Daily Archives: January 10, 2018

Tailgating Accidents in Tampa

Tailgating Accidents in Tampa -by Your Tampa Injury Attorney, Martin Hernandez

Don’t be a tailgater!

Tailgate accidents in Tampa, Florida. Photo of a car tailgating a truck.According to research by NHTSA, tailgating is a contributing factor in more than one third of all crashes on the road and, as a Tampa Injury attorney who has investigated or discussed how an accident happened more than 5,000 times in the past 18 years, I would agree that this is one of our top causes of car accidents in the Tampa Bay Area.

Tailgating is when a driver follows the car in front too closely, literally riding up on its tail.  Doing so decreases the available amount of time that a driver has to react to avoid a rear-end accident.

Sometimes, when the driver that is being tailgated by another driver behind him or her, the motorist in front gets angry at the person behind him or her and will sometimes “tap” their brakes (just to get the brake lights to go on) or “brake check” them in an attempt to get the tailgater to back off and use a safer following distance.  This is very dangerous move and causes needless auto accidents when car drivers lose control or slam into someone’s rear bumper as a result.

Our firm’s car accident attorneys realize that many people are in a hurry, stressed out and believe that tailgating will speed up their journey.  Alternatively, we have seen that numerous tailgaters who have anger management issue, such as road rage, which can be reduced through proper counseling and treatment.  A driver who is blinded by uncontrollable rage is as dangerous as a driver who is impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Tips For Avoiding A Car Accident Caused By Tailgating

  • Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop safely in behind the car in front of you. Driving the speed limit is the absolute fastest you are legally allowed to drive, but you should travel at a lower speed during poor roadway conditions in order to give yourself more time to react.
  • Leave enough space between the automobile in front of you in case it suddenly slows down or stops. A good rule of thumb is to allow 10 feet of distance for every increment of 10 mph you are driving.  For example, 50 feet of distance between cars is ideal for a driver who is traveling at 50 mph.
  • Remember that large automobiles or SUVs require a greater distance to stop. We recommend that you leave an even larger distance between your car and those types of automobiles.
  • In bad weather (rain, fog, etc.), it is best to double the distance between you and the car in front of you. Bad weather decreases tire traction and causes the slips and skids that can lead to losing control of your car.  You can prevent a car accident by maintaining a greater distance from other cars in front of you.

Timing Rules Used To Avoid Car Accidents Caused By Tailgating

When you are driving a car, it can be difficult for you to determine the distance between you and the car in front of you, so another solution is to remember these three rules:

  1. Two Second Rule

If you are on a dry and clear road, it is recommend that you count two seconds to safely gauge the distance between you and the car in front of you.  When the car in front of you drives past a sign, you should reach the count of two before you pass the sign.

  1. Four Second Rule

This is for when the roadways are wet and rainy.  In these conditions, you should employ a four second safety gap between yourself and the car in front of you.

  1. Ten Second Rule

This rule applies to the white out conditions we get in the summer rains.  It could apply to icy and snowy conditions when the roadways are at their worst, but this Florida.

Call Our Lawyers If You’ve Been Injured From Tailgating

By keeping a safe following distance, you can avoid a horrific car accident caused by needless tailgating and possibly injure somebody else.  Road rage and impatient drivers should never get in the way of you making it home safely to see your family.

If you’ve been injured in a Tampa car accident that was caused by someone else who was tailgating, then Get Lawyered Up Now and call us at 813-229-5353 or go to InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com for a FREE consultation with an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer.

Since 1982, our Tampa law office has been helping those who have been injured by a car accident.  We know how the insurance companies work, so let our insider knowledge help you in your time of need.

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What is Florida "No Fault" or "PIP" Insurance?

What is Florida “No Fault” or “PIP” Insurance?

By your Tampa Auto Accident Attorney – Martin Hernandez

When it comes to auto insurance, Florida is a “No-Fault” insurance state.  This is an often misunderstood topic and what other people tell you it is, like most legal concepts, is usually wrong.

Florida PIP Laws - Know the law and Florida PIPDrivers who are injured in a car accident in Florida and sometimes wonder why they are filing a “No-Fault” Claim under their own insurance policy when they are not at-fault.  Those drivers incorrectly believe that because the other party is at-fault they should be paying all of the injured party’s medical bills.  However, that is not the case.  Why?  Let’s change the facts around.  What if both parties are blaming each other for the accident?  For example, they both say that they had the green light.  Yet, the injured party went to the hospital and incurred $5,000 in hospital bills (cheap for a Tampa hospital after a car accident).  What if they missed two weeks of work ($2,000 in lost wages)?  That means that the injured party is in the hole $7,000 for an accident that may not be their fault.  The hospital is going to ask for payment from you because you are the patient and you are responsible for payment.

Hence, Florida No-Fault.  You pay yours.  I’ll pay mine.  We’ll figure out later on who is responsible.

Now, under Florida law, every motorist is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.  A driver’s PIP coverage, as this type of insurance is most often known, is to cover medical bills and lost wages the driver may suffer in an accident, no matter who caused the accident. When a crash occurs, each person involved in the crash turns to his or her own insurance company to pay the costs of medical care and other losses.

Car Accidents under Florida’s No Fault Insurance Scheme What many drivers do not realize is that, under Florida’s no fault statute, their PIP coverage by law only covers 80% of the medical bills which they may incur in an accident as well as only 60% of lost wages or income they may suffer in a car accident.  For example on how this works, assume you have a $10,000 PIP policy with a $1,000 deductible, the absolute minimum required under Florida law.  You are hit by another driver in an accident in which the other driver is clearly at fault.  Assume you go to the emergency room and your medical bills are $5,000 plus you are out of work for two weeks and lose out on $2,000 in income.  Your car insurance will pay $4,000 to the hospital (leaving you a $1,000 co-pay) and pay you $1,200 of your lost wages.  This way your bills are getting paid and you are not being sent to collections for the entire hospital bill.

But I shouldn’t pay the rest! Shouldn’t they pay for everything else?

Yes, they should and that’s how we can help.  There are exceptions to Florida’s “No- Fault” law that permit a motorist to directly sue another motorist who caused the accident.  The first exception to Florida’s no fault statute is if a person suffers a permanent injury as a result of the accident, Florida  statute (627.737(2)) defines a permanent injury as: (i) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; (ii) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; (iii) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or (iv) death.  Accordingly, if a driver suffers a “permanent injury” as defined above, then he is not subject to the “No-Fault” limitation against the at fault driver and may be able to bring a claim not only for medical bills and lost wages but also to recover for pain and suffering and other “intangible” damages suffered as a result of the accident. Another exception would be if the injuries suffered  are not permanent, but the medical bills (or lost wages) total more than the $10,000 in PIP coverage.  In that instance, a claim can be brought to recover the medical bills (or lost wages) not covered by the PIP insurance.

Obviously, even though Florida is a “No-Fault” state, the application of the law is limited since it only applies to those accidents in which the medical bills and/or lost wages or lost income do not exceed $10,000 and where someone has not suffered a permanent injury.

If you have been injured in a Tampa Car Accident and need a Tampa Injury Attorney, Get Lawyered Up Now and call Tampa Injury Attorney Martin Hernandez of Fernandez and Hernandez, LLC for a free consultation at 813-229-5353 or read more at: InjuryLawyersOfTampa.com

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