Many people who get into auto accidents do not believe they need a lawyer if they aren’t at fault. However, just because you know the auto accident wasn’t your fault doesn’t mean that insurance companies will accept your account without question. Insurance companies have a notorious reputation for disputing car accident claims in Florida, and it’s in their best interest to challenge your perceived lack of fault.
Additionally, if the accident involved potential negligence, an auto accident specialist, such as Mutaqee Akbar of Tallahassee’s Akbar Thomas Law, is best equipped to uncover it and strategize the best means of securing complete compensation for your damages. Thus, if you ever question whether you should get a lawyer for an auto accident that wasn’t your fault, the answer is always “yes.”
Who Pays for Car Accident Injuries in Florida
As a no-fault auto insurance state, initial claims in Florida are always filed first with your own insurance company, no matter who or what caused the car accident. Under Florida law, all drivers are required to carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP covers the driver’s medical expenses and lost income up to the covered amount, as well as any family members and passengers lacking insurance coverage.
In many cases, the $10,000 minimum coverage provided under PIP fails to cover all damages. Medical care is costly even for minor injuries, and injury-causing accidents typically impose significant other costs on victims, such as lost wages, property damage, childcare, and physical therapy, to name a few.
Thus, if another driver’s negligence caused the accident, Florida law allows car accident victims to sue them for compensation. The law further allows claims for partial compensation in accidents in which the other driver’s negligence contributed at least 50% to the accident.
What Damages Are Available to Car Accident Victims
Florida law allows car accident victims to seek three categories of damages when making claims against negligent drivers: economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages cover distinct monetary costs including medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earnings, property damage, childcare expenses, and funeral expenses.
Non-economic damages cover less-distinct impacts the accident imposes on victims and can include pain and suffering, scars or disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental anguish, loss of companionship, and loss of being able to conduct one’s pre-accident day-to-day activities.
Punitive damages can be imposed on at-fault drivers in cases where it can be proven that their negligence was intentional or committed with complete disregard for the obvious risk their actions posed to others.
Proving Negligence in Auto Accidents
The first and most essential element in proving negligence in an auto accident is to show that the at-fault driver breached their duty of care to drive carefully. Under Florida law, drivers have a duty of care responsibility to operate their vehicles in a safe and responsible manner. Such duty of care is breached if an at-fault driver fails to follow traffic laws, doesn’t concentrate on their driving, or otherwise drives irresponsibly. Speeding, failing to obey traffic signs, driving too closely to other vehicles, and texting while driving constitute a breach in this duty of care.
The second element of proving negligence is to distinctly link the accident to your injuries, while the third element involves showing the full extent of actual damages you incurred due to the accident.
What a Lawyer May Be Able to Do for Your Case
While you can deal directly with insurance companies to secure compensation for injuries caused by another driver’s negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer can ensure you receive full compensation. As noted, insurance companies are prone to taking actions designed to limit claims, and they do not have your best interests at heart. Along with investigating the accident to establish negligence, a skilled lawyer like Mutaqee Akbar will:
- Collate evidence that proves the other driver’s negligence.
- Uncover the full extent and value of all damages.
- Negotiate with insurance companies to secure full compensation.
- Meet deadlines for filing a lawsuit if negotiations fail.
- Continue work to secure a fair settlement as the case progresses.
- Allow you to focus on healing and recovery by addressing the legal logistics of your claim.
If you are injured in an automobile accident due to another driver’s actions, consult with a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as your medical condition allows. With more than two decades of Tallahassee-area car accident practice, Akbar Thomas Law’s personal injury legal team can provide you with expert guidance designed to secure full and just compensation for your injuries. To learn more, contact us today at 850-383-0000 or start a conversation with our chatbot by clicking on the “Live Chat” box.