Accidents

Average Farmers Insurance Settlement Amount in Florida

Category: Accidents |

If you have a car insurance claim involving Farmers Insurance, you are naturally curious about how their process works and how they are to deal with. You might also be curious about the average Farmers Insurance payouts for a car accident or another type of personal injury claim. Whether you or the other driver had Farmers Insurance coverage, the claims process is essentially the same. The value of your claim will depend on the specific economic and non-economic damages you suffered. However, you could be entitled to pursue compensation for your medical treatment, lost income, personal property damage, and some types of pain and suffering. In Florida, the car accident attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provide compassionate and aggressive legal representation to injury accident victims. We have a long history of negotiating settlements with Farmers, and we understand how to get the maximum compensation for your damages. What Is the Average Farmers Insurance Claim Settlement Amount? Every injury accident victim’s experience is unique, as are the damages they suffer. This makes it virtually impossible to estimate any type of average Farmers Insurance settlement amount in Florida. Your claim’s value will be based on your actual damages. This could include your medical care and treatment, lost income, car repair or replacement cost, etc. In Florida, you might not be able to recover compensation for some types of emotional distress. Florida law limits mental suffering and emotional trauma damages to only those that cause the victim to have some kind of resulting physical manifestation. To determine what the potential value of your claim might be, schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable Florida injury accident attorney. After reviewing the details of your case, an attorney can provide you with an estimate of your claim’s value and how long it might take to negotiate a settlement with Farmers. Farmers Insurance Company Information Farmers was founded in 1928 for the purpose of providing coverage for the vehicles of rural American farmers. Today, the company offers a wide range of products, including property and casualty insurance, life insurance, and business insurance. The company also owns several smaller insurance companies, including Foremost Insurance, Bristol West Insurance, and The 21st Century Insurance Group. The company is currently in the process of acquiring other entities, including MetLife. Over the years, Farmers has had its share of consumer complaints and legal problems. In fact, the company was previously named as one of the poorest performers for paying auto accident claims. How Long Will My Farmers Insurance Claim Settlement Take? If you read through some of the Better Business Bureau consumer complaints against the company, it seems as though Farmers Insurance settlement checks don’t always show up when claimants believe they should. Although it’s difficult to determine what the real story is behind any online consumer complaint, this could indicate a pattern. Because so many factors are involved in the personal injury claims and settlement process, it isn’t possible to determine any average time necessary to settle a car accident claim with Farmers. In some cases, if the claim is fairly simple and straightforward, you could get a settlement within a few weeks. However, for any case that involves serious injuries and extensive damages, you can safely assume that the process could take months. If the company will not negotiate a settlement in good faith—or if Farmers won’t offer a reasonable settlement value—you may need to file a lawsuit. However, in most cases, lawyers can successfully negotiate car accident claims with Farmers. This gets a check into your hand as soon as possible and saves you the time and cost of going to court. How to Contact Farmers Insurance in Florida To file a car accident claim with Farmers, you can call the company’s toll free number, 800-435-7764. You can also file a Farmers Insurance claim online or using the Farmers mobile app. You can use the online interface to file a claim whether you are the insured party or the other driver has Farmers. Once your claim has been set up, you will be able to login to check the status of your claim any time. The site also has additional informational resources, including a helpful car accident checklist. The other option for reporting a claim with Farmers Insurance is to let an experienced personal injury lawyer handle it on your behalf. Your attorney will handle everything, including communicating and negotiating with Farmers. This leaves you free to focus on recovering from your injuries and getting back on your feet. Tips For Dealing with Farmers Insurance Claims Getting a Farmers Insurance settlement shouldn’t be overly difficult or time-consuming. Unfortunately, the process often gets delayed through no fault of the claimant. Like any insurer, you can expect Farmers to at least try to deny your claim or to reduce its value as much as possible. Getting the settlement you deserve requires negotiation. Unfortunately, you might not have the industry-specific knowledge or experience to get the compensation you deserve. Consider having an attorney handle Farmers on your behalf. Experienced personal injury attorneys know exactly how Farmers and other insurance companies work. Your lawyer can document your claim and build the most persuasive case possible. They can also press Farmers to engage in the negotiations process to expedite the resolution of your claim. Should I Get a Lawyer to Handle My Farmers Claim? Nothing in Florida’s laws requires that you hire an attorney to handle a personal injury claim. If your case is simple and straightforward, and if the insurance company is responsive to your claim, you should be able to get the settlement you need. However, if your claim is more complex, or if it involves a significant injury, having a lawyer can make a big difference in the outcome of your case. Your lawyer can also help ensure that you comply with all the applicable laws and ensure you don’t miss any time limits. Before you provide a recorded statement or discuss any potential settlement offers with Farmers, talk to a...

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Average UPS Accident Settlement in Florida

Category: Accidents |

The United Parcel Service’s (UPS) brown vans are one of the most recognizable brand symbols in the world. Aside from the United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS is the largest parcel carrier operating in the US today. While Amazon’s trucks are popping up more and more often, their reach is not yet that of UPS. In 2020, UPS had more than 125,000 parcel delivery vehicles in operation bringing a total revenue of over $80 billion for the company. At the global level, UPS drivers delivered nearly 20 million packages per day in that same year. With all these vehicles on the road, accidents happen; there is no way around it. Like all drivers on the road, UPS drivers sometimes make mistakes, which leads to accidents. Because of the relative size of UPS vehicles compared to most of the other cars on the road, accidents with UPS trucks are often more severe than typical car accidents. Not only are UPS vehicles bigger than most other cars, they are often loaded with weight, which further increases the amount of force (and damage) in UPS accidents. One of the main questions about UPS lawsuit settlements that we get at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is: What is the average UPS accident settlement in Florida? The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. What Is the Average UPS Lawsuit Settlement? The truth is, there is no average UPS lawsuit settlement. Every car accident is different, as is every car accident with a UPS vehicle. The amount of damages, the type and scope of insurance policies involved, and even the lawyers involved with a given UPS lawsuit can all affect the size of a UPS lawsuit settlement. In sum, the size of your UPS lawsuit settlement depends entirely on the circumstances of your case.  What Factors Affect the Size of a UPS Lawsuit Settlement? There are many factors that impact the size of any potential UPS lawsuit settlement. Some of the factors will increase your settlement amount, while others will decrease it. Conversely, some factors can go both ways. If some of the following factors apply to your case, your settlement amount will go up, relatively speaking: Hospitalization, Emergency medical transport, Surgery, Physical rehabilitation, In-home help or in-home caregiving, A death, The loss of a limb or other bodily function, “Totalling” your vehicle, Malicious intent on the part of the driver, Mental health or other psychological issues arising out of the accident, and Permanent or temporary disability. How Can I Maximize My UPS Lawsuit Settlement? There are a few things you can do that will help you maximize your UPS lawsuit settlement. Perhaps chief among these is to retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney. Even better is to retain the services of a car accident attorney with specific experience in litigating against UPS or other parcel delivery services. If you hire an attorney to represent you, UPS is more likely to take your claim seriously. Without an attorney on your side, UPS is much more likely to try to get you to accept a settlement that does not fully cover your damages. Furthermore, car accident attorneys are adept negotiators, and there is no substitute for their prior experience. Aside from hiring an attorney, there are other ways to maximize your settlement. One of the best ways of maximizing your settlement is carefully documenting all the damages you suffered. Take pictures of your car after the accident to illustrate damages. Then take your vehicle to a few different repair shops to have the damages appraised. The more appraisals you get, the better. You should also document your injuries. Maintain a record of any medical procedures or evaluations you have done, and consider asking your doctor to provide as much detail as possible. When you receive medical treatment, always document any invoices or other bills you receive. Maintaining a journal of any physical or emotional distress you have will also help you prove the damages you suffered. Such a journal will also help you get the medical treatment you need. At the end of the day, without documenting the damages you suffer, you will face an uphill battle recovering them. What Is It Like to Deal with UPS and Their Insurers? Fortunately, dealing with UPS and their insurers is a bit more straightforward than working with other parties. The main reason for this is that UPS is self-insured. Most companies that operate commercial vehicles contract with a third-party liability insurer. That means that most of the time, instead of working with an insurance adjuster that works for the company directly, you are dealing with an entirely separate entity. That entity then needs to get approval from the liable party before you can agree to any settlement. Not so with UPS. Since UPS is self-insured, you are dealing with a direct representative of the company. That means fewer parties are involved, which translates to less red tape. As a result, settlement negotiations with UPS are often quicker and more efficient than those with a commercial party who uses a third-party liability insurer. If You Need to File a UPS Lawsuit If you need to file a UPS lawsuit in Florida, Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help you get the settlement you deserve. For more than 30 years, our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys has helped more than 20,000 clients recover damages in all forms of personal injury cases. We have successfully litigated against private parties, but also against large commercial parties including UPS. To date, we have helped our clients recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. With our experience on your side, you can rest easy and focus on your recovery. Check out our client testimonials page to hear what our other clients have to say, then call us today for your free consultation!

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Average USAA Car Accident Settlement Amount in Florida

Category: Accidents |

If you need to file a car accident claim with USAA in Florida, you are understandably anxious to get the process moving. The sooner you can get your claim submitted, the sooner you can get a resolution—and a settlement check. If you suffered injuries in an accident caused by a USAA customer, you might be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and emotional trauma. If you are a USAA policyholder yourself, you might also find yourself pursuing a claim under your personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured, or underinsured motorist coverage. It can be especially helpful to understand more about USAA’s claims process. Some common questions that injury accident victims have include how long it takes to get a USAA car accident settlement and whether the company will be fair in its dealings with your claim. In settling an injury claim with USAA, it can be helpful to have some background on the company. However, it’s more important to get a basic idea about how to submit a claim, how their process works, and how to keep the process moving along. If you have questions about the process, or if you feel that you might need some help getting a fair settlement for your injuries and other damages, consider talking to an experienced Florida car accident lawyer. The attorneys of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have more than three decades of experience. We have helped multiple clients get a USAA personal injury settlement, and we can help you get the justice you deserve. What Is the Average USAA Car Accident Settlement Check Amount? The value of any car accident claim can vary significantly depending on the details of the case. It’s not possible to identify any average USAA car accident settlement amount in Florida or any other state. Typically, accident victims are entitled to pursue compensation for their physical, emotional, and economic damages. Clients often ask whether they can include compensation for emotional distress in their USAA settlement amount. Due to Florida’s “Impact Rule,” it can be challenging to recover these damages—but not impossible. Many victims recover compensation for mental and emotional trauma. However, they must prove that the trauma resulted in physical symptoms. An experienced Florida car accident attorney can review the details of your case and give you a better idea of what your claim might be worth. How Long Will My USAA Car Accident Claim Take to Settle? One of the most common questions we hear is: How long does it take USAA to pay an insurance claim? The time required to settle a USAA personal injury claim varies based on the details of the case. The more complex the claim, the longer it might take to get a resolution. For example, negotiating USAA whiplash settlements shouldn’t typically take as long as negotiating settlements for more severe or permanent injuries. The process of getting a USAA insurance claim payout is similar to that of any other insurer. Once you report your claim to the company, a representative of the company—usually an insurance adjuster—will contact you. The adjuster will go over the details of the accident with you and ask you for a recorded statement. They will also ask you to provide copies of your medical bills and any other relevant documentation you may have. The adjuster will then conduct their own investigation and, eventually, come back to you with a decision. The decision could be that they reject your claim outright. More likely, they might make a small settlement offer that won’t even cover your out-of-pocket costs. Insurance companies often make significantly undervalued settlement offers because injury accident victims will frequently accept the lowball offers. Accident victims might believe they won’t be able to get USAA to make a better offer or, as is often the case, their dire situation has them desperate for any economic relief. Whatever the circumstances of your case, never provide any statement or discuss any potential settlement with USAA before you talk to an attorney to explore your options. What Is USAA? Formed in 1922 as the United States Army Automobile Association, USAA (now the United Services Automobile Association) was established for the sole purpose of insuring a group of U.S. Army officers. At the time, the officers set out to self-insure, as other insurers refused to provide coverage, citing their position as “high risk.” Today, USAA provides property and casualty insurance for current and former U.S. service members, their spouses, and their children. With more than 13 million members today, the company reports a net worth of $40 billion and $200 billion in total assets. USAA also reports paying out $16 billion in claims in 2020. USAA is member-owned. In other words, the company does not have investors and shareholders. Instead, its duty is to those who hold policies and use the company’s affiliated financial services, such as banking and investment advisement. The company disburses profits in the form of dividends to policyholders—$1.1 billion in auto policyholder dividends were paid in 2020—and through the support of military-related causes. According to the Better Business Bureau, USAA has 1,494 recorded BBB complaints, all of which the company resolved. Almost 600 of those complaints were filed in the past 12 months. USAA’s BBB customer review average is 1.25 stars out of 5. Because the insurer is not a BBB accredited company, however, it does not have a Better Business Bureau rating.  USAA does have some negative history with Florida customers. In 2017, USAA settled a class action lawsuit filed in 2013 by Florida policyholders. The settlement amount was reported as $39 million. The suit challenged the insurer for how it compensated auto policyholders for sales tax when they replaced a total loss vehicle. How to Contact USAA in Florida USAA encourages its policyholders to initiate their claim through the USAA online claims center. When you scroll down, you will see the option to file an auto claim. The option for filing a non-policyholder claim with USAA is offered as well. You can also check...

