The Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield, P.A. focuses in part on the legal practice area surrounding personal injury. These include personal injuries from various accidents, like those sustained in a Florida automobile accident. In each state, the personal injury laws surrounding car accidents differ slightly. Read on to learn about how such legal matters are treated in the state of Florida:
Auto Accident Cases in Florida
Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases is four years from the date of an accident. This means that the victim of a car accident would have four years to file a personal injury claim. If they wait over four years, they forfeit their right to seek compensation. Although the state of Florida gives victims four years, it is advantageous for victims to seek compensation as soon as possible once they know the extent of the injuries they have sustained.
The Purpose of Seeking Compensation after a Car Accident
Seeking compensation through a personal injury suit isn’t simply a means to get rich. The financial support a victim seeks is compensation for their lost wages, medical bills, and future lost wages or future medical bills due to their injury. In some cases, a person’s injury will heal and they will go on to live a normal life. In other situations, their ability to earn a living is forever altered. If the car accident that caused their injury wasn’t their fault or if the other driver was negligent, then they have the right to seek compensation that will support them throughout their recovery and beyond.
Personal Injury Claims Can Garner Compensation for the Following in Florida
If you were injured in an automobile or motorcycle accident you may be able to collect compensation for:
- Compensation for property that was damaged during the accident.
- Compensation for a disability or permanent disfigurement.
- Compensation for lost wages.
- Compensation for past medical expenses as well as estimated future costs of medical care or rehabilitation.
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
Florida’s PIP Law
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, motorists who suffer injuries in an auto accident may receive compensation to pay their medical bills and lost wages from their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy, no matter who caused the accident. That means after an auto accident, you would first turn to your own PIP policy for compensation.
In order to receive PIP benefits, you must meet certain criteria under Florida law. You must receive medical treatment within 14 days. If you do not have an emergency medical condition (EMC), you can only receive up to $2,500 in PIP benefits. However, if you receive an EMC diagnosis, you may recover up to $10,000.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
Bodily injury liability insurance protects you against claims brought by others who suffer injury or death as a result of your negligence. These can include damages for medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. This could also include compensation for permanent injury, loss of consortium, and out of pocket expenses such as travel costs for medical care.
Bodily injury liability does not cover your own bodily injury or those of the people named in your policy. Rather, it pays for the other party’s serious injury when you or a named insured causes an accident. Damages to injured parties will be covered up to the limit stated in the policy.
Besides covering you (the policy holder) for liability, Bodily injury liability covers injuries that relatives who live with you, and people who drive your car with your permission, are liable for. Bodily injury liability also pays to defend the insured against liability claims.
On the other hand, if you are seriously injured by another driver and that driver has Bodily injury liability coverage, you can file a claim under his or her policy.
Florida does not require bodily injury liability coverage, but most other states do. At a minimum, Florida law requires that any person at fault in a crash resulting in bodily injury to others have “full liability insurance coverage.” This includes a minimum limit of $10,000 for bodily injury liability per person or $20,000 per crash. But because the costs associated with bodily injury are so high, this is seldom enough. Bodily injury coverage ensures that your insurance company pays the maximum amount, up to the policy limit. Having Bodily injury liability coverage protects you financially and protects your personal assets if you are sued for damages by an injured party.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Accidents
After exhausting PIP coverage, if the other driver has no other insurance or an amount of coverage that is insufficient to cover the costs related to your injury, your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be able to cover the damage caused by the negligent party.
Attempting to collect compensation through your uninsured motorist coverage can be complicated and will likely require the assistance of an attorney. Your insurance company may try to limit your payout, based on their own investigation of the accident and how much they believe your claim is worth. If you receive an amount that you believe does not properly cover your losses, your attorney may be able to file a lawsuit against your insurance company in an attempt to recover additional compensation.
Next Step to Take
If you or someone you love have been injured in a Florida auto accident, call us at The Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield, P.A. We are ready to work for you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 954-983-1443 to learn if you have the makings of a successful personal injury case.