Auto Accident Attorneys St. Petersburg, Florida
Knowledgeable lawyers explain Florida accident law
An injury accident can turn your world upside down. Suddenly your days are filled with pain and apprehension about your physical recovery and your mounting medical bills. It can all seem like too much — because, in fact, it is. An accident involving serious injury is too much for you to handle alone; you deserve the professional support of an experienced Florida accident attorney from Salter, Healy, Bassett & Rivera. We can put your mind at ease by answering your pressing questions and addressing the legal issues that are vital to your recovery. We provide the aggressive representation you need to recover full compensation for all that you’ve suffered.
Understanding auto accident laws in Florida
Many clients come to us with only a rudimentary understanding of the law. They know they are entitled to compensation for their losses but are not sure how the law works. Here are some basic points for you to understand:
- Florida’s auto insurance requirements — Florida requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) to pay for their own injuries after an accident, and at least $10,000 in property damage liability to pay for any damage they cause. The law does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance (BIL), but it is a very good idea to do so, given the consequences of causing a serious accident.
- Florida’s no-fault insurance law — If you are hurt in an accident, your PIP insurance pays 80 percent of your reasonable medical expenses and 60 percent of your lost earnings, subject to the limits of your coverage and any deductible. Those limits are very important; if, for example, you sustain an injury requiring multiple surgeries and you miss more than six months of work but you only have the statutory minimum level of coverage, you’re going to finish with tens of thousands of dollars in uncompensated losses. Fortunately, Florida law allows you to step outside the no-fault system and sue the at-fault driver, if you have permanent scarring or disfigurement or if you suffer permanent loss of an important bodily function.
- Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury — You must file a lawsuit within four years of the date of your car accident or lose your right to compensation.
- Florida’s comparative fault rules — Florida follows the principle of pure comparative negligence, which reduces an injured party’s recovery according to his or her degree of fault. If the court finds you were also at fault and assigns you 10 percent of the blame, you can only recover for 90 percent of your losses. Insurance companies use these laws aggressively to defend claims and limit the amount they have to pay out to injured parties.
What to do when Florida’s no-fault system isn’t enough
Florida’s no-fault system is not meant to handle serious injury accidents, and as long as you stay within the no-fault system, you will never get full compensation. However, a personal injury lawsuit could result in full payment of your medical bills related to the injury, all of your lost income while you were out of work, future expenses related to your injury, and compensation for your pain and suffering. It’s very important to speak to an experienced auto accident attorney who can estimate a reasonable value for your claim. If you speak directly to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, they may present a settlement offer that seems reasonable at first glance, but when you break that offer down and really analyze the numbers, you’ll find they’re offering much less than your case is worth. This is why, when you’re wondering what to do after an accident, you must immediately contact a car accident attorney at Salter Healy.
Call our St. Petersburg auto accident lawyers today for determined legal representation
If you’ve suffered a serious injury in a car accident, you can trust our experience at Salter, Healy, Bassett & Rivera. We are passionate about getting you the compensation you deserve. Call us at 727.321.HELP (4357) or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. If your injuries prevent you from visiting us, we will come to you.