Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic experience, whether it’s a fender bender or a serious multi-car accident. Many cases involve physical injuries, property damage, and even death. Moving forward after an accident can also prove confusing and difficult in the face of both physical and emotional trauma. Do you know what steps to take and what compensation you may be eligible for after an auto accident in Florida?
Auto accidents are a common occurrence in Florida—more than 1,000 a day in 2016, with more than 254,155 injuries and 3,000 fatalities a year statewide. More than 41,000 crashes killed 245 and injured 25,000 in Broward County in 2016.
We all strive to avoid these accidents, but should prepare for the worst. Every auto accident is different, and the amount and types of compensation you may be eligible to claim can also vary. Read below to learn more about how to proceed after a Florida car accident and about your rights to compensation.
How Does Liability Work Following a Florida Car Accident?
The first thing to know about your claim is that Florida operates under no fault car accident compensation laws, which means that victims must first file claims with their own auto insurance company, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, if your injuries are serious or long-term, you may be eligible to to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver and his or her insurance company. If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will follow the doctrine of pure comparative negligence to determine percentages of fault and will award damages according to those percentages.
Do I Need an Attorney After an Auto Accident?
Florida law does not require that individuals in personal injury lawsuits hire an attorney to represent them. However, depending on the severity of the accident and the damages involved, you may wish to retain the services of an experienced Florida auto accident attorney. As stated previously, your first step should be to file a claim with your own car insurance company. However, be prepared for the insurance company to present you with a low initial settlement amount, or even deny your insurance claim altogether, leaving you to deal with the extra expenses on your own. Having an attorney helps to ensure that the insurance company takes your claim seriously, even if you do not end up filing a claim against the other driver.
Due to Florida’s no-fault compensation laws, you should retain an attorney to file a claim against another driver and/or his or her insurance company in the event of serious injuries or death. It is also helpful to have an attorney for any claims made against you, or if your case goes to trial.
How Long Do I Have to File a Florida Car Accident Claim?
Florida has a four year statute of limitations, which means that victims in personal injury cases must file their claim within four years from the date of their accident. Any claims made through your insurance company or against another driver also must be made within that four year time frame. You should always report an auto accident to your insurance carrier as soon as possible for the best chance of receiving fair compensation.
What Types of Compensation Am I Eligible to Pursue?
Auto accidents vary in severity and the types of injuries involved, and what type of compensation you may be eligible to receive depends on these factors. Most personal injury cases involve both economic and non-economic damages, discussed below:
Economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses, including expected future expenses for serious or long-term injuries.
- Lost wages for time spent away from work due to the accident.
- Loss of earning ability if the injuries make it difficult or impossible for the victim to work.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering, for both physical injuries and emotional suffering.
- Loss of consortium, if injuries impact your marriage.
An experienced attorney can help you determine what types of compensation you may be eligible to pursue depending on your specific circumstances.
Florida Car Accident Victims Should Call Meldon Law for a Free Consultation
Car accidents and their associated consequences can majorly impact your life, but the experienced Florida auto accident attorneys at Meldon Law are here for you. Call us today at (954) 334-1276, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation. While we cannot guarantee a favorable result, we can promise to help pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.