In the first eight months of 2021, car crashes across Florida have totaled 331,320, resulting in 212,531 injuries and 3,100 fatalities, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
What did all these drivers have in common, or should have in common under Florida law? Their auto insurance policies should have carried Personal Injury Protection (PIP) clauses of at least $10,000 to cover their injuries. However, many Florida drivers – estimated at 20 percent or more – fail to purchase PIP policies even though required by law.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in or around Davie, Florida, or in the neighboring communities of Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Sunrise, Weston, Coral Springs, or Pembroke Pines, contact The Law Offices of Scott Sobol. While you recover from your injuries, we can pursue a claim for personal injuries against the negligent driver who caused your pain and suffering.
Injured in a car accident?
Florida Insurance Laws: PIP
To register or operate a vehicle in Florida, you must show proof of having obtained $10,000 in PIP insurance, as well as $10,000 in Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage.
The PIP is intended to pay you for any injuries you sustain in an accident, regardless of who is responsible. The PDL covers any damage to property your vehicle causes in an accident. You can always purchase PIP and PDL riders for larger amounts.
Typically, PIP will reimburse you for 80 percent of your medical expenses and 60 percent of wages lost due to time off from work because of injuries. If your injuries exceed the limits of your PIP, you can pay out of pocket. If the other driver caused the accident, you can seek compensation from his or her insurance policy, or you can initiate a personal injury lawsuit if your injury was serious enough.
Pursuing Compensation for Your Injuries
Remember that Florida imposes a four-year statute of limitations on filing personal injury claims, which is actually fairly generous given that many states impose two-year limits. If you do file a lawsuit against the responsible, at-fault driver, your potential compensation expands to cover not only economic damages for medical expenses and wage loss, but also non-economic damages for pain and suffering.
However, you will have to prove to the other driver’s insurance company or to a judge and jury that the negligence of the other driver caused your injuries, in whole or in part. Under Florida’s pure comparative negligence standard, each driver will be assigned a portion of the fault. You can recover the percentage of responsibility assigned to the other driver.
To illustrate: You seek $25,000 in damages, both economic and non-economic, from a driver who crashed into your car, causing you injuries and property damage. That driver’s insurance company or a jury in court will then examine the circumstances. Assume they find you to be 40 percent at fault for speeding or driving too closely. They may award you $25,000, but your compensation will be reduced by 40 percent, down to $15,000.
Because Florida uses a “pure” standard of comparative negligence, as opposed to a “modified” standard, you can still recover damages even if you’re judged 90 percent or more to blame. Of course, this would mean the other driver could recover 90 percent from you for their injuries and property damage.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If a loved one dies in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. However, Florida limits the filing of wrongful death lawsuits to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Family members and relatives cannot otherwise initiate wrongful death claims.
The personal representative is someone named in the decedent’s will or trust, empowering that person to carry out the wishes expressed by the decedent. If the person died without a will or trust, then a probate court will appoint someone – often a family member – to assume the role.
Car Accident Attorney Serving Davie, Florida
Proving negligence is the key to winning a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. Under Florida law, every vehicle operator has a “duty of care” to drive carefully and respect the rights of other drivers. If a driver breaches that duty of care – by speeding, driving under the influence, being distracted or inattentive, or breaking other rules of the road – they can be held liable for damages caused to others.
Remember comparative negligence, however. The other driver’s attorney and insurance company will try to pin responsibility on you.
If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident in or around Davie, Florida, contact The Law Offices of Scott Sobol immediately. We also proudly serve clients in all neighboring communities, including Fort Lauderdale, Cooper City, Plantation, Weston, and Sunrise.
We know Florida law and can pursue your claim to the fullest. We will listen to your story, investigate, assess liability, and advise you of the best path forward to obtain the fair and just compensation you deserve.