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Car Accident Frequently Asked Questions

Accident with my company’s car; who pays damages?

If you were not at fault in the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy will pay for the damage to the car. If you were at fault in the accident, your company’s insurance will pay for the damage to the car.

Are Punitive Damages Available in Florida Auto Accidents?

Punitive damages are available in Florida in all auto accident cases. The most common reason they are awarded is when the at-fault driver is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Are There Alternatives to Court in a Florida Auto Accident Case?

Actually, most cases, or a large percentage of the cases are resolved pre-suit, which means the cases never go to court. I work with the insurance companies before filing suit to try to find a fair resolution for the client, which save money on expenses, court costs and attorney’s fees.

Can I Be Found Liable in Florida If My Car was Rear-Ended?

There are many different circumstances where you can be found liable if your car is rear-ended. For example, if you pull out and cut someone off, you can be found liable. If you have witnesses stating that you are brake checking or you are purposely slamming on your brakes in front of people, then you could be found liable as well.

Can I Be Treated by My Own Doctor if I Was Hurt in a Car Accident?

Our clients many times try to go to their primary doctors to get treated for their car accident cases. However, what we have found, is that many primary car doctors don’t want to be involved in car accident cases for numerous reasons. Many of them don’t know how to bill the P.I.P. benefits and they don’t get paid for treating car accident victims. Therefore, it is really important you get treated by a doctor who specializes in documenting and treating car accident cases.

How is Fault Determined in an Auto Accident?

Fault is determined by the evidence collected during the investigation. We look to many things to determine fault in the case: we look to the police report, we look to witness statements, we look to the property damage to the vehicles, skid marks, layout of the cars, etc. Sometimes we even have to refer to accident re-constructionists to do a professional examination of the all the evidence to do a recommendation for us, but that does not happen in very many cases.

Do I Have an Auto Case If I am Found to be Partially at Fault?

Car accident cases are not always black and white. Sometimes it’s clear 100% liability and sometimes its a percentage of liability. Someone is 50% at fault and the other person is 50% at fault. Sometimes it’s a 60/40 split. When there’s a comparative negligence case, for example, if you’re awarded a $100,000 settlement and the jury finds you 20% at fault, your settlement is reduced by the percentage you are found at fault. So, in this case, you would only get $80,000.

Does Florida Cap Non-Economic Damages in an Auto Accident?

Florida does not cap non-economic damages for pain and suffering in car accident cases. The sky is the limit at this point, unless the legislature decides to pass any other laws or regulations controlling that issue.

What Are the Types of Damages in a Florida Auto Accident Case? 

The Florida statutes list the damages that are available to you in a Florida car accident case. Some of them include: the bodily injury to your person, your pain and suffering, your mental anguish, all your medical bills and expenses and future medical bills and expenses, inconvenience, disfigurement, scarring and a couple more.

If I Sue Someone for Damages in an Auto Accident Case, Will I Hurt the Person I Sue?

If the at-fault party has bodily injury coverage on their auto policy, their insurance company will hire an attorney to defend them. It will not cost them money out-of-pocket for their defense. However, the liability policy that they have will only cover up to the limits of their policy. Any of your damages that exceed those limits would be covered by your uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it) or it could be recovered from the individual personally.

If My Friend Borrows My Car and Gets in an Accident, Can I Be Sued?

If you loan your car to a friend, and the friend took your car with your consent, then the injured party of the non-at fault vehicle does have a right to go after the driver of the vehicle as well as the owner.

Can I file a Lawsuit If I Wasn’t Wearing My Seat Belt?

Yes, you are able to still sue the driver and the owner of the car, if you were injured in an accident while not wearing your seat belt. However, keep in mind, that because of comparative negligence, the jury could place a percentage of liability on you for your injuries and the verdict could be reduced by that percentage.

Will My Auto Accident Case Be Affected Because I Gave a Recorded Statement to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company?

Your auto accident case can be affected. The reason the other driver’s insurance company tries to get a recorded statement from you is because they want to pinpoint you on the answers to your questions. If you make statements about your injuries, if you make statements about your pain, they can use that against you at a later time.

Can a Passenger Recover Damages If the Injuries Were Caused By The Driver of the Same Car?

Yes you can. As long as you are not married to the driver of the vehicle. You can be a relative. You can be a friend. You can definitely recover damages if the accident is the result of the driver.

Can I Take Action Against Parties Other Than the At-Fault Driver?

Yes. Not only do you have an action against the driver of the vehicle, but you also have an action against the owner of the vehicle. It does not matter if they owner of the vehicle has a commercial policy or is an individual owner.

What are Subrogation Rights?

Subrogation rights are when someone pays benefits on your behalf as a result of a car accident case. It gives them the right to recover those benefits back from the at-fault driver. The most common subrogation rights we deal with are health insurance carriers. If they pay for some of your medical expenses, then they have a right to be reimbursed from the at-fault driver’s insurance, which is your settlement. You really should hire an attorney to make sure you comply with these subrogation rights, because we work with the health insurance companies to reduce the amount of money that you have to pay back to them.

What Constitutes Pain and Suffering in a Florida Auto Accident Case?

Here are some examples of what constitutes pain and suffering in a Florida auto accident case: physical pain, emotional trauma, limitations on daily activities, limitations on abilities at work, depression, scarring, disfigurement, and any kind of post-traumatic stress disorders.

What Documents Should I Bring to My Attorney?

We like you to bring the driver’s exchange of information that the police officer gives you at the scene. We also like you bring any photographs of damage at the scene. Also bring your health insurance cards and your auto insurance cards or declarations page, so we can review the coverage available to you.

What Is a Permanent Injury?

A permanent injury does not necessarily have to be a disabling injury. What it means is that you have an injury that will permanently affect you for the rest of your life. It can be a herniation in the neck or lower back. It can be paralysis. It can be traumatic brain injuries; there are many different examples of permanent brain injuries.

What is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Coverage?

Bodily injury liability coverage is optional coverage in Florida. When you opt to purchase bodily injury liability coverage you are protecting yourself in case you or someone else is driving your vehicle and you permanently injure another person and you are at-fault for the accident.

What is Comprehensive Insurance Coverage?

Comprehensive coverage is coverage under your auto insurance policy which covers damage to your vehicle that are not related to car accidents. Examples of that kind of coverage would be fire, theft, windstorms and even vandalism.

What is Negligence?

Negligence involves harm caused to another person by carelessness and not intentional harm.

What Should I Do Immediately Following my Florida Car Accident?

First: Call 911. Once that happens, someone from the Sheriff’s Office or a Highway Patrol Officer can respond to the scene. It’s important that you get the accident documented in the form of a police report, so that you have that for your case.

Second: Call an attorney: An attorney can advice you on the steps to handle your property insurance claim, and resolve any injuries you may have sustained as a results of your accident. Insurance companies have attorneys working hard for them, and you need an attorney working just as hard for your rights.

Who Will Pay for My Defense if I Am Sued Regarding an Auto Accident?

There are many different insurance coverage that are available to you, when you sign up for an insurance policy. If you elected bodily injury coverage to protect you if you were in an accident that was your fault, your insurance company will pay for your defense and hire an attorney for you.

Who Will Pay for the Damage to My Vehicle in an Accident?

It depends on who was at fault for the accident. If you were at fault, your insurance company will pay for the damage to the vehicle. If you were not at fault, the at-fault driver’s or owner’s insurance policy will pay for the damage, and if they do not have enough coverage to cover the damage to your vehicle, your collision coverage (if purchased) would pay for the damage to your vehicle.