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Pain After The Car Accident: 3 Chronic Conditions Associated with Automobile Accidents

Category: Accidents |

Are you experiencing pain after a car accident? In this post you will learn about the most common causes of this and the next steps you can take. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens. The extreme forces involved in auto accidents can cause severe traumatic injuries, and for some people these injuries can have permanent consequences. In fact, recent medical evidence shows that auto accidents can lead to a number of chronic and debilitating conditions. Three Chronic Conditions Linked to Traumatic Collisions 1. Chronic Brain Injuries As doctors continue to gain a better understanding of the effects of traumatic brain injuries, there is a growing body of evidence to support a link between brain injuries and various chronic impairments. From concussions to severe penetrating brain injuries, virtually all types of traumatic brain injuries have the potential to lead to long-term effects. In many cases, the link between an accident and a driver’s or passenger’s condition will not immediately be clear. The effects of traumatic brain injuries can manifest gradually, and forgetfulness, impulsive behavior, and other symptoms may not necessarily trigger concerns about an accident-related injury. This is one reason why all auto accident victims should seek prompt medical attention. In certain circumstances, a delay in seeking treatment can exacerbate the chronic effects of a traumatic brain injury, which may include: Anxiety, depression, and mood swings Cognitive impairments Difficulty concentrating Forgetfulness Memory loss Headaches and migraines Impaired judgment Impulsive behavior These and other effects of traumatic brain injuries can impact every aspect of an accident victim’s life. Once again, prompt treatment is critical, and individuals diagnosed with chronic conditions resulting from accident-related brain injuries must carefully follow the treatment plans their doctors prescribe. 2. Chronic Back Pain Chronic back pain is among the most common long-term injuries resulting from vehicle collisions and our attorneys have handled plenty of lower back pain car accident settlements. Like the symptoms of certain types of traumatic brain injuries, back pain can come on slowly over time, masking the accident as its root cause. Individuals who experience back pain in the days, weeks, or months following a collision should seek medical attention, and should carefully describe their symptoms so that their treating physicians can provide an accurate diagnosis. Due to its chronic nature, treatment for trauma-induced back pain generally focuses on symptom management. Along with pain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)), other treatment options can include acupuncture, physical therapy, steroid injections, and self-management. If you are experiencing back pain following a car accident, you will need to have your doctor prescribe a treatment regimen that is tailored to your own unique injury and personal circumstances. 3. Chronic Thyroid Disorders In addition to chronic brain injuries and back pain, there is now strong medical support for chronic thyroid disorders resulting from traumatic car accidents. The thyroid is a gland at the base of the neck that secretes hormones your body uses for metabolism, temperature regulation, and general growth and development. When a traumatic accident impacts the neck, the physical effects can cause damage to the thyroid, which can in turn lead to a number of chronic symptoms. For example, thyroid conditions resulting from musculoskeletal trauma during car accidents can cause: Compromised brain function Compromised immune system Exacerbation of pain from other trauma-induced injuries Mood swings Reduced energy levels Reduced metabolic rate Since thyroid disorders are both a result and a cause of pain in the muscular and skeletal systems, individuals who suffer neck injuries in auto accidents can find themselves in a vicious cycle of chronic symptoms. Fortunately, in many cases patients will have a number of treatment options available. Potential treatment options for chronic thyroid disorders include: Dietary supplements Hormone replacement therapy Physical therapy Radioactive iodide treatment Surgery Thyroid medications While anyone injured in an auto accident should be aware of the risk of a chronic thyroid condition, drivers and passengers injured in rear-end accidents are among those who are most likely to face thyroid problems. Whiplash injuries are closely associated with trauma-induced thyroid disorders, and these injuries most frequently occur in rear-end collisions. Seeking Financial Compensation for Chronic Conditions Resulting from Auto Accidents Seeking financial compensation for chronic conditions can present additional challenges as compared to seeking compensation for acute physical injuries. This is due in large part to the difficulty in diagnosing chronic conditions as the effects of physical trauma. Individuals who experience symptoms of a chronic injury or disorder following a car accident should take appropriate steps to preserve their legal rights, including: Help Your Doctor Provide an Accurate Diagnosis. If your doctor is unaware of your symptoms, he or she will not be able to provide an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor is unaware that you were injured in an accident, he or she will not be able to link your condition to the collision. When seeking medical attention after an accident, it is critical to make sure your doctor has all of the relevant information. It can be helpful to write down notes and bring them to your appointment. Follow Your Doctor’s Treatment Plan. Treatment for chronic conditions often involves a multi-faceted approach – surgery, rest, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and a variety of medications could all be essential to minimizing the long-term effects. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, you need to be prepared to make some changes in your life, and sticking to your doctor’s treatment plan should be among your top priorities. Schedule a Free Consultation at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk If you would like more information about pursuing financial compensation for experiencing pain after a car accident, the injury lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can help. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, call our office at (800) 538-4878, text us, or request an appointment online today.

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What to do if You’re Injured While Visiting Tampa Bay

Category: Accidents |

With its beautiful weather, beaches, museums, and amusement parks, Tampa Bay is a great place for tourists. Tourism is on the rise in Tampa Bay. However, sometimes your vacation doesn’t go as planned. Maybe you were involved in a car accident or had a serious fall. You may have had an accident in your rental car or a slip and fall accident at your hotel. Just because you’re not from Tampa Bay doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. Seek Medical Attention If you’ve been injured in an accident, the most important thing you can do is seek medical attention, even if you’re not sure of the extent of your injuries. Your injuries should be promptly diagnosed and documented. You shouldn’t take chances and wait until your vacation is over. See a doctor in Tampa Bay as soon as possible. There are urgent care clinics and emergency rooms throughout the area that are available to give you the attention you need. You can then follow up later with a physician at home. Find a Local Attorney Any lawsuit you file to seek compensation will likely have to be filed in Florida and proceed under Florida law. This is why it is important to find a local attorney as soon as you can. Look for an attorney with extensive experience handling accident cases. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience representing accident victims, and we have helped more than 20,000 clients get the compensation they deserve. Just because you file a claim in Tampa Bay doesn’t mean you have to remain here while your claim is pending or that you’re going to have to frequently return to Florida. Most things in your case can be handled remotely via email or phone calls with your attorney’s office. You can focus on healing from your injuries at home and let the attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk handle the rest. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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7 Documents Your Attorney Will Need After Your Car Accident

Category: Accidents |

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may have decided that hiring a personal injury attorney can help you through the process. In order for your attorney to effectively represent you, it is important that you provide them with all necessary information. Your attorney will need some documentation from you in order to put together the best case for pursuing compensation. Some documents your attorney may require, include: Police Report In a car accident case, the police will file an official accident report. This report will contain some valuable information about who was involved in the accident and what happened. Auto Insurance Policy An attorney will want to see a copy of your auto insurance policy, specifically the declarations page so that the amount and type of coverage you have available can be determined. Photographs Taking photos of an accident scene can be important to show the extent of any injuries or property damage and may help in establishing who was at fault for the accident. Make sure you submit any photographs that were taken by you or other people, to your attorney. Contact Information If you have obtained the contact information of any witnesses or other individuals involved in the accident, you should provide that information to your attorney as soon as possible. Medical Records Your attorney will want to see copies of your medical records to see the extent of your injuries and what type of treatment you have received. Detailed medical records are crucial to establishing an effective case for compensation. Medical Bills Copies of medical bills are also very important when pursuing compensation for your injuries. These bills itemize the losses you’ve sustained as a result of the accident. Keep all prescription receipts, hospital bills, and bills from other medical providers so that you can provide these to your attorney. Wage Records If you’ve missed time from work as a result of the injuries you sustained in a car accident, then you may be entitled to compensation for any lost wages. Pay stubs and other wage records will be needed to establish the amount you have lost. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced Tampa Bay car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have helped over 20,000 accidents victims pursue compensation for their injuries. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Florida’s Move Over Law

Category: Accidents |

Roadside traffic stops by emergency personnel can be highly dangerous, especially on busy highways. Law enforcement officers and workers can be seriously injured or even killed by passing motorists who are not driving carefully in their presence. To combat these tragedies, Florida is one of forty-three states with a “Move Over” law. Move Over Law Floridalawprotects law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, sanitation workers, and public utility workers from being struck by passing vehicles. The first section of the law requires drivers to move over to the side of the road and clear any intersection when they hear sirens or exhaust whistles or see blue and red lights. The second section of the law requires drivers to change lanes when they approach an emergency or work vehicles parked on the shoulder of the road. If the driver is not on a multi-lane road or is unable to change lanes safely, then they should slow their vehicle down to 20 miles below the speed limit. This Move Over Law provides emergency personnel and workers with some amount of safety when they are working on the side of the road. Breaking the law is a moving violation, and you can face $120 in fines and three points on your license. Keeping Everyone Safe Following the Move Over Law is not only important for the safety of emergency personnel and workers, but also for your own safety and that of other drivers on the road. There are steps you can take to make sure everyone is safe around work and emergency vehicles: Stay aware of your surroundings and avoid driving distracted Watch for flashing lights Use your turn signal to indicate your intent to pull over or change lanes Move over as soon as you are aware that there is an emergency vehicle in the area. Don’t wait until you’re close to the vehicle. Contact a Tampa Bay Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may want to consult with a Tampa Bay accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have 30 years of experience helping car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Tampa Bay Ranks in Top 20 for Most Aggressive Drivers

Category: Accidents |

Florida drivers have been consistently ranked as some of the worst in the nation. Now, according to a report by Gas Buddy, Florida cities also rank among those with aggressive drivers. Tampa-St. Petersburg came in at number 19 out of major metro areas. According to the report, Tampa Bay drivers are 2% more aggressive than the average U.S. driver. There were a number of different aggressive driving indicators where Tampa Bay ranked higher than average. Speeding Aggressive drivers frequently drive at high rates of speed. This can be extremely dangerous to other drivers as speeders can easily lose control of their vehicle. In addition, collisions at higher rates of speed can cause more serious injuries. Tampa Bay drivers have 12.6 percent more speeding incidents than the average U.S. driver. The area ranked 11th for most speeding incidents. Hard Braking Aggressive drivers also drive close to other cars, tailgate, and press hard on their brakes. This is very dangerous to other drivers. It can lead to rear-end collisions and other serious accidents. Tampa Bay has had fewer hard-braking incidents than the average U.S. driver. Rapid Acceleration Rapid acceleration is another common and dangerous behavior displayed by aggressive drivers. Rapid acceleration can lead to collisions with bicyclists, pedestrians, and other vehicles who are unable to predict the driver’s behavior. Tampa Bay drivers were 1.2% more likely to engage in rapid acceleration, and the area ranked 15th for most rapid acceleration instances. Aggressive Driving Dangers Aggressive drivers let their emotions get in the way of their reason and make dangerous decisions on the road. In addition to speeding, hard braking, and rapid acceleration,  drivers often take their attention off the road in efforts to intimidate other drivers with words and gestures. In some cases, aggressive driving can turn into road rage, which can lead to violent behavior. Contact an Experienced Tampa Bay Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident with an aggressive driver, you may want an experienced Tampa Bay accident attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have been helping accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Summer Road Trip Tips

Category: Accidents |

Summer has just begun, and for some of us, this means it’s time to brave the traffic and embark on a summer road trip. Summer road trips are a great way to see the country and spend time with family. However, without proper planning, these road trips can also be dangerous. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when you go on your summer road trip: Before the Road Trip Before you head out on your summer road trip, it’s important to make sure your vehicle is up for the task. Stop by your mechanic and ask them to check your filter and oil levels, top off all fluids, check your tires for proper inflation, inspect belts and hoses, and test the battery and brakes. Once your vehicle is checked out, it will give you peace of mind before you set out on your trip. Plan the Route for Your Road Trip Many people rely on navigation systems and Google maps to help them get where they need to go. However, it can be helpful to have a look at your route ahead of time and plan the best way to travel. Let someone who’s not going on the trip know the route you are taking. You can also check for weather conditions and road construction to better plan for your trip. Pack an Emergency Kit An emergency kit is essential if you are going on a road trip. Be sure to stock your emergency kit with: Jumper cables First aid kit Properly inflated spare tire, lug wrench, and jack Tool kit Flashlight with batteries Flares Car cellphone charger Duct tape Bottled water and energy bars Wait to pack your emergency kit in the car until all of the bags have been placed in the car. You want to make sure that it is easily accessible. Handling Emergencies Even with the best planning, there’s always a chance you’ll end up broken down on the side of the road. If this is the case, pull your car over safely and turn on your hazard lights. Put your car in park, set the emergency brake, and point your wheels away from the road. Be sure to keep emergency contact numbers, such as roadside assistance, in your phone,so you easily access them when needed. If you can, place flares 50 feet behind your car to warn other drivers. Don’t exit your car by the road while you’re waiting for help. It is generally safer to be in your car. Stay Safe on the Road Remember that all occupants of the car should be buckled in at all times. Avoid distracted driving by putting your phone down. Finally, if you feel drowsy pull over or switch drivers so you can rest. Contact an Experienced Florida Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident on your summer road trip, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping injured Floridians. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your no-obligation free consultation today.

