When thinking about car accidents, most people think about the drivers of the vehicles involved and how they are compensated under Florida’s car accident laws. But what if a passenger who was in one of the vehicles was injured? Do they have the right to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver? How do Florida’s no-fault rules apply to them?
If you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a Bradenton car accident, The Law Place could help. Fortunately, because most car accidents happen when one driver is negligent in some way, you are eligible to make a claim for compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other losses. However, it is important that you seek support from an experienced Bradenton car accident lawyer who can determine the full value of your claim and secure a fair settlement on your behalf.
At The Law Place in Florida, our experienced Bradenton car accident attorneys have over seventy-five years of combined experience in handling personal injury claims, so call us today to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Common Bradenton Car Accident Injuries
Over three million people across the country are injured in car accidents, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The injuries that result from Bradenton car accidents are varied because of the individual circumstances of each car crash, but there are some injuries that occur more than others, for example:
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Head injuries such as concussions.
- Soft tissue injuries.
- Scrapes and cuts.
- Broken and fractured bones.
If you have sustained minor or serious injuries in a car accident in Bradenton in which you were a passenger, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Law Place today for a free case evaluation from one of our car accident lawyers.
How Are Injured Passengers Covered?
Florida’s no-fault system requires all drivers to have their own personal injury protection coverage (PIP). Therefore, for minor injuries, each driver can look to their PIP insurance policy to cover their own losses without having to establish fault and ending up in a courtroom. However, if you were injured in a collision as a passenger, you may be wondering whose insurance company you can file a claim with. You have the following options:
Look at Your Own Insurance Policy
Passengers are not legally required to have insurance to travel in someone else’s vehicle, but most passengers will have PIP insurance in their name. If this is the case for you, you can contact your own insurance company and file a claim. If you do not have your own insurance policy and have been injured as a passenger, you are still eligible to recover PIP benefits from someone else.
In Florida, the minimum PIP coverage for bodily injury is $10,000 for one person and $20,000 for two or more people. Your personal Injury (PIP) insurance will cover 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of any lost wages.
Look at Your Driver’s Auto Insurance Policy
You can file a claim with your driver’s auto insurance company, no matter who is at fault. If the value of your damages exceeds the limit of your driver’s auto insurance coverage, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company as well.
Look at the Other Driver’s Auto Insurance Policy
You have the right to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If the other driver involved in the accident did not own the vehicle, you have the right to file a claim with the car owner’s insurance company.
Look at the Policy of a Family Member
Passengers in Florida who do not have their own PIP coverage can look at a family member’s insurance policy (the family member must live within your household, e.g., spouse, parent sibling). Even if your family member is not involved in the car accident, their PIP insurance should pay your damages.
How an injured passenger chooses to proceed with an insurance claim following an accident will depend on policy limits and the extent of their injuries. If you need help with deciding how to proceed with your insurance claim, an accident lawyer from The Law Place can explain your options. Call today to schedule a free consultation.
What if The Drivers Are Uninsured?
Despite the fact under Florida law, every vehicle owner should carry PIP insurance, some still drive without it. If caught, they could face license suspension and a $150 reinstatement fee, but this does not stop it from happening. Check your own PIP insurance to see if you have the following:
Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage
This auto insurance add-on will cover damages, including injuries and property damage inflicted by an uninsured driver. This coverage will also protect hit-and-run accident victims. In Florida, the minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage is $10,000 of bodily injury coverage per person or a maximum of $20,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident (10/20).
Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
This add-on protects you if the other driver does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. It is not a legal requirement to have these add-ons in Florida but can prove to be worthwhile.
What if I Was Hurt in an Uber or Lyft Car?
Rideshare drivers, like all other drivers in Florida, must carry PIP insurance. They are also legally required to have Uninsured Motorist coverage and Underinsured Motorist coverage. Both Uber and Lyft are known for having liability coverage of at least $1 million. However, there are some things to consider if you are injured in one of their vehicles.
If the Uber or Lyft driver were on route to pick up a passenger or had a passenger in their vehicle at the time of an accident, an injured person could be awarded the full $1 million. However, if the Uber or Lyft driver was not working (or did not have their app open) when the car accident occurred, their liability insurance is not in effect. In that case, you would need to file a claim with their personal auto insurance.
If the rideshare driver had their app open but had not accepted a ride request, you could be awarded the following:
- As much as $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage.
- A total of $100,000 in injury liability coverage.
- Up to $25,000 for any property damage caused by the accident.
Bradenton car accidents involving Uber or Lyft drivers can be confusing. A qualified personal injury attorney can help you with the claims process and explain your options. Call us today for a free consultation.
How Do I File a Claim?
To file a claim following a car accident, you will need to contact the insurance companies and file an accident report. As a passenger in an accident, you may find that the drivers involved have already opened claims, so an insurance adjuster may contact you to discuss your personal injury claim before you contact them. If the drivers involved in the accident failed to disclose the accident or your contact information, you might need to contact them personally.
