Car accidents are one of the leading causes of injuries and accidental death in this country. Drivers who do not use reasonable care could end up causing wrecks that could change a person’s life forever. Even a minor accident could cause financial hardship and significant inconvenience.
If you suffered losses in a crash that was not your fault, you could pursue damages from the responsible parties through a personal injury lawsuit. A Winter Garden car accident lawyer could explain the process and help you press your claim.
Florida follows a no-fault system for car accident liability. Every driver must have liability insurance and personal injury protection (PIP) to register a vehicle. If they get into an accident, each driver’s PIP policy covers their medical expenses regardless of which driver caused the crash.
If a passenger suffers an injury, their PIP will cover them if they have automobile insurance. If they do not have insurance, they must claim against the PIP of the driver of the car they occupied when the accident occurred. A Winter Garden attorney could help an injured car accident passenger secure an insurance settlement from the driver’s coverage.
However, PIP covers only 80 percent of medical expenses and 60 percent of a claimant’s lost wages. If they seek compensation for the rest of their losses, they must turn to the other driver’s insurance or the courts for satisfaction.
Sometimes an at-fault driver has sufficient insurance to cover all an injured party’s losses. This result is more likely if the driver has commercial coverage or their employer has vicarious liability for the accident. In many cases of severe injury, a driver’s personal liability policy limits will not cover all an injured person’s losses.
An injured person could take the at-fault driver to court seeking compensation for the losses that insurance did not cover. The at-fault driver has personal liability for these losses. However, it might not be worth going to court if the at-fault driver has limited personal assets. A Winter Garden car accident attorney could investigate the driver’s financial condition to determine whether they have the means to pay a judgment.
In some cases, other parties might have partial responsibility for a crash. If there was a mechanical problem with an involved vehicle, the manufacturer could be liable to pay the injured person’s damages due to product liability. If drunk driving was a factor, the establishment that served the alcohol could be liable under dram shop law. Asserting claims against as many potentially responsible parties as possible could enhance a claimant’s chances of receiving adequate compensation for their losses.
An injured person sometimes bears partial responsibility for a car accident. In such cases, Florida Statute § 761.81 says the injured person could still collect damages from other negligent parties. However, they cannot collect the portion of the damages caused by their negligence.
When an injured claimant carries partial blame, the insurance companies for all the involved parties apportion liability between them. A jury decides how much responsibility each party has for the accident if the case goes to court, expressed as a percentage.
A claimant who is 20 percent responsible for a crash could collect only 80 percent of their damages. As of March 2023, a claimant cannot recover any damages whatsoever if they are deemed to be more than 50 percent at fault. An attorney could explain how this comparative negligence system might affect an injured person’s damages.
The car accident liability system in Florida is unusual compared to other parts of the country. A person unfamiliar with its rules and complexities might not collect an adequate insurance payout after a crash.
A Winter Garden car accident lawyer is familiar with the system and knows how to negotiate with insurance companies to get satisfactory results. Call today to discuss your situation with the Umansky Law Firm.
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