from a number of different factors, including: Driver inattention Driver confusion Impaired driving Drowsy driving Improper passing on two-lane roads Poorly marked highway ramps Poorly placed signage Lack of visibility  The leading cause of wrong way driving accidents is the impairment of the driver by drugs or alcohol. Wrong way accidents are more likely to occur at night or on weekends, which is when most impaired drivers are on the road. What Can be Done to Prevent Wrong Way Driving Accidents? Local governments, including Florida, are taking steps to curb wrong way driving. Making sure that there is proper signage and clearly marked highway entrance ramps is a good first step. Some counties are also attempting to install flashing warning signs that activate if a driver goes on a ramp the wrong way. These flashing signs have been used by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). When activated, the signs send a signal to the Florida Highway Patrol so that law enforcement can be dispatched. Other states have tried using thermal cameras to detect when a vehicle is driving the wrong way. While it is still unclear whether these measures have led to a reduction in traffic fatalities, it is good that steps are being taken. Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured by a wrong way driver, you may want to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience representing Florida car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.

Continue Reading