A car accident lawyer can help you with this process and tell you what rights you have when it comes to compensation. For a free consultation, contact The Law Place today.
What if My PIP Insurance Does Not Cover All of My Damages?
Passengers who are injured in car accidents are entitled to full compensation for their damages, but if you sustain serious injuries as a passenger in a car accident in Bradenton, FL., you may need to go outside of Florida’s no-fault laws and file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
The court will require detailed evidence of your injuries and the monetary losses associated with the car accident. Therefore, if you have been injured in a Bradenton car accident, keep detailed records of any damages. A Bradenton personal injury lawyer can tell you if you are entitled to compensation, so call today for a free case evaluation.
Personal Injury Claims in Florida
Florida is a no-fault state, and this means that in some cases, Bradenton car accident victims are not fully compensated for their losses. If a passenger who is injured in a car accident is not fairly compensated by the insurance companies, they may need to file a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a Bradenton car accident lawyer.
For a successful compensation claim, the injured party will be required to prove that another person’s negligence caused their car accident injuries.
According to Florida law, a person is considered negligent if they failed to act in a careful and responsible manner. Car accident attorneys will look at the police accident report, any eyewitness testimonies, expert witness testimonies and photographs, and/or video footage from the accident scene to establish negligence and determine liability. The court will ask them to establish the following elements:
- The defendant was required by law to be reasonably careful. All drivers have a legal duty of care to other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
- The defendant breached their duty of care by failing to act in a reasonably safe manner.
- The defendant’s behavior did not meet the standard that is expected. In other words, a reasonable person would have acted differently, and the car accident would not have occurred.
Liability in a Florida Bradenton Car Accident
A car accident lawyer will be required to show that the defendant’s conduct directly caused the accident victim’s injuries. A driver is considered to be at fault for a car accident if they:
- Failed to stop at a red light.
- Was driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol (DUI).
- Was speeding.
- Was not following the vehicle in front at a safe distance.
- Was driving recklessly.
- Was distracted (because they were texting or eating, for example).
It is not always a driver who is to blame for a traffic collision. The car accident could have occurred due to poor road design or road conditions; therefore, the government could be the negligent party. If it was an equipment failure that caused the accident, the car manufacturer might be at fault. If you want more information about who may be liable for your injuries following a Bradenton car accident, call The Law Place today for a free consultation with one of our experienced Bradenton car accident attorneys.
Damages in a Bradenton Car Accident Case
Car accidents can leave you with serious injuries and questions about how you will cover all of your expenses. If you were a passenger in a car accident, you could make a compensation claim for the following damages:
- Medical bills.
- Lost wages.
- Future loss of earnings.
- Vehicle damages.
- Medical equipment or devices.
- The cost of household duties that the victim can no longer carry out.
- Travel costs for medical appointments or physical therapy sessions.
- Any future or long-term medical treatment.
In addition to the above economic damages, you may be entitled to the following types of non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish (humiliation, anger, fear, depression, anxiety, stress).
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium (compensation awarded to the non-injured spouse for the loss of affection, sexual intimacy, comfort, support, and companionship).
According to Florida Statute 627.737, non-economic damages in Florida car accidents can be awarded when the victim’s injuries have caused:
- Permanent and significant loss of a vital bodily function.
- Permanent disfigurement or scarring.
- A permanent injury that has a justifiable degree of medical probability.
An experienced Bradenton car accident attorney from The Law Place can determine the full value of your personal injury claim, investigate the accident to determine fault, and fight for compensation. To find out more, call The Law Place to schedule a free consultation.
Steps to Take Following an Accident
If you were a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a car crash in Bradenton, there are some important steps to take that could help your accident lawyers later:
Seek Medical Care
Your first step should be to seek emergency medical care. You will need to document your car accident injuries, and a medical professional can identify them and provide an official record of them. In Florida, you have a 14-day window to seek medical care following a car accident if you want to claim any PIP benefits.
Call the Police
It is important for police to be called to the scene of a car accident. A police officer can investigate the incident and file a police report. This information may be vital when it comes to determining liability later on. They can also help you collect insurance information from both drivers and preserve any vital evidence.
Car accident scenes are cleared quickly. Therefore, it is important that you use your smartphone to take pictures of the vehicles involved as soon as you are able. Make sure these pictures clearly show the damage caused to each vehicle, the position they are in, as well as any marks on the road. It is also a good idea to take pictures of your car accident injuries.
Speak to Our Bradenton Car Accident Attorneys Today
Florida’s no-fault laws can be confusing. Luckily, our Bradenton car accident attorneys are ready to support you through the process and protect your rights. We can review your car accident case and communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf. We will gather the necessary evidence to support your compensation claim and conduct an independent investigation of the car accident to establish who is liable for your injuries.
Our experienced team will aggressively pursue your car accident claim to the fullest extent of the law, so call our law firm as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation. Our phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.