St. Petersburg Auto Accidents
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States, and Florida is no exception to the rule. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 191,000 car accidents in the first six months of 2017; in those car accidents, 121,000 reported injuries and 1,335 reported fatalities.
Though none of us would like to think about it, car crashes are an unfortunate but inevitable aspect of everyday life. Statistics suggest we’re all likely to get in a car accident at some point in our lives.
Car Accidents and Florida’s “No-Fault” Laws
In many states, the first step in getting compensation for your injuries is determining who is at fault for a car accident. In Florida, however, the law works a little differently. Florida follows a no-fault system for car accidents, which means you don’t need to prove anyone was at fault for the accident before collecting compensation. Rather than filing a claim with the at-fault driver, you’ll file one with the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage on your own policy.
While this system allows victims to get medical care without having to prove fault, it also limits your ability to pursue additional forms of legal recourse (such as a civil lawsuit). Florida law only allows for additional lawsuits when one of the following applies:
- The accident led to a permanent or serious injury.
- You incurred severe or significant scarring.
- You were disfigured as a result of the accident.
These terms are vague and open to interpretation. If you believe your injuries may qualify for an additional personal injury claim, talk to an attorney with experience in Florida car accident law.
Recovering Damages in a Car Accident
Florida law allows victims of car accidents to receive a few types of compensation for their injuries:
- Special or economic damages compensate for things like medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses of your physical recovery.
- General damages provide recompense for intangible losses like pain, suffering, and other forms of emotional distress.
- In certain instances, you may be able to pursue “punitive damages” for your injuries. These generally apply to cases of gross negligence or misconduct.
If you share part of the fault for a car accident, Florida applies the rule of “comparative negligence.” Stated simply, the courts reduce your settlement according to your percentage of fault. If, for example, you incurred $200,000 worth of damages, but you were 10% at fault for the accident, your maximum settlement amount would be $180,000.
Your Next Steps: Finding a Florida Car Accident Attorney
Being in a car accident is stressful. You may be wondering how you’ll pay for your medical bills, make up for lost wages, or continue with rehabilitation essential to your recovery. At Williams Law, P.A., we believe no one should have to pay the price for someone else’s negligence. That’s why we offer a free initial consultation to every prospective client. If you believe you have grounds for a personal injury claim, contact us and let us review the specifics of your case. We’ll help you decide on your next course of action, free of obligation.
If we believe your case has legal merit, we’ll offer our services on a contingency-fee basis. This means you won’t owe a fee unless we win a settlement or court judgment. Let us be your advocate throughout the claims process, whether it’s filing a claim through the insurance company or helping you find another driver at fault for your injuries. For more information about our process and the services we offer, contact us for a risk-free evaluation.