The most common cause of personal injury is a car accident. Victims of a car accident in Florida have to face several state laws, the most important of which is that Florida is a No-Fault state. This means that the victims are obligated to seek compensations and other losses from their own insurance agency regardless of which driver was at fault.
This law is circumvented only if there are permanent injuries and / or significant and permanent scaring or disfigurement. Otherwise the victims cannot file a lawsuit. Should a claim qualify for a law suit, this has to be filed within four years from the day of the accident. Exceptions to this time limit involve accidents with public transportation vehicles, where a “notice of claim” must be filed with the appropriate government agency within a month of the accident, otherwise no law suit can be filed.
Comparative Fault Rules
The second most important legal issue to keep in mind in Florida is the “pure” comparative fault rule. Under this rule, and provided that the claim reaches court, a judge or a jury may rule that both parties involved in a car accident share either equal or different levels of responsibility.
In practice, this means that the claimant will receive compensation that is equal to the percentage that the other party was deemed responsible. For example, if the victim was deemed 20% at fault, and the other party 80%, the victim will receive 80% of the compensation. This rule is applicable even if the victim is found to be more at fault than the other party.
Car Accident Settlements
It is common practice in Florida to reach a settlement between the parties involved in an insurance claim or a personal injury after an auto accident. In most cases this is the best way to reach a fair resolution of the issues pertaining to medical bills, vehicle damages, lost wages and future expenses.
The premise of these settlements is that on the 12 no-fault states, the insurance companies will cover the medical bills, the damages and the lost income, but not the pain and suffering caused or the out-of-pocket expenses. And this is where negotiating begins. Depending on:
- The true facts of the accident
- The medical records
- The loss of income documentation
- The documentation of any other financial losses
- The evidence of pain and suffering
A good lawyer firm like Singer & O’Neil can obtain the settlement that is best for their clients. It should be mentioned that this process requires patience and good preparation.