Ocala Car Accident Liability Lawyer
How to Determine Liability in a Car Accident
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means that car accident victims are required to seek coverage for related losses from their own insurer regardless of who caused the accident. However, if the injured party’s policy does not cover the full amount of damages or the victim sustained a serious injury, he or she could be eligible to recover compensation by filing a claim in court. The success of these types of negligence-based claims hinges exclusively on a plaintiff’s ability to prove that a defendant was at fault for the crash. Unfortunately, providing a link between a person’s actions and an accident can be difficult, so it is important for those who are injured in collisions through no fault of their own, to consult with an Ocala car accident liability lawyer who has the resources and experience necessary to convince an insurer, judge, or jury of a defendant’s fault.
Collecting and Assessing Evidence
One of the best ways to demonstrate fault in an accident is to conduct a thorough investigation at the scene of the crash. This includes taking photographs of the damage, obtaining any video recordings of the collision from bystanders or traffic cameras, speaking with eyewitnesses who saw the accident, assessing each vehicle’s damage, measuring and recording skid marks, collecting the police report made by responding officers, and consulting with an experienced accident reconstruction specialist who can replicate the crash. It’s also important to note whether either party violated a traffic law, such as speeding or running a red light and to record any comments made by the other driver after the crash.
This kind of evidence is crucial to proving that another driver or entity was negligent and so should be held liable for the damages not covered by the driver’s insurer. While negligent conduct could involve an obvious violation of a traffic law, it also includes any unreasonable conduct, such as driving without glasses or a driver’s failure to turn on his or her headlights.
Car Accident Injuries & Compensation
Car accident injuries can range in severity from minor cuts and bruises to serious head trauma and broken bones. Generally, the amount that a car accident victim can recover to treat these types of injuries, either in PIP benefits or in damages, depends on how serious those injuries actually were. There are, however, limits to how much an injured party can collect when filing a claim based on a PIP policy, so if you were injured in an accident and are concerned about how you will pay your medical bills, you should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer who can explain your legal options.
How Much Money Can I Expect From a Car Accident?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that car accident victims must go through their own insurer to pay for any injuries they sustain in the collision, regardless of who was at fault. Unfortunately, there are even limits to how much an injured party can collect from his or her PIP insurance provider. For instance, car accident victims only have access to up to $10,000 in compensation for any injuries they sustain and can only recover 60 percent of their lost wages. When accident victims exceed these limits, they may have the option of filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance provider and if their injuries qualify as serious, may even be able to file a claim in court. However, it’s important to note that an injured car accident victim could be barred from collecting any amount of compensation if he or she does not receive medical care for the injury within two weeks of the accident.
When faced with a lawsuit, many insurers offer to settle a claim with the injured party. Settlement offers are usually based on a number of factors, and while perhaps totaling less than a person could recover if he or she went to court, also save injured parties a significant amount in legal fees and time-consuming court procedures. In most cases, settlements offers are based on an injured party’s medical bills, vehicle damage, and lost wages, but will also vary depending on:
- The severity of the injury;
- The victim’s estimated recovery time;
- The amount of monetary loss sustained by the victim;
- The impact that the accident had on the injured party’s day to day life; and
- How much of the accident can be attributed to the other party.
Accident victims who do not settle, but instead opt to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party or his or her insurer in court are eligible for damages to cover these costs, as well as losses that are more difficult to calculate, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
It’s important to keep in mind that determining who was at fault for a crash is only necessary in Florida when a victim sustains an injury that qualifies as severe or suffers losses that aren’t covered by his or her own policy. For the purposes of recovering damages for a car accident, an injury will only be considered serious if it falls under one of the following categories:
- Permanent injuries;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function.
When an accident victim’s injuries satisfy this definition, he or she will be permitted to file a claim against the at-fault party in court, despite the state’s no-fault policy. Successful plaintiffs could be able to collect compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Contact Our Car Accident Legal Team Today
For a free evaluation of your own car accident claim, please contact one of the dedicated car accident lawyers at Piccin & Glynn by calling 866-225-6459 or by sending us an online message.