Broward County, FL Car Accident Lawyer
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in Florida and across the country. Under Florida’s no-fault insurance rules, you may think that your insurance has everything covered, but many injury cases should be handled with the help of an experienced car accident lawyer instead of trusting the insurance companies.
Many insurance companies seek to underpay you for your injuries, even your own no-fault insurance. However, an experienced Broward County, FL car accident lawyer can fight for your rights and work to maximize the compensation you receive in your case. Never accept money from the insurance companies before talking to an attorney about the true value of your case.
For a free case review, call The Carrion Law Firm’s Broward County car accident attorneys today at (954) 951-4828.
How Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Rules Affect Car Accident Cases in Broward County
Insurance systems across the country usually fall into one of two categories: “no-fault” insurance or “at-fault”/“tort” insurance. In a no-fault insurance system, each driver carries their own insurance to cover their own injuries (and injuries to their passengers) in the event of a crash. In an at-fault or tort system, each driver carries liability insurance that covers damages that they cause in a crash to other people. Florida uses a no-fault system, which has certain restrictions on how cases are filed.
Under Florida’s no-fault system, every driver is required to carry at least $10,000 of “PIP” (personal injury protection) insurance. This will cover them and any passengers in their car during an accident regardless of who was at fault – which is why it is called a no-fault system. Under this system, you also carry liability insurance to protect you from having to pay for other peoples’ vehicle damage and injuries, but you can only go after compensation for injuries from the other driver’s insurance if certain conditions are met.
To sue the other driver or file a claim against their insurance under these no-fault rules, you have to have “serious” injuries. This includes things like “significant and permanent” loss of a body part, an organ, or a bodily function. It can also include “significant and permanent” scarring. If someone dies in a crash, their family can also sue instead of having to rely on insurance. Talk to your Broward County car accident lawyer about your injuries and whether they qualify you for a lawsuit instead of an insurance claim.
Damages in a Car Accident Case in Broward County, FL
One of the reasons that no-fault insurance rules are important to understand is because of the effect they will have on what damages you can recover in your accident case. The following damages are all available in a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident, but they may be limited or unavailable in an insurance claim:
Even when you are injured, you may be unable to help but worry about the damage to your vehicle. Generally speaking, compensation for vehicle damage can be claimed in a third-party insurance claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, but you might also have first-party benefits attached to your own insurance policy. If you are going to file a lawsuit for injuries, these damages can be included in that claim.
PIP insurance is intended to cover medical expenses, but it may have caps and limitations. When you file a claim with your own no-fault insurance, you often have to deal with policy limits, and you have to pay a deductible. This means some money for your injuries still comes out of pocket. When you file a lawsuit, your Broward County car accident lawyers can instead seek to have damages paid in full by the at-fault driver or their insurance company.
Lost wages are also covered by PIP, but the same issues with deductibles and policy limits exist. In a lawsuit, you could be entitled to claim these damages in full. You might also seek future damages for lost earning capacity. For example, if an injury makes it hard to return to your previous profession and you need to take a lower-paying job with fewer physical demands, you can seek compensation for the difference in your old and new income. You can also seek damages for future missed work if your injuries are long-term or permanent.
Pain and Suffering
Along with other “non-economic” damages, pain and suffering is often blocked in a no-fault insurance claim. As such, you can typically only get these damages paid in a lawsuit or a settlement paid outside the typical insurance claims process. These damages are based on physical and mental experiences rather than monetary harms, but they are just as important to your case as medical bills and lost wages. For help getting these damages in a car accident case, talk to your Broward County car accident attorneys about whether a lawsuit is allowed in your case.
Time Limits on Car Accident Claims in Broward County, FL
In Florida, you typically have 4 years to file an injury lawsuit under Florida Statute § 95.11(3). This helps ensure that cases are taken seriously and that people who really need help come forward quickly to get damages for their injuries. While this seems like a long time, dealing with injuries and other fallout from a car accident can take a lot of time, potentially meaning that 4 years pass much more quickly than you would have anticipated. Make sure to call our Broward County car accident lawyers as soon as you can to help with evidence collection and to deal with potentially shorter deadlines for insurance claims.
Call Our Broward County, FL Car Accident Attorneys for Help
If you were hurt in a car accident in Broward County or you lost a loved one in a Broward County car accident, call The Carrion Law Firm today. Contact us at (954) 951-4828 for a free case evaluation with our Broward County car accident attorneys.