Can I Sue If I Wasn’t Injured in a Car Accident in Florida?
Even if you haven’t been injured in a car accident in Florida, your car could be damaged and in need of repairs. Or, you might undergo psychological trauma and be unable to go back to work or your regular activities. The state of Florida has a “no-fault” insurance system and accordingly, irrespective of whether or not you’re responsible for the accident, you can claim damages from the insurance company. Here’s how coverage protection laws work.
Florida Financial Responsibility Law Requires Vehicle Owners to Have Insurance
All vehicle owners are required to buy Personal Injury Protection (PII) worth at least $10,000 and Property Damage Liability, also worth a minimum of $10,000. In case you’re involved in a car crash, the insurer should cover medical expenses up to $10,000. Although the law awards you non-economic compensation for “pain and suffering,” you can claim these damages only if you have significant injuries. And, the pain and suffering is a fallout of the injuries and trauma. Like, for instance, the inability to perform an essential bodily function or a permanent injury or disfigurement that cannot be reversed. However, if you have a pre-existing condition, that has been aggravated because of the car accident in Florida, you can claim damages.
Essential Steps to Take Right After the Crash
Consult a Medical Practitioner
Many victims of car crashes are unaware that they have any real injuries until after a few days later. Even if you think you haven’t suffered any injuries, it is advisable to get a medical examination within 14 days of the incident. If you claim damages after this window, you might not be able to get reimbursement for medical bills.
Inform the Police
You must contact the police right away so that they can examine the scene of the accident, interview the witnesses, and create a report. Even if the accident was minor and no one was hurt, the law requires you to provide assistance to anyone else who might be hurt. You must also move the car so that it is not obstructing traffic, and remain on the site until the police arrive. Not informing the authorities can earn you 60 days in prison even if only property was damaged. If you leave the site before the arrival of the police, the law may assume that you had something to do with the crash and are responsible in some way.
Contact Your Lawyer
Before you talk to the insurance company or provide any paperwork or evidence that you may have collected, contact your attorney and ask for advice. Do keep in mind that coverage providers may try to look for loopholes to avoid paying damages. Refrain from talking to any person claiming to represent the company until an expert lawyer has examined your insurance contract. You’ll want to avoid getting into any kind of conversation with the at-fault driver or his legal representation.
Check with the Car Mechanic
Get your mechanic to examine the car and provide you with a detailed estimate of the repair costs. In case you’ll need to replace the vehicle, get an estimate, and provide the details to your lawyer.
If you do intend to claim damages from the insurance provider, be aware of the Statute of Limitations in Florida. If you don’t file a claim within 4 years from the date of the incident, the court may not accept your claim or the insurer’s liability to pay damages. Even if you aren’t injured in the car accident in Florida, you can claim compensation for the damage to your car. But, it is always advisable to contact your lawyer and ask for advice.