Can You Sue For A Car Accident in West Palm Beach If You Are Not Hurt?
Gregg Hollander | July 6, 2021 | Car Accidents
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for automobile accidents. When you are involved car accident, you file a claim against your no-fault insurance policy. You can only sue another driver for damages in Florida if you sustained serious injuries because of the collision.
How Does PIP Insurance Work in Florida?
According to FLHSMV, there were 401,867 traffic crashes in Florida in 2019. These accidents led to 3,185 traffic fatalities and 236,753 injuries.
PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance is a type of no-fault insurance. Insurance companies pay these benefits regardless of who caused the car crash.
Under Florida law, you must file a claim with your PIP insurance provider if you are injured in a car accident. You can recover up to 80 percent of your medical expenses and up to 60 percent of your lost wages. However, you cannot recover compensation for other damages, such as pain and suffering.
On the one hand, no-fault insurance means that you can recover compensation quickly because you do not need to prove who caused the car crash. Also, you do not need to worry about someone suing you for minor injuries sustained in a car wreck that is your fault.
On the other hand, PIP benefits are minimal. If you are severely injured in a car accident, you could incur substantial economic damages. You may also sustain a permanent disability or impairment.
The good news is that Florida’s no-fault insurance laws do allow you to sue another driver if you are seriously injured. You can seek compensation for all damages if you can prove the other driver caused the crash.
What is Considered a Serious Injury for Car Accident Claims in Florida?
Serious injuries are defined in Florida Statute §316.027 as:
- A physical injury that has a high risk of resulting in a long-term impairment or disability
- The loss of bodily function or mobility
- A life-threatening condition that has a significant risk of death
- Substantial disfigurement or scarring
If you sustain catastrophic injuries that meet or exceed the serious injury threshold, you can file a claim against the other driver’s liability insurance. If the driver does not have liability insurance coverage, you may proceed with a personal injury lawsuit against the driver.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
The insurance company for the other driver may agree to settle your claim. If not, your case might go to trial. In either situation, you are entitled to seek compensation for all damages caused by the car accident.
Damages included in a car accident claim are:
- Physical impairments, scarring, disabilities, and disfigurement
- The cost of diagnosing and treating car accident injuries
- Physical pain, discomfort, and suffering
- The cost of help with household chores, childcare, or personal care
- Long-term assisted living or nursing home costs
- Mental trauma and emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- The loss of past and future income and benefits
- Decreased future earning potential because of permanent disabilities
- Diagnosis of and treatment of psychological injuries
Valuing your damages in a car accident claim can be difficult, especially if you include future damages. Placing a price tag on pain and suffering is challenging because there is no standard formula for calculating non-economic damages.
If you are unsure how much your car accident claim is worth, it is best to speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer before settling your claim.
Once you enter a settlement agreement with an insurance provider, you give up your right to demand more money for your claim. Even if you discover additional damages, the settlement agreement bars you from seeking additional compensation.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Ask for Help with a Car Accident Case
There are deadlines for filing car accident lawsuits in West Palm Beach. The Florida statute of limitations for most car accident claims is four years from the crash date.
However, some circumstances could change that deadline. Also, the steps you take after your accident could substantially impact the outcome of your personal injury case.
Therefore, it is best to seek legal counsel in West Palm Beach as soon as possible after a car accident. A personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach can help you avoid mistakes that could hurt your chance of receiving maximum compensation for your injuries. A lawyer also calculates deadlines for filing claims and monitors those deadlines, so you don’t need to worry about missing a filing date. If you need legal help, contact our West Palm Beach office today to explore your options.