No one wants to get into a Florida car accident. Sometimes, though, things happen. And when they do, it’s good to be prepared so you can make the best possible decisions. Being familiar with Florida laws regarding accidents will give you an advantage should you find yourself in this situation, so you will know your options when it comes to working with a car accident lawyer in Florida. As attorneys well-versed in these situations, we can give you the practical and legal assistance you need.
What do I do first?
Florida laws are fairly clear about steps to take following a car accident. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), if you are involved in an auto accident with at least $500 estimated vehicle or property damage or resulting in injury or death, you have two options:
- Immediately contact law enforcement, or
- Complete a “Driver Report of Traffic Crash (Self Report)” or “Drive Exchange of Information,” which you can fill out online or download here.
- It goes without saying that if the accident involves serious damages and/or serious injuries, you will want to immediately call law enforcement. If you are concerned about any aspect of the accident, you can also reach out to a car accident lawyer in Florida. If it is more appropriate to self-report or exchange information with the other party involved in the car accident, just be sure to fill out the information completely and mail it as soon as possible to the address on the form.
A 2001 amendment to the Florida Statutes was designed to prevent fraudulent claims immediately after an automobile accident. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the amendment ensures that the personal information you provide remains “confidential and exempt from public disclosure for 60 days after the report is filed.” Keep in mind, though, that the information may be revealed to other parties involved in the car accident. Still, anyone unlawfully attempting to disclose or obtain your personal information will be subject to the penalties associated with a third-degree felony.
Does Florida have specific rules about auto insurance?
In Florida, the no-fault motor vehicle law is in effect. This means that each party involved in a car accident uses their own insurance to cover any medical expenses or loss of wages they may incur due to the accident. Motorists in Florida must carry at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection insurance, also known as PIP. Funds from PIP are used to pay for the insured person’s own medical and related expenses.
No-fault insurance does not cover:
- Damages to your or another person’s car
- Injuries to adult passengers in your car
- Injuries to the occupants of the other car involved in the accident
- Your medical expenses over a certain limit
How can a Florida car accident attorney help me?
Because of Florida’s no-fault law, your car accident lawyer generally cannot help you file a suit against the other driver to try to have them pay the costs. There are, however, exceptions. According to Florida statute 627.737, “a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle” when any of the following are involved:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
In these cases, your Florida car accident lawyer can work with you to sue the person responsible for the accident.
An attorney will attempt to prove pain and suffering due to your car accident. The Florida car accident lawyer will provide evidence to successfully answer these questions:
- How serious were your injuries?
- Are you able to enjoy a social life similar to what you had before the crash?
- Can you still take care of your family and pick up your children?
- Do you need psychological care as a result of the accident?
- Did you need to undergo painful surgeries?
- Does your doctor think your injuries will have long-term effects?
- Are you using pain medication to manage your physical condition?
The goal of the car accident attorney in Florida is to obtain compensation for current and future medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering directly related to the car accident.
Another way that a car accident lawyer can help you is if you are in an accident in which the other party does not have auto insurance. Although it is required by Florida law that all drivers have insurance, it is believed that about 25% of drivers in the state do not have auto insurance.
Thankfully, your own policy likely includes uninsured motorists’ coverage. Your Florida car accident attorney can help you fill out the necessary forms to claim this coverage. However, most uninsured motorists’ policies only cover about $50,000. For some accidents, that may be enough, but in some cases, property, auto, and physical damage exceeds that amount. If you are in a car accident in which your damages and injuries total more than $50,000 and the other party does not have car insurance, you will want to file a suit against the other party. In these instances, a qualified Florida car accident attorney can help you file the suit and recover the expenses you deserve.
I think I might need a lawyer. What should I do?
If you find yourself involved in a car accident and have experienced personal injury, you will likely seek the help of a car accident lawyer. Be sure that the law firm you choose possesses the following key qualities:
- Expert knowledge of and experience with laws related to Florida car accidents
- Experience assisting clients with compensation for auto accident-related injuries, including back injuries, spinal injuries, and car accident PTSD
- Successful outcomes for clients involved in car accidents
- Respect within the industry
Silver & Silver, P.A., has been providing this type of expert legal service to the Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and South Florida areas since 1993. With a primary focus on personal injury cases, our attorneys have successfully represented victims in auto accidents. Our unwavering commitment to obtain a positive result in every case means that we will take the time to understand your specific situation, your concerns, and your needs.
Getting into a car accident is stressful. That’s why knowing your rights and obligations is important. These should be explained to you clearly and competently by a lawyer well-versed in these types of accidents. Being able to rely on the services of Silver & Silver brings peace of mind knowing that your best interests are of the highest importance.
When you are involved in an auto accident in Florida, you can rely on Silver & Silver to get the results you need, so you have one less thing to worry about following an auto accident.
Begin with a free consultation with Silver & Silver as soon as possible after an accident. Just call us at 561-279-3911, or toll-free at 800-513-8670, or fill out our contact form 24 hours a day.