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Car Accidents are the Number One Killer of Teens

Category: Accidents |

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens aged 16-19. Every day, approximately six teens die in an accident, and teens are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than other drivers. Unfortunately, these fatal car accidents can also lead to serious injuries or death for passengers and others on the road. When a teen driver causes a serious car accident, the consequences can be devastating for everyone involved. Common Factors Involved in Teen Car Accidents There are a number of factors that contribute to the high rate of car accidents involving teen drivers. Contributing factors include: Inexperienced drivers—teen drivers with little experience are not as equipped to recognize and react to dangerous situations they may encounter on the road. Good driving techniques develop with experience. Distracted driving—teen drivers are more likely to engage in distracted driving by interacting with their phones, talking to friends in the car, taking their eyes off the road, and playing with the radio. Driving requires cognitive, visual, and manual concentration, and taking your eyes off the road for even a minute can have serious consequences. Impaired driving—teen drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous behaviors such as driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. Impairment, combined with a lack of experience, can be deadly. Reckless driving—teen drivers often think they are invincible. They are more likely to engage in reckless driving behavior such as speeding, tailgating, street racing, and running traffic signals than other drivers. Driving with teen passengers—the biggest distraction a teen can face while driving is the presence of other teens in the car. Studies show that the presence of teen passengers increases the risk of being involved in an accident and the likelihood that the teen driver is at fault for the accident. Teen drivers are among the riskiest on the road, and if you have been injured in an accident caused by a teen driver, you should consider consulting with an attorney. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident with a teen driver, you should have an experienced Florida car accident attorney evaluate your case. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we’ve been representing car accident victims for over 30 years. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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Motor Scooter Accidents

Category: Accidents |

In Florida, motor scooters, such as Vespas, have become increasingly popular ways of getting around. They are a great way to beat traffic and the expense of having a car. Motor scooters come in a variety of engine sizes and have the capacity to reach high speeds. However, motor scooters don’t offer the same protection that someone surrounded by the steel of a car or a truck therefore motor scooter accidents can result in serious injury. Common Causes of Motor Scooter Accidents Motor scooter accidents are frequently the result of negligence on the part of the driver of a larger vehicle. Behavior by drivers that can lead to motor scooter accidents include: Taking their eyes off the road and driving distracted Failing to check blind spots Making turns without checking the surrounding area Turning in front of a scooter Tailgating a scooter Attempting to share a lane with a scooter A car door that is opened into a lane of traffic Motor scooters are entitled to an entire lane in traffic, and drivers should be sure not to drive too close to them. Like motorcycles, motor scooters are less visible on the road than other vehicles. However, unlike motorcycles, motor scooters are also very quiet. Drivers must be aware of motor scooters on the road and pay attention to their surroundings at all times to avoid a collision. Injuries From Motor Scooter Accidents Motor scooter accidents can result in very serious injuries. Because motor scooters don’t have the same protections as a car or truck, riders of motor scooters must rely on helmets and other gear to keep them as safe as possible. Some common injuries that can result from motor scooter accidents include: Traumatic brain injury—riding with a helmet can help a great deal, but some traumatic brain injuries are not prevented by a helmet. Shoulder injuries—motor scooter accidents typically result in the rider falling off the scooter. This can lead to serious shoulder injuries depending on the impact. Fractures—because motor scooter riders often hit the pavement with some force in an accident, bone fractures are very common Spinal cord injuries—the impact of a car hitting a motor scooter can lead to serious spinal cord injuries Road rash—a motor scooter rider sliding across the pavement without protection can suffer serious abrasions Neck injuries—neck injuries such as whiplash are common, especially when a motor scooter has been hit from behind. Contact an Experienced Motor Scooter Accident Attorney If you’ve been injured in a motor scooter accident, you may need the help of an attorney with experience handling these types of cases. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping Floridians injured in accidents. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today. 

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The Role of Surveillance Video in Your Personal Injury Claim

Category: Accidents |

Surveillance video can be a powerful tool in a personal injury case. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video can be even more valuable. These days, cameras are everywhere. Surveillance cameras can be found inside and outside businesses. There may even be surveillance video in places you didn’t expect.  Why is Surveillance Video Evidence Important? Sometimes in an accident case, there are two different stories, and it is difficult to determine what should be believed. Surveillance video can provide important details to help establish what happened. In a car accident case, video from surrounding businesses can be used to help establish who was at fault and what occurred. In addition, a red-light camera may capture a negligent driver breaking the law. In addition to surveillance video, dash cam video from inside a car can also be helpful in putting together the facts of an accident. Surveillance cameras inside businesses can be used to show what happened in a slip and fall accident. Many businesses have cameras inside their establishments to prevent and deter theft. These cameras may be used to establish that a dangerous condition existed that resulted in someone becoming seriously injured. A video could show the existence of an unaddressed spill or torn carpeting. In some cases, it can be used to establish how long a dangerous condition existed and whether a business owner had time to address the hazard. In many premises liability cases, surveillance video is the most compelling evidence of what happened as sometimes there aren’t any eyewitnesses present. Obtaining Video Surveillance Getting a hold of video surveillance is not always easy. Some businesses are reluctant to give up information, especially if an accident occurred on their premises. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after an accident can be helpful. An attorney will need time to conduct an investigation and obtain any available video if they are able to do so.  Contact a Tampa Bay Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured due to someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping Floridians injured by negligence. Contact us online or call us at 800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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The Other Driver Doesn’t Want to Go Through Insurance. What Should I do?

Category: Accidents |

No one wants their car insurance rates to increase because of an accident. When you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the other driver may try to tempt you not to file a claim with your insurance. They may offer to pay you a settlement themselves and avoid the “hassle” of making a claim. Remember that the other driver is doing this for their own benefit and not to make things right with you. There are important reasons why you should always make an insurance claim if you’ve been involved in a car accident. These reasons include: You Could be Seriously Injured Even if you feel like you weren’t injured in an accident, it is always important to seek medical treatment. You may have serious injuries, such as whiplash, that don’t present themselves right away. Agreeing to accept money from an individual without going through insurance is not advised if you don’t know the extent of your injuries. You could have thousands of dollars in medical bills, and it can take months before you know exactly how much your injury costs. Medical treatment can be very expensive, and it is unlikely that the other driver will be able to fully compensate you for your bills. You Could Miss Work If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is likely that you will miss some amount of work. Missing work could add up to a serious expense. You may be entitled to lost wages, and it is unlikely that an individual offering a settlement will be able to cover your losses. You Could Experience Pain and Suffering Without going through insurance or consulting an attorney, there is no way to know the value of any pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident. Pain and suffering is a key component of a personal injury case, and if you’ve been seriously injured, you may deserve compensation for it. It is unlikely that an individual is going to be able to adequately compensate you for your pain and suffering. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you may need a trusted personal injury attorney on your side. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 today to schedule your free consultation.

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Florida Lawmakers to Consider Harsher Texting While Driving Ban

Category: Accidents |

Texting is one of the primary modes of communication these days. People are attached to their cell phone and like to stay connected. But texting while driving can be deadly. In 2016 alone, 3,450 people were killed by distracted drivers. That’s about 9 people per day. Because of the danger, many states across the country have laws in effect that ban texting and driving across the board. Florida technically has a law prohibiting texting while driving but it doesn’t go far enough. The Legislature will now consider a harsher ban. Current Law Texting while driving has been prohibited in Florida since 2013, but it is currently only enforced as a secondary offense. This means that drivers can only be cited for texting if they are pulled over for other traffic infractions such as speeding or making an illegal turn. In other words, you can be driving your car down the highway at 60 mph texting away, and nothing can be done about it. The fine for texting while driving is currently only $20. This doesn’t give drivers much incentive to stop the practice. Senate Bill 76 Senate Bill 76, known as the “Florida Ban on Wireless Devices While Driving Law,” was filed in November. The bill states that “a person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, number, symbols or other characters into a wireless communication device.” The bill would prohibit drivers from texting, talking, or reading data on handheld devices. It would also make talking and texting on a phone while driving a primary offense, meaning police could pull drivers over for that offense alone. A similar bill was proposed last legislative session. It passed the House by a vote of 112-2, but the measure never made it out ofthe Senate. Tougher legislation has been proposed in every legislative session since 2015. Hopefully, 2019 will be the year things finally change. The legislative session begins on March 5th. Contact a Trusted Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured by a distracted driver, you may need a trusted personal injury attorney on your side. The experienced attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation today.

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The Safest Cars to Buy in 2019

Category: Accidents |

Now that we’re in the new year, you might be thinking about buying a new car. If that’s the case, you should do your research and make sure you’re getting the best buy for your money. It’s even more important to make sure you’re buying the safest car you can. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently released its Top Safety Picksfor 2019. IIHS increased the crash test standards for 2019. The organization awarded 57 vehicles its Top Safety Pick rating and of those only 30 vehicles received the highest Top Safety Pick+ rating. In order to earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating, a vehicle must receive a “good” rating in tests related to the front, side, roof, and head restraints. The vehicle must receive an “advanced” or “superior” rating for front crash prevention and a “good” rating for its headlights. Top 30 Safety Picks IIHS’s Top Safety Pick+ vehicles for 2019 include: Small Cars Honda Insight Hyundai Elantra Kia Forte Kia Niro Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid Subaru Crosstrek Subaru Impreza 4-door & 4-door Wagon Subaru WRX Midsize Cars Hyundai Sonata Kia Optima Subaru Legacy Subaru Outback Toyota Camry Midsize Luxury Cars Genesis G70 Lexus ES 350 Mercedes Benz C-Class Large Cars Toyota Avalon Large Luxury Cars BMW 5 Series Genesis G80 Lincoln Continental Mercedes Benz E-Class Small SUVs Hyundai Kona Mazda CX-5 Midsize SUVs Hyundai Santa Fe Kia Sorento Subaru Ascent Midsize Luxury SUVs Acura RDX BMW X3 Mercedes Benz GLC Mercedes Benz GLE Class Vehicle Size IIHS notes that these vehicles were selected for safety within their specific size categories. The size and weight of a vehicle have an impact on the safety of the occupants, with larger, heavier vehicles affording more protection than smaller, lighter vehicles. IIHS notes that a smaller car with a Top Safety Pick+ honor is not necessarily safer than a larger car that did not earn the honor.  Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may need the help of an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney. At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we have over 30 years of experience helping Floridians injured in car accidents. Contact us onlineor call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your consultation.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Dealing With Doctors After an Accident

Category: Accidents |

Pursuing a personal injury claim after an accident can sometimes be confusing. It’s unfamiliar territory for some people and mistakes can be made. The most important thing you can do when it comes to doctors after an accident is to remember that everything you say has the potential to be documented in your medical record. Here are some important mistakes to avoid when dealing with doctors after your accident: Don’t Wait to Seek Medical Treatment After an Accident Even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured, it’s still important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. You could have injuries that haven’t appeared yet or are hidden. In addition, in order to make a claim on your auto insurance, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident.   Don’t Miss Medical Appointments When they receive your medical records, insurance companies will look to see if you’ve missed any appointments. When you miss doctor or therapy appointments, it starts to look like you’re not committed to getting better. You open the door for an opposing party to argue that you must not have been that seriously injured or that you don’t care about getting better. Commit to attending all of your scheduled appointments, and if there’s a compelling reason why you must miss one, make sure to reschedule as soon as possible. Stick to the Facts When asked by a doctor about what happened, be careful what you say or write about the accident. Don’t guess or speculate about things like the speed of the other vehicle and don’t embellish. It’s okay to say you don’t know. Insurance companies can call your credibility into question if the facts don’t line up. Be Honest With Your Doctor It is very important to disclose the pre-accident facts about your medical history. Doctors rely on this history to diagnose and treat you. Concealing a prior injury can also hurt your legal case. In addition, it’s important to always be honest with your doctor about your pain and limitations. You may not want to complain, but “toughing it out” can adversely affect your legal claim. If a complaint doesn’t appear in your medical records, then it doesn’t exist to insurance companies. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident, a trusted and experienced personal injury lawyer in South Florida can help you through the process. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to evaluate your claim for free. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your consultation.

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How Long Will My Personal Injury Case Last?

Category: Accidents |

When you’ve been injured in a car accident or a slip and fall, your world has been turned upside down. You probably want to move on quickly from the experience and put it all behind you. But you also want to make sure that you get the best possible settlement to cover your damages. Every personal injury case is different, so the length of time it can take a case to conclude depends on the circumstances of your claim. Injuries and Medical Treatment The most important part of any personal injury claim is the type of medical treatment you receive. Making sure you get all of the medical treatment you need is essential to putting your life back on track. Once you have recovered from your injuries, or have reached as much of a recovery as possible, your doctor will have a better idea of how your injuries will affect your future. In some cases, you may have to see specialists or undergo surgery which can take time. If you settle prematurely, you may not receive all of the compensation you need to be treated properly.  Legal or Factual Issues Sometimes there may be legal or factual questions that require some investigation on the part of your attorney. For instance, if you’ve been in a Florida truck accident, there may be an issue regarding whether poor truck maintenance was the cause of your injuries and whether the trucking company should be held liable. There also may be issues regarding how an accident occurred and who was at fault. These questions all involve investigations and collecting evidence and can take time depending on the circumstances. Amount of Money Involved Sometimes due to high medical bills and other expenses, there may be a large amount of money involved in your case. The negotiation process for large sums can take more time as the insurance company won’t part with the money easily. An experiencedattorney will pursue a fair amount for your circumstances.  Filing a Lawsuit While most cases settle without the need for a trial, there is still the possibility that an insurance company won’t settle and the case will have to go to trial. If a case goes to trial, it can take a year or more to complete.   Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney  In order to seek the best settlement possible, it’s important to hire a personal injury attorney who is experienced and trusted. Contact the lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, and we will evaluate your case for free. Schedule your free consultation today by contacting us online or calling us at 1-800-538-4878.

