Time is of the essence when a person sustains an injury in a motor vehicle accident. Although an accident victim’s first priority is to heal and recover, the legal and financial issues won’t wait. All other issues aside, there is Florida’s statute of limitations to consider, which gives you four years from the date of the accident to file a complaint if it is necessary.
While you could do this on your own, it is best to have a car accident lawyer Hernando County FL to help you navigate the process and deal with the filings and speaking to insurance companies.
Florida is a “No-Fault” State
The Sunshine State is one of a dozen in which fault is not assigned at the time of an automobile accident. Instead of collision and liability insurance, drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This covers medical expenses and other financial losses up to the limits as stated on the declarations sheet. However, it does not cover damage to the vehicle itself, which is why motorists in Florida are required to carry Property Damage Liability (PDL).
Nor does PIP cover non-economic damages, i.e. pain and suffering. In order to file a lawsuit against the person responsible for the accident, your injuries must meet the state’s definition of serious and debilitating. This means:
- The injury has resulted in a permanent disability (such as paralysis or difficulty walking)
- The injury is permanent
- Major scarring or disfigurement resulted from the accident
- The injury resulted in death
The other situation in which you may need to file a lawsuit is if an insurance carrier is acting in bad faith. Your first course of action would be to file a complaint with the Florida Insurance Commissioner’s office. However, it may be necessary to hire legal help if the insurer is still reticent to pay the full amount of your claim.
What to do in Case of Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident, your first responsibility, assuming you are uninjured enough to do so, is to render aid and comfort to the victims, the call for the police and EMTs. When the police arrive, do not admit responsibility, but make careful records of the event as far as you are able. This includes taking pictures or video of the crash scene. Do not speak to anyone about the accident until you have met with an attorney, however.