As we go full speed ahead into 2019, the Law Resource Blog is set to once again provide our readers with the most informational law materials on the web. Whether it’s articles, videos, tweets, or news–the team at the Shaked Law Firm strives to provide the most honest, factual content available. As always, we’ll continue to provide the real facts insurance companies don’t want accident victims to know–even when they’re entitled to the truth (and compensation for their injuries)!
We’ll kick off 2019 by discussing a most important topic here on the Blog: Florida car accident compensation laws. It’s should be well documented that Florida’s specific laws are complex and not comparable to the car accident-specific laws in nearly any other state. Whether this lack of commonality is reasonable or not should be left to each individual accident claim and the lawyer representing the client to navigate. As we’ve established over multiple articles, the insurance companies will never act in a reasonable manner toward a beneficiary, no matter the circumstances. It’s up to a lawyer with experience in being firm and playing hardball with these “paper pushers” to obtain the compensation their client rightfully deserves.
Deny, delay, don’t pay should never be accepted; thusly a client who retains a lawyer that allows this tactic to be used, foundering in their attempt to handle the case, should quickly hire a different law firm for representation. Younger, less experienced lawyers may not know how to fight this commonly used tactic and must work alongside senior attorneys in order to gain the knowledge necessary for trial, when necessary. However, suffice it to say the most important thing to understand within this article will most certainly be how these Florida-specific statutes are applied under the law by the court in the event of a car accident in which a victim becomes injured.
Florida’s “No Fault”, “PIP”, and complex claims
When it comes to car accident law in the state of Florida, one of the first things drivers must be aware of is that Florida is one of only a small handful of states that where a “no fault” insurance and compensation law in place. For the average driver without extensive knowledge of the law, what does this mean? We’ll explain! This means for accidents in the state of Florida, a driver must file a claim with their insurance company utilizing “Personal Injury Protection” or “PIP” coverage for any injuries that result from the accident.
As we discussed in our Insurance series of articles here on the Blog, Personal Injury Protection is one of the most important forms of insurance coverage a driver should purchase before ever putting hands on the wheel. As refresher going into a brand new year, let’s recap, from Personal Injury Protection: Florida Drivers Without “PIP” May Be At-Risk, what Personal Injury Protection, or “PIP” actually is:
“[…]PIP coverage allows anyone covered by such a policy to file their own PIP claim with their insurance carrier (as opposed to the other party’s insurance carrier). Then, each driver involved the accident’s own insurer will pay their insured’s damages up to what’s allowable in the state they reside. When bodily injury expenses are in excess of that amount, the injured party can then proceed to file a lawsuit directly against the other driver said to have caused the accident.”
It’s this statute that makes Personal Injury Protection a priority for drivers in states like Florida that require the coverage in order to file a claim. While each case is vastly different and only an experienced lawyer should advise the client to the specifics of their situation, it need only take one look at Florida’s laws to understand that being a fully covered motorist in the state is to every safe driver’s benefit.
“Pure Comparative Negligence” in Florida
The complexities come into play when injuries sustained are severe and often permanent; that’s when the laws change and only a board certified lawyer can provide the correct advice on how a client should proceed to obtain compensation, and a fair trial, if necessary.
After certain severe injuries are sustained, it’s at this point, a driver may file a claim against the other driver, and then should a lawyer advise a client to do so, a lawsuit may be filed with proper care taken to gather all facts in a timely and efficient manner. Shaked Law Fact: A lawyer with experience will advise their client ahead of time that when filing a claim for damages to a vehicle involved in an accident, “No Fault” in the state of Florida will not apply in this instance. Instead, the injured party should file their claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
Again, when it comes to state-specific laws, Florida is a “Pure Comparative Negligence” state. What does this mean to the average driver? Again, we’ll provide a better explanation. In the state of Florida, when a case must go all the way to trial for lack of agreed upon settlement offer that’s fair to the injured party, it’s then up to the judge and/or the jury in that case to compare fault between drivers (“plaintiff” and “defendant”).
How does this unfold, exactly? Once the judge and jury have gathered the necessary information throughout the trial (this can include but isn’t limited to financials, accident recreation, and expert witnesses) His or Her Honor will then accurately calculate the percentage of fault placed upon each driver and reduce or raise awarded damages justly. This is something that can often not be managed in a mediation if catastrophic injuries were sustained.
Up next: going deeper into “Damages”
In Part 2 of our first article series of 2019, we’ll explore limits on damages specific to the state of Florida. We’ll explore how while complex, Florida is also a state with few limitations placed upon accident compensation and how this allows for a better chance of fair and just compensation for a victim who suffered catastrophic car accident injuries. We’ll also begin to explore the statute of limitations specific to the state of Florida, and continue to pursue this topic in Part 3.