After being injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you might anticipate that your medical bills and other financial losses will be covered by your insurance or the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. However, what happens if your damages exceed the insurance policy’s claim limits? Under Florida’s “no-fault” auto insurance laws, you have specific options, including filing a personal injury lawsuit. Below, our experienced Hollywood car accident attorney from South Florida Law, PLLC examines your available options when your damages exceed insurance company policy limits.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Florida
A handful of states, including Florida, have no-fault insurance auto insurance laws. Under Florida law, all drivers must have personal injury protection coverage. When a person is hurt in an automotive vehicle crash, they are required to file a claim under their PIP coverage – no matter who caused the accident. Furthermore, this mandatory coverage has a minimum of $10,000 for personal injury protection and $10,000 for property damage. People could opt for additional coverage.
Unfortunately, in the cases of devastating accidents, this limited coverage might not be sufficient to cover all of an injured individual’s medical expenses and other damages. While many drivers carry more than the minimum required amount of coverage, many do not. Insurance companies are only obligated to pay up to the coverage amount. Therefore, if your expenses and damages surpass your coverage, you will have to find other options.
There are other problems with PIP coverage in Florida. For example, an accident victim will turn to their PIP coverage to pay their medical expenses, including surgical procedures, hospital stays, and physical therapy. However, PIP coverage only provides compensation for 80 percent of an accident victim’s medical costs. In cases where an individual’s injury is not classified as an emergency, this coverage could be further limited to $2,500. People will often have to turn to their own health insurance to pay for the additional and uncovered costs.
Furthermore, a serious injury could result in a significant amount of lost work time. PIP only covers 60 percent of an injured individual’s lost wages. Lost wages are also subject to a $10,000 limit.
Personal Injury Lawsuits for Car Accidents in Florida
Your PIP coverage will likely be insufficient to cover your medical costs, lost wages, and other damages if you were severely injured. In cases of serious injuries, a person might be able to file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver and their insurance provider. Under Florida law, if you have sustained serious or permanent injuries in a car crash, you could be entitled to file a claim against the at-fault party if your costs and expenses exceed your insurance coverage. It is crucial to speak with a knowledgeable Hallandale Beach car accident attorney to determine if the seriousness of your injuries gives rise to a personal injury lawsuit, such as a significant fracture, brain injury, disfigurement, or permanent loss or limitation of the use of a bodily function.
Through a personal injury lawsuit, an injured person could recoup the expense that were not covered by their PIP coverage, including future medical treatments, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other losses such as loss of consortium. Our knowledgeable Ft. Lauderdale personal injury lawyer will carefully review your case to determine what types and range of damages that could be available.
Pursing Additional Defendants in a Florida Personal Injury Claim
In some cases, the insurance coverage that an at-fault driver has is still not enough to cover all your damages. Another consideration is that many accidents include many possible defendants that could be held legally responsible for your injuries. It is crucial to have a Ft. Lauderdale car accident lawyer representing you so that all potentially liable parties are included in your lawsuit. If multiple parties are found to be “jointly and severally” liable for your injuries, you will be able to draw from different insurance companies or sources. For example, if your total damages are $120,000 and two parties are held equally liable, you could receive $60,000 from each respective insurance provider.
While multiple parties are not always available in every case, there are some common occurrences that allow an injured plaintiff to pursue compensation against numerous defendants. Often, a car accident results from several motorists engaging in negligent conduct, such as two drivers texting at the time of an accident. If you did not contribute to the accident, you could have a claim against each negligent driver.
In other cases, additional parties might not appear to be directly related to your injury or the accident. For example, you could have received inadequate medical care or treatment from a doctor or a hospital following an accident. If medical malpractice contributed to your injury, you could have an additional claim. In other cases, a faulty or malfunctioning car part could give rise to a products liability claim, such as a defective airbag. Furthermore, an at-fault driver could have been working at the time of the accident, opening their employer up to responsibility through a vicarious liability claim. Our Miami car accident lawyers will assess the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine if any other liable parties could be held accountable.
if You Were in a Car Crash, Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney
Car accidents often result in devastating and life-changing injuries, resulting in substantial medical expenses, lost income, and other economic losses. When a person’s insurance is insufficient to cover the full extent of their damages, they need to consider other alternatives. Our experienced Aventura car accident attorneys at South Florida Law, PLLC assist injured crash victims in maximizing their compensation. Contact our office today at (954) 932-7877 to discuss your options during a free consultation.