Car Accident Claim in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you were involved in a car accident in the Fort Lauderdale area that was not your fault, you should not have to pay for medical bills related to your injuries. In order to recover damages after an accident, you need to submit a claim to your insurance company under your personal injury protection (PIP) policy.
Understanding The Car Accident Claim Process in Fort Lauderdale
Understanding the car accident claim process can be difficult for a number of reasons. Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that your compensation after an accident largely comes from your own insurance regardless of who is at fault. Even then, the insurance company may not offer enough car accident compensation, if any, to cover your damages.
If you receive a claim denial from the insurance company or your policy did not provide enough to cover your damages, you have the option to hire an attorney and start the process of filing a car accident lawsuit.
Steps to Take When Filing a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Claim
Unfortunately, serious automobile injuries happen far too often to drivers and passengers in Fort Lauderdale and across Broward County. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 24,762 drivers in the county suffered injuries in car accidents by the end of 2017. Another 225 people lost their lives in collisions.
If you were involved in a car accident in which significant property damage and injuries occurred, you will need to take a few steps to recover compensation. For more help call our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney.
See a Doctor After an Auto Accident
Whether you need to go to the hospital in an ambulance or you are able to go home after the crash, you should follow up with your personal doctor as soon as possible after the crash. Note that in order to qualify for PIP coverage, you will need to see a doctor within 14 days of the collision. Otherwise, the insurance company can automatically deny your claim.
You Need to Have a Record of Your Injuries
You need to have a record of your injuries to submit to the insurance company, and if you have any plans to bring a lawsuit against the other driver. The doctor will be able to document what happened to you, while also laying out a treatment plan. The doctor acts as a neutral third party in any lawsuit related to the crash.
It is important to follow your doctor’s plan for recovery. Should you fail to complete all of the steps your doctor lays out for your treatment plan, the insurance company may question the true severity of your injuries. It can also undermine your case in court.
Collect Evidence of your Car Accident Injury Case in Fort Lauderdale
Though Florida is a no-fault state, it is still a good idea to collect evidence regarding your accident case. This can help you take your case to trial if necessary.
Police officers will generally investigate what happened in the crash. They may issue the other driver a ticket, depending on the evidence they find. This traffic ticket and investigation can help you prove that the other driver played a significant role, paving the way for you to receive the compensation you deserve in court.
PIP Coverage Amounts in Fort Lauderdale
Florida Statutes 627.736 states that PIP coverage has a limit of $10,000 per person for medical and disability benefits, with $5,000 available in death benefits. However, PIP benefits will only cover 80% of your medical bills after a $1,000 deductible. This leaves the remaining costs to you unless you purchase extended coverage or rely on your health insurance.
Depending on the severity of the accident and your injuries, this may leave you facing thousands of dollars in medical bills, on top of the costs to repair or replace your vehicle. It also does not account for your own pain and suffering, even if the other driver was at fault for the collision.
For this reason, you may still want to seek out a personal injury attorney after an accident in Fort Lauderdale. A lawyer can help you determine if you have enough evidence to take your case to trial and recover additional damages for all of your losses.
Seeking Help from an Auto Accident Attorney
You have the right to try to seek your auto accident compensation with the help of a personal injury attorney. The team at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato is ready to defend your right to seek damages after an accident that was not your fault.
Contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato
We treat our clients like family, and we take pride in helping car accident victims secure the compensation they need. Should you have missed work because of your injuries or if you are facing a long-term disability, we may be able to help you seek a fair settlement. If necessary, we can take your case to court and fight for damages on your behalf. For a free consultation, contact our Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys today at (954) 633-8270.
FAQs about Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Claim
What Is the Average Settlement for a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
Two people can be in the same accident—even the same vehicle—and still suffer completely different injuries and losses. That’s part of the reason why there’s no average for a car accident in Fort Lauderdale.
However, there are certain factors that a personal injury lawyer may look at to determine what your settlement could be, such as:
- The extent, severity, and type of your injuries
- The nature of your car collision
- How the aftermath of the accident has affected your relationships
- Your ability to work
- The duration and intensity of your medical care
- Your physical and mental limitations
Generally speaking, the more expensive your medical bills and the more serious your injuries, the higher your settlement will probably be.
How Much Can Someone Sue for a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale?
Various factors come into play when it comes to how much you can sue for a car accident in Fort Lauderdale. Two of which are:
- Florida is a no-fault state that requires personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, meaning your own insurer will cover your expenses in an accident. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. However, if your expenses exceed your policy limits, you may sue the other driver for more compensation.
- Florida also enforces comparative negligence laws. That is, your damages will be reduced by your portion of fault. For example, if you are entitled to collect $50,000, but you were 20% at fault, you would collect $40,000.
A lawyer can study relevant laws and apply them to your case to determine how much you can sue for in your car accident settlement.
How Much Is a Whiplash Claim Worth?
Similar to the average car accident settlement, a whiplash claim’s worth depends on the severity of your injury, as well as the duration and intensity of your treatment. Whiplash is a relatively minor injury. It can usually heal on its own with home remedies, such as alternating ice and heat and over-the-counter pain medications.
However, other people can suffer long-term effects. According to Mayo Clinic, those with more severe cases of whiplash may need:
- Imaging tests
- Physical therapy
- Foam collars
- Muscle relaxants
The more treatment you need, the higher the settlement you can request.
How Long Does It Take for a Car Accident Claim to Settle?
It can take several months to years to settle a car accident claim. Like with all personal injury cases, it depends how the circumstances of your case.
However, certain factors play a role in the length of the claims process include:
- Determining liability: Your lawyer must investigate the accident before you file a claim. They must gather evidence, talk to witnesses, assign proper portions of fault, and assess your damages.
- Your recovery time: The longer it takes you to heal from your injuries, the longer it will take to settle your claim. Your physician should confirm that you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) before you negotiate a settlement.
- The insurance company: Insurance companies are typically reserved when it comes to compensating you for your injuries. They may deny or limit your case’s settlement value.
How Do Insurance Companies Determine Settlement Amounts?
Insurance companies generally look at these factors to determine settlement amounts:
- Damages: If you were in an accident, you may need compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage costs, and pain and suffering. The insurer will look at how each of your damages has affected you and price them.
- Liability: The party who holds the highest portion of liability will be responsible for paying damages to the injured one. If the liable party sustained any damages, they will obtain compensation in proportion to their degree of fault.
- The amount of insurance coverage: The insurance company may only compensate you up to policy limits.