Personal injury law for car accidents can be a complicated, daunting process. One of the key things determining this process is liability and negligence, which a Florida car accident attorney understands and is able to navigate and to explain to clients.
Negligence and Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawsuits
One of the most foundational aspects of car accident claims is another party’s negligence, which means the driver failed to use reasonable care and therefore caused harm to a victim. In the context of car crashes, negligence can take the form of speeding, texting while driving, running a stop sign or traffic light, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or other reckless behavior.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover After a Car Accident?
“Damages” is the term for money given as compensation to accident victims to cover their losses due to another party’s negligence. Under Florida personal injury law, damages are given in two separate categories.
1. Economic damages. This category is the easier of the two to determine because the cover actual financial losses, which have definite numbers attached to them (medical bills, property damage, lost income, etc.).
2. Non-economic damages. These are more complicated to calculate because they cover things that cannot be paid for as an out-of-pocket expense. They are not tangible losses. While they are connected to physical loss, they also involve mental and emotional harm. Yet still these losses cannot be ignored (mental anguish, pain and suffering, lessened quality of life, etc.).
In the state of Florida, for a victim to be awarded damages for pain and suffering, at least one of the following factors must be proved, according to Florida Statute § 627.737:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
If you or a loved one have been in a car accident and have met one of these qualifications, compensation is not simply guaranteed. This is why it is vital to have an experienced South Florida personal injury attorney who knows the intricacies of the system working with you on your claim.
Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Lawsuits by Passengers
If you are in an accident where you were a passenger, you have the right to file a claim against the driver(s) of the other vehicles involved, or for the driver of the vehicle in which you were riding.
Passengers may be able to file claims under:
- Liability insurance coverage of the driver of any vehicle responsible for the crash.
- Liability insurance coverage of the owner of any vehicle responsible for the crash.
- Liability insurance coverage of the driver of the vehicle you were riding in, if that driver was partially responsible for the crash.
- Liability insurance coverage of the owner of the car you were riding in, if your driver was in part responsible for the crash.
You may also be able to file claims under uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage if the damages you’ve experienced are above the insurance coverage.
It is important to note that while you may be entitled to compensation from one or more parties involved in the accident, you can’t collect a total amount greater than the overall value of your claim. This means that, for example, if you collect damages from insurance companies for the driver of another car and the driver of your car, you can’t collect an amount that exceeds the total damages.
Seat Belt Laws and Car Accident Claims in Florida
There is little debate in our society that wearing a seat belt significantly increases the likelihood of surviving a car accident. Florida law requires anyone driving or riding in the front passenger seat of a car, truck, or van to wear a seat belt. If a driver or passenger does not follow this law, offenders can be punished by a non-moving violation punishable up to $30.00 plus $6.00 for court fees. There are a few certain exceptions to this rule if passengers are suffering from a medical condition which would make wearing a seatbelt dangerous or harmful, but for this to apply, a doctor must certify the medical condition, and the individual must have proof of this certification.
The law requires a seat belt, but if you are an accident victim and were not wearing one at the time of the accident, you can still file a car accident claim. However, this does show negligence on your part, even if the injury was caused by a negligent party. This could reduce the amount of compensation you receive for your damages.
If you believe you have a Fort Lauderdale car accident lawsuit, GMV Law Group is ready to assist you. Call us today at 954-530-6206 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident personal injury attorney in South Florida.
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