If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, recovering compensation will require a different process than most other states around the country. Most states have fault insurance laws, but in Florida, there’s a no-fault insurance law, meaning you must carry personal injury protection insurance to cover any injuries you suffer in a wreck, regardless of who’s responsible for the wreck.
There are some instances, however, when you can file a car accident lawsuit and hold the liable party in your accident responsible. Understanding when you have grounds for a lawsuit can be difficult, so you may need guidance from a Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or Lakeland personal injury lawyer.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
The purpose of Florida’s no-fault insurance law is to make it easier for drivers to recover compensation for their damages without having to prove negligence. Drivers are required to hold $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance and this insurance will cover 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of lost wages.
When You Can File a Lawsuit
Drivers who suffer damages in Florida car accidents still have many opportunities to file lawsuits against the liable party in their wreck. If your medical expenses or lost wages exceed your $10,000 insurance coverage, you can sue the liable party for the rest of your damages.
You can also bypass your personal injury protection insurance and sue the liable party for damages if you suffer disfiguring or permanent injuries. To recover compensation in your Florida car accident claim, you must prove negligence against the at-fault party using sufficient evidence.
Damages You Can Recover in Your Car Accident Claim
Once you successfully prove negligence against the defendant in your case, you can recover both economic and non-economic damages.
While personal injury protection insurance only covers medical expenses and lost wages, a lawsuit will allow you to recover all your financial losses such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages. You can also account for non-financial losses including pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
Pure Comparative Fault
Florida has a pure comparative fault law that will go into place when you file a lawsuit. If you contribute fault to your car accident, the court will calculate your percentage of fault and deduct this percentage from your settlement. For example, if your settlement is $100,000 and you’re 20 percent at fault, then you’ll receive $80,000.
Florida’s no-fault insurance law shouldn’t dissuade you from filing a claim. Scheduling a free consultation with an experienced attorney can be a great way to determine whether you have a strong chance of receiving a settlement check.