Motor Vehicle Accident FAQ
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is a traumatic experience. Not only can the actual accident itself be frightening, but knowing what to do after can also present significant challenges, especially if you need medical care and if you are unable to work as a result of car accident injuries.
At Freeman Injury Law, we represent clients throughout Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding areas who have been involved in an accident. We know first-hand how many questions you may have after your crash. To help you to get the information you need about your legal rights, we have prepared some FAQ. You can also call us at any time for a free consultation to learn more about your right to recover compensation after a Florida car accident.Motor Vehicle Accident FAQ
1) Who is responsible for paying for medical care after a car accident in Florida?
Florida is a no fault insurance state. This means you must buy personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Your PIP insurance pays for medical costs and lost wages after a car accident up to the policy limits. Your PIP will pay for these costs even if you caused the accident. However, you receive no compensation for pain and suffering or other non-economic damages from your PIP insurance.
2) What if I do not drive and do not have my own PIP?
If you do not drive or have personal injury protection, you may be covered by the insurance policy of someone in your household. For example, you may be covered by your spouse’s or parent’s insurance policy.
3) Can I sue someone if he or she causes me to get hurt in an auto accident?
You may file a claim against a driver who causes you to suffer an accident if your injury is severe enough to exempt you from the Florida no fault system. Typically, your injury will need to be severe, disabling, expensive to treat, permanent or disfiguring for you to be able to sue.
4) What types of compensation could I get if someone causes me to get in an auto accident?
You may be able to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages in excess of what is covered by PIP. You can also recover damages for your pain that the accident causes and for any emotional distress you experience because of the accident.
5) What if my family member is killed in a motor vehicle accident?
If your family member is killed in an accident caused by someone else, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You can recover damages for the loss of companionship you are experiencing as well as for the loss of financial support your loved one would have provided if he or she had lived.
6) What do I need to prove to hold someone responsible for causing an accident that injured me?
To successfully make a claim against someone who caused you to get hurt in an accident, you need to show that the driver was unreasonably careless. You can show this by demonstrating that he broke a safety law, such as by running a red light. You can also show this by proving that no reasonable person would have ever driven so unsafely.
7) Do I have to go to court or file a lawsuit to get compensation from someone who injured me in an accident?
In many cases, it is possible to resolve car accident claims without the need for a trial. If the insurance company representing the driver who caused the accident accepts that the insured was responsible, they may be willing to negotiate a settlement. The settlement should cover all damages you have suffered. Don’t settle without talking to a lawyer.
8) Will the insurance company help me to get the full amount of money I am entitled to after an accident?
No. Neither your own insurance company nor the insurance company for a driver who caused your accident can be trusted to act in your best interests. Generally, their aim is to increase their profits and to minimize payouts. You should have a Fort Lauderdale car accident attorney representing you to fight for a fair settlement.
9) What types of evidence will help me to recover compensation after a car accident?
A variety of different types of evidence can be used to help you to prove to the insurance company or the court that you are entitled to compensation for your car accident injuries. For example, a police report or accident report; eyewitness testimony; testimony from an accident reconstruction expert; photos from the accident scene; and medical records are all important examples of evidence in car accident cases.
10) What if I am partially responsible for my own injuries?
If you played a role in causing your accident, you still may be able to hold the other driver partially responsible and collect a portion of your damages. For example, if the other driver was 55 percent responsible for your accident, he or she can be made to pay 55 percent of the total damages you incurred in the accident.
11) What if my car malfunctions and causes an accident or causes my injuries to become worse?
In certain cases, your vehicle may malfunction or have a defect that causes an accident or that causes you to suffer more severe injuries in an accident. If this occurs, you may be able to sue the car manufacturer in a product liability case. You will not have to show that the car manufacturer was negligent to win your case. Instead, you just have to prove that the car caused or exacerbated an injury when you were using it in the manner the manufacturer intended.
12) What if dangerous road conditions cause my accident?
If bad road design, debris in the road or other dangerous road conditions cause you to suffer an accident, you might be able to hold the government entity responsible for road maintenance liable for your injuries. There are limitations on government liability called governmental immunities but these immunities are not absolute. You should speak with a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer to learn more about your right to file a claim against the government.
13) What if I am involved in an accident with a truck driver?
Truck accidents can be especially dangerous because some large trucks may weigh as much as 80,000 pound, while the average passenger vehicle weighs just 3000-5000 pounds.
If you are hurt in a truck accident, you may be able to sue not just the truck driver but also the trucking company or the driver’s employer. You can do this if the company was negligent in any way (such as by failing to enforce maximum drive-time rules). You can also sue the company simply on the basis of the driver’s negligence.
14) Should I get legal help in a car accident case?
It is always a good idea to speak with a Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer when you are injured in a motor vehicle crash. At Freeman Injury Law, we offer free consultations to car accident victims so you will have a chance to learn how we can help you. Contact us today to learn more.