Car accidents in Florida are unfortunately quite common. For example, 2020 alone saw well over 300,000 car crashes overall, with over half a million drivers involved in approximately 930 crashes per day. Many accident victims do not know how to pursue compensation for accident damage or injuries due to Florida’s no-fault laws.
Let’s break down the compensation you can expect for Florida car accidents and how to pursue additional compensation if your injuries incur expensive medical bills.
No-Fault Insurance Laws in Florida
Florida is a so-called no-fault car insurance state. In the event of an automobile accident, each individual’s own auto insurance company is initially responsible for paying medical bills and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident. This is the law of the land in Florida and can be a source of confusion and frustration for many who are involved in an accident.
Specifically, all Florida drivers must carry the following minimum coverages:
- $10,000 of personal injury protection or PIP
- $10,000 in property damage liability or PDL
While this may seem like a lot of coverage, the insurance can go quickly. Many hospitals charge in excess of $5,000 for just a single CT scan performed at an emergency room. No-fault insurance covers 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages due to an accident, but only up to a total of $10,000.
Property damage coverage pays for damages that an at-fault driver causes to someone else’s property. With modern vehicles having more technology than ever, $10,000 in property damage doesn’t go as far as it did just 10 years ago.
Because of this, some victimized drivers may need to file a lawsuit or file another claim with third-party insurance to cover their total medical costs. Additionally, you may have to go through your own collision coverage in order to get your property damage resolved if the total property damages exceed the at-fault driver’s coverage limit.
Comparative Fault Rules for Car Accidents
Drivers should also note that Florida courts follow rules of “comparative fault” when determining negligence for lawsuits or insurance claims.
In a nutshell, responsibility for causing an auto accident can be shared by multiple parties. For example, a victimized driver could be found to be 40% at fault, whereas a more negligent driver may be found to be 60% at fault for the accident.
In such a case, a victimized driver would only receive 60% of the total damages deemed awardable by the court. Auto accident victims can benefit from the knowledgeable services of car accident attorneys. These legal professionals can help prove that an at-fault driver is mostly or entirely culpable for the accident and minimize comparative fault for their clients.
Far too often we see insurance carriers make arbitrary findings of comparative fault against drivers that seemingly did nothing wrong that caused or contributed to an accident. Having an experienced team of legal professionals helping to represent you in your accident case might be the only way to prevent the insurance company from unreasonably attributing liability to you in an accident where you did nothing wrong.
“Serious” Injuries in Florida Car Accidents
A permanent or severe injury must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Includes significant and/or permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Includes a significant and/or permanent loss of important bodily functions, such as loss of a limb, loss of ability, and so on
- Must be a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability. Medical professionals must believe that the injury will be permanent even if it turns out to be treatable in the future
- Caused or contributed to death
In the last case, a wrongful death victim’s direct family members may be able to file a lawsuit on their behalf. Such lawsuits may potentially award them compensation for loss of income, loss of companionship, and other personal damages.
However, victimized drivers with any of the other above injuries can sometimes sue at-fault drivers to compensate them for:
- Past and future medical bills directly related to the accident
- Loss of income if the injuries prevented the victim from returning to work
- Loss of ability if the injuries were disfiguring or permanently disabling in some way
- And more
Experienced personal injury attorneys are well versed in helping their clients prove that their injuries are permanent in nature, thereby allowing their clients to recover the full value of their auto accident claim.
How Much Compensation for Car Accidents in Florida Can You Expect?
That depends heavily on the circumstances of the case, the total medical costs incurred, and other factors.
Compensation for serious or disabling injuries can range from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more. Most individuals involved in an accident don’t possess the knowledge and background to determine the appropriate value of their injury claim. Again, this is where having an experienced attorney handling your case can make a tremendous difference in what you receive from the settlement or verdict in your case.
All of this can be very difficult if you attempt to pursue a claim against another driver and their insurance carrier by yourself. Experienced car accident lawyers in Florida may be able to help you:
- File your lawsuit claim on time and before the statute of limitations expires (typically within four years after the date of the accident)
- Gather the required evidence to prove that you sustained significant injuries and that they were the fault of another driver, such as medical notes, police reports, witness statements, and more
- Present evidence compellingly and effectively
Contact Hunter Law Today
Hunter Law is an experienced personal injury and auto accident law firm in the Tampa area. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation about compensation for car accidents in Florida.