Who Pays for My Damages in a Florida Car Crash?

Posted By on May 20, 2014

Last Update: 04/11/17

No matter where you are in the State of Florida, if you are involved in a traffic accident, Florida law defines the damages that you can legally claim for both your property damage as well as for personal bodily injuries to you and to any passengers in your car.

 

 

In order to determine who pays for your car accident claim, there are two questions that have to be answered: who was to blame for the crash (meaning, who was at fault) and what insurance policies cover the collision.

Read: Florida’s Car Accident Compensation Law

1. Who is at Fault?

If you are the one who is responsible for the crash, then the only way to get paid for your losses is to file an insurance claim with your auto policy insurance carrier.

This is one reason why it is so important to have collision coverage. If you do not have this coverage, and you are found at-fault for a car accident, then you will have to pay your losses out of your own pocket. Meaning, you will have to pay to fix your car and your medical expenses (unless maybe your medical insurance will cover your medical expenses).

2. Who Decides Fault?

Although you should get a police report after a traffic accident, the report itself will not be considered evidence of fault.  This is because the police officer was not on the scene at the time of the accident and does not have personal knowledge of the crash as it happened. However, a police report can be used by an accident expert to form an opinion as to who was at fault, if fault is in question.

Often times, insurance companies will use the fact of who received the traffic accident ticket as evidence of fault and will use that citation to decide fault, (an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer will argue against this assumption). If fault is not clear, then this issue alone may require a trial to decide this critical fact.

3. Claims When You’re Not at Fault

If you are in a traffic accident that is not your fault, then your damages should be covered by the insurance policy of the person who caused the crash. If they don’t have insurance, then your own collision insurance policy will cover your losses.

PIP Insurance

When you are hurt in a car accident, special insurance coverage also comes into play in Florida. In this state, the law states that a driver must carry a specific kind of insurance called “personal injury protection” or “PIP” coverage. This is a special kind of insurance policy that pays 80% of your medical expenses up to the PIP policy limits (which are usually $10,000). PIP will also cover lost wages.

PIP is “no fault” insurance. It covers medical expense claims for the insured who is in a crash and gets hurt, and doesn’t ask who was at fault.

Be careful, there is a time limit to collect medical benefits under your PIP policy. For more information, read: How Do I Pay My Medical Bills After a Florida Car Crash?

Personal Injury Lawsuits

For those accident victims who weren’t at fault and whose PIP coverage doesn’t cover all their medical expense claims, then other sources of coverage may be available, including medical insurance.

The insurance company of the driver who was at fault can legally be required to pay the accident victims’ claim against that driver for ALL medical expenses and all property claims, too.  Additionally, the injured party may also recover pain and suffering, lost wages and lost future earning capacity, long term care needs, surgery costs, etc.

See: Alan’s Car Accident Settlements Won

In those situations where someone is damaged in a Florida car accident and the injured party makes a claim against the driver who was at fault and that driver and his or her insurance company object to paying those damage claims, the only way left to obtain compensation or recover expenses is to file a personal injury and/or car accident lawsuit – however, be cautious, there are risks with filing a personal injury lawsuit.

What Should You Do?

A good piece of advice if you have been harmed in a car accident, is to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer before you file a claim to learn about some of the issues that can arise with these claims, including the type of evidence needed to prove a claim and the type and amount of damages you can recover. Most personal injury lawyers, like Alan Sackrin, will offer a free initial consultation (over the phone or in person) to answer your questions.

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Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send Alan an email or call him now at (954) 458-8655.

 

 

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Comments

One Response to “Who Pays for My Damages in a Florida Car Crash?”

  1. Chandra Sekhar says:

    In my case of an accident, I had a solid witness, the driver behind me ….