If you are a victim of an auto accident in Florida, you need to familiarize yourself with the state’s no-fault rule. Typically, auto accident cases are not taken to court in Florida due to the state’s strict laws regarding who will be liable or how medical expenses and other damages will be paid.
If the amount exceeds the insurance limit and the liability is obvious, you can easily claim a personal injury lawsuit and present your case in front of a jury with a reputable lawyer handling your case.
Taking an auto accident case to court is tedious and complex, and you need to have the right representation by your side throughout the whole process. Here, we will cover when auto accidents get taken to court.
Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law
Florida is among 12 states that follow a no-fault insurance law. In the case of auto accidents in Florida, this law states that no matter who is at fault or liable for the accident, the losses, damages, and medical expenses will be covered by each individual through their own insurance policy, called Personal Injury Protection (PIP).
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Every resident in Florida is required to get PIP as a part of car insurance to limit the number of lawsuits taken to court, but there are some exceptions.
Does Florida’s No-Fault Law Cover All Losses?
Florida’s no-fault law or PIP does not cover all damages resulting from an auto accident case in Florida. Moreover, there is a limit of $10,000 that you can claim, which is not sufficient to cover all the damages that occur as a result of an auto accident.
PIP covers 80% of medical expenses, 60% of disability, such as loss of wages, hiring staff to do your chores, etc., and travel to and from any facility. It does not cover pain and suffering or all lost wages, which can be detrimental to your physical and mental stress.
In cases where your PIP limit of $10,000 has been exceeded, you can file a personal injury lawsuit, provided that your injuries fall under the specified “serious injuries” set by the state. If you have experienced one of the following injuries, you or your family (in the event of the last point) can file for compensation.
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
The first three points are paralysis, broken bones, loss of limbs, disfigurement, head injuries, etc.
How to Take Your Auto Accident Case to Court in Florida
As mentioned above, there is a way to free yourself from the limitations of the no-fault insurance law and get maximum compensation for your losses. The first step to filing a lawsuit is ensuring your losses exceed the $10,000. Next, you must have suffered severe injuries in the auto accident that you cannot pay for. The injuries must also limit your ability to work and earn a sustainable income.
Once that’s settled, you need to hire an attorney to file your personal injury lawsuit and take your car accident to court in Florida. Hiring a lawyer is necessary as you must build a strong claim and gather evidence to get maximum compensation.
While car accident cases are sometimes easy to resolve, there can be complications that require professional help, such as:
- The accident involves multiple parties.
- The liability is unclear.
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- You have severe injuries that affect your quality of life and your work.
- You don’t want to accept a settlement because you are unaware of the total damages and expenses to recover.
- Insurance companies are delaying or denying your claim
Thus, it becomes increasingly important to hire an attorney to help you overcome these challenges and get compensated for your loss.
How Long Does a Lawsuit Last? A Timeline
Once you file your lawsuit, you might wonder, “How long does a car accident lawsuit take?” Honestly, there is no definite answer to this question. Depending on the complexity of the case, your injuries, your lawyer, and the insurance company, the case can be resolved fairly quickly or take years.
Let’s discuss the different sections of a lawsuit that will determine your case’s overall timeline.
Lawsuit Preparation and Filing
The first thing you need to do is hire an attorney to represent you in court. Once that’s done, you start with the first section of the timeline, preparation and filing. In this step, your chosen attorneys will develop a client-attorney relationship and gather evidence such as eyewitnesses, pictures, CCTV footage, etc., to help build your case. The lawsuit will be revised, filed, and delivered to the insurance company.
In this phase, the client will meet with the defendant’s insurance team and provide any information requested. A sworn deposition and other additional dispositions that might be useful to the lawsuit are also recorded.
The Setting of Trial Date
The judge sets a trial date in this phase, which can take up to a few weeks. During this time, a settlement conference is held, which is mandatory for such cases and is held one to four months before the trial date.
A settlement conference is an informal, confidential meeting between the parties in the presence of a judge. If a settlement is reached, the documents are prepared and filed to the judge, who will review the settlement to determine if it is fair or reasonable.
Trial and Possible Appeal
The last phase is the trial itself. If the defendant’s insurance company asks for an appeal, the lawsuit can be prolonged for an average of 1 to 2 years, and if the case is reversed, it will most likely be retired.
As you can see, multiple complexities are involved in filing a lawsuit and presenting it in court. You can’t expect to do it yourself and gain maximum compensation. Plus, trials are time-consuming and expensive, and you need professional help to ensure you get the desired settlement without going to trial.
Moreover, there are multiple mistakes that you can make after a car accident, which can affect your claim, such as:
- Waiting to seek medical attention, such as denying and rescheduling medical appointments.
- Going to work immediately and not following the doctor’s advice.
- Speaking to the insurance company and making any “I” statements or admitting fault.
- Deleting evidence.
- Accepting the first settlement offer.
Hiring a lawyer can help increase your compensation. Reach out to Boca Raton Car Accident Lawyers. They have seasoned litigators that can help you get maximum compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered.
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