Car accidents are common in Florida. They cause hundreds of thousands of serious injuries and hospitalizations each year. In 2018, 255,353 victims were injured and 3,135 died in Florida car accidents. If you get into an auto accident in Florida, you have rights. You may be able to obtain compensation from an insurance company and/or personal injury lawsuit.
An important part of your car accident claim will be fighting for a fair amount of compensation. If you do not know what your case is worth, you will have trouble negotiating for a just and full amount. Each case is unique. No average car accident settlement amount exists due to the variable nature of the civil justice system but learning about the factors involved and damages available, however, can give you realistic expectations and enable you to argue for a fair settlement.
Factors Affecting Car Accident Settlements in Florida
Regardless of the different end values of car accident settlements, they will all share many of the same factors. Insurance claims adjusters, judges, and juries will analyze car accident cases in much the same way. They will search for facts such as the cause of the car accident, the official injury diagnosis, the claimant’s future health outlook or prognosis, the extent of vehicle damages, the cost of medical care, and the amount of pain and suffering to calculate fair values for the car accident claims.
Insurance coverage is also a major factor affecting car accident settlement amounts in Florida. The insurance settlement process after an auto collision in Florida remains essentially the same from client to client. Each victim will have to navigate Florida’s no-fault insurance system and negotiate settlements with their own providers unless their injuries are serious enough to qualify for a trial. Understanding how insurance claims work after Florida car accidents can help you negotiate a fair outcome.
No-Fault Insurance Policy
Florida is a no-fault insurance state – one of 12 such states in the country. Florida’s no-fault rule only applies to minor injuries. If your injuries will not have long-term ramifications, you will file a first-party insurance claim with your provider after a collision, even if you know the other driver caused your crash. Your insurance provider will give you benefits up to the maximum on your personal injury protection (PIP) policy. If you have serious or catastrophic injuries, however, you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit outside of Florida’s no-fault insurance system. A lawsuit could end in greater financial compensation for you and your family.
You might qualify to file a claim outside of the no-fault system if you meet Florida’s serious injury threshold (Florida Statute 627.737). The car accident must have left you with the irreversible loss of a critical bodily function, a permanent injury, substantial scarring or disfigurement, or the wrongful death of a loved one. In these cases, you will have the option of bringing an injury lawsuit against the other driver or another at-fault party. A lawsuit could end in better compensation than a first-party insurance claim.
Personal Injury Protection Policy (PIP)
Florida Statute 627.7407 outlines the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law. It states that all drivers must maintain personal injury protection insurance to cover their medical expenses after suffering injuries in motor vehicle collisions. The minimum required amount of PIP insurance in Florida is $10,000. After a vehicle collision, involved parties will seek settlements from their PIP plans, regardless of fault for the accident. This system differs from fault-based insurance states, in which victims seek compensation from the insurance companies of the at-fault party.
If you wish to qualify for PIP coverage under your insurance policy, you must obey Florida’s 14-day PIP rule. This rule says you have to seek medical care for your crash-related injuries within 14 days of the car accident; otherwise, your insurance company will have the right to deny your claim. Failure to seek medical care within the two-week deadline could release your insurer of the obligation to cover at least 80% of your medically necessary care.
Medical and Emotional Damages In a Car Accident Claim
Medical and emotional damages are financial awards you could receive after a car crash in Florida. In general, car accident survivors with severe to catastrophic injuries will obtain higher insurance settlements or jury verdicts than claimants with minor injuries. The civil justice system places higher values on serious injuries due to their increased expenses for the victim, as well as a higher level of physical pain and emotional suffering.
Average Car Accident Settlement for Serious Injuries
If you have a permanent disability or severe injury from an auto accident in Florida, you may be eligible for a higher settlement award. You may also qualify to bring your claim to trial outside of the no-fault insurance system for greater compensation. Serious injury settlements can range from tens of thousands of dollars to multimillions. Claimants with life-changing injuries have earned awards from $50,000 to $1,000,000 or several million dollars in Florida’s history. The best way to evaluate your serious injury car accident claim is with help from a Tampa car accident lawyer.
Average Settlement for a Car Accident With Whiplash
Whiplash is a common reason claimants file lawsuits after car accidents in Florida. Whiplash is a soft-tissue injury in the neck that could take a victim out of work for days or weeks during recovery. It can also cause extensive or chronic pain. The average value of a whiplash injury settlement is around $10,000 to $20,000 in Florida. This amount can vary significantly, however, based on numerous factors.
Average Car Accident Pain and Suffering Compensation
Pain and suffering is a category of noneconomic damages the law may entitle you to if you take your case to trial in Florida. It places a monetary value on intangible losses, including physical pain, mental suffering and psychological anguish. The amount your personal injury lawyer seeks in pain and suffering damages will depend on the extent and severity of your injuries. The more severe your pain and suffering from a car accident, the more your overall settlement value might increase.
Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Florida
A car accident lawsuit in Florida could repay you for medical expenses, car repairs, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you believe you have grounds to bring a first-party or third-party claim after a vehicle collision, contact an attorney to help you with the claims process right away. You have four years to bring your claim before the statute of limitations expires and you give up the option of filing. Act quickly for your best odds of securing fair compensation for a Florida car accident claim.