Kissimmee Auto Accident Lawyer
Motor vehicle accidents can be minor or serious, but no matter what they just take a moment. Even though they last a few seconds, the repercussions of one of these accidents can last a lifetime. Cases involving injuries or death due to automobiles are the most common types of personal injury cases handled by Draper Law Office. Over the years, our Kissimmee auto accident lawyers have become experts in a variety of cases, including car accidents, truck accidents, tractor trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
If the motor vehicle accident you were involved with was caused by the negligent, reckless, or careless vehicle operation of another person, Draper Law Office can help. We help both native Florida residents as well as out-of-state visitors to the Central Florida area. Our help with out-of-state cases can be especially helpful to visitors, as we understand the subtle differences in laws and the statues of limitations between Florida and other states.
The attorneys at Draper Law Office can help you in the recovery of property damage to your vehicle, as well as for medical bills, lost wages, and other related expenses. In the case of serious injury, you may also be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, physical impairment, scarring, disfigurement, and diminished capacity for the enjoyment of life.
If one of your loved ones unfortunately died as a result of an automobile accident, the survivors and estate may be entitled to recover damages for mental pain and suffering, loss of companionship, support, and services, as well as for any medical or funeral expenses that were incurred.
By contacting Draper Law Office today, you will find out exactly what you and your loved ones are entitled to after a motor vehicle accident in the Central Florida area. Our offices are conveniently located in Orlando, Kissimmee, and St. Cloud to better serve you.
For more information about your legal rights after an auto accident, call us now at 866-767-4711 or contact one of our motor vehicle attorneys through the online contact form.
More About Florida Auto Accident Law
When a resident of Florida is involved in a car crash, there are a number of laws in the state that impact resultant lawsuits and insurance claims.We’ll take a look at several of those state laws, which will include no-fault law, time requirement for filing a case subsequent to an accident, and the state’s comparative fault rule.
Keep in mind that auto accident lawyers and insurance companies view a trial in court as a risky last resort. In the majority of cases, they’ll avoid having their case presented to a judge or to a jury. The reason for this is rather straightforward. A jury can be very unpredictable and swayed by things that make little sense. Another primary reason for this is that seasoned auto accident attorneys, like the attorneys at Draper Law, and auto insurance companies have a fairly good idea regarding the valuation of a case involving injury. Therefore, in most instances they are able to come to an equitable solution without a court case.
No-Fault State Law In Florida
One of the first things to be mindful of is the fact that Florida is a no-fault state. In practical terms, this means that initially, you will need to be compensated by your own insurance company for losses and/or injuries that are caused by the accident. It does not matter who’s fault the accident was.
You are only able to go beyond the no-fault law and attempt to make the other motorist liable for losses you have incurred in certain instances. This would entail filing a claim with the other motorist’s insurance provider or filing a personal injury suit against the other motorist. You will only be able to do this for incidents in which a permanent injury results, or you are permanently disfigured.
Statute Of Limitations In Florida Subsequent To An Auto Accident
This law sets a time limit for filing certain types of lawsuits. For property damage and personal injury suits that result from an accident, the time limit is 4 years.
Be aware, that under normal circumstances, you can’t file an auto accident related lawsuit unless you have sustained an injury that is deemed a “serious injury” that has resulted in permanent injury or disfigurement. Nevertheless, if you have sustained a serious injury the four-year clock starts ticking from the day of the accident. Subsequent to this four-year time frame, your case may be barred from the courts, regardless of the strength of your arguments.
Another consideration is that if your losses were sustained in an incident that involved a government employee, or property owned by the government, you will need to adhere to a different process. As an example, if a city bus runs into your vehicle, you must file a “notice of claim” with the city agency that is responsible for public transit, and to retain your rights, you must do it very quickly, or your rights may not be preserved.
Comparative Fault In Florida
Your settlement options in Florida subsequent to an accident are partially dependent upon the party who was at fault. If you file your case in court, a judge might make a decision that both motorist share partial blame for the accident. This will have an impact on any damages you may receive.
For Florida auto accidents, there is a rule called, pure comparative fault. Under this rule, the damages you receive will be reduced by the percentage you are at fault. For instance, a jury may make a decision that you should receive $200,000 in damages. If they also make a decision that you are 30% at fault, then your damages would be reduced by 30% or in this case $60,000, so the total damages you would be entitled to would by $200,000 – $60,000 or $140,000. The damages you receive are reduce by an amount that is equal to your percent of fault for the accident. Even if you were deemed responsible for more than fifty percent of the accident, meaning most of the fault was your own, this rule is still in effect. For example, if you were deemed to by 70% at fault, then in the above example you would be entitled to damages for the remaining 30% or $200,000 X 30% which equals $60,000.It doesn’t work this way in every state that has a comparative negligence law. In some states, such as Georgia, if it is decided that you are more than 50% at fault, you would not be able to receive any damages whatsoever.
Auto Insurance Requirements In Florida
Under Florida law, drivers are mandated to have a certain amount of auto insurance. This can have an impact upon the amount of their settlement, should an accident occur.
What amount and type of auto insurance is mandated by Florida?To register a vehicle in Florida you will need the following insurance at a minimum.
- No Fault PIP (Personal Injury Protection) – $10,000
- PDL (Property Damage Liability)- $10,000
The PDL comes into play if your actions resulted in damages to the property or vehicle of another person in an accident.
Florida differs from most other states in the U.S. since it doesn’t mandate liability for bodily injury or BIL. BIL pays the expenses for injuries associated with another driver and/or passengers, if you are deemed at fault for an accident. You must buy insurance from and insurer that the state of Florida has licensed. It is illegal to drive in Florida with no insurance, and a driver’s license may be suspended if someone drives without the required insurance. The uninsured driver is likely to be fined $500 and then prove they have insured each vehicle they own in the state, in order to get their driver’s license reinstated.
Florida Auto Accident FAQs
I have just been in a car accident. Who should I talk to?
A) Do not admit fault to anyone and do not discuss the facts of the accident with anyone in the other vehicle(s) involved;
B) Assist the responding officer in his/her investigation without admitting fault;
C) Report the accident to your insurance company immediately and provide whatever information necessary so that they may protect your interests;
D) Do not give any statements to any other parties or their insurance company;
E) Seek medical attention if you are injured;
F) Take photographs of the damage to all vehicles if possible and of all injuries, including abrasions/lacerations and bruises; and
G) Take photographs of the accident scene, including any obstructions of view.
How is the value of my vehicle determined? Do I have to accept their offer?
The actual cash value of your vehicle is fairly easy to document. Once the insurance company determines the value, be sure to ask for written documentation as to how they arrived at their figure. Some mitigating factors that may increase the value of your vehicle are:
1) Recent upgrades (not including maintenance/wear and tear items);
2) Low mileage; and
3) Overall condition of the vehicle.
Bear in mind Items 2 & 3 may also decrease the value of your vehicle.
I was injured as a passenger and do not own a vehicle. What do I do?
If you reside with a relative (by blood or marriage) who owns a vehicle, you would file a Personal Injury Protection claim with the insurance carrier of your relative’s vehicle. If you do not live with a relative who owns a vehicle, then you would obtain Personal Injury Protection benefits from the vehicle you were in at the time of the accident.
I was injured while driving someone else’s vehicle and was not at fault for the accident. Why do I have to report this to my insurance company?
Florida has adopted the “No Fault” law. Anyone wishing to register a motor vehicle for use on public roadways in Florida must carry Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage coverages. If you are injured in an accident, you must submit your medical bills and lost wages to your own carrier first, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
My spouse was not injured in the accident. Why does he/she have to be involved in my claim for injuries?
Your spouse has a derivative claim. Simply stated, your spouse may have lost the benefit of one or more of your services in and around the home. As such, he/she is entitled to be compensated for this loss. Since this is the case, insurance companies generally will not settle a claim, unless both spouses are included in the settlement agreement.
Since my accident, I have incurred medical bills and lost wages. How can I recover my losses?
In Florida, your personal injury protection coverage will pay 80% of your medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to a combined total of $10,000. If you have chosen a deductible, your benefits will not begin until the deductible has been met.
The insurance company says my car is a “total loss”. What does that mean?
The standard for determining whether a vehicle is declared a total loss or not, is by the State of Florida, not the insurance companies. The State of Florida says that if repairs exceed 80% of the actual cash value of the vehicle, then it can be declared a total loss.
Who is going to pay for: A) The damage to my car; B) The tow bill I received; C) My rental car?
If you have collision coverage under your policy, you may go through your own carrier for repairs to your vehicle (less any applicable deductible). This usually is the quickest way to complete repairs to your vehicle. If the other party has insurance and the company has accepted liability, your carrier will submit a claim for reimbursement of any monies that they paid out as well as reimbursement of your deductible. The second option is to go through the insurance carrier for the responsible party. However, it may take a little longer to settle since they must complete their investigation and determine that their insured is completely at fault for the accident. Towing and rental reimbursement would be considered along with property damage.
Contact Our Experienced Kissimmee Car Accident Lawyers Today
Call us now at 866-767-4711 or contact one of our Kissimmee auto accident lawyers through the online contact form.