Our Fort Lauderdale Auto Insurance Attorneys Outline Florida Accident Laws
Do You Know Your Rights after a Florida Automobile Accident?
There are many automobile accident laws in Florida which can affect your rights after a car accident, and affect your rights in obtaining an auto accident settlement. Knowing the basic Florida automobile accident laws can make your life much simpler if you are injured in a Florida automobile accident. Don’t try to figure everything out on your own, though. The Fort Lauderdale auto insurance attorneys at Maus Law Firm can help you make sense of your clam and earn you top compensation.
Florida No-Fault/Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Laws
In 1971, the Florida Legislature created Florida’s “No-Fault” insurance plan. The plan was designed to minimize the number of law suits that would be filed arising out of Florida car accidents simply because a person incurred medical bills or lost wages. The “No-Fault” plan requires every motorist to have Personal Injury Protection coverage and Property Damage coverage. Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) is designed to cover 80% of any outstanding medical bills incurred as a result of a Florida automobile accident, and 60% of a person’s lost wages which result from being injured in a Florida auto accident.
Property Damage (PD) coverage is often confused by people that think it covers their own property damage sustained in a car accident. The mandatory Property Damage coverage in Florida only covers property damage to another person’s car arising out of a Florida auto accident. There are many variations of PIP coverage, and a person can add additional PIP coverage above the statutory minimum of $10,000.00, as well as choose different deductibles.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage for South Florida Residents
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage was first created by the Florida Legislature in the early 1970’s. It was created so that a person injured in a Florida car accident would have insurance coverage for their injuries and lost wages if the person that caused the accident did not have any insurance. Although car owners and drivers in Florida are required to have PIP and PD coverage, Florida auto accident laws do not require a person to have bodily injury coverage (BI). If an at fault driver does not have BI coverage, you are required to pursue your accident and injury claim against your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.
Florida Statute 627.727(2) requires the limits of Uninsured Motorist coverage to be at least equal to the Bodily Injury liability limits purchased by the insured. Insurance companies are required to explain the availability of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist insurance whenever a person buys a Florida auto insurance policy. An insurance agent is required to have the buyer of the insurance policy sign a specific form which acknowledges the person does, or does not, want to buy Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. If an insurance company fails to have the buyer sign the form, they are required to provide Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage even if the person did not pay the insurance premium.
You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering. Call a Fort Lauderdale car crash attorney now!
Bodily Injury Coverage
Bodily Injury (BI) coverage is not required in the State of Florida. Bodily Injury coverage is the type of insurance that would cover a person for physical injuries, lost wages, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other damage that is not covered by the Personal Injury Protection coverage.
Our Fort Lauderdale Auto Insurance Attorneys Will Establish Proof of Negligence
While PIP provides no-fault coverage for minor injuries sustained in vehicle collisions, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and bodily injury liability coverage provide fault-based compensation. Under Florida law, fault is governed by the law of “negligence.”
In order to prove fault in a car accident, it is necessary to prove that someone else (usually another driver) was negligent in causing the accident. This negligence can take many different forms, including:
- Driving while distracted by text messages, emails, phone calls, or GPS directions.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications, or other drugs.
- Driving while drowsy or fatigued (even if a driver does not realize that he or she is drowsy or fatigued before getting behind the wheel).
- Violating Florida traffic safety laws, including speeding, changing lanes without signaling, running red lights and stop signs, failing to yield, and merging without the right of way.
- Engaging in any dangerous driving behavior, from tailgating to turning in front of oncoming traffic.
While most insurance claims related to serious auto accidents involve claims for uninsured/underinsured motorists or bodily injury liability coverage, in some cases injured drivers and passengers will be entitled to pursue “third-party” negligence claims as well. Some examples of third-party fault include:
- Hiring commercial drivers who lack the necessary license, training, or experience
- Overloading or improperly loading delivery trucks and other commercial vehicles
- Performing negligent vehicle maintenance or repairs
Car Accidents Involving Minors
Settlements For Minors Must Be Set Aside
Every state has its own set of laws regarding car accident insurance settlements, especially when it comes to minors. If you need information regarding settlement proceeds for a minor, you can be sure our lawyers can help.
In Florida, for example, an auto accident settlement regarding a minor must be set aside for him or her. There are several different ways to go about doing this, but the ultimate goal is to ensure that the minor benefits from the settlement money.
Car Accident Insurance Settlements Are Often Placed In Annuities
Because they must be maintained in such a way that they benefit the minor, annuities are a good place for car accident insurance settlements. An annuity is a conservative, safe way to invest settlement money, allowing it to grow over time, so it’s available when the minor turns 18.
There are a number of ways that a minor can redeem his or her annuity, though a judge must approve the actual settlement first in the state of Florida. Florida law also requires a “guardian ad litem” to review the settlement’s terms and ensure that they are fair to the recipient.
Everyone Deserves Representation By Top Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Attorneys
The court monitors settlements for minors closely because they deserve reasonable compensation for their auto accident injuries. However, even if you’re not a minor, you still deserve fair representation and the chance to earn compensation.
Punitive Damages for Auto Accident Injuries
In most cases, the damages that are recoverable in a fault-based insurance claim provide compensation for the accident victim’s losses. To the extent possible, these “compensatory damages” are intended to make the victim whole by covering all of the financial costs incurred as a result of the accident, as well as all of the non-financial losses (i.e. pain and suffering) that the victim suffers as a result of his or her physical and emotional trauma.
In some cases, however, auto accident victims will also be able to recover punitive damages. In Florida, punitive damages (or “exemplary damages”) are available in cases in which the negligent party is found to have engaged in particularly egregious wrongful behavior – for example, by intentionally causing an accident. When you choose Maus Law Firm, our Fort Lauderdale auto insurance law firm will thoroughly assess all of the available evidence to determine if you have grounds to pursue a claim for punitive damages.
A Fort Lauderdale Auto Insurance Attorney Can Combat Claims of Fault Against You
Another Florida law that will come into play in some auto accident cases is the law of “comparative fault.” Under this law, an auto accident victim who is partially at fault in a collision will be limited in the amount of compensatory damages that he or she is entitled to recover. Cases involving allegations of comparative fault can be extremely complicated; and, if you are being accused of playing a role in your accident (or if you believe that you may have been partially at fault) we strongly encourage you to speak with a Fort Lauderdale auto insurance lawyer immediately.
Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
In Florida, all auto accident claims must be brought within four (4) years from the date of the accident. That means that if a person is to file a lawsuit with the help of a lawyer based upon injuries from a Florida auto accident, they must do so within four (4) years from the date of the accident.
Venue (Where To Make A Florida Motor Vehicle Accident Claim)
A person making a claim for injuries in a Florida car accident is generally required to pursue a claim in the county where the accident occurred or where the at-fault party resides. In some limited situations, a person may file a Florida auto accident claim in a different county from where the accident occurred only under very limited circumstances.
Our Fort Lauderdale Auto Insurance Attorneys Promise No Fee Unless You Win
If you’ve been injured in a South Florida accident, contact the Maus Law Firm today. With free consultations and Spanish translators available, our Fort Lauderdale car crash attorneys do as much as we can to make your claim as stress-free as possible. Call 855-999-5297 (toll-free) to get your claim started.