Basics of Car Accident Settlements
After a car accident, many people have difficulties understanding insurance or legal questions. Maybe you’re considering filing a claim, but you lack general knowledge about how car accident settlements work.
The process of filing a claim and determining who’s eligible for compensation through a settlement is different in Florida compared to many other states. Read on to learn more about the basics of car accident settlements. For help pursuing a claim, partner with a Pensacola car accident lawyer.
No-Fault Insurance in Florida
Across the country, Florida is one of a handful of states that follows something called no-fault insurance laws for car accident claims. This means that after an accident, your own personal injury protection (PIP) plan will pay for your medical expenses, lost income from missed work, and related expenses.
Although this system can have its advantages—especially if you caused the accident—PIP benefits are limited in budget and don’t account for non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. But what if you want to file a third-party claim against the responsible party?
As it currently stands, you can only do this if you’ve suffered what the state of Florida considers to be serious injuries, such as disfigurement, a bone fracture, or related complications. If you’re able to do so, however, filing a third-party claim can allow you to receive compensation from the other party’s insurance company for both economic and non-economic damages.
The Impact of Comparative Negligence on Your Claim
In Florida, comparative negligence is the rule of the road. This means you could find the value of your third-party settlement reduced by the percentage of the accident for which you are responsible.
For example—if your damages total to $100,000, but you are 25 percent liable for having caused the accident, you can collect only $75,000 in the settlement. This rule can impact proceedings in an out-of-court negotiation, or during a formal lawsuit.
Car Accidents: Obligation to Report
When your accident appears to have caused an injury, death, or property damages in excess of $500, you are required by Florida law to report the crash to local authorities.
Statute of Limitations in Florida Car Accident Settlement Claims
Generally speaking, the statute of limitations on car accident claims expires four years from the date of the accident in Florida. This means that, for the most part, filing your claim after more than four years have passed will prompt the defendant to ask a judge to invalidate your claim.
Four years is a relatively lenient statute compared to other jurisdictions, but that doesn’t mean you have time to waste. Investigating and filing your claim can take months or years, which is why most injured drivers contact a trusted car accident attorney as soon as possible to avoid the risk of missing the statutory deadline.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
When you’ve been injured in a crash, an experienced car accident attorney from Gross & Schuster P.A. will work diligently to secure you the maximum settlement.
Our consultations are always free—call 850-434-3333 or fill out the form below to get started.