Getting in a car accident can be a frustrating experience that can become even scarier in the event of a serious injury. In Florida, personal injury law requires people to meet certain criteria in order to file a third-party claim for personal injuries sustained following a car accident.
Following a serious incident, people often question the amount of compensation they can receive through a legal settlement, but the honest answer is that there is no “average” settlement amount.
The amount of money awarded to Florida drivers in a car accident settlement can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, such as insurance policy, the severity of the resulting injury, and the nature of the incident.
Naming an exact number for your settlement requires gathering information that can best be sifted through and interpreted by a competent team of personal injury attorneys.
If you or a loved one has sustained a serious injury due to a car accident and is having trouble getting compensation, you are not alone. Contact our top personal injury attorneys at Florin|Roebig to get started on securing your car accident settlement today.
Determining Car Accident Settlement Amounts
The process of determining how much money you will be able to get in a car accident settlement relies on specific information about the accident. What one individual calls a “car accident” can look different from person to person, ranging anywhere from a bad fender bender to severe auto and personal damage.
For instance, if a car accident is minor without any injuries, the amount you receive is likely to be less than an accident that results in major casualties, or damage to vehicles and property.
When drivers typically get in a car accident, their next actions often depend on how serious the accident is and the amount of damage caused.
Under Florida law, those who get in a car accident are required to contact law enforcement immediately if the accident was severe enough to result in:
- personal injury
- property damage exceeding $500
Many people who get in minor car accidents, however, do not contact law enforcement. This can be due to a variety of reasons, depending on the situation and those involved.
Regardless of whether you call the police following your accident, it is still important to document all accident-related damages and gather both personal details and insurance information of all drivers involved.
Other information to keep nearby if you plan on filing a personal injury claim includes:
- medical bills
- cost estimates for car repair
- estimated costs for continued care (e.g. in the case of a major accident that has resulted in permanent/chronic injury or death)
- other financial losses (e.g. lost wages)
This information can prove crucial to determining how much money you will be able to receive upon filing for a personal injury settlement.
Factors That Affect Florida Car Accident Settlements In Florida
The average number stated among Florida law resources for car accident settlements is anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 or more. As you can imagine, settlement amounts can vary depending on a wide range of factors. Perhaps the most important factors that can affect this amount is how serious your injuries are from the accident and the strength of your legal representation.
Having the right personal injury attorney on your side can be essential in helping you learn how much compensation you may be eligible for and what action can be taken to help lessen your financial burden in your recovery.
No-Fault Insurance Policy
One of the most important factors to understand when seeking a car accident claim in Florida is the state’s no-fault accident law. This law requires that people who sustain injuries from an accident first seek coverage through their auto insurance provider.
The reason for this is that Florida’s no-fault law prevents drivers from holding at-fault drivers liable for costs that are accrued through only minor damages. Those who wish to file a liability claim against the person at-fault must do so outside of the no-fault system, which requires meeting certain eligibility criteria.
The primary eligibility requirement is having sustained a serious injury as a result of the accident.
In this context, a “serious injury” is defined as at least one of the following:
- permanent injury
- significant and/or permanent scarring
- significant and/or permanent disfigurement
- serious injury that has resulted in the loss of a bodily function
Regardless of how serious or minor the accident, calling your vehicle insurance provider is one of the first steps you should take after getting in a car accident. In order to begin the process of receiving cost-related coverage, it is important to make this call after seeking medical treatment, contacting police, and consulting an attorney.
Under Florida’s no-fault law, you can begin to receive coverage from your insurance before the person at fault in the accident is established.
Personal Injury Protection Policy (PIP)
In Florida, drivers are required to have at least $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) coverage through their auto insurance. This coverage can become very important for seeking initial coverage or reimbursement following a car accident.
Through your insurer’s personal injury protection policy, you should be eligible to receive the following coverage:
- up to 80 percent of medical bills
- travel reimbursement for visits to doctors
- up to 60 percent of lost wages
- $5,000 in death benefits
This can be helpful for seeking initial financial coverage following an accident. However, there are also several limitations to PIP coverage.
Benefit Limits: Personal injury protection benefits do not exceed $2,500 unless you are determined to have an emergency medical condition (EMC). In the case of a serious injury requiring major medical procedures or continued care, this may not be enough to fully cover costs.
Time-Frame For Medical Coverage: To seek coverage for medical costs related to your accident, you must seek this medical treatment within 14 days of the accident. Medical treatment sought after this time-frame may not be eligible for coverage through your insurance policy.
Not All Damages Covered: Although personal injury protection policy may cover some damages, PIP policy does not cover damages related to pain and suffering. This, and other costs not covered by your vehicle insurance, may be recoverable through filing a third-party claim with a personal injury attorney.
Caps On Damages Awarded
Damage caps refer to legal limits on how much money you can receive for damages filed in personal injury cases.
This can also limit the types of costs that may be covered, such as costs to your mental or emotional health. However, in Florida, these can often still be eligible for financial recovery through a third-party claim and expert witness testimony.
The most common damage caps to be aware of in personal injury car accident cases are caps on punitive damages. Punitive damages are damages that can be awarded in order to punish or deter the dangerous behavior of the person at fault.
In Florida, the cap on punitive damages in personal injury cases is no more than three times the amount of compensatory damages (e.g. medical bills, repair costs), or a maximum of $500,000 — whichever is greater.
Filing A Car Accident Claim In Florida
If you’re having trouble securing the amount of compensation necessary to cover costs and damages following a car accident, you may be able to file a third-party personal injury claim against the driver at-fault.
To begin this process, it is important to find strong legal representation to help you determine a fair settlement based on the details of your case.
Here at Florin|Roebig, we understand how difficult it can be to navigate this process alone. Our experienced team of attorneys can confidently negotiate with the insurer and take your case to trial if necessary to pursue a fair settlement for your accident-related damages.
Recovering from a personal injury following a car accident can already be painful enough. Let our results-driven representation at Florin|Roebig help you pursue a settlement capable of awarding you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait to learn what your settlement is worth. Call Florin|Roebig at (800) 226-6581 to get a free case evaluation today.