About Florida Auto Accident Laws
A car accident can happen anywhere at any time. But Florida is unique when it comes to car accident laws. If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, there are certain things you need to know to protect yourself. Here are the top things you need to know about Florida auto accident laws. From property damage to personal injury and more, read on to learn about what you should do if you’re ever involved in a car accident in the state of Florida. If you are looking for immediate legal advice, reach out to us here at The Law Offices of Nerina Smart, P.A. now.
1. What Should You Do If You Are Involved in an Accident in Florida?
If you are involved in an accident in Florida, the first thing you should do is call the police. Even if the accident is minor, it is always best to have a police report on file.
Once the police arrive, be sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver. You will also want to get the contact information of any witnesses to the accident. You should also take the time to photograph everything, from the vehicles to the scene, injuries, witness vehicles, skid marks, and anything else you see at the scene of the accident itself. Videos work for this as well.
Once you have gathered all this information, you should contact your insurance company and begin the claims process. Florida is a no-fault state, which means that each driver’s insurance company will pay for their own damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
If you have been injured in the accident, you may also be able to file a personal injury claim against the other driver. This is especially true if the other driver was at fault for the accident. If you are not sure whether or not you have a case, it is best to speak with an experienced automobile accident attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you on how to proceed.
2. Who is at Fault for an Auto Accident in Florida?
Each insurance company is responsible for paying the costs for their policyholder up to the PIP limits of that individual’s policy. It does not matter who may be at fault when it comes to the initial damages up to the PIP policy limits.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your damages exceed the PIP limits. First, you want to satisfy what is known as the “personal injury protection” (PIP) requirement. This requires you to receive treatment from a licensed medical professional within 15 days of the accident and submit proof of treatment to your insurance company.
Generally, after you have satisfied the PIP requirement, you may then file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver if your damages exceed the PIP limits. In order to win such a lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other driver was negligent (at fault) and that their negligence caused your injuries. If successful, you may be awarded compensation for things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
3. Florida Law Says if Someone is Injured in Any Vehicle Accident, You Must Stop
If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, the Florida auto accident laws require that you stop your vehicle at the scene of the accident. This is true regardless of who is at fault for the accident. If someone has been injured in the accident, you must render aid to the best of your ability. You should also call 911 to report the accident and request medical assistance.
It is important to note that if you leave the scene of an accident before exchanging information with the other driver or rendering aid, you could be charged with a hit and run. Hit and run accidents are serious crimes in Florida and can result in hefty fines and even jail time.
4. There are PDL and PIP Requirements in Florida
Florida is one of just a few states that requires drivers to have insurance that will cover the costs of an accident no matter who may be found at fault. All drivers are required to carry two specific types of insurance – PIP which covers personal injury, and PDL which covers property damage. PIP insurance is meant to cover your medical expenses and lost wages up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
However, if your injuries exceed $10,000 and/or you suffered property damage in the accident, you may file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company or take them to court to recover damages. Thankfully, you can also file suit even if you fail to fully exhaust your PIP limits under specific circumstances.
5. There Are Typically Only Four Years to File a Claim in Florida After an Auto Accident
There are several important things to know about Florida auto accident laws, and one of the most crucial is the statute of limitations. In general, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a claim in Florida. This may seem like a long time, but it can be difficult to navigate the legal system and collect all the evidence you need to support your claim.
If you wait too long to file, you may be unable to collect any compensation for your injuries or damages. It is, therefore important to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An attorney can help you understand the applicable deadlines and ensure that your claim is filed quickly, plus help file your suit before you are barred by the SOL.
6. Florida Uses Comparative Negligence Laws to Determine Compensation
In the state of Florida, if you are found to be even partially at fault for an auto accident, you may not be able to receive full compensation for your damages. This is because Florida uses a “comparative negligence” law to determine how compensation is awarded after an accident.
Under this law, if you are found even partially at fault for an accident, the amount you can receive goes down. For example, if you are 33% at fault, and you were to receive $100,000 in compensation, your amount goes down by 33%.
Contact The Law Offices of Nerina Smart, P.A., for Help with Your Florida Car Accident Questions
If you have been involved in an accident, it is important to reach out to us here at The Law Offices of Nerina Smart, P.A., as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. As an experienced automobile accident lawyer, we will be able to help you navigate the complex legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to set up a time to talk!