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5 Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies After an Accident

Category: Accidents |

Insurance companies make their profits by providing protection to individuals if they are involved in an accident. However, they don’t make money paying out on accident claims. Paying out claims eats into the profits of insurance companies. If you’ve been involved in an accident, you can expect that your insurance company and the insurance company of the at-fault driver will do their best to pay out as little as possible. That’s why it’s important to take the right steps when dealing with these companies so that your interests are protected. Gather Evidence Being involved in an accident can be overwhelming, but it is important to try and keep a cool head and gather as much evidence as you can right after an accident. Take as many pictures of the scene and the vehicles involved as you can. Gather witness statements and information. All of this evidence will increase the likelihood of proving your claim. Keep Good Records Keep records of any accident-related transaction you make. Keep receipts of all medical expenses, doctor recommendations, repair estimates, a copy of the police report, and any other documentation that may be relevant to your claim. Handle Communications in a Timely Manner Whether you’re filing a claim against your own insurance company or the insurance company of the at-fault driver, it is always important to act promptly. For instance, PIP insurance requires that you seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Hire a Personal Injury Attorney No matter how friendly an insurance adjuster may seem, they are not your side. In order to seek to maximize your settlement and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled, it is important to have a nearby personal injury attorney working for you.  An attorney can take care of the details and level the playing field between you and the insurance company. Having an attorney can help ensure that your interests are protected. Let the Experts Negotiate Some insurance companies may try to offer you a quick settlement to entice you not to hire a lawyer. If you let a personal injury lawyer handle the negotiations on your behalf, you have a better chance of receiving the maximum settlement. Leave the negotiations in the hands of someone who is more experienced so you can ensure that your claim is not denied or you receive inadequate compensation. Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, it is crucial that you have an experienced vehicle attorney evaluate your case as soon as possible. The trusted attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience and want to help you. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to set up your free consultation as soon as possible.

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Finding the Right Doctor After Your Car Accident

Category: Accidents |

Car accidents can be frightening and stressful. They can also result in serious and painful injuries. It is important to be evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, even if your injuries appear to be minor. Since a car accident is a unique circumstance, it is important to find the right doctor to examine and treat you. Emergency Room/Urgent Care If you have been severely injured in a car accident, chances are that you will be transported by ambulance to an emergency room. When you are taken to the emergency room or go to an urgent care facility after an accident, you typically don’t have the opportunity to choose your physician. When you are released, however, you will be advised to seek follow-up treatment with another physician. Do not Rely Solely on Your Primary Care Physician Primary care physicians are usually accustomed to treating illnesses and are not equipped to handle things such as spinal injuries, concussions, and fractures. Your primary care physician may refuse to see you for your car accident injury if they are not equipped to bill PIP (car insurance). If you do contact your primary care physician, they may be able to refer you to a specialist who is better prepared to handle your injury. Find a Doctor who Specializes in Car Accidents Car accident injuries can be complicated so, if possible, you should try to find a doctor who specializes in this type of treatment. Car accident doctors will know how to properly document your injuries and will be sure to take photographs and statements when necessary. A car accident doctor will also understand the proper forms and rules involved with billing car insurance for your treatment. Find a Doctor You Feel Comfortable With Open and honest communication with your doctor is essential, especially when you are dealing with the long-term effects of a car accident injury. Make sure you find a doctor that listens to you and that you feel you can talk to openly. Always be honest with your doctor about your medical history and your recovery. If you feel like your doctor is not taking the time to explain things to you or answer your questions, it may be time to find a new doctor. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk are here to help. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation today.

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Tips for Taking Good Car Accident Photos

Category: Accidents |

Being involved in a car accident is a stressful and emotional event. It’s important to remain calm and try to gather as much evidence and information as you can. Documenting evidence at the scene can become an important part of any legal case down the road. After a car accident, photos on your phone may be your best bet for preserving evidence. Photos can tell a story that words can’t. Photos can help corroborate your version of events and prevent fabrication by other parties. To take good car accident photos make sure that you: Time and Location Stamp Your Photos Make sure your phone or camera has a way of documenting the time. Most smartphones are able to do this if you make sure location services are turned on. This will help show exactly where the photo was taken. You can also text the photos to yourself or a loved one to create a record of the time. Photograph the Scene of the Accident Take some wide-angle shots of the entire scene. Make sure to get all involved vehicles in the picture. Take pictures of any relevant traffic signals or stop signs. Pictures of street signs can also be helpful. Pictures of skid marks and any debris on the road can also help paint a picture of the scene. Photograph Injuries If you or your passengers have visible injuries such as scrapes, bruising, or lacerations make sure to get pictures while awaiting medical attention. These photos will help show the injuries before they are cleaned up by medical personnel. If there is any swelling or further bruising the following day, be sure to take pictures of that as well. Photograph Damage Take pictures of the damage sustained by the vehicles involved. Be sure to get wide-angle and close-up shots to give better context for the photos. Super close, out of focus, and blurry images are not helpful. Photograph License Plates and Other Information Try to photograph all license plates of the vehicles involved. You can also take a photo of the other driver’s license and proof of insurance. When taking photos at the scene, make sure your flash settings are correct. If it is night time, you probably need your flash. But if there are overhead street lamps then a flash may not be necessary. You can check photos instantly with your phone or digital camera so make sure they come out okay before moving on. Don’t be afraid to take dozens of photographs if necessary. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you should consult with a personal injury law firm. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Why You Should Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

Category: Accidents |

When you’ve been injured in an accident or as the result of someone’s negligence, you may be on the fence about hiring a personal injury attorney to help you with your case. There are many reasons why you shouldn’t take on a claim alone. A personal injury attorney is critical to your case if you have suffered serious injuries. Reasons to hire a personal injury lawyer include: Experience Assessing Claims An experienced personal injury attorney has handled hundreds of cases just like yours. They are in the best position to assess how much your claim might be worth and the appropriate steps to take. No Fees if You Don’t Recover Because most personal injury cases are based on a contingency fee arrangement, you don’t have to pay the attorney any fees if you don’t recover damages in your case. If you do win, fees and costs would come out of the settlement amount. Objectivity Being injured in an accident can be stressful, and you may not always be in the right frame of mind to handle your claim alone. An attorney can take an objective look at your case and make decisions based on facts and not emotions, thereby helping to help pursue the maximum compensation. Save Time Gathering together medical records, medical files, police records, and dealing with insurance companies can take a lot of time. If you put your trust in a personal injury attorney to handle the details, you can save yourself some time and hassle. Experience with Insurance Companies Personal injury attorneys are used to working with insurance companies. They do it every day and know the ins and outs of the system. Fair Representation in Court Although many cases are settled out of court, if a trial becomes necessary, a personal injury attorney can zealously represent you in court. Your attorney will work hard to obtain the best possible jury verdict in your case. Act Quickly If you are going to hire an attorney, you should act quickly. Insurance companies begin asking questions immediately. Let an attorney handle those questions for you. In addition, there may be evidence that needs to preserved as soon as possible so give the attorney an opportunity to determine that up front. If you’ve been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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My Child Was Injured by Negligence. Now What?

Category: Accidents |

As parents, it is our job to protect our children from injury of any type. But sometimes you can’t protect your child from someone else’s negligence in Florida. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for children and most child injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents. While you may not be able to protect your child from everything, you can make sure that those responsible for his or her injury are held accountable. Filing a Child Injury Case The general rule in Florida is that minor children cannot file lawsuits on their own behalf because they are not of legal age to do so. This means that a parent or legal guardian must pursue the case on behalf of the child. Different rules apply to cases involving minor children. As a parent, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your child is injured as there are a number of important reasons why you may not want to wait to file your claim. Children can receive the same damages that an adult would receive in a personal injury lawsuit. These include medical expenses, pain, and suffering, and in some cases lost earning potential. In some instances, parents can file a lawsuit to recover their own damages resulting from the child’s injury. Can a Parent Settle a Lawsuit on Behalf of a Minor Child? Florida has a specific law in place that governs the settlement of cases on behalf of a child. If a settlement amount is less than $15,000, then a parent or guardian can settle a claim on behalf of the child without the approval of a court. If the settlement amount is $15,000 or more, however, then the parties must seek court approval of the settlement. There are also special procedures for the distribution of any monetary settlement awarded to a minor. Contact a Trusted Attorney If your child has been injured as the result of someone’s negligence, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Things to Consider When Buying Auto Insurance

Category: Accidents |

Buying auto insurance means thinking about the future and no one wants to believe they may one day be involved in an accident. But it’s important to prepare for anything, and the best way to protect yourself is to purchase the right insurance. Florida Minimum Requirements Florida is a no-fault state, which means that if you are injured in an accident, your own car insurance is required to cover 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages. This coverage is known as personal injury protection (PIP), and Florida requires all drivers to have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage. Florida also requires that you have $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) to pay for any damage to the other driver’s vehicle if you were at fault. Coverage Options to Think About While you may be tempted to take your chances and save a little money by only carrying the minimum amount of car insurance, this could hurt you down the road. You should also consider purchasing the following: More Personal Injury Protection: Medical bills are expensive, and $10,000 may not be enough to cover all your expenses. You should consider getting extended PIP coverage. Collision Insurance:With collision insurance, you won’t have to pay out of pocket if your car is damaged in an accident. Bodily Injury Liability Insurance:If you are at fault in an accident that causes serious injury, you should purchase liability insurance to protect your assets. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM):If you are seriously injured in a car accident and your case is worth more than the other person’s insurance coverage, or if the person that hits you has no insurance at all, you will need UM coverage to pay your expenses. GAP Insurance:If you owe more on your car than it is worth you should consider getting GAP insurance. If your car is totaled, GAP insurance will cover the difference between the value of your car and the remainder of your loan. Extras:You can also purchase things like rental car coverage and roadside assistance as part of your plan. Contact a Trusted Attorney If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Expert Witnesses in a Car Accident Case

Category: Accidents |

Some car accident cases involve a fairly straightforward determination of who was at fault and what injuries were the result of the collision. However, other accidents can be more complicated and may require the assistance of expert witnesses to help piece the facts together. There are different types of expert witnesses that can be utilized in a car accident case. Medical Experts Medical experts can testify about the injuries and medical conditions sustained as the result of an accident. These experts can testify about prognosis, expected recovery, and what types of medical treatments have been performed or may need to be performed in the future.  Also, medical experts may be able to testify about the degree of pain and suffering that an injury causes. Accident Reconstructionists These experts have specialized training in unraveling accidents and can help rebuild the chain of events that led to a crash. The experts then use this information to show what exactly occurred in the accident. Accident reconstructionists may use models, diagrams, and computer programs to help recreate the events of a crash. They can also determine the physics of the accident, sometimes presenting information such as the speed the vehicles were traveling, the force of the impact, and which direction vehicles were moving at the time. All of this information can be helpful in establishing a causal link between the accident and the injuries sustained. An accident reconstructionist’s visual account of an accident can be an important role in assisting a jury in understanding the facts. Highway Safety Expert An engineer may be hired to provide information about the existing road conditions leading up to or surrounding an accident. These experts should have an extensive understanding of state and federal guidelines on roadway design and construction. Economist If an accident victim misses time from work or is struggling financially because of injuries sustained in an accident, an economist may help calculate the amount of damages due. An economist can also be helpful in calculating the cost of any diminished earning capacity and the amount of lost wages and medical expenses that may be incurred in the future. There are a number of factors that go into these calculations, including inflation, loss of possible promotions, the increasing costs of medical care, and loss of any pension benefits. Contact a Trusted Attorney The most important expert you can have in your car accident case is an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Category: Accidents |

Spinal cord injuries can be caused in many different ways. They frequently occur as the result of auto accidents but can also result from slip and falls or other incidents that cause a sudden, traumatic impact to the spine. These types of injuries can have a life-altering impact on families and individuals. Types of Spinal Cord Injuries Spinal cord injuries usually begin with some type of blow that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. Vertebrae are the bones that protect your spinal cord. Spinal cord injuries can sometimes be catastrophic.  These injuries can result in partial or complete paralysis, problems with breathing, incontinence, bedsores and serious illnesses like pneumonia. The extent and the severity of a spinal cord injury mostly depend on where in the spine the injury occurs and whether the injury is considered “complete” or “incomplete.”  When a spinal cord injury is described by a medical professional as “complete,” it usually means the patient has no motor or sensory function at or below the site of the injury. An “incomplete” spinal cord injury is typically one where there is some type of sensory deficit below the injury site, but physical movement is still possible. Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries Because most spinal cord injuries may have life-altering and permanent consequences, compensation from any claim involving these types of injuries should address not only an individual’s current pain and suffering but also the significant medical expenses and expected future medical costs that will likely accrue.  Costs that may be associated with a spinal cord injury could add up to over a million dollars in the first year alone. Costs may include some type of home health care, motorized wheelchairs, modifications to the victim’s automobile, and renovations to the victim’s home. If an injury may have been caused by someone’s negligence, it is important to have an attorney knowledgeable and experienced in spinal cord injuries. Any compensation received from a spinal cord injury case must be sufficient to pay for the ongoing costs of rehabilitation and health care that may last for the rest of the victim’s life; it is crucial that victims have experienced attorneys who will aggressively fight for this compensation. Contact an Experienced Florida Accident Attorney If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury due to someone’s negligence, it’s important to contact an experienced attorney to evaluate your case. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk or call us 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Distracted Driving and In-vehicle Technology

Category: Accidents |

When you buy a new car now, it comes with all kinds of fascinating features. It is now estimated that within 5 years, approximately 90% of new vehicles will come with information and entertainment systems. Vehicle infotainment systems, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or Toyota’s Entune system, can help you send text messages, make phone calls, check the weather, find a radio station, and operate the navigation system, all while you’re driving. But these new features can be dangerous for drivers. What is Distracted Driving? Distracted driving is driving your vehicle without devoting all of your focus to that task. A distracted driver is trying to do multiple things at once. They are driving and possibly talking to a passenger, eating, putting on makeup, disciplining children, or engaging with a car’s in-vehicle technology. Because these activities take away at least part of your focus, it becomes a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. Why is In-vehicle Technology Dangerous? The infotainment system in your car can be a tempting distraction. The automobile industry claims that these new systems are better and safer alternatives for drivers than mobile phone and navigation systems that were not designed for people to use while driving. However, a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that the infotainment systems in new cars could distract drivers for over 40 seconds at a time. According to AAA, just looking away from the road for two seconds can almost double your chance of being involved in an accident. Programming the navigation system was the most time-intensive task, forcing drivers to take their eyes off the road for more than 40 seconds. In that amount of time, a car driving 25 miles per hour would travel the length of four football fields, all while mostly driving blind. Preventing Distracted Driving Researchers say that these infotainment systems can be made safer by following federal recommendations such as logging out texts, disabling social media, and not allowing the programming of the navigation system while the car is in motion. But there are also steps you can take to reduce your own distracted driving. There are clear steps you can take, like not programming your navigation system until your vehicle is parked. You can also place your phone in the glove compartment and make a choice not to sync it to the in-vehicle technology system. While this might not be realistic for all, there are other options to help you avoid the temptation of engaging with your car’s infotainment system, such as installing driving apps on your phone to prevent you from being distracted. Contact an Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney If you’ve been injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk or call us at 1-800-538-4878 to schedule your free consultation.

