Auto Accident Settlement
Is it worth it to sue after a car accident?
It only takes seconds for a negligent driver to upend your life completely. The moments following a crash are often overwhelming and confusing. You may need emergency medical attention, making the situation that much more stressful. Once the situation has started to calm down, the bills are likely to start rolling in. If you believe the opposing driver or insurance company should be responsible for an accident you did not cause, you have the option to pursue an injury claim or a lawsuit.
Deciding whether to pursue a lawsuit or settle your personal injury claim is a complex decision. There are multiple factors to consider. If you are uncertain of your next steps, a Florida car accident lawyer from Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd can help.
Types of Car Accident Damages
Car accidents often come with significant losses. If you have been in a crash, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your future. Florida laws can complicate this for accident victims, so it is crucial to consider seeking guidance from an experienced legal representative.
You need to consider the potential valuation of your case. There are economic and non-economic damages to take into account. Your lawyer will be able to value your case based on those losses to determine what you need to get your life back in order.
Economic damages are calculable, as they are based on monetary losses like hospital bills, lost wages, and property damage. There are also economic losses related to the cost of future medical care, loss of earning capacity, and diminished value. Determining fair compensation for future losses is complex, but the right lawyer will have access to the resources and experts that can help determine what you will need.
Non-economic damages are related to subjective losses like pain and suffering. Determining the value of non-economic damages is typically more challenging. Still, damages generally are greater in situations where a person is permanently and totally disabled or if the victim lost their life in the crash.
In some instances, you may be eligible for additional compensation known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded in instances of gross negligence and act as a way to discourage the at-fault party and others from taking similar actions in the future. In car accident claims, punitive damages are most often associated with intoxicated driving.
Florida Car Accident Laws
Florida is a pure comparative fault state. This means that even if a claimant was partly at fault for an accident, they have the right to seek compensation.
As a no-fault state, most car accident victims have to file a claim under their own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in order to obtain compensation for medical bills and other financial losses. PIP coverage does not allow for the recovery of non-economic losses, however. This coverage is only available if you pursue a liability claim.
If you are considering pursuing a liability claim (or lawsuit) in Florida against the at-fault driver, it is crucial to understand your claim must meet specific prerequisites. The primary provision is to have been seriously injured. Serious injuries in Florida are defined as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Substantial and permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent injury
If your injuries meet the state definition, you can hold the at-fault driver accountable via a third-party insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
The Difference Between Settling and Suing
Determining whether to settle or sue often boils down to which scenario has the better chance of getting you full and fair compensation for your accident.
If the insurance company offers you a settlement that covers all of your accident-related expenses, it may be your best decision to settle. Working with an attorney can ensure that the claim you file comprehensively covers all of your losses, documents your damages in full, and explains why the policyholder is liable. However, if it is unlikely the insurer will make a reasonable during negotiations, it may be time to consider filing a lawsuit.
Common reasons accident victims decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit for a car accident include the following:
- Serious injuries
- Wrongful death
- No longer able to perform everyday tasks
- Impacted quality of life
- Denial of coverage, in part or in full
- Denial of liability
- Potential to recover significantly more through a jury award
If you pursue legal representation, your lawyer’s opinion on your situation is valuable. There are a multitude of factors involved in valuing a case, and you likely have a better chance of a positive outcome if you work with an experienced attorney.
Florida Car Accidents and the Statute of Limitations
If you decide to pursue a car accident lawsuit, it is important to understand how long you have to take action. Lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitations, which are essentially time limits on how long you have to file the paperwork to serve the opposing party.
All states have a statute of limitations on personal injury claims. In Florida, you have four years from the date of the crash to pursue a suit. If you fail to do so, your right to recover compensation is forfeited. If you attempt to sue after the statute of limitations has passed, it is likely the opposing party will likely ask for the case to be dismissed, or the court will dismiss it outright.
There are instances — like in wrecks that resulted in serious injuries that were not automatically apparent after the crash — where you may have a revised statute of limitations. However, this exception is rare. In order to learn just what time restraints you are under, it is important to work with a car accident attorney.
Get Help From a Car Accident Attorney in Florida
The Florida car accident lawyers from Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd have been helping injured parties seek compensation for their losses for over three decades. If you have been involved in a car crash, we are prepared to evaluate your situation and help you decide how best to proceed based on your unique circumstances.
Whether you decide to settle or sue, it is often in your best interests to have an attorney by your side. Navigating insurance requirements and state laws while trying to recover from an accident can be challenging. When you seek our help, you can focus on healing while we handle the paperwork. Call us at (866) 460-1990 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.
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