Top 5 Factors to Consider After a Car Accident in Florida

If you suddenly find yourself to be the victim of a personal injury accident in Florida, you may be confused, frightened, and unsure how to proceed. Only an experienced Florida personal injury accident attorney can evaluate the unique facts and circumstances of your collision and offer specific advice and guidance; however, there are some general factors that should be considered in all motor vehicle accidents. After your car accident, the following five factors should be reviewed:

  1. Injuries. The first consideration in any car accident is physical injuries caused by the crash. If you are the victim, you should have a thorough physical examination done immediately after the collision, even if you don’t think you suffered any serious injuries. Some of the most serious injuries commonly caused by car accidents don’t present obvious physical symptoms. Traumatic brain injuries, for instance, don’t present symptoms for days, even weeks, after the accident; however, the injury can be fatal without immediate treatment. From a legal standpoint, the sooner a victim is seen by a physician after an accident the easier it is to prove any injuries were caused by the accident.

  2. Insurance. In Florida, all motorists are required to carry basic liability insurance. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all drivers do carry insurance. Moreover, the minimum limits in the State of Florida are only $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 property damage liability. Even a relatively minor collision can cause injuries in excess of those limits. Because Florida is a no-fault insurance state, your own insurance policy will cover costs related to medical bills and lost wages up to a point. If you surpass the injury threshold, however, the at-fault driver will be responsible for damages, making it important to find out as much information as possible about the other party’s (or parties) insurance coverage.

  3. Negligence. Although Florida is a no-fault insurance state that does not mean that fault is never an issue in a car accident. On the contrary, fault is frequently an issue even in a no-fault state. First, an at-fault party may be responsible for covering the cost of damage to your vehicle. More importantly, if your injuries are serious enough to exceed the injury “threshold”, you may pursue a traditional personal injury lawsuit wherein fault is the most important issue. “Negligence” is the legal term for fault or blame. Unless the collision was truly nothing more than a fender-fender it is always best to proceed as if negligence is an issue from the beginning.

  4. No-fault threshold. Florida’s no-fault laws require all motorists to carry no-fault insurance. When a collision occurs, your own no-fault policy will cover the costs associated with medical bills and lost wages (up to a point) without regard to who was at fault in the crash. No-fault insurance, however, doesn’t cover 100 percent of your economic (out of pocket) damages and pays nothing for non-economic (pain and suffering) damages. To be entitled to pursue a traditional personal injury lawsuit your injuries must consist of one of the following:

    • Loss of an important bodily function, or
    • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability other than scarring or disfigurement, or
    • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or
    • Death.
  5. Damages. In legal terms, “damages” refers to the type of injuries you suffered. Economic damages are easily quantifiable as they are typically out of pocket expenses such as medical bills, property damage to your vehicle, or lost wages. Non-economic damages, what people commonly refer to as “pain and suffering”, are more subjective in a nature and, therefore, harder to value. Contrary to what many people believe, there is no “magic formula” used to determine the value of a personal injury car accident case. When deciding how to proceed with a car accident case, however, the amount of damages you suffered is one of the most important factors.

Because each car accident includes a unique set of facts and circumstances it is best to consult with an experienced Florida car accident attorney about the factors that matter the most in your collision.

 

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