If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages in the form of a payout from your insurance company or a damages award in court. In this article, First Coast car accident attorney John Fagan will give you a general overview of Florida car accidents.
Florida is one of the few states where there is no-fault liability for car accidents. This means that it’s easier to be compensated for your injuries, but it’s harder for you to receive an amount higher than a predetermined limit. The purpose of the no-fault system is to lower automobile insurance premiums; prevent backlog in the courts (by reducing the total number of lawsuits brought before them); allow for people who have been injured in car accidents to be compensated; and facilitate recovery of damages by providing an avenue other than the traditional tort system.
Under the no-fault system, anyone who is involved in a car accident will be indemnified for his or her losses arising out of the accident from his or her insurance company. This is regardless of whether or not the person was at fault for the accident. In exchange for this easy payout, however, it has become even harder to succeed in a private lawsuit against the person who caused the car accident.
All Florida motorists are required to obtain personal injury protection (PIP), which pays up to $10,000 for any bodily injury that is sustained in a car accident. PIP covers the insured motorist, relatives of the motorist who live in the same household, people who operate the insured car, passengers of the insured car, and anyone who is hit by the insured car. It indemnifies a fixed percentage of reasonable medical expenses, lost wages, replacement services, and funeral expenses. Under PIP, you cannot recover non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering).
In Florida, a person who has been injured in a car accident can still sue for damages in court if he can prove that the injuries arising out of the car accident were sufficiently high. This is known as the verbal threshold. If you’ve been injured in a Florida car accident, you can sue for:
- Economic damages not covered by PIP (although this amount can be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident); and
- Non-economic damages (such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience) arising out of the accident where there is:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- A reasonable degree of medical probability of a permanent injury (other than scarring or disfigurement);
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Florida, get the legal help you need from an experienced Jacksonville and Orange Park car accident attorney. For a free initial consultation, call John Fagan today.