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The Doan Law Firm Represents car accident victims throughout Florida
As the third-largest state by population, Florida’s streets and highways are among the most heavily-traveled thoroughfares in the nation. Even though the vast majority of Florida drivers take every reasonable step to avoid accidents, car accidents still occur, often resulting in serious injuries or even deaths.
At The Doan Law Firm, we represent Florida car accident victims from all areas of the state and assist them in recovering a fair settlement of their car accident injury claims.
Florida is a “No-Fault” State
Florida is one of twelve states (plus Puerto Rico) to require that every registered private motor vehicle be covered by what is commonly called “no-fault insurance.” But do you really understand how Florida’s no-fault insurance system can work against you if you are injured in an accident? The answer to that question will come as a shock to many drivers!
“No-fault” insurance was created to reduce the number of lawsuits that arose following traffic accidents by requiring that every driver purchase insurance coverage that would apply to that driver’s injuries regardless of whether or not that driver was deemed to have been responsible (“at fault”) in an accident. The logic behind no-fault insurance is that, by requiring a driver to deal with their own insurance carrier and bynot allowing a driver to claim damages due to “pain and suffering” or other non-economic damages, the driver has no incentive to file a lawsuit since the amount of actual damages he or she could hope to recover is set by the terms of the driver’s insurance coverage.
In simplest terms, Florida’s no-fault insurance law prohibits you from filing a lawsuit directly against the person held responsible for your injuries and other expenses such as income and wages lost while recovering from your accident. Instead, Florida law requires that you file a claim with your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance carrierand that you meet any deductibles set forth in the terms and conditions of your PIP policy. The minimum amount of PIP insurance coverage required by Florida law is $10,000 although higher amounts of coverage with different deductibles are available.
In the majority of cases, PIP is bundled into a vehicle insurance policy that also covers collision damage and liability if you are involved in an accident.
Exceptions to Florida’s No-Fault Law
It is impossible to write a law that covers every possible circumstance. The Florida legislature kept this fact in mind when it drafted the no-fault insurance laws by allowing three circumstances where you can file a lawsuit directly against another driver.
1. You suffer a permanent injury
In general, a permanent injury is an injury from which a full recovery is either impossible or cannot be reasonably expected. Such injuries include brain and/or spinal cord injuries, loss of a limb or part of a limb (amputation) and any injury that prevents you from returning to your previous job or occupation.
2. Your injury isnot permanent but the cost of the injuries and/or lost wages exceeds the amount covered by your PIP insurance
Unless you carry more PIP insurance than the $10,000 minimum required by Florida law, a serious injury can cause major financial hardship for even the most affluent families. Florida law allows you file a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident once your medical expenses and lost income exceed the maximum amount stated in your PIP policy.
3. The accident results in a fatality
Since car accident fatalities often involve a family’s breadwinner or its major source of income, Florida’s no-fault law specifically allows car accident wrongful death lawsuits.
Note that Florida law does not restrict the ability to file a car accident lawsuit to the accident victim. In general, state law provides that any lawsuit that could have been brought by an accident victim can be filed by 1) a parent or legal guardian of a non-adult, 2) an accident victim’s spouse, or 3) by the legal representative of a deceased accident victim’s estate. The question of authority to file a lawsuit by anyone other than the accident victim can be complex and it is always best to speak with an experienced car accident injury lawyer if you find yourself in such tragic circumstances.
Contact the Florida Car Accident Lawyer at The Doan Law Firm
Due to the potential complexity of Florida’s no-fault insurance law, we always advise our clients not to accept any insurance claim offers until they have spoken with an experienced car accident injury lawyer who is familiar with both Florida’s no-fault insurance law and how that law might affect the amount of compensation you receive following an accident. One such lawyer can be found at The Doan Law Firm, a national law practice with offices located throughout Florida and the United States.
When you contact the Florida car accident injury lawyer at The Doan Law Firm, there is never a charge for our staff to review the facts of your case or for you to speak with our Florida car accident lawyer regarding the legal options that may be available to you. If you later decide that a lawsuit is in order and that you would like for us to represent you in court, we are willing to assume full responsibility for all aspects of preparing your Florida car accident injury case for trial in exchange for a percentage of the final settlement we are prepared to win for you.
At The Doan Law Firm, we don’t plan to just win your Florida car accident injury case: we always plan to win big and have a track record that speaks for itself. You can reach our Florida car accident lawyer by contacting our offices located in the following cities or by calling our “24/7/365” car accident hotline at 1-800-349-0000.