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Hillsborough County Traffic Accident Stats – Updated

Category: Accidents |

Hillsborough County has been the site of thousands of road accidents since the beginning of 2018. Understanding the statistics at play can help you to drive safely when navigating the county’s roads. When you’re aware of the number of accidents occurring in different circumstances, you can accurately protect yourself against those circumstances. This information has been provided as a public service by the Tampa car accident lawyers of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence or fault of another call us today for a no-obligation, free consultation at 800-538-4878 Total Crashes in Hillsborough County You can break down the accident statistics by the total number of automobile crashes there have been in the county since the beginning of the year. The total number of car crashes as of May 1, 2018 is 9,448. This means nearly ten thousand collisions and accidents have been reported, many of which could have been avoided. There have been 204 pedestrian crashes since the beginning of the year. For the purpose of these statistics, a pedestrian is defined as a non-motorist who was not inside a vehicle at the time of the crash. Additionally, there have been 165 bicycle crashes. Pedestrian and bicycle crashes are some of the most dangerous accidents that can occur on the road. If a pedestrian or bicyclist is hit by a vehicle, they do not have the same protection from the impact that a person in another vehicle does. Additionally, they’re at risk of becoming trapped beneath the vehicle or thrown out of the vehicle. To keep yourself safe as a bicyclist, you should always make sure to wear your helmet. Ride with traffic rather than against it, and be sure to observe all traffic laws. To stay safe as a pedestrian, obey traffic laws. Walk with the flow of traffic and use sidewalks where they’re available. When there is no sidewalk, walk far from the shoulder of the road. Only cross the street in crosswalks, look both ways, and pay attention to traffic lights and walk signals where appropriate. Injuries and Fatalities in Automobile Accidents Of the 9,448 total crashes since the beginning of the year, 4,285 resulted in injuries. The total number of injuries in automobile-related crashes as of May 1st is 6,576. Breaking down these numbers, almost half of the reported crashes have involved injuries. In at least one-third of collisions, more than one person was injured, whether that person was the driver of a vehicle or a passenger. (See Types of Car Accidents) To avoid being injured in an accident, you should make sure your car complies with all safety protocols. Have your brakes checked frequently. Always make sure that your tires have an appropriate amount of pressure and tread to avoid blowouts. You should adhere to the posted speed limit, and always be sure to slow down in hazardous weather conditions. Fifty-five (55) of the currently reported crashes have resulted in fatalities. There have been 58 total traffic-related fatalities since the beginning of the year. This means most automobile crashes had only one fatality, but some have had more than one. Observe the rules of the road and basic safety guidelines to keep yourself and your automobile passengers safe when you drive. Crashes Causing Property Damage Of the 9,448 total reported crashes, 5,108 have caused some form of property damage. Oftentimes this is referring to the damage done to the vehicles themselves. Sometimes, however, vehicles cause property damage to buildings or road signs. Again, you can avoid this by paying attention to the rules of the road. Pedestrian and Bicycle Fatalities All fatalities on the road are tragic. Pedestrians and bicyclists are more vulnerable in an accident than motorists. This is reflected in the statistics regarding their collisions. Of the 204 pedestrian-involved collisions since the beginning of the year, there were 14 fatalities. That’s a fatality rate of more than 5%. (Conversely, the automobile fatality rate is less than 0.7%.) Of the 165 bicycle crashes, there have been 5 fatalities for a percentage of 3%. The statistics prove that pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on the road at any given time. Bicyclists are a close second. Because pedestrians often aren’t wearing helmets, they’re more susceptible to head trauma. They’re also more likely to become pinned underneath a car. Commercial Vehicle Collisions Of the 9,448 total crashes since the start of the year, 1,004 of them involved commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles are defined as vehicles which carry goods or passengers paying fares. Taxis and professional trucks both fall under this umbrella. There aren’t currently statistics breaking down commercial vehicle crashes by their use. Many of the vehicles on the road are commercial vehicles, but commercial vehicles make up a comparatively small percentage of overall collisions. This may be partly due to the extra training that the drivers of commercial vehicles receive. They are subject to more rules and regulations than average motorists. If you obey all traffic laws, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of a collision. Vigilance and defensive driving are your greatest allies when staying safe on the road. We urge you to remain safe on the roads in Tampa, however, if you or a loved one has suffered due to the negligence or fault of another call us today for a no obligation, free consultation at 800-538-4878

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Road Safety – Florida’s Move-Over Law

Category: Accidents |

When traveling to or living in Florida, it’s imperative that you understand the “move-over” law, both for your safety and for the safety of those around you. Our Tampa, Florida car accident attorneys will explain. What is Florida’s Move Over Law? The move-over law in Florida is simple: When you see stopped tow trucks, utility service vehicles, emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, or law enforcement, you’re required to move over one lane as long as you have the ability to safely do so. This gives the stopped vehicles space and lowers the chances of a collision. What If I Can’t Move Over? If you cannot move over due to traffic conditions, you must slow your vehicle to a speed that’s 20 mph lower than the currently posted speed limit. This rule also applies if you are driving on a road with only a single lane. Should the speed limit be 20 mph or under, you should slow your speed to 5 mph. Additional Information About the Move Over Law in Florida That’s the basic gist of the law, though more details are as follows: When an emergency services vehicle approaches with lights or siren on, all motorists must immediately yield the right-of-way. You should move your vehicle either over the curb or as close to the curb as you safely can, yield parallel to the white line, and allow the vehicle to pass. Emergency services vehicles with lights and sirens activated are en route to or coming from an emergency, and their work is time sensitive. Yielding the right-of-way saves lives. As mentioned, drivers must move from the closest lane to a parked utility or emergency vehicle when it is safe to do so. The only exception is when a law enforcement official directs traffic otherwise. Cars should never cross the yellow line to vacate the lane. On one lane roads, vehicles should instead slow down as previously indicated. The DHSMV is required to create an awareness campaign to inform drivers about the law. All driving education materials printed and published after the law went into effect have information about the law. Pedestrians usually have the right-of-way by default. However, when an emergency vehicle passes with lights or sirens activated, the pedestrian must yield the right-of-way to the vehicle. The only exception is if a law enforcement official directs otherwise. Emergency vehicles are legally required to use their sirens or lights to inform motorists when they are en route to an emergency. Emergency vehicles must also comply with vehicular traffic laws while traveling to emergencies. Emergency vehicle drivers are responsible for conducting their vehicle in a safe manner. All laws and regulations regarding driver responsibility, both for normal vehicles and emergency vehicles, remain unchanged. What is the Penalty for Violating the Move Over Law? The penalty for noncompliance with the move-over law is a noncriminal infraction. You will be given a fine, additional fees, and have three points added to your driving record. It’s important to be familiar with this law. Move-over laws have been passed forty-three of fifty states; it’s not just a courtesy, it’s the law. When you fail to move over or slow down, you put the lives of emergency and utility workers at risk. Consequences of Drivers Failing to Move Over In Florida in 2017, there were 212 crashes caused by vehicles failing to move over. In addition, more than 17,000 citations were issued to motorists who refused to move over. The DHSMV does its best to educate drivers about the law, but many people continue to ignore it. The Move-Over Law went into effect in 2002. Many older motorists received their licenses prior to the law’s passing and genuinely do not know of its existence. Current DHSMV handbooks have educational information about the Move-Over Law, but drivers prior to 2002 didn’t have these educational materials while learning to drive. The leading cause of law enforcement officer deaths in Florida in 2017 was traffic-related fatalities, many of which occurred because drivers didn’t comply with the move-over law. It cannot be emphasized enough as to how important is it to keep roadside workers safe. Oftentimes law enforcement and public service workers cannot be easily seen from the road, especially in poor weather conditions or during the night. Working on the side of busy roads is a huge safety hazard, one that’s easily mitigated when drivers slow down. Move over and watch carefully. Raising Awareness of the Florida Move Over Law The Florida DHSMV is partnering with AAA, the Florida Sheriffs Association, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Florida Police Chiefs Association to increase awareness of the move-over law and help keep roadside workers safer in 2018. The Move Over, Florida! campaign aims to increase awareness and compliance with the law. The campaign is sorely needed and has been embraced by emergency and public service workers. Seventy-one percent of Americans have never even heard of “Move Over” laws. Even so, eighty-six percent of Americans support nationwide “Move Over” laws (currently these laws exist in only forty-three out of fifty states). Ninety percent of Americans concur that roadside emergencies and traffic stops are dangerous for first responders and for law enforcement. If you’re traveling to Florida from out-of-state, the move-over law is one of the first you should familiarize yourself with. Individual states have slightly different laws and penalties for violating those laws. Whenever you travel or vacation to a new state, you should look up the traffic laws which differ from those in your own state. For example, some state laws lack language specifically requiring a vehicle to move into another lane. In certain states, vehicles are only required to give emergency and utility vehicles a “wide berth,” which doesn’t necessarily include a lane change. Certain other states and territories lack laws about slowing down when passing vehicles parked on the shoulder, regardless of whether or not they’ve implemented a move-over law. Move Over, America! is a group which advocates for the implementation of move-over laws across the...

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Summer Accident Dangers – Be Safe on the Roads

Category: Accidents |

While Florida is famous as a gorgeous vacation destination, it’s also famous for its hot and humid summers. Summer vacations and driving come with a host of increased risks, especially in Florida’s particular climate. Understanding the increased summer dangers will help you take steps to ensure your safety, passenger safety, and the safety of all other motorists and pedestrians on the roadway. If you have been injured on the roads, due to the negligence or fault of another, call our accident attorneys, we are available 24/7 and will provide you with a free, no obligation case evaluation – call today 800-538-4878 Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer vacation season in the United States. Weddings, holidays, family gatherings, beach trips, and general vacations are all more likely to be planned in the summer than any other season. But according to the NHTSA, summer is the deadliest season for vehicular travel. What is it about summer that makes driving so much more dangerous? 1. Increased Road Congestion Summer is the biggest vacation and travel season of the year. July and August, in particular, tend to be tourist-heavy in Florida, especially when several Florida tourist attractions are only open seasonally. In addition, many people have vacation and second homes in Florida that they only live in during the summer season. An influx of permanent residents and vacationers means that the roads are more congested in the summer than during any other time of the year. Heavier traffic means more hazards and potential for error. This makes the rate of two-vehicle collisions higher during the summer than during other seasons. 2. More Inexperienced Drivers High schools and colleges have both let out for the season, leaving teenagers swaths of free time. The freedom to drive is an important one in teenage independence, but the increased number of teenage drivers on the road can cause hazards. Teen drivers don’t have as much driving experience as older adults and are prone to more vehicular errors. 3. Distracted Driving Distracted driving is always a problem, but it’s even more dangerous in the summertime than in other seasons. Texting while driving is illegal in Florida because distracted driving has been proven just as dangerous as driving under the influence. When you text and drive, you distract your eyes, mind, and hands from the task of driving. All three of these aspects should be solely focused on driving at any given time. During the summer in Florida, there are more pedestrians, bicyclists, and tourists on the roads. Tourists are also often unfamiliar with traffic patterns and safe places to cross the street. It’s worth noting that a pedestrian always has the right of way, even when no crosswalk is visible. Distracted drivers are at a much higher risk of injuring or killing bicyclists, tourists, or motorcyclists. 4. Heat Intolerance The summer heat itself can be dangerous. On an eighty-degree day, a parked car can quickly reach temperatures of more than one hundred degrees. Every year there are tragic news headlines about pets or young children dying of heatstroke in parked vehicles. It’s essential that you not leave children or pets in a car in general; this is even more imperative on hot days. Heat can be dangerous while driving as well. If your car doesn’t have proper cooling or air conditioning systems, the driver can be at risk for heatstroke while driving down the road. Heatstroke slows reaction time, alters your mental state and behavior, and causes debilitating headaches and nausea. Drivers with heatstroke are in danger both from the heat itself and from the increased risk of accidents due to slowed reaction time. 5. Brightness Some of the danger during the summer is a simple visibility issue. On cloudless days, the sun is extremely bright. If your windshield and mirrors aren’t clean, the sun’s reflection makes visibility even more difficult. Vehicular accidents caused by the sun’s brightness usually occur during early morning or evening commutes, when the sun is too low to shield your eyes from. 6. Storms and Hydroplaning Florida’s rainiest season happens between May and October. When heavy rains fall on usually-dry roads, the soil can’t absorb the moisture. This increases the risk of flooding and hydroplaning. The water can’t run into the soil, so it gathers on the roadways, where cars driving too fast are likely to lose control. Accidents are also likely to occur in rainy conditions because of poor visibility. When Florida summers are defined by their rainfall, it’s not a wonder accident rates are higher during these months. 7. Tire Blowouts When your tires heat up, the air inside them expands, greatly increasing their air pressure. Hot weather and hot pavement can combine to cause catastrophic tire blowouts, which in turn can lead to swerving and car accidents. 8. Increased Construction Many construction projects are completed during the summer months. Construction work is more likely to be scheduled during the summer than any other season. Construction zones usually have reduced speeds, narrow lanes, and unusual traffic patterns. Drivers who don’t pay enough attention to their surroundings are at risk of causing an accident. How to Protect Yourself You can’t control every driver on the road, but you can take a few steps to increase your own safety during the summer months: Slow down when driving in heavy traffic Always check your blind spot when merging, even if you’re certain there’s no vehicle there Follow all road safety rules and practice defensive driving Turn your phone onto Do Not Disturb mode or place it in the backseat to avoid distracted driving temptations Make sure all passengers are wearing their seatbelts and do not begin driving until all seatbelts are fastened Update your air conditioning system or drive with the windows rolled down to prevent heatstroke Shield your eyes and drive slowly in increased brightness conditions Slow down in wet weather conditions Learn how your vehicle should respond to hydroplaning Perform regular tire inspections and maintenance (treads and pressure should be...

