Car accidents are common throughout Miami. Fortunately, many car crashes do not involve traumatic injuries. Instead, the victims may sustain sprains, bruises, and contusions that heal in a few weeks.
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, you are not entitled to sue the other driver if you were not seriously hurt in the car crash. However, if you sustain serious injuries, you may be able to sue the other driver for compensation.
What Does No-Fault Insurance Cover for a Miami Car Accident?
Drivers in Florida are required to purchase and maintain no-fault car insurance coverage. The minimum insurance requirements in Florida are:
- $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
- $10,000 Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage
Drivers may choose to purchase higher limits of no-fault insurance coverage. They may also choose to purchase liability car insurance coverage.
PIP coverage pays benefits after an accident regardless of who caused the car crash.
For instance, if you caused a car accident by running a red light, you could file claims against your PIP coverage. Likewise, if another driver rear-ended your vehicle, you would still file a claim under your PIP coverage even though the other driver caused the car crash.
There are several things that you should know about no-fault insurance coverage for Florida car accidents.
PIP Coverage Limitations
PIP only pays 80 percent of your medical bills up to your policy limits. Furthermore, you must seek medical treatment within 14 days after the car accident to receive benefits.
Additionally, PIP covers up to 60 percent of your lost wages because of a car accident. However, you cannot receive more than your policy limits. Therefore, the most you could receive for medical bills and lost income is $10,000 if you have minimum insurance coverage.
However, Florida’s insurance laws have an exception to the no-fault rule. It is often referred to as the “serious injury” exception.
What is the Serious Injury Exception to Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Laws?
If a car accident results in serious injuries, the accident victim may have the right to sue the other driver for damages.
Serious injuries could include, but might not be limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Complex fractures and broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limbs and amputation
- Severe burns
- Neck and back injuries
The Florida Statutes define serious injuries as life-threatening injuries, loss of bodily functions, or permanent scarring, disfigurement, or impairment.
If you are unsure whether your injuries qualify as “serious injuries,” talk with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer will review your case and explain your legal options for seeking compensation for injuries and damages.
What Damages Could You Receive for a Miami Car Accident?
If you sustained serious injuries in a car crash, you could be entitled to compensation for several types of damages. Unlike no-fault insurance, you are entitled to receive compensation for non-economic damages. You may also receive compensation for all types of economic damages instead of merely lost wages and medical bills.
Examples of the types of damages included in a car accident lawsuit are:
- The cost of past and future medical treatment
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, and disfigurement
- The cost of past and future personal care and nursing care
- The total of past and future loss of income and benefits
- Reductions in future earning capacity because of impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering damages caused by physical injuries, emotional distress, and mental anguish
The value of your accident claim depends on the severity of your injuries, your financial losses, and other factors. Accident victims who suffer catastrophic injuries and permanent disabilities generally have greater damages.
If you are being blamed for a car crash, it is wise to seek legal advice immediately. Comparative fault allegations could significantly reduce the amount of money you receive for a car accident claim.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Lawsuit in Miami?
Florida’s statute of limitations for most car accident claims is four years from the accident date. If you do not file your lawsuit before that date, you lose your right to seek legal action in court.
However, there are exceptions. Therefore, it is best to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after a car accident. Do not assume you have the entire four years to file a lawsuit or claim until you confirm that information with a lawyer.