When Can I Sue for Damages After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, you may feel overwhelmed. In addition to recovering from injuries, you may see expenses for property damage and medical treatment piling up. Time away from work may prevent you from earning a living wage and in some cases, you may never regain your previous quality of life. For this reason, you should contact an experienced car accident lawyer to receive the compensation you deserve.
In the wake of a car accident, a lawsuit may give you the opportunity to hold a responsible individual financially liable for his actions. Here’s what you should know.
Important Florida Car Accidents Laws
It’s important that you’re aware of the important car accident laws in Florida because they may affect your compensation for damages.
- Florida is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that you’ll go to your auto insurance carrier before taking your claim against another party’s carrier.
- Florida also uses the comparative fault model for determining accident responsibility and reimbursement.
- The statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a claim regarding an auto accident is four years. The statute of limitations for seeking medical attention, however, is only fourteen days.
- Drivers involved in car collisions are required by law to report the accidents to authorities if damages exceed $500.
N0-Fault Insurance State – Florida
In many states, the insurance of a person most at fault for an accident will cover medical and other costs. Florida, though, operates under a no-fault system, which means that in many cases, individuals must file a claim against their own insurance policies to receive compensation. However, you should consult with a car accident lawyer before contacting your insurance companies. Your lawyer will handle and walk you through the legal process, so you won’t have to worry about dealing with insurance companies.
Comparative Fault Rule – Florida
In serious accident cases, fault matters. The courts will use a pure comparative fault rule to determine liability and award damages. In car accident cases following pure comparative fault guidelines, the jury will reduce the total amount of damages based on the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. For example, if you were involved in an accident with a drunk driver, but you were driving above the speed limit at the time of the incident, the jury may reduce your total award by 10%. Drunk driving is a far more serious act of negligence than driving 10 miles over the speed limit.
When You Can Likely Sue for Damages After an Accident
To find a definitive answer about your ability to sue for damages after a car accident, discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer. A lawyer will review the facts of your case and make recommendations. In general, you may proceed with a car accident lawsuit in Florida if:
- Your insurance company’s offer will not cover the costs of your losses. Insurance companies often try to settle car accident claims as quickly as possible and for as little as possible. In some cases, this leaves policyholders struggling to pay for their remaining expenses. Avoid accepting a settlement offer until you speak with an attorney about your situation. Florida requires all motorists to carry personal injury protection insurance, but this form of insurance may only pay 80% of your expenses.
You were involved in a serious accident, and you were not at fault. If personal insurance will not cover all the costs of your injuries and another party is liable, you may hold the at-fault party responsible for all losses associated with an accident. This includes medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost income and future earning capability, and the cost of rehabilitation or long-term care.
- An automotive part or a product contributed to the accident. In single-car accident cases and accidents involving multiple variables, your legal advisor may recommend exploring alternative types of legal action. For example, product manufacturers operate within strict liability laws. You may file a product liability claim against an auto manufacturer or another organization if the company contributed to your injuries.
- Florida car accident claims are complex and involve numerous factors, including the determination of liability and the severity of an individual’s injuries. If your situation does qualify for a formal lawsuit under Florida laws, your attorney may build a case to obtain compensation for physical and mental pain and suffering, medical expenses, inconvenience, the lost ability to enjoy life, and lost income and future wages.
Suing Negligent Drivers For Damages in Florida
You can also take action if the person who caused the accident was:
- Drunk Driving (DUI) – Driving with an unlawful Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher is an offense with severe penalties. Subsequent offenders face substantial fines and mandatory jail time.
- Distracted Driving – A distraction can be anything that diverts your attention. Dripping food, an incoming phone call, even a conversation with a passenger can take your attention off the road.
- Fleeing from a scene (hit and run accidents) – Florida law requires all parties involved in an accident to remain at the scene until released by law enforcement. Penalties for leaving the scene of an accident depend on the severity of the harm caused.
- Violating traffic laws – There are consequences for drivers who violate right of way rules, excessive speeding, driving on the wrong side of the road, and more!
To prove that the other driver was behaving negligently, contact SteinLaw to receive the compensation you deserve! We will thoroughly investigate the car accident scene, examining the police report, witnesses’ reports, and contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Car Accident Damages You Can Collect
After a car accident, victims can collect financial and non-financial damages for physical and emotional injuries. At SteinLaw, we’ll help you collect the maximum, something insurance companies won’t do for you, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- And more!
While the statute of limitations for car accident cases in Florida runs for four years from the time of the incident, consider speaking with a lawyer sooner rather than later. Accident cases take time to build and every day after an accident diminishes the quality of evidence available.