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Spring Break & Summer Vacation Road Safety Tips

Category: Accidents |

Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. Boasting gorgeous beaches, unique tourist attractions, and incredible real estate, Florida is a place that both families and individual vacationers flock to given the chance. Whether you’re a Florida native or just passing through, there are a few driving safety tips to keep in mind to give you positive memories rather than potential heartbreak. The legal team at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk urges you to exercise caution when travelling on the road. If you or a loved one has suffered due to the fault of another on our roads call our accident attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation at 800-538-4878 1. Don’t drink and drive.   Impaired driving not only endangers you, it endangers everyone around you. Make sure that you always have a sober driver or other transportation home (a bus, Uber, traditional cab, etc). And err on the side of caution: If you think you might be too drunk to drive, you probably are. DUIs have serious and long-lasting personal and legal consequences. You could lose your license, pay expensive fines, or even do time in jail. And that’s nothing compared to the emotional devastation that comes with an injury-causing accident. Do the right thing during your vacation; trust a sober driver.   2. Have your car inspected. This is especially imperative if you’re visiting Florida from out-of-state — if you’re going on a long road trip, you need to be sure your car is up to the task. Many drivers forget to double check key aspects of their car’s performance before they set off, which can cause breakdowns or even car accidents. Double check your headlights, turn signals, and dashboard accuracy. Then make sure your brakes and transmission don’t need updating or repairs. Whether you’re going on a road trip or not, you should check your car brakes annually or after 20,000 miles — whichever comes first. Make sure you double check that all your car’s fluids are up-to-date, too. If you need an oil change, get it done. Need more windshield wiper fluid? Now’s the time. 3. Check your tire quality. If you’re going to be covering large amounts of ground or off-roading, you need high quality tires. You should buy a pressure gauge and run a check on all of your tires. Most vehicles should have their tires rotated after every five thousand miles or so. Do the “penny test” — push an upside-down penny into your tire’s tread. If you can still see the whole of Abraham Lincoln’s head, your treads are dangerously thin, and your wheels should be replaced. Make sure that you have a spare tire as well. Several makes and models of modern vehicles don’t automatically come equipped with the spare tire anymore. Having a spare with you can be the difference between a half hour on the side of the road versus hours waiting for a tow. 4. Make sure the individualized settings are optimized for you. This one’s fairly intuitive, but worth mentioning especially when you’re going on a long trip. Make sure that both your rear view and side mirrors give you an unobstructed view of the traffic. If you have luggage, ensure it isn’t blocking the back windshield or any windows. And make sure your seat and steering wheel are both adjusted comfortably. 5. Understand the safety features of your car. Many cars, especially cars manufactured in the last five years or so, come with their own driver assistance technology. This can cover everything from backup cameras to automatic crash braking. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the safety features of your car’s make and model. While you’re at it, make sure that your airbags and any other internal safety features are functional and safely configured. If you plan to use cruise control on a road trip, make sure you understand both automatic and manual ways of switching it off if need be. 6. Pack an emergency kit in case of breakdowns. In addition to the spare tire and atlas, you should have an emergency kit just in case you run into trouble on the road. Even cars that have just been fully inspected can run into unexpected issues, so it’s best to prepare yourself. Your emergency kit should have warm blankets, water, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit just in case you’re stranded for an extended period of time. It should also have road flares for situations in which you need to signal drivers but are unable to use your flashers. And jumper cables are a must-have for charging a dead battery or jump starting a stalled car. If you do break down, call for roadside assistance as soon as everyone’s safety is secured. Investing in roadside assistance is ideal, especially before a long road trip. Roadside assistance can help you with everything from accidentally locking your keys in your car to a completely dead engine. 7. Follow basic safety protocols. a. Florida law requires all front seat passengers in a vehicle to wear a seatbelt. All passengers under the age of 18 must also wear a seatbelt regardless of their position in the vehicle. Even disregarding legality, it’s been proven that wearing your seatbelt reduces injuries and deaths in automobile accidents by more than fifty percent. This means that your chance of being seriously injured or killed in an accident is more than twice as high if you don’t wear your seatbelt. b. In addition, you should make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep if you’re planning to drive for long periods of time. Keep your eyes on the road. Take breaks when you need them, stay alert, and switch drivers frequently if you have multiple passengers with valid driver’s licenses. c. Don’t speed, and don’t tailgate people, especially on the interstate. The DMV recommends a three-second following distance when driving, which gives you time to react and stop should the car in front of you brake suddenly. The legal team at...

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What Is Important To Know About Accidental Death

Category: Accidents |

It is possible for a person to be the victim of an accidental death. This is when someone dies as a result of an event that was unusual as well as unanticipated. It could have been caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity. It is also known as a wrongful death. The accident and wrongful death attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provide free case evaluations with no obligation – call 1-800-538-4878 today. Statutes Florida has statutes designed to permit the deceased’s survivors to begin court action to seek damages in the case of a wrongful death. This type of claim is considered a civil legal action. In Florida, the state statute 768.19 covers death resulting from an act of negligence. Elements There are four elements that must be present for a death to be considered a wrongful death. It also must be shown the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. Should the wrongful death involve a medical healthcare provider as the defendant, it must be shown the healthcare provider breached their duty of care by the negligent treatment they provided. It must be proven negligence was involved. This means it must be shown how the death was entirely or partially caused by the carelessness, recklessness negligent actions of the defendant in the case. A key element to proving a wrongful death is showing how negligence is the direct cause of an individual’s death. The death must have resulted in identifiable damages. This could include medical expenses, loss of inheritance, loss of potential income as well as loss of earnings, protection, guidance, funeral as well as burial costs, and more. Who Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuit In the state of Florida, the law makes it necessary for a personal representative of a deceased individual’s estate to file a claim for the wrongful death. This representative may be identified in a deceased individual’s will or as part of their estate plan. Should there be no such representative mentioned in an estate plan or will, they are to be appointed by a Florida court. All personal representatives are required to list every survivor who is legally recognized to have an interest in the lawsuit. Legal Definition Of Survivor The state of Florida considers a deceased individual’s spouse, children as well as parents to be survivors. A survivor could also be any deceased individual’s blood relatives. This could be an adoptive child who was wholly or partially dependent on the deceased individual for their care or financial support and more. It’s also possible for a child conceived from unmarried parents to be legally considered a survivor if their mother dies. If the child’s father is the victim of a wrongful death, they can only be considered a beneficiary if the father legally recognized them as their child and provided support. Investigating Relationships It’s important for those filing a wrongful death action to know it’s common for a defendant to investigate the details of the relationship between the survivors and the deceased. Should they be able to find any evidence to contradict a survivor’s claim, they will present these findings in open court. The amount of damages awarded is usually determined by the deceased person’s contribution to those claiming to be survivors. A damage award can be significantly decreased if a defendant can show a decedent spent their income on things other than a survivor. The defendant’s goal will be to prove the survivor did not have a close emotional relationship with the deceased. Types Of Damages In a wrongful death lawsuit, the damages sought will fall into three different categories. There are economic, non-economic as well as punitive damages. Economic Damages This involves compensation for any financial contributions the deceased would have made to the survivor if they had remained alive. This can also include loss of inheritance, medical as well as funeral expenses resulting from the death. The loss of a pension and other financial benefits including the expected earnings of the deceased and more. Non-Economic Damages Non-economic damages include compensation for a survivor’s pain and suffering, mental anguish. It could also include a loss of consortium from a relationship with the deceased. A survivor could also sue to receive compensation for the loss of companionship, love, and support from the deceased. Punitive Damages These are awards in situations where the defendant’s actions involving the wrongful death were so egregious that financial punishment is necessary. In these cases, the court will permit evidence to be presented showing a defendant’s net worth. Ordinarily, in Florida, the maximum amount of punitive damages survivors can receive is three times the amount of the compensatory damages awarded by the court or $500,000, whichever amount is greater. There are exceptions to this cap for, particularly egregious conduct. Process Any survivor who wants to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida needs to understand the many steps that will be involved. This will include researching applicable law, investigating the claim, interviewing witnesses as well as talking to experts and more. During the process, there could be a demand for mediation as well as a settlement offer to be considered. Should the mediation not succeed, a trial by injury may be the only way to resolve the case. State Government Limitations It is possible to sue the state of Florida for wrongful death, but there are limitations. A government employee won’t be made personally responsible and each claim must be filed against the part of the government that employs the individual at fault for the wrongful death. The maximum amount that a survivor can be awarded is $300,000 regardless of the number of survivors. Obtaining the best possible legal representation in a wrongful death case can make a big difference in seeking fair compensation. It’s important to hire a knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death attorney. Our attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk provide a free case evaluation with no obligation – call us today at 1-800-538-4878

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The 10 Essential Components You Need To Maximize The Compensation You May Be Seeking

Category: Accidents |

When you have been injured in an accident, the amount of financial compensation you might recover is based on the amount you have lost (and will lose in the future). This includes not only financial losses – medical bills, loss of income, and other expenses – but also non-financial losses, such as loss of services and loss of enjoyment of life. In order to prove the extent of your losses after a serious accident, along with seeking prompt medical attention and legal representation, one of the best things you can do is to start keeping an Injury and Symptom Diary. This is a place – a notebook, a calendar, a computer file, or an app on your phone – where you record all of the ways that your injuries impact your life. Here are some tips for keeping an Injury and Symptom Diary after an accident in Tampa, FL: Your Injury and Symptom Diary: 10 Essential Components In most cases, an Injury and Symptom Diary should include the following types of information: 1. Pain Location Where do you feel pain? Keep detailed notes on the pain you experience as a result of your injuries. Is it on your left or right side (or both)? Is it localized or does it radiate throughout an area of your body? Can you pinpoint the exact area where the pain occurs? 2. Pain Level In addition to pain location, keep a record of your pain levels throughout the day. Does it hurt more when you get out of bed? Does the pain subside when you take your medications? Are your pain levels improving, or have they remained consistent (or gotten worse) since the accident? 3. Doctor’s Appointments Make sure you write down all of your doctor’s appointments in your Injury and Symptom Diary, and confirm that you attended them. Take notes on what you were told during the appointment, record your mileage for getting to the doctor’s office, and list any medical costs you incurred. 4. Doctor’s Orders After an accident, you need to follow your doctor’s orders. If you are told to rest, rest and record it in your Injury and Symptom Diary. If you are supposed to do exercises, do them and write it down. You want to be able to show that you are doing everything you can to get better as quickly as possible. 5. Medications Keep a list of your prescription and over-the-counter medications, and keep track of when you take them. Once again, you should follow your doctor’s orders as closely as possible. If you have an issue with any of your medications, don’t just stop taking it – see your doctor for an alternate recommendation. 6. Time Missed from Work In your Injury and Symptom Diary, keep a log of the days and hours you miss from work. Make a note of whether you used vacation time or sick leave, and record why you missed the time (e.g., you were resting on doctor’s orders, you were in too much pain, or you had to attend a doctor’s appointment). 7. Time Missed from Family and Friends Keep a log of any special events and other times you are unable to spend with family and friends. Are you in too much pain to go to your child’s game or attend a friend’s birthday party? Are you staying home on weekends while your family and friends do things without you? These are all losses that will factor into your claim for compensation. 8. Inability to Perform Household Tasks Is it painful to do dishes or unload the dishwasher? Are you no longer able to vacuum or mow the lawn? Did you need to hire someone to fix something because your injury prevented you from fixing it yourself? These types of issues are also relevant to your financial recovery. 9. Inability to Enjoy Hobbies Similarly, no longer being able to enjoy your hobbies is a “compensable” loss, as well. If you cannot run or go to the gym, if you cannot go golfing, if you cannot play your musical instrument, if you cannot work on your car, if you cannot do anything that you used to enjoy, write it down in your Injury and Symptom Diary. 10. Additional Expenses Finally, along with your medical bills, keep track of any other expenses you incur related to your injuries. This includes fuel costs to get to the doctor’s office or pharmacy, anyone you needed to pay for help around the house, and any other expenses you would not have otherwise incurred. Your Injury and Symptom Diary: Dos and Don’ts How to Keep Your Injury and Symptom Diary Make it a habit. Update your diary or journal at least once daily, and more frequently if you experience negative effects from your injuries throughout the day. Be detailed. There is no such thing as too much detail. Dates, times, names, locations, and specifics about your pain and limitations – these are all key details to include with every entry. Write clearly. Your Injury and Symptom Diary won’t do you much good if no one can read it. Take the time to write legibly, or type your entries on your phone or computer. How Not to Keep Your Injury and Symptom Diary Don’t exaggerate. It is important not to exaggerate the effects of your injuries. Just be honest, and your story will speak for itself. Don’t be generic. Avoid generic entries like, “I felt worse than yesterday,” or “No change.” Remember, the details matter. Think about your specific symptoms and how they change (or don’t change) from one day to the next. Don’t be repetitive. Avoid writing the same thing every day. This may be fine for certain things (i.e., “I missed work on doctor’s orders.”), but when it comes to describing the effects of your injuries, you should focus on what makes each day unique. Injured in Tampa or Clearwater? Contact Us for a Free Consultation If you were injured in an accident in the...

