After a car accident occurs, you have the option to pursue financial awards that can help you pay your hospital bills for your injuries or replace the wages you lost after missing time at work.
You can file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company and arrive at a settlement for damages. Alternatively, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party or their insurer and possibly receive compensation. Before deciding which option is best for your situation, it is important to understand Florida’s no-fault system for traffic accidents.
What Is the No-Fault System in Place for Florida Drivers?
By law, all Florida drivers must file claims with their own insurers, no matter who caused the accident. Motorists are required to carry liability coverage for property damage they cause on the road with their vehicle. They must have a personal injury protection (PIP) policy in place to pay for any medical costs they incur from a traffic accident. All motorists with registered vehicles in Florida must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP.
Per Florida Statutes § 627.736, PIP coverage pays 80% of a motorist’s medical treatment expenses if the claim is received within 14 days of the accident, no matter whether you or the other motorist caused the crash.
Florida drivers must also carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL), according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and Highway Safety (FDMVHS).
If your medical expenses and property damages exceed the minimum PIP coverage, a Fort Lauderdale car accident settlement may be an option for you. However, you will have to initiate a claim with the liable party’s insurance company.
How Do I Pursue a Claim or Lawsuit After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident?
Before you can approach an insurance company with your claim, you must have proof that their client, the liable party, caused your accident.
Your lawyer can review the evidence that supports your claim, such as the police report, photographs or video of the accident scene, dashcam footage, cellphone records, witness statements, and other documents.
An attorney can use your evidence to build a case for compensation from the liable party and send a demand letter to the responsible party’s insurance company. They also can manage your dealings with the insurance company throughout the process on your behalf.
What Can Happen After the Claim Is Filed with an Insurer?
The insurer of the liable party can review your claim for compensation and decide how to proceed. It can initiate its own investigation into the accident and do the following:
- Agree to pay your claim in the amount you requested
- Deny your claim altogether
- Offer you a settlement amount that falls short of what you had in mind for your car accident settlement in Fort Lauderdale
If the company does either of the last two options, your attorney can work on your behalf and enter negotiations with the aim of securing a settlement that meets your needs. Working with an attorney on your case can help you keep negotiations under control while you heal from your accident injuries.
The next step is to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court to recover accident damages, with which your attorney can also help you. In Florida, you generally have four years to take legal action in a car accident, per Florida Revised Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). If the deadline expires, and you do not have your case filed, you likely will lose your legal right to seek compensation.
What Happens After a Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Settlement Offer Is Made?
Per the American Bar Association (ABA), few personal injury cases make it to trial, which means most of them are settled out of court. If you receive compensation through a settlement offer, it means you accept the payment with the understanding that you cannot pursue further legal action against the party you sued and that you have cleared them of any further liability.
The legal team at the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato can advise you as you consider whether to accept the deal. Keep in mind that you have the final say in whether you will accept a settlement offer.
How Do I Get a Free Case Evaluation?
If you are interested in hiring a Fort Lauderdale Car accident lawyer with the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato to help you pursue the compensation you believe you are due in a car accident, call our legal team today at (954) 633-8270. We can review the facts and details of your accident and advise you on legal options available to you.