If you’re like many people in the wake of a collision, you may be wondering, “How much compensation for car accident can I expect?” Our Fort Lauderdale injury attorneys can explain there are a number of factors that are weighed – by the insurance adjusters, attorneys and the courts.
The two basic types of car accident compensation in Florida are compensatory (actual) and punitive. Compensatory damages are intended to compensate you for losses you have sustained. Punitive damages are intended to punish the other person for conduct that was grossly reckless or flagrantly disregarded the rights and safety of others, as explained in F.S. 768.72. As our Fort Lauderdale car accident lawyers can explain, the only time that is ever really applicable in car accident injury cases is in drunk driving crashes. For the most part, when we determine how much compensation for car accident in Broward County, we’ll be looking at the varying kinds of compensatory damages. These include:
- Special Damages. These are damages that compensate for quantifiable monetary losses. These would include thing repairs, lost wages, medical bills, etc.
- General Damages. These would be non-monetary damages for the harm, such as pain and suffering, emotional and mental anguish, disfigurement, loss of life enjoyment, loss of consortium/ companionship.
- Speculative Damages. These are damages that have not yet occurred, but that plaintiff can reasonably anticipate. These damages usually cannot be recovered unless plaintiff can prove they are likely. An example would be loss of earning capacity in your career.
So how much compensation for a car accident can you get in Fort Lauderdale? Now that we know the types of conversation, let’s discuss the dollar values.
How Much Compensation for Car Accident? Insurance, Injuries and Attorneys
The first element to consider in how much you will receive is insurance. Florida is a no-fault state for insurance, meaning your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage will be the first to kick in. It is only if you can meet the significant injury threshold, as outlined in F.S. 627.737(2) that you can step outside of this no-fault system and seek damages against the at-fault driver. Your injuries must be significant and permanent (within a reasonable degree of medical certainty) and result in loss of an important bodily function or significant scarring or disfigurement or death. If your injuries are not emergent, you will only be entitled to $2,500 in PIP coverage. More severe injuries may allow for coverage of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages – up to $10,000. Of course, that doesn’t go far if your injuries are significant.
If you do meet the serious injury threshold as outlined by statute, the next question is whether the other driver has bodily injury liability insurance. Florida does not require this, though they can be personally liable for up to $20,000 if not. If the defendant driver’s car is leased or not owned outright, most insurers will require at least this much. That may not go far. Also consider 1 in 4 drivers doesn’t have any insurance as required by law. In this case, you may be entitled to pursue uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This is paid by your own insurer. UM is for coverage of injuries/ damages caused by at-fault drivers who either don’t have insurance or fled the scene and are not identified. UIM is paid when the at-fault driver does not have enough to cover the full extent of damages.
There may also be third parties from whom you can be compensated. That could be other motorists, but may also be a vehicle manufacturer or maker of a vehicle part if some element was defective, leading to crash causation. It may also be vicarious liability of the employer of the at-fault driver or owner of the vehicle (if different from the driver).
Finally, the last element to consider when asking the question, “how much compensation for car accident” in Fort Lauderdale is your attorney. A skilled lawyer will have a good grasp on how much your case is worth, how best to negotiate with insurers and when to pursue trial if settlement talks are unsuccessful.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
F.S. 627.737, The 2018 Florida Statutes
More Blog Entries:
Average Claim for Auto Insurance in Palm Beach Crash Cases, Oct. 12, 2018, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog