Passenger vehicle accidents can have deadly consequences for both passengers, drivers, and other vehicles involved.
As a passenger in a vehicle, you have the legal right to be kept safe by other motorists on the road. So, if you were a passenger injured in a car accident, you have a number of legal options, including suing the individual who caused the crash. However, you’ll need to work with a qualified car accident lawyer to get the best case outcome and achieve the right level of compensation.
Here at The Law Place, we help our clients all over the State of Florida to understand their legal rights after any kind of traffic incident. We can help you to file a claim or lawsuit, liaise with your insurance company and support you through the legal process.
So, if you were a passenger in a car accident, call today for your free case evaluation on (941) 444-4444.
What happens if you are a passenger in a car accident in Florida?
If you are injured as a passenger in a car accident, several steps and considerations come into play to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights. Your first concern should be addressing any medical needs. Even if you don’t feel immediate pain or discomfort, it’s wise to seek medical attention, as some injuries might not be apparent right away.
Once your immediate health concerns are addressed, there are several legal and insurance-related considerations to keep in mind:
- Insurance Claims – As an injured passenger, you may be entitled to compensation through the insurance policies of the involved drivers. Typically, the driver’s insurance coverage of the car you were in will be the first source to seek compensation. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance may also be liable for your injuries.
- Filing a Claim – You can file a claim for damages, which may cover medical bills, lost wages due to injury, and pain and suffering. It’s essential to gather all necessary documentation related to the accident and your injuries, such as medical records and bills, to support your claim.
- Determining Liability – Establishing who is at fault in the accident is a crucial aspect of your claim. In some cases, liability may be clear, but in others, it may require an investigation. Even if the driver of the vehicle you were in is at fault, you still have the right to seek compensation.
- Legal Assistance – Consulting with a personal injury attorney can provide clarity on how to proceed, especially if the case involves complex issues of liability or if the insurance companies dispute your claim. An attorney can advocate on your behalf, ensuring that you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
- Statute of Limitations – Be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim in your jurisdiction, in Florida the statute of limitations is just two years from the date of the accident. This is the timeframe within which you must file a claim following an accident. Failing to act within this period could bar you from seeking compensation later.
Being injured as a passenger in a car accident can be a distressing experience, but understanding your rights and the available avenues for compensation can help ensure that you are protected and adequately compensated for your injuries and losses.
Criteria for a Successful Personal Injury Lawsuit After a Car Accident in Florida
If you were a passenger involved in an accident, you can sue another party and file a personal injury lawsuit. However, in order to win your case and claim compensation to recover damages, your lawyer will need to fulfil certain criteria.
The requirements for a negligence or personal injury lawsuit include:
Proving That You Were Owed a Duty of Care
Firstly, in order to prove that negligence occurred, it will need to be established that somebody involved in your car accident owed you a duty of care. A duty of care means that an individual was in some way responsible for your safety.
This is important because if you were solely responsible for your own safety and nobody else was legally obligated to act in a way that preserved your safety, there are no grounds for a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
In traffic accidents, proving duty of care is usually straightforward. Drivers, pedestrians, and passengers on any road or highway in the State of Florida have a duty of care to keep themselves and others safe. By obtaining a license to operate a motor vehicle, they consent to this law.
Individuals that owe you a duty of care could include:
- The driver of the vehicle in which you were a passenger.
- Other drivers involved.
- Pedestrians crossing the road.
- The State of Florida.
- Transportation companies.
Prove That This Duty of Care Was Breached
Your lawyer will need to prove that the individual who owed you a duty of care breached this duty. An individual could neglect their duty of care if they acted unsafely or if they failed to act in order to prevent something from harming you.
An individual may have breached their duty of care if they:
- Were driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
- Had their normal functions and reactions impaired due to prescribed medication.
- Were driving recklessly or dangerously, such as weaving in and out of traffic.
- Ran a red light or a stop sign.
- Fell asleep at the wheel or drove whilst fatigued.
- Failed to adequately maintain roads or highways.
- Failed to make sure that equipment such as traffic lights or signage was well-maintained and functioning.
Prove That You Were Injured by This Breach
Next, your lawyer will need to prove that the breach in duty of care directly caused your injuries. This can be slightly more difficult to prove in car accidents because injury victims can often be partially at fault for an accident. So, if you were distracting a driver who caused another vehicle to crash into them, it could be ruled that you were responsible for your own injuries.
Therefore, your lawyer will be investigating every driver, passenger, and other vehicle involved in your case to help prove that another individual’s negligence caused your injuries.
Prove That You Suffered a Serious Injury
In order to be compensated for your accident, it will need to be proved that your injury was serious. According to Florida Statute 316.027, serious bodily injuries are those which:
- Cause real risk of death.
- Impact the function of any organ.
- Cause significant disfigurement.
What Compensation Could I Receive for a Car Accident?
There are a number of ways to pursue financial compensation, including:
Compensation From Your Own Insurance Company
According to Florida Statute 627.736, it is a legal requirement for all Florida drivers to possess available insurance coverage for $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection and $10,000 in Property Damage Liability. Therefore, if you’ve suffered injuries in a traffic accident, the first way to claim any damages is to contact your own insurance company.
PIP insurance will cover you for:
- 80% of medical costs.
- 60% of any lost wages.
- Wrongful death benefits for deceased policyholders.
In addition, it is possible that you could possess multiple insurance policies. For example, as well as PIP, you could have Uninsured Motorist coverage. This will cover you if you are involved in a car accident where the other driver does not have any insurance. According to statistics from the Insurance Information Institute, over 20% of drivers in the State of Florida are uninsured. So, although it is not legally required, it’s a good idea to take out Uninsured Motorist insurance.
Compensation From the at-Fault Driver
There are some circumstances in which the at-fault driver’s insurance company will cover you for compensation. Whilst it is not compulsory in the State of Florida, many drivers possess Bodily Injury Liability insurance. This could be the case if they chose to take out this type of cover or if they were previously involved in another car crash and were required to take out this insurance.
Bodily Injury Liability insurance is paid to an injured party if the policyholder causes a traffic accident.
In addition, every driver in the State of Florida is required to possess $10,000 of Property Damage Liability insurance. This is designed to cover any property damage if a driver gets into an accident. So, this could also be owed to you by an at-fault driver.
Compensation From a Personal Injury Claim or Lawsuit
If your costs exceed your insurance coverage, you could choose to file a personal injury claim or pursue a lawsuit. Your lawyer will be able to help you decide what the right choice is for your case.
These types of legal action will help you to recover a higher amount of damages, including:
- Pain and suffering.
- Wrongful death.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?
If you want to achieve the right level of compensation for your case and avoid jeopardizing your claim or lawsuit, you’ll need to find a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They’ll provide a number of services, including:
- Making an insurance claim on your behalf.
- Liaising with your insurance company, as insurance companies can be difficult to deal with.
- Negotiating a fair settlement out of court.
- Filing a lawsuit and defending you in court.
- Filing any paperwork.
Insurers of Drivers and Owners of Cars
When you’re a passenger in a car involved in an accident in Florida, you have several options for seeking compensation. One of the first steps is to submit a claim to the insurance company of the driver or the owner of the car you were in. This process involves negotiating with the insurer to obtain a fair settlement that covers your injuries and losses. If the insurance company denies your claim or offers a settlement that doesn’t fully compensate for your damages, you may need to consider filing a personal injury lawsuit.
In situations where multiple parties are at fault, such as in multi-car accidents, you can also submit claims against the insurers of other involved drivers. This is particularly important if the policy limits of one driver are insufficient to cover your damages. Working with a skilled Florida car accident attorney can be instrumental in navigating these complex scenarios and ensuring that all potential sources of compensation are explored.
Insurance Coverage for Relatives or Spouses Driving the Car
If you were a passenger in a car driven by a relative or spouse and got injured in an accident, the path to compensation might be different. Generally, if you’re covered under the same auto insurance policy as the driver, you might not be able to file a liability claim against them. However, other avenues, such as the at-fault driver’s insurance or your personal health insurance, might be available.
In Florida, PIP insurance (Personal Injury Protection) plays a critical role in covering immediate medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. This coverage can provide a crucial financial safety net for injured passengers. Additionally, Medical Payment Coverage (MedPay) can also provide benefits regardless of fault. Consulting with a Florida car accident lawyer can help clarify your options and the best approach to secure the compensation you deserve.
No-Fault Insurance System in Florida
Florida’s no-fault insurance system directly impacts passenger injury claims in car accidents. Under this system, PIP insurance covers medical expenses and a portion of lost wages for the injured passenger, irrespective of who caused the accident. This coverage is particularly beneficial in providing immediate financial assistance for medical treatments.
