Car accidents can be traumatic experiences, especially if you sustain injuries as a result. Beyond that, it’s also crucial to know your legal rights if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation. The state of Florida’s laws regarding car accidents and personal injury claims are complex! As an injured party, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the process of pursuing a personal injury claim can be overwhelming, and it’s essential to have a qualified legal team on your side. In this article, we’ll explore your rights if you have been injured in a car accident in Florida.
Understanding Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, which means that each driver is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain amount, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Under Florida law, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident to be eligible for your full PIP benefits.
However, the no-fault insurance law does not prevent injured parties from pursuing a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. If your injuries meet certain criteria, you may be able to file a claim for additional damages beyond what is covered by PIP insurance.
In addition to PIP insurance, Florida also requires drivers to carry property damage liability insurance. This insurance covers damage to another person’s property if you are at fault for an accident.
When Can You File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
Under Florida law, you can file a personal injury claim if you have sustained a “serious injury” as a result of a car accident. According to Chapter 316.027 of the 2019 Florida Statutes, a serious injury is one that creates “a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.”
If you have sustained a serious injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver for additional damages beyond what is covered by PIP insurance. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of future earning capacity.
Types of Damages You Can Claim in a Car Accident Injury Case
If you have sustained a serious injury in a car accident in Florida, you may be entitled to compensation for a variety of damages. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses: This includes the cost of medical treatment related to your injuries. This can include hospital stays, surgeries, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
- Pain and suffering: This is compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have experienced, and may still experience, as a result of your injuries.
- Property damage: If your vehicle was damaged in the accident, you might be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Loss of consortium: If your injuries have affected your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of consortium.
Proving Liability after having been injured in a Car Accident
In order to pursue a personal injury claim in Florida, you must be able to prove that the other driver is at least partially at fault for the accident, as Florida is a comparative negligence state. This can be challenging, especially if there are multiple parties involved or if the accident was caused by a complex set of circumstances.
To prove liability, you will need to gather evidence such as police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
Common Car Accident Injuries
Car accidents can result in a wide range of injuries. They can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious and life-threatening injuries. Some of the most common car accident injuries in Florida include:
- Whiplash: This is a neck injury that occurs when the head is suddenly jerked back and forth. This jerking can cause damage to the neck muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
- Broken bones: Car accidents can result in broken bones, especially in the arms, legs, and ribs.
- Back injuries: Back injuries, including herniated discs and spinal cord injuries, can result from the impact of a car accident.
- Traumatic brain injuries: A blow to the head can cause a traumatic brain injury. That can result in long-term cognitive and physical impairment.
If you have sustained any of these injuries, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
What to Do After a Car Accident
Were you involved in a car accident in Florida? There are several steps you should take to protect your legal rights and ensure that you receive the medical treatment you need:
- Call 911: If anyone is injured in the accident, call 911 right away.
- Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the accident. Gather witness contact information if available.
- Document the scene: Take photos of the scene of the accident and any damage to your vehicle.
- Seek medical treatment: You might not think you are injured. Still, it’s important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not become apparent until several hours or even days after the accident.
- Contact a personal injury attorney: Did you sustain a serious injury as a result of the accident? It’s important to contact a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your legal rights.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim
Under Florida law, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. (A potential exemption may apply to injuries that were not immediately apparent). However, it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident. They can ensure that you meet all of the necessary deadlines and protect your legal rights.
Hiring a Car Accident Injury Lawyer in Florida
Have you sustained a serious injury in a car accident in Florida? It’s important to hire a qualified personal injury attorney to represent you. Schedule a free consultation with a Butash Law Group attorney! We can help you
- navigate the complex legal process
- gather evidence
- and build a strong case for compensation.