Who Pays For Car Accident Compensation In Florida?
Whether you are a central Florida resident or just visiting, getting into a car accident can be very upsetting. You may suffer serious injuries. And you may also be left with tens of thousands of dollars in bills-or more-as a result. There are medical bills, lost wages if you can't return to work right away, damage to your vehicle and other property damage. Many people aren't sure what to do next.
You deserve to be compensated for the damages you suffer in a car wreck. But the laws in Florida are complex, making it challenging to get that compensation. Car accident attorney Richard Troutman knows how to navigate the legal system to get a favorable outcome in your case.
Florida is a "no-fault" insurance state
Under Florida's "no-fault" insurance system, this means if you are injured in a car accident, you would file a claim with your own insurance company. In addition, all drivers statewide must purchase the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage:
- $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP)
- $10,000 property damage liability (PDL)
Personal injury protection will pay up to 80 percent of reasonable medical expenses related to the accident and 60 percent of lost wages while you are out of work because of your injury. It also helps pay for replacement services, including help with household chores.
But the cost of an accident can be much more than $10,000, so we recommend buying additional coverage. You should consider adding other coverage also, such as bodily injury liability insurance, which helps cover the costs of permanent injuries.
Property damage liability pays for any damage you caused to another person's property-for example, a fence, a house or another car. Buying optional collision coverage will cover the cost of repairs to your own car.
Depending on your insurance policy and the severity of the accident, the total amount of your damages may not be covered. But you may have another option - taking the driver who caused your crash to court.
Filing a lawsuit
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit for injuries sustained in a car accident is 4 years, but this option is not available for all injury victims. You can only file a lawsuit against the other driver if you meet the "serious injury" threshold. Florida law defines a serious injury as one that results in significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, or significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement." You can also seek other damages, such as for pain and suffering.
But the insurance company may argue that your injuries don't meet any of those definitions. That's why you need an experienced attorney on your side. All accident victims can take legal action to seek compensation for property damage (to your vehicle or other personal property).
Uninsured and underinsured drivers
It is against the law to drive without insurance in Florida. But some people do it anyway. Others drive with only minimum liability coverage. What are your options if you are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver? Adding uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UIM) to your policy can help pay for costs such as permanent or disfiguring injuries and your own property damage.
If you've been hurt in a car wreck, don't take chances with your future. Take back control. Contact the Law Offices of Richard B. Troutman at 866-434-5770 for a free case evaluation. We stand by you every step of the way.