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Who Is Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident?

Category: Accidents |

Accident Attorneys Helping Victims of Single-Vehicle Wrecks in the Tampa Bay Area If you were involved in a single-vehicle accident, can you still seek financial compensation for your medical bills and other losses? Maybe. Just because you were the only one who crashed does not mean that you were the only one involved. If someone else is to blame for your injuries, you may have grounds to file a claim for financial compensation. Liability in Single-Vehicle Accidents In order to establish liability in a single-vehicle accident, it is important to conduct an investigation as soon as possible. You will need evidence to support your claim; and, the longer it takes to investigate, the more difficult it may become to secure a negotiated settlement or verdict at trial. Depending upon the facts of your case, the following parties could all potentially be liable to compensate you for your accident-related injuries and losses: 1. Another Driver Did another driver run you off of the road? If so, that driver could be liable despite the fact that he or she did not cause a direct collision. The question is whether that driver’s “negligence” caused or contributed to the accident. This could be the case if: You had to swerve off of the road in order to avoid a collision with a driver who was drunk or texting behind the wheel. Another driver merged into your lane without looking, forcing you off of the road. You were forced off of the road by a driver who was across the center line on a blind curve. Of course, these are just examples. There are countless other scenarios in which a negligent driver could cause another driver to be injured in a single-vehicle collision. 2. Your Insurance Company If another driver caused the accident, ideally, the investigation will reveal the driver’s identity so that you can file a claim against his or her insurance company. But, if the driver did not stop and there is no way to make an identification, you may need to file a claim under your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) policy. While UM/UIM coverage typically comes into play when a negligent driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover all of an accident victim’s losses, it can also be used in hit-and-run and single-vehicle accidents. When you file a UM/UIM claim, your insurance company “stands in the shoes” of the at-fault driver’s insurer, and will defend against your claim just the same as a third-party insurance company. 3. A Vehicle Manufacturer Another important question to ask after a single-vehicle accident is whether a vehicle defect caused the accident or contributed to the severity of your injuries. This could be a defect in your vehicle, or it could be a defect in another vehicle that lost control and forced you off of the road. Vehicle defects are far more common than most people realize, and we have recently seen some high-profile cases of widespread vehicle defects. Vehicle parts and components that could be defective include, but are not limited to: Accelerators Airbags Brakes Engines Lights Tires Transmissions If your injuries are the result of a vehicle defect, then the automaker, the manufacturer of the defective part, the dealership, and a number of other parties could all potentially be liable for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. 4. Your Repair Shop A faulty repair or maintenance job could have caused your accident as well. Even if your vehicle was not defective, a faulty brake job or other service could have created an unsafe condition that caused you to crash without another vehicle being involved. 5. The Highway Authority or a Private Contractor If a negligent driver or an issue with your vehicle is not to blame for your accident, then it could be that your accident resulted from an issue with the road. Road defects are also common, and issues ranging from negligent road design to inadequate road maintenance have all been identified as causal factors in multiple-vehicle and single-vehicle accidents. When a soft shoulder, pothole, sinkhole, lack of lighting, or other safety issue causes an accident, the government authority responsible for constructing and maintaining the road may hold financial responsibility. However, it could also be the case that a private contractor is to blame for any deficiencies. Once again, a thorough investigation will be critical, and there are additional (short) deadlines that must be met in order to file a claim against the government. 6. A Trucking Company or Other Employer Finally, as with any type of accident, if your single-vehicle accident involved another vehicle, it is important to determine whether that vehicle’s driver was working at the time of the accident. If so, his or her employer could be legally responsible for your losses. This could be an accident involving a truck, van, car, SUV, etc. This could be the case if the driver was negligent (for example, if he or she caused the accident while texting), or if the employer was negligent in putting a dangerous driver on the road (for example, if a trucking company hired an unlicensed driver). What if I Was Partially at Fault in the Accident? Florida car accident injury victims can recover financial compensation even if they were partially at fault for their own injuries. This is because Florida is among a minority of states that follow a rule known as, “pure contributory negligence.” Under the rule of pure contributory negligence, theoretically, you could be 90 percent at fault and still recover 10 percent of your losses. As you might imagine, this rule often plays a critical role in cases involving single-vehicle accidents. If you think that you may have been partially at fault, you should speak with a Tampa vehicle accident attorney who can assess your claim and provide an estimate of your financial recovery. Speak with a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk For more information about pursuing compensation after a single-vehicle accident in Florida, contact the law offices of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for...

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Safe Driving During the Holiday Season: Do’s and Don’ts

Category: Accidents |

For most people, the holiday season is a time of joy. It is a time to spend time with loved ones, to reflect on the year that was, and to look ahead to the year to come. Of course, we all expect to experience a certain level of stress during the holidays, as well; but, we never expect that stress to come from missing the holidays due to a traumatic accident-related injury. According to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES), vehicle accident rates have risen during the holiday season each of the last three years. According to FIRES, accident rates increase consistently from October through December, and these data include accidents involving serious and fatal injuries. In fact, overall, FIRES’ data suggest that nearly half of all vehicle collisions in Florida result in injuries – injuries to drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Protecting Yourself Against Dangerous Drivers During the Holiday Season Unfortunately, for many of us, there is simply nothing we can do to avoid being seriously injured in a collision during the holiday season. As more drunk, distracted, fatigued, and stressed drivers hit the road, we all face an increased risk of being injured due to someone else’s negligence. While winter weather is rarely a risk factor here in Florida, Tampa-area drivers must nonetheless exercise special caution when driving during the holiday season. Here are some safe driving tips – and steps you can take after a collision – to help minimize your risk of an uncompensated injury in a car accident during the holidays: DO: Know the Warning Signs of a Drunk Driver Drunk driving is a year-round risk for Florida motorists, but the risk of being hit by a drunk driver can increase significantly at certain times during the holiday season. In order to reduce your chances of being hit by a drunk driver, one step you can take is to familiarize yourself with the patterns typically exhibited by individuals who are drunk behind the wheel. For example, if you see a vehicle that is irregularly speeding up and slowing down, drifting across lanes, or weaving within its own lane, these are all common signs that the driver may be intoxicated. DON’T: Drink and Drive Of course, all drivers should avoid getting behind the wheel after they have had too much to drink. If you aren’t sure, be safe and catch a ride home. Even low levels of intoxication can significantly increase drivers’ chances of causing an accident; and, while you do not want to take chances ever, it is particularly important to be careful during the holiday season when there are more cars than usual on the roads. DO: Plan Your Route Ahead of Time While in-car GPS navigation and Smartphones make it easy to find family members’ homes and shopping centers, you generally want to minimize your interactions with these devices while you are driving. Familiarize yourself with where you are going, and set your destination before you shift into drive. If you get lost or need to make a detour to a new point of interest, pull over at a rest stop or other safe location rather than attempting to input a new destination address while you are at the wheel. DON’T: Give in to Driving Distractions GPS navigation, Smartphones, and other distractions can all take drivers’ eyes and minds off of the road and their hands off of the wheel. Once again, while it is important to avoid dangerous driving behaviors at all times, the risk of a distracted driving-related accident can increase substantially during the holiday season. Distracted driving – including talking and texting behind the wheel – is currently among the leading causes of vehicle collisions, and drivers who cause accidents while distracted will often be financially liable for victims’ losses. DO: Watch Out for Distracted and Inattentive Drivers During the holiday season, one of the best things you can do to help improve your chances of avoiding an accident involving a distracted or inattentive driver is to drive defensively. Be cautious, leave plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you, and when in doubt make the choice that reduces your risk as much as possible. DON’T: Get Complacent Until You’ve Parked In this same vein, it is important to remain vigilant until you have reached your final destination. Especially during the holiday season, parking lot accidents are a very real concern for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Watch out for other vehicles’ reverse lights, be wary of drivers who are looking for open spots and not paying attention to their immediate surroundings, and always observe signage and road markings that dictate the flow of traffic. DO: Stay Calm In heavy traffic and when dealing with aggressive drivers, it is important to stay calm. If you are the type to get frustrated or angry when someone cuts you off or violates the rules of the road, make sure you do not let your emotions take control. When you have been traveling for hours or dealing with heavy holiday traffic, it can be easy to react negatively to negative situations. But, when just one mistake can lead to a lifetime of consequences, it is essential to stay calm behind the wheel. DON’T: Let an Accident Ruin Your Holiday Season Finally, if you are injured in a collision, the accident does not have to ruin your holiday season. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your repair and medical bills and other losses, and at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we handle all aspects of our clients’ claims so that they can get back to their normal lives as quickly as possible. We want you to have a safe and happy holiday season, and if you are forced to deal with the consequences of someone else’s negligence, we will fight aggressively to seek the compensation that you deserve. Speak with a Tampa, FL Car Accident Lawyer Today Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is a personal injury law firm with offices in Tampa...

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Who Is Held Responsible When a Self-Driving Car Causes an Accident?

Category: Accidents |

Experienced Injury Lawyers Serving Victims of Self Driving Car Accidents in Tampa, Clearwater, and St Petersburg Consider an all-too-common scenario: There is a car accident. One car is in the middle of an intersection, going the speed limit with a green light and the clear right of way. The other plows through a red light 30 mph above the speed limit while the driver is asleep behind the wheel. It is pretty clear who is to blame, right? It should be an open-and-shut case with the speeding, sleeping driver having to cover all of the other driver’s accident-related losses. But, wait. The speeding, sleeping driver was behind the wheel of a self-driving car. The car should have detected that the driver was asleep. It should have “known” the speed limit, and it should have seen the red light before it entered the intersection. Who is at fault now? Welcome to a World with Self-Driving Cars. Personal Injury Cases Are About to Change. First it was Google, then Tesla. Now, numerous tech companies and automotive manufacturers are in the process of developing self-driving technology. One company, Ottomotto (which is reportedly being bought by Uber), is even seeking to retrofit old tractor-trailers so that truckers can drive hands-free. As reported by Business Insider, by the year 2020, there will be 10 million self-driving cars on the roads. This includes not only “semi-autonomous” vehicles – cars, trucks, and SUVs that have technologies designed to limit driver input and correct driver mistakes – but fully autonomous vehicles as well. According to Business Insider: “A fully autonomous vehicle can drive from point A to point B and encounter the entire range of on-road scenarios without needing any interaction from the driver. These will debut in 2019.” That’s only three years away. Of course, we have already seen that these self-driving technologies are not perfect. First, Google’s self-driving car crashed into a bus. Then, an accident involving a Tesla car revealed a potential “blind spot” in the car’s autopilot technology. So, we come back to the question: When a self-driving vehicle causes an accident, who is to blame? Establishing Liability in Collisions Involving Self-Driving Vehicles As you might expect, the answer is not easy. In fact, it will almost certainly continue to be determined on a case-by-case basis. But, the following are all possibilities: The Vehicle Manufacturer – For many people, the first option that comes to mind is the vehicle manufacturer. After all, if the vehicle itself causes the accident, shouldn’t the maker of the vehicle be responsible? Under the law of products liability, vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, and other companies in the “chain of distribution” can all be held liable when a defect causes an accident. In fact, these companies may also be responsible if another company is to blame . . . The Autonomous Technology Designer – Major automotive manufacturers regularly license technologies for their vehicles from other companies. If a technology company designs defective software that it licenses to a manufacturer, which then sells defective vehicles to consumers, now there is yet another company involved in the relevant chain of distribution. The Driver – In today’s world, fully autonomous vehicles do not yet (legally) exist on the U.S. roads. As a result, drivers in self-driving cars still bear responsibility for ensuring that they do not cause dangerous collisions. If you are injured in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle, there is still a good chance that the driver is at least partially to blame. A Shop That Worked on the Vehicle – Suppose a mechanic at a repair shop damages one of the sensors on a self-driving car. Or, maybe a mechanic performs a shoddy brake job, and as a result both the car and the driver are unable to stop in time to avoid a collision. Each of these are scenarios in which a shop that performed work on a self-driving vehicle could potentially face legal liability. The Driver’s Employer – As with accidents today, if a driver is on duty at the time he or she causes an accident, his or her employer can often be held liable either (i) for negligently hiring a dangerous driver, or (ii) under the employment-related concept of vicarious liability. If an employer forces all of its employees to drive autonomous vehicles as part of a company initiative, this may provide yet another reason to point a finger at the employer. Another Driver – Of course, even autonomous cars do not have force fields. While self-driving cars may be able to steer or brake in order to try to avoid a collision, if a drunk, distracted, fatigued, or inattentive driver creates an unavoidable danger, that driver will still face the prospect of being held liable for the accident. Another Technology Provider – Finally, it is not hard to imagine a world where cars communicate with traffic signals, the road, or even each other. In fact, the MIT Technology Review published an article predicting that car-to-car communication technology will be available in one to two years. If some other technology that was supposed to communicate with a self-driving car fails and causes an accident, that technology’s provider may be the one who is to blame. The question of liability in self-driving car collisions is an interesting one, and one for which the answer is likely to gradually take shape over time. Right now, if you have been involved in an accident involving a self-driving car, the only thing that you need to know is this: You will need an experienced attorney to help you stand up for your legal rights. Contact the Tampa, FL Auto Accident Attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is a personal injury law firm based in Tampa, FL that devotes the majority of its practice to representing victims with auto accident-related injuries. Together, the firm’s 10+ attorneys have over a century of personal injury experience, and they have helped over 20,000 clients seek compensation for their losses. If you have been...

