How Much is My Car Accident Case Worth in Florida?
Being involved in a car accident can be a traumatic event that results in injuries, high medical bills, and emotional pain like anxiety, PTSD, and sleeplessness. And statistics from the National Safety Council from 2016 showed that fatal car crashes have increased in Florida and across the country. NCS’s study showed that Florida’s traffic deaths increased 43 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to 2014.
So what do you do after being in a car accident and want to file an insurance claim or lawsuit? You’ll want to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.
No-fault car insurance state
Florida is “no-fault” state, meaning that if you’re in a car accident, your own insurance company will cover medical bills and other losses, up to a certain threshold, regardless of who was at fault. Currently 12 states, as well as Puerto Rico, have no-fault insurance laws and are considered “no-fault” states. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage became mandatory in Florida in 1973. This was done to reduce the number of liability claims, and ultimately law suits, for minor injury accidents.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance – aka Florida No Fault Insurance – also covers your child, members of your household, and certain passengers who don’t have PIP if they don’t own a vehicle. It also covers your child if they suffered an injury while in a school bus. It protects you while in someone else’s vehicle, and as a pedestrian or bicyclist. The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires that all drivers have a minimum of $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and $10,000 of property damage liability (PDL).
So, if Florida is a no-fault state, when can you actually file a personal injury lawsuit?
In Florida, the big issue in car accidents is not whose fault it was – it’s the issue of whether an injury is considered permanent or not.
According to Florida statutes section §627.737 (2), you can recover damages if the injuries resulted in (a) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, (b) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement, (d) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement (d) or death. The insurance company is only subject to 80 percent of “reasonable” medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages. PIP also pays up to $5,000 in funeral expenses.
If your injuries are considered permanent, then you can file a personal Miami car accident injury lawsuit, and recover the 20 percent of medical bills and 40 percent of lost wages not covered by PIP.
Getting a personal injury attorney:
Some factors that a personal injury car accident attorney uses to determine the value of your car accident case, include:
- What amount of damage did the vehicles involved in the accident incur?
- Are there pictures of the vehicle damage?
- The severity of the injuries
- Whether or not you require surgery, and the cost thereof
- Can the injuries be proven through medical bills?
- How much did insurance contribute to the medical bills?
- Does the insurance company have to be repaid for the medical bills?
- Was there a loss of income due to the accident?
- Were all drivers involved in the accident wearing seatbelts at the time?
- How much emotional and physical pain and suffering have you endured as a result of your accident and is it likely to continue in the future?
- Will the injuries you suffered affect the quality of your life and everyday activities?
In Florida, there is no set-in-stone formula that determines what your case is worth. It can be difficult to determine the true value of a case until you have recovered as much as you can from your injuries, which is referred to as “maximum medical improvement.”
Examining Your Car Accident Damages
If you can prove that the person is at fault, you might be entitled to compensation for your losses. This may include:
- Lost wages or loss or earning capacity – This is based on how much time off work you have had to take as a result of your accident, and how much time you may still have to take to recover fully. Further, if you are no longer employable in your previous position as a result of a debilitating injury from the accident, you could be entitled to compensation with the aim of making up the difference in income if you have to take a lower paying job.
- Medical expenses – Both your current and future medical expenses can be calculated based on the procedures you have already endured since your accident, and how much the medical bills have already racked up.
- Pain and suffering – This category is hard to put a numerical value on. For instance, if an injury to the face has left a scar, you may argue that the scar has stalled your progress toward becoming a makeup consultant. But, you will need to prove that you were already on such a career path.
- Loss of consortium – This is also a non-economic damage and a rather sensitive topic. It means that you have lost the loving, helping hand, comfort, companionship, and physical relationship you once had with your partner who was injured in an accident. This is a complex topic which makes talking to a skilled personal injury lawyer a necessity.
There is a lengthy list of different losses and injuries that can stem from a car accident. Economic damages, especially, have a real numeric value, so they can be calculated and remunerated accordingly. However, non-economic damages are the opposite – these are the damages suffered in an accident that are difficult to put a true value on and are usually determined by a jury based on your circumstances.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
Navigating personal injury law can be daunting. With the help of a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney, you can build a strong case to seek the maximum amount of damages you may be entitled to.
If you are injured in a car accident, it is imperative that you retain an experienced law firm that can inform you of your rights and what you need to do to win your case. The attorneys at Wolf & Pravato are experienced in such negligence and personal injury cases and can offer you a free consultation to help evaluate your particular case. Call us today at 954-633-8270 to speak with a Florida car accident attorney at Wolf & Pravato.