According to Florida Statute 95.11, Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that no matter who is at fault for a car accident, both drivers will deal with their claims through their insurance companies. Typically, a car accident can result in a property damage claim and a bodily injury claim. As stated by 1-800-Injured, a bodily injury can range from minor soft tissue damage to permanent paralysis.
How Does a Bodily Injury Claim Work in Florida?
Under Florida law, all drivers must be insured with a minimum of 10,000 dollars of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and an additional 10,000 dollars for liability for property damage. However, bear in mind that an insurance company can cover only 80% of your medical expenses up to your PIP insurance limit. Additionally, PIP insurance covers drivers against:
Up to 60 percent of their own lost wages.
Other incidental costs are related to seeking medical treatment.
PIP may be called "no-fault" insurance, as it pays benefits to injured drivers and passengers regardless of who caused the accident. Each driver and injured passenger first turn to their own PIP insurance policy to pay for their accident-related medical expenses.
In most situations, you cannot file a bodily injury claim against someone who has caused the accident.
However, under Florida law, all injured victims can file a personal injury claim if they have been involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in a severe injury. A serious injury is defined by Florida law to include one of the following types of injuries:
A permanent injury
Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
It is critical to understand that these limitations only refer to bodily injuries suffered in a motor vehicle-related accident. This includes collisions between vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists. No-fault insurance is not available for bodily injuries sustained in other accidents.
You may suffer bodily injuries in a motor vehicle accident due to your defective part. In this case, you can file a claim for damages against the manufacturer, regardless of whether your injuries qualify as a serious injury under Florida law. On the other hand, Florida's no-fault law does not stop you from filing a personal injury claim against other parties than the at-fault drivers.
What Can a Bodily Injury Settlement Pay For?
There are no two cases alike. Generally, an experienced personal injury lawyer will negotiate on behalf of their client to seek compensation for damages, including:
Emergency room costs and treatment
Hospital expenses (surgeries or diagnostic tests)
Ongoing medical expenses (doctor's visits, hospitalizations)
Rehabilitation costs related to your injury
Skilled nursing help or long-term care
Future care based on the extent of your injuries
Pain and suffering
Emotional distress or costs of treatment for depression, PTSD, anxiety, and the like
Diminished quality of life
Lost earning or diminished future earning potential
Loss of consortium
This is not a complete list, as every bodily injury claim differs. Nonetheless, it is a general idea of what compensation you may be entitled to if suffering physical, emotional, or financial harm due to someone's negligence or wrongful conduct.
Establishing the Elements of a Bodily Injury Claim
A bodily injury claim might settle upon several factors. Suppose you are the victim of a personal injury lawsuit, then you must gather as much evidence as possible to ensure that all the elements of your claim are present.
Firstly, try to take as many notes as possible of what you can remember about how the accident happened. By doing so, you will preserve your memory while fresh. Take pictures and record videos of the accident scene from various distances and angles. If there are any witnesses, try to get their contact information. Report the accident to Florida law enforcement and ask for a copy of their report.
Seek medical attention and take photographs of your injuries. Ask for medical reports of your injuries and keep all the receipts for your pay stubs or other documentation proving your lost wages or income.
Seek Legal Assistance
Last but not least, seek legal assistance from an experienced personal injury lawyer. Hiring a lawyer will not guarantee the maximum bodily injury settlement, but it will significantly improve your odds.
Another thing you need to consider when filing a claim is the statute of limitations. Under Florida Statute 95.11, the statute of limitation for an accident due to negligence is four years from the time of the accident.
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