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How to Report a Florida Car Accident

Category: Accidents |

If you have been involved in a car accident in the state of Florida, the first thing you need to do is ensure that if anybody was injured, they get the medical care they need.  You should also survey the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved. If you determine that one or more people are injured, or if it appears that the damages caused by the accident total to $500 or more, you must report the accident to the proper Florida authorities. Making Your Report If you have never been in an accident before, you may be wondering how you should report an incident after it occurs. To report the accident properly, follow these steps. Determine whether a report is required. – Before calling the police to report an accident, make sure that the circumstances of the accident require a report. If you think you may want to file a personal injury claim at any point, filing a police report is highly recommended. Decide whom you should call. – If your accident occurred within a city, you should call the city police. However, if your accident occurred outside city limits, you will need to call the county sheriff or a nearby Florida Highway Patrol office instead. Determine whether a written report is necessary. –If you call the authorities and they conduct a formal investigation of the accident, you won’t typically need to file your own written report. However, if the police do not conduct a formal investigation, you will need to file a written report within 10 days of the accident. File the report.– If you have determined that a written report is necessary, you can file the report by visiting the Florida Highway Patrol’s website to obtain the necessary form. The form is available in PDF format, so you can print it and mail it to the address listed. Alternatively, if you would like to save time, you can also complete and submit the form online. Tips for Making a Traffic Accident Report Whether you choose to file your report by mail or online, follow these tips for the best results. Submit the form as soon as possible. – Submit the traffic crash report form as soon as you can after the accident. The sooner you complete the form, the more details you will remember and the more reliable the information you include will be. Fill out the form in its entirety. – Make sure that you complete all fields of the traffic crash report form. Do not skip any sections. Write legibly. – If you choose to complete the form in writing and mail it to the Florida Highway Patrol, be sure to write legibly so there will be fewer questions about your intentions or the information included in the report. Add as much detail as possible. – At the bottom of the traffic crash report form, you will find a blank section where you can include additional details about the crash, the people involved, any witnesses on the scene and anything else relevant to the accident. In this space, include as many details as you can remember. These details will be beneficial if you choose to pursue a personal injury claim at a later date. They may also protect you from loss if a claim is filed by another party. Filing a Claim If you have been involved in a traffic accident in Florida and you think that another party was at fault for the crash, you may benefit from filing a personal injury claim. In general, these claims must be filed within four years of the date of the accident. If your claim is successful, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, property damage, wages lost at work and more. Keep in mind that, because Florida uses comparative negligence to determine fault in car and motorcycle accident cases, you may qualify for compensation even if you were partly at fault for the accident. To determine whether a personal injury claim is the right course of action in your case, please contact the experienced attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, 800-538-4878, to discuss your options and learn more about personal injury claims in Florida.

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Who is Most Likely to be Injured in a School Bus Accident?

Category: Accidents |

School bus accidents draw attention because they involve children and also because they’re one of the most recognizable vehicles on the road. Fatal school bus accidents like the one in Houston in September 2015, that killed two children are rare, federal safety figures suggest, and they rarely kill their most frequent passengers … students. On average, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that of 134 people that die in school bus related accidents each year, 8% were passengers on the buses. Pedestrians, bicyclists and others outside the bus account for 21% of fatalities. By far the most fatalities (71%) are people in other vehicles. The size, design and power of school buses typically make them less likely to cause injuries to their passengers. Frame and safety enhancements protect students and other passengers from being seriously injured from a collision, while the bright yellow exterior, flashing lights and overall size, typically catch the eyes of other drivers on the road. Bus drivers are screened to ensure students and other passengers travel in a safe environment to school. They participate in pre-employment screenings and random drug and alcohol tests to make sure they are capable of driving responsibly and can respond to emergency situations without hesitation if they do arise. To drive a school bus in the state of Florida, one must have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) along with both school bus (S) and passenger (P) endorsements, as well as the following:  Receive school bus training and certification. Pass a school bus written test. Pass a driving test in the type of bus you want to drive. Pass a background check and maintain a clean criminal record. Have a clean driving record. Because school buses are typically operated through government agencies and local school districts, liability involving school bus accident cases can be complicated. Accident victims and their loved ones may find it beneficial to meet with an experienced school bus accident attorney to see if there is a case to pursue. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you were going. Anyone who has suffered a significant injury in a school bus accident has a right to speak with a Florida car accident attorney to see if they have a case. Don’t jeopardize your case – contact a Tampa school bus accident lawyer  The car accident lawsuit process is complicated, and best understood by an experienced attorney. Don’t jeopardize your case and the possibility of compensation for your injuries by foregoing representation. The law firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk offers a free case evaluation to every new client.  To schedule yours, call our office 24 hours a day at 1-800-538-4878.

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How to Jeopardize Your Car Accident Case

Category: Accidents |

If you’ve been in a car accident, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your case. After all, you most likely need the compensation to pay for things like medical bills, damage to your car, time lost from work, and more. Unfortunately, we’ve seen clients do things that put this compensation at risk. We don’t want that to happen to any other accident victims, so read on to see how you may be jeopardizing your case. Not seeking medical attention – It can be tempting to put off seeking medical attention – or not get any at all – after a crash, especially if your symptoms are vague or don’t appear right away. But going to the emergency room or your primary care physician is of paramount importance, because you may still have injuries that can cause major problems in the future. And these problems will need a medical paper trail in order to be considered as part of your compensation. Not reporting the accident – It was tempting not to report the accident to the police, especially if it seemed minor or you feel you may have some responsibility for the crash. But again, in order to advocate for compensation, you need a paper trail with all the details of the accident, and a police report is one of the best ways to document your accident. As far as responsibility goes, leave that up to a judge or jury to decide – you can always talk to your attorney about it in advance. Not hiring a lawyer – This is possibly one of the worst mistakes you can make if you want adequate compensation for what you suffered. It’s easy to think you can do without legal representation – especially if an insurance company is pressuring you to get a quick settlement. But accident victims with practiced attorneys on their side routinely get more compensation than those who go without. Even worse – if you make a single mistake in your case, you may forfeit all compensation forever. Don’t jeopardize your case — get a Tampa accident lawyer The car accident lawsuit process is complicated, and best understood by an experienced attorney. Don’t jeopardize your case – and your compensation – by foregoing representation. The firm of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk offers a free case evaluation to every new client; to schedule yours, call our staff 24 hours a day at 1-800-538-4878.

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Florida Construction Accidents: What are the Construction Industry’s “Fatal Four?”

Category: Accidents |

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 806 workers were killed in construction accidents in 2012 alone, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all of the workplace fatalities that occurred in the private industry that year. Well over half of these fatalities were caused by four common types of accidents that some safety officials refer to as the “Fatal Four.” These types of accidents include falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions and being caught in or between various objects. Falls are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities by far. Of the 806 worker fatalities that were reported in 2012, 279 were caused by a fall, accounting for 34.6% of all construction worker fatalities that year. Being struck by an object is also one of the most common deadly accidents that occur in the construction industry. These accidents resulted in 79 deaths in 2012, accounting for 9.8% of construction fatalities. Electrocutions pose a serious threat to some construction workers. 66 workers lost their lives to electrocutions in 2012, which was 8.1% of all construction fatalities that year. Getting caught in or between objects or obstacles also poses a danger to construction workers, resulting 13 deaths in the industry in 2012. In all too many cases, tragedy could easily have been prevented if the proper safeguards had been in place. Unfortunately, employers continue to make the mistake of placing themselves and their workers at risk by failing to meet safety standards. According to OSHA, some of the most common violations that are cited within the construction industry involve problems with fall protection and meeting general requirements for scaffolding. If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s reckless behavior, you may need the help of an injury law team that can stand up for your rights. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 if you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another person’s negligent or reckless behavior. Because of the fact that cases involving workers’ compensation injuries may be highly complex and exceedingly specific, our law firm commonly works with other law firms who have considerable experience in each particular case type. Thus, we may be referring these types of cases to a separate firm, with whom we typically associate and work with on a co-counsel basis.

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New Innovation Called Run-Flat Tires May Improve Road Safety

Category: Accidents |

The run-flat tire serves as a prime example of how emerging technological innovations are radically changing road safety. Safety features abound and one of those features is known as the run-flat tire. This tire features a pneumatic wheel design that allows the tire to stay partially inflated, even if the tire has been significantly punctured. This allows the driver to continue on at reduced speeds for specific distances – sometimes as much as 100 miles – until the tire can be paired or replaced. Here are a few variations of the run-flat tire: Self-Sealing Tires These tires have extra linings within their construction. In the event the tire is punctured the tire will repair itself through the use of a special sealant that is designed to slow the release of air leaking out of the tire. You can purchase tires with this protection, or you can also use specific sealants that offer the same type protection. Auxiliary Run-Flat Tires These tires feature a ring that supports the structure of the tire. In the event of a blowout, this ring basically serves as a tire inside of the tire, allowing drivers to maintain control of their vehicles. However, the high price tag attached to these types of run-flat tires have led a limited number of drivers to take advantage of this helpful safety feature. Self-Supporting Tires This tire includes a safety ring inside the tire itself. This foam lining allows for support of the vehicles weight. In the event of a puncture, it will allow you to operate the vehicle until the tire can be repaired or replaced. Because of safety concerns, run-flat tires are used by a great number of motorists. It is true that they cost more, but the safety features often outweigh the cost for many consumers. They are also more convenient as you are no longer required to pull off on the side of the road in some remote or dangerous area to change flat tire. Call Now and Put Our Attorneys’ 100+ Year Experience to Work for You! If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident in our area, a Tampa car accident attorney may be able to help. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today for a free consultation at 1-800-538-4878.

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Clearwater Family Devastated by I-4 Crash

Category: Accidents |

A Clearwater father and son died after their vehicle overturned on Interstate 4 Thursday, July 28th, 2011. Florida Highway Patrol reported Terry Lee Colston, 55, was driving his Ford Expedition eastbound on I-4 at about 1:30 p.m., just east of State Road 559 when the tread on his right rear tire began to separate. The Expedition spun off the south shoulder of the interstate and flipped over. All four passengers were taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where Terry later died. His son, Robert Colston, 11, sustained critical injuries and passed days after his father. Sarah Colston, 11, Jack Colston, 10, and Maxwell Watson, 10, were released from the hospital with minor injuries. According to the Florida Highway Patrol report, all of the passengers were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. However, the crash remains under investigation. If you or a loved one are injured in a car accident, our Clearwater auto accident injury attorneys are ready to help. Note: This post utilizes secondary sources independent of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk. The information used from these sources is not independently confirmed by our staff. If anything in this post is incorrect, please contact us and we will correct the inaccurate information or remove the post. If you are a family member of someone impacted by this accident and would like us to remove their name from this story simply click here. 

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Boy’s Leg Amputated After Jet Ski Accident

Category: Accidents |

As the result of a serious water scooter accident, doctors amputated the leg of an injured 14-year-old boy, John Dahl. Dahl was riding a water scooter piloted by another 14-year-old boy in Redington Shores Monday evening when the accident occurred. Attached to the scooter was a wakeboard holding a third boy. As the scooter’s speed increased, the wakeboard rider feel off. However, the boy continued to pilot the scooter at high speeds. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation spokesman Gary Morse reported that Dahl became “upset about the speed of the boat and the way it was being operated”. Dahl then jumped off the water scooter and his leg became tangled in the towline attached to the wakeboard. Fortunately, the other two boys were not injured and both Dahl and the driver were wearing lifejackets. Tampa General Hospital spokeswoman, Ellen Fiss reported that Dahl was recovering and remained in serious condition as of Tuesday morning. The identity of the water scooter’s operator has yet to be released as a criminal investigation is pending. Officials described the investigations as “nothing earth-shattering” but standard procedure for boating accidents involving serious injury.

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Motorcyclist Kills Pedestrian in Spring Hill

Category: Accidents |

Thursday morning a Spring Hill motorcyclist hit and killed a female pedestrian when he sped through a red light on Spring Hill Drive.  Witness, Terry Jacobson said, “That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in my life.” As of Thursday evening, the elderly victim had yet to be identified. Investigators are requesting public assistance, as she was not carrying identification and no friends or family have come forward. The motorcyclist was identified as 30 year old, James Paul Conaty of Spring Hill. Although he was wearing a helmet, Contay was flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg where he sustained serious injuries. Conaty has rather lengthy traffic and criminal records consisting of three DUI charges, several traffic tickets, and 20 Florida arrests on charges of battery, assault and threatening a witness. In his most serious DUI charge, Conaty served two and half years in prison when his blood alcohol level was reported as more than double the level at which a driver is considered to be under the influence. This accident will most likely add to his record of speeding and careless driving. However, authorities are waiting for results from Conaty’s toxicology report before pressing charges.

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