Have you recently been involved in an auto accident in Fort Myers or the surrounding area? Were there multiple vehicles involved in the collision? Did you become injured as a result of the accident? If the answer is yes to two or more of the above questions, then it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as possible.
The state of Florida handles car accidents differently than most states. It is considered a “no-fault state,” which is defined that when two or more people are involved in an automobile accident, the ability to sue the at-fault driver is restricted.
However, if you are injured during an auto accident and meet the criteria of the serious injury threshold, you may be entitled to the recovery of non-economic damages from the opposing party.
If the automobile accident that you were involved in resulted in a “serious injury,” you will likely be able to step outside of the confines of a no-fault system and file a liability claim or car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Among other differences between no-fault and a standard claim, you’ll be able to get compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering if you pursue a claim outside of no-fault.
Florida’s no-fault rules require drivers to carry mandatory personal injury protection coverage (PIP), that will pay up to $10,000 for all injuries sustained during a car accident, with certain limitations – including that the amount paid will only cover up to 80% of necessary medical treatment, and 60% of any lost income in most cases where the injured person is unable to work.
Your PIP coverage will pay for your losses, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. But the maximum amount recoverable per person is $10,000 under Florida’s no-fault rules. If you’ve suffered losses of more than $10,000 (or if your injuries qualify as “serious,” as discussed) you may file a liability or personal injury claim outside of the no-fault system against the at-fault driver. But remember, you may also purchase additional PIP coverage to increase this $10,000 maximum.
PIP protection also applies to both pedestrians and bicyclists who have been injured in automobile accidents.
A serious injury is defined as the following from Florida’s Stat. Ann. Section 627.737:
…a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle only in the event that the injury or disease consists in whole or in part of:
(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.
(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.
(c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.
Automobile accident statistics as displayed by Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System show the following as reported by the Lee County Sheriff’s Department for the 2015 year in Southwest Florida.
|Crashes with Traffic Fatalities:||14|
|Total Traffic Fatalities||14|
|Commercial Vehicle Crashes:||504|
|Property Damage Crashes:||2,963|
If you have any questions concerning what to do after an auto accident, or what options may be available to you, please feel free to contact our office at anytime. We will gladly discuss your situation and provide answers, information, and a free consultation to discuss your case.
Our legal team is driven by a commitment to provide the most exceptional service possible. To discuss your case, please contact us at (239) 466-1161, or fill out the form below.