However, PIP insurance has its limits, and in cases of severe injuries, it might not be sufficient. In such scenarios, pursuing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance becomes necessary. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can assist you in understanding the nuances of Florida’s no-fault system and guide you in maximizing your claim benefits under PIP while exploring other options for additional compensation.
Settlement Negotiations and Lawsuits
Settling car accident claims outside of court offers several advantages, such as reduced legal fees, quicker resolution, and less stress for all parties involved. However, if settlement negotiations with insurance companies fail to yield a fair outcome, filing a personal injury lawsuit may become necessary.
In these situations, having a competent Florida car accident attorney is invaluable. They can handle complex negotiations, present a compelling case for your damages, and if needed, represent you effectively in court. An attorney’s knowledge and experience ensures that all factors, including the severity of your injuries and their long-term impact, are factored into the settlement negotiations.
Determining the Case’s Worth
In passenger injury claims, determining the case’s worth is a crucial aspect that insurance adjusters, judges, and juries consider. This valuation includes assessing the severity of your injuries, the cost of medical treatment, long-term implications of your injuries, lost wages, and the pain and suffering endured.
A personal injury lawsuit can help recover these damages, especially when PIP insurance limits are exceeded. A seasoned car accident lawyer can help quantify these damages and advocate for a compensation amount that truly reflects the extent of your losses and suffering.
Complexities in Multi-Party Accident Situations
Multi-party accident situations, where multiple passengers are injured or when insurers of different drivers dispute liability, present unique challenges in reaching a settlement. In such cases, the representation of a Florida car accident attorney is crucial to navigate the legal intricacies. They can help untangle the complexities of liability, coordinate with multiple insurance companies, and ensure that your rights as an injured passenger are fully protected.
Legal Representation for Passengers
For passengers injured in car accidents, legal representation can be critical in ensuring fair compensation. An attorney is knowledgable in personal injury law and understands the specifics of passenger injury claims. They can provide invaluable assistance, from filing claims and handling negotiations with insurance companies to representing your interests in court if necessary. Their help can be particularly beneficial in complex cases, ensuring that your claim is handled professionally and effectively.
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Can I sue if I was a passenger in a car accident in Florida? – FAQ
Can a passenger in a vehicle accident file a personal injury claim?
Yes, passengers involved in a vehicle accident can file a personal injury claim. As a car accident victim, you have the right to seek compensation for injuries sustained in the accident, regardless of which driver was at fault.
Does personal auto insurance cover passengers in a car accident?
Personal auto insurance typically includes coverage for passengers. In the event of a car accident, the driver’s insurance coverage may provide compensation for the passengers’ injuries. It’s important to check the specific terms of the insurance policy involved.
How can a personal injury attorney assist passengers in car accident cases?
An attorney can help passengers in personal injury cases by evaluating the circumstances of the accident, determining liability, and assisting in filing a claim. They can negotiate with insurance companies and ensure that the passengers receive fair compensation for their injuries.
What should a passenger do immediately after being involved in a car accident?
After being involved in a car accident, a passenger should seek medical treatment if necessary, gather information from the scene, and document their injuries. It’s also advisable to consult with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options.
Are passengers covered by personal health insurance for injuries from a car accident?
Yes, personal health insurance can cover medical treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident. However, the specifics depend on the individual health insurance policy and whether other insurance coverages, like the driver’s auto insurance, are applicable.
What types of compensation can passengers in a car accident claim?
Car accident victims, including passengers can claim compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages resulting from the accident. A personal injury attorney can help quantify these damages in a car accident claim.
How is fault determined in a car accident involving passengers?
Fault in a car accident is determined by investigating which driver violated traffic laws or acted negligently. Even if a passenger is in a vehicle with the at-fault driver, they can still pursue a claim for their injuries.
Can passengers sue both drivers in a multi-vehicle accident?
Yes, passengers can potentially sue both drivers in a multi-vehicle accident if both were at fault. A personal injury attorney can help assess the details of the accident and advise on the best course of action.
Contact The Law Place For a Free Consultation Today
If you were a passenger injured in a car accident, get into contact with The Law Place today for legal advice. In most cases, you will be able to sue a driver who is at fault or any other individual who caused your accident.
Attorney client relationship is one of our core values here at The Law Place. So, we work with your best interest in mind because we want you to be confident that you’re working with the right person for the job. However, don’t just take our word for it. You can check our credentials at AVVO, where many of our team have received the highest possible rating of 10.0.
We also offer a free legal consultation to all our new clients. So, call today to receive your free case review and to speak with a licensed attorney on (941) 444-4444.