Got involved in a car accident in South Florida? If you are looking to file a lawsuit to recover your damages, you should preferably first know about the car accident laws that will revolve around the lawsuit you file.
To have a greater chance of getting the compensation in full, knowing how the car accident laws in south Florida work is beneficial. Here is everything you should know if it’s your first time dealing with a car accident lawyer in South Florida.
Dealing with a car accident in South Florida
Know what to do after the accident
How well you react and take immediate steps after the accident can play a vital role in recovering the damages. Florida has certain laws that throw light on road accident etiquette. It says those involved in a car accident should stop at the scene and park their car at the side of the road before setting out to help the injured.
If your car is damaged and incapable of moving, call the tow service.
Thereafter, call law enforcement so that the police arrive at the scene and can prepare the report. The police report is the preliminary evidence of the accident. While the police investigators arrive, you can choose to take photos of the scene of the accident, videos, notice CCTVs around you, and take contact information of the witnesses (if you are not seriously injured).
If you are seriously injured, you should seek medical help before anything else. Getting a record of your injuries is as important as anything else.
Know about Florida’s no-fault insurance system
Florida is a no-fault insurance system. This means all car owners in Florida are required to have no-fault insurance. Such insurance covers the damages that occurred in the car accident, no matter if the car accident in South Florida was caused with or without your fault. All drivers should seek compensation from their insurance company before filing the claim.
Thereafter, if the insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the damages, the plaintiff has the right to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Know about Florida PIP and PDL coverage rules
PIP (personal injury protection) and PDL (property damage liability) are the two types of coverage covered under motorist insurance in Florida. A PIP coverage enables injured drivers to cover $10,000 worth of personal injury (covers medical bills, medical prescriptions, and lost wages). PID coverage enables the driver to get reimbursed for any vehicle damage up to $10,000.
However, to get a PIP reimbursement, the injured should seek medical attention for the injuries within 14 days of the accident. Thereafter, the injured driver will lose the opportunity to be compensated.
PDL insurance coverage covers damage caused to other drivers’ vehicles when the damage is caused due to your fault. It does not cover the expenses for the damage to your own vehicle.
Don’t deal with the insurance company on your own
This is one of the most vital tips when dealing with car accident lawsuits. The not-at-fault driver should never deal with the other driver’s insurance company on its own. The insurance company may contact you for a settlement (which will be much lower than expected). Do not fall into their negotiation tricks without having a car accident attorney by your side.
Do not accept the settlement if they are insufficient to cover your total damages. It is better to have an experienced attorney talk to their insurance company. Such an attorney will negotiate on your behalf
Florida has a pure comparative negligence law
A car accident in South Florida is caused due to fault of one or both of the drivers involved. This fault is mainly due to negligence by either of the drivers.
If you seek compensation by filing a lawsuit (outside of the no-fault insurance system), you must prove the other party’s negligence.
However, in many accidents, both drivers are partially at fault for the accident. This is when the comparative negligence system comes into action. This system is first used to determine the proportion of drivers’ fault.
The driver who is found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident must pay compensation to the other driver (but not in full). The compensation amount will be reduced by the proportion of the other driver’s fault.
For instance, the total damage to be recovered is estimated $10,000. Such a driver is also found to be 20% at fault (due to speeding or distracted driving), then the other driver, i.e., 80% at fault driver (due to taking an illegal turn or driving under influence) will pay $7000 to such driver instead of full $10,000. The compensation amount will be reduced by $3000 (due to 30% fault of such driver).
A Car accident in South Florida has a statute of limitation
There is a limited period within which a not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against the other driver in a court of law.
Florida law allows victims to file a lawsuit within four years from the date of the accident. Thereafter, no attorney can help in filing the lawsuit, with a few exceptions. However, it is very difficult to deal with such a case. The more it is delayed, the more difficult it becomes to gain rightful compensation. The evidence gets hidden as time passes.
Even if delayed by a week or more than 14 days, it becomes difficult to establish clear and convincing evidence between the injuries and the accident. It is recommended to consult and hire an attorney within 48 hours of the accident to increase the probability of getting fair compensation.
Contact a car accident attorney in South Florida
If you or your loved one is suffering from injuries as part of a car accident, hiring a South Florida car accident attorney can help you get fair recovery of damages for medical bills, lost wages, punitive damages, and even psychological damages in some cases.