When Can You Sue the At-Fault Driver in a Florida Car Accident?
Were you hurt in an accident? It’s best to talk with an experienced car accident injury lawyer about your options. You may be able to file an insurance claim or sue the other driver to get compensation.
David I. Fuchs, Accident & Injury Lawyer, P.A., will guide you through the insurance claim process. He’ll make sure you know when you can and should file a personal injury lawsuit. Reach out online to set up a free initial consultation.
The Elements of a Car Accident Claim in Florida
An injured driver in Florida may be able to file a claim against an at-fault driver under certain circumstances.
Our state is one of only a handful that observes a no-fault rule when it comes to car accident laws. This means you can generally file a claim against your own policy to compensate for any damages you suffer in a car accident, regardless of who is at fault. However, you may still step outside the no-fault system and file a claim for damages in certain circumstances.
The no-fault system provides an important avenue of recourse for injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who suffer serious harm in a car accident. People who text and drive leave themselves vulnerable to claims, as an injured person can file a suit against them if one of the following exceptions to the no-fault system applies:
- You suffered a permanent injury. Often, texting and driving crashes occur at high speeds and can involve head-on collisions. These can lead to permanent disability such as paralysis or loss of function of a major organ or body part.
- Your damages exceed the $10,000 Personal Injury Protection threshold established by Florida insurance law. A person with a serious injury can easily incur more than $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages resulting from a car accident. Consider, for example, that the cost of diagnostic imaging alone can run into the thousands of dollars – before surgical intervention, treatment, or rehabilitation. A person with a fracture can expect to incur tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs.
Was Distracted Driving What Caused the Other Driver to Crash?
Any type of distracted driving can be dangerous, but some present a more serious threat than others. Public safety officers often classify texting as one of the most dangerous types of distraction because it involves all three major types of driving ‘distractions’:
- A manual distraction involves any action that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, such as holding a phone.
- A visual distraction takes their eyes off the road. When reading a text, a person takes their eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. Traveling at a speed of 55 mph, a person can travel the length of a football field without paying attention to their surroundings.
- A cognitive distraction takes a driver’s attention from the task of operating a motor vehicle. Reading a text or composing one requires mental energy that should be directed to the road.
Many types of distracted driving are illegal under Florida law. If you recently suffered injuries in a car accident caused by a distracted diver, you may be able to collect compensation for any damages you suffered by stepping out of the no-fault system. Speak to a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyer to find out today!
Florida Is a No-Fault State
When it comes to auto accident liability, Florida is called a “no-fault state.” After being in a crash, it doesn’t matter who was at fault. All the drivers turn to their auto insurance policies for help. That’s why Florida requires you to carry Personal Injury Protection. Your attorney will file a first-person claim against your PIP insurance to cover some of your medical bills and lost wages.
PIP doesn’t cover all of your losses, and your attorney can reach out to the other driver’s insurance company.
What Your PIP Insurance Covers
Florida requires you to carry a minimum of $10,000 PIP coverage. After the crash, it’ll cover a portion of your:
- Hospitalization costs
- Physical rehabilitation
- Other medical bills
- Lost wages
But there are limitations. PIP insurance only pays for up to 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of your lost wages. You can’t rely on it to cover everything. Because of that, you’re probably wondering if you can go after the rest from the other driver. Sometimes you can; it just depends on how severe your injuries are.
How Much Did Your Injuries Cost?
You might have the right to sue the at-fault driver. If you suffered injuries that cost more than your $10,000 PIP coverage – or more than your policy limit – talk with a lawyer about suing.
When it comes to medical care, $10,000 isn’t much. With severe injuries, you can easily blow past that amount, and the additional costs shouldn’t rest on your shoulders. Let David Fuchs guide you through demanding fair compensation.
Car Accident Compensation
If you sustained a severe and permanent injury and decide to sue, you can demand compensation for your:
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
How Can a Lawyer Help?
A car accident attorney can help you after any crash, whether or not you file a lawsuit. David I. Fuchs, Accident & Injury Lawyer, P.A., will carefully review your circumstances, including your medical records and bills. He’ll explain whether you meet the requirement to file an auto accident lawsuit and if so, he’ll guide you each step of the way.
Start with a free consultation. You can use the online form.