What Are the Different Kinds of Car Accident Liability Claims
If you or a loved one becomes seriously injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you may wonder what are the different kinds of car accident liability claims you can file to receive compensation.
The emotional and financial stress from a severe car accident can overwhelm you and your family. Incurring medical bills and missing work because of hospitalization and injury can result in financial hardship.
Working with a St. Petersburg, Florida attorney from Emerson Straw Injury Law can help you determine the correct claim for your case and get you a fair settlement to pay for your injury-related expenses.
What Are the Types of Motor Vehicle Liability Claims?
When filing, you may have different kinds of car accident liability claim options to receive financial compensation for injuries you sustain in a car accident. The most common claims in Florida are through your own personal injury protection (PIP) insurance and a third-party claim against a negligent driver’s insurance.
PIP Insurance Claims
Under Florida law, you are required to carry PIP insurance to pay for medical costs after a collision. PIP insurance covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses from an accident, no matter who caused it.
However, the coverage limit for medical costs is $10,000, which is typically insufficient to pay for medical bills resulting from serious injuries like TBIs, spinal cord damage, or disfigurement.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
If your medical expenses exceed your PIP limit, you may file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to cover the extra costs. You may also file a lawsuit against the driver seeking damages for pain and suffering if the accident leaves you scarred and disfigured or if you lose a significant physical function, such as becoming paralyzed or losing a limb.
You can file a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit for injuries that resulted from the following types of car accidents, including:
- Speeding over the posted speed limits and through red lights
- Distracted driving, such as texting or chatting with other passengers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or chemical substances
- Poorly maintained roads and highways
Working with an experienced attorney is essential if you have exhausted your PIP coverage and are considering suing after a car accident. Your attorney can review the details of your case and help you understand what are the different types of car accidents relevant to your claim.
Your attorney will gather evidence to prove the other driver’s negligent conduct caused the accident and your injuries based on police reports, witness statements, and medical records.
Dram Shop Liability Claim
A dram shop claim is a type of claim that involves filing against a third-party responsible for a drunk driving accident. Florida’s dram shop law provides the option to pursue legal action against an establishment that knowingly served alcohol to a driver with chronic alcohol addiction. Businesses serving alcohol to minors under the drinking age can also face liability under state law if the minor causes an accident or injury.
Government Liability Claims for Car Accidents
Your local government may be liable for the damage if a poorly designed or maintained road caused your vehicle accident. Florida allows people to bring a claim against the government when a state employee’s actions intentionally cause personal injuries.
However, there are some limitations to suing the government for damages. You cannot obtain more than $200,000 in damages under Florida law. If multiple state agencies are liable for the accident, you may only receive up to $300,000.
If your entitled compensation is more than $200,000 or $300,000 for multiple agencies, the government can pay them up to that limit, but the state legislature must approve the additional compensation.
Product Liability Claim
If a defective car part caused the accident and injuries, your lawyer might advise you to sue the manufacturer for damages. Your attorney will look into these types of defects for a product liability claim:
- Defective design: A company is liable for a design defect when it existed before the distribution of the product and posed a foreseeable risk when used as intended.
- Manufacturing defects: These defects occur during assembly, shipping, or at any other point during or after production before delivery.
- Marketing defects: The defects result from incorrect instructions and failures to warn consumers that a product poses latent dangers.
Your attorney can investigate whether there are any other lawsuits involving defective car parts. Takata Corporation pled guilty to wire fraud due to selling defective airbag inflators. A restitution fund of $125 million became available to accident victims who sustained physical injuries from the airbags.
Your attorney will advise on the best course of action depending on the type of defect in your car.
Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Claim
If you were involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and exceeded your PIP limits, you may file a claim for uninsured motorist coverage if available in your policy. Florida doesn’t require drivers to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, but insurance companies must offer it when you choose your insurance plan.
UM coverage is a different kind of car insurance that covers you when the other motorist’s bodily injury liability is less than your damages, or their insurance company can’t pay for your damages due to insolvency. Your attorney can help you understand your UM coverage and the benefits that you are entitled to receive. They can review your insurance policy and explain your legal rights to obtain your coverage.
Wrongful Death Claim
Florida law allows you to file a wrongful death claim within two years after losing a loved one in a car accident. A personal representative for the deceased’s estate can file the claim on behalf of family members.
The representative must include a list of any beneficiaries entitled to receive damages from the claim, including:
- Surviving spouse
- Minor children and children if there isn’t a surviving spouse
- Parents of a deceased child
A wrongful death claim may recover the following damages:
- Funeral and medical expenses
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of earnings from the date of the injury until the date of the death
- Value of lost support and loss of consortium for the surviving spouse
An experienced attorney from Emerson Straw Injury Law attorney can work with you and the personal representative to file a wrongful death claim. They assist you in reaching a fair and reasonable settlement for your claim based on the economic and emotional effects of your loved one’s death.
Obtaining Compensation for Injuries Sustained in Car Accidents
Your attorney can help you understand how your liability claim affects the amount of compensation you receive from the other driver. You may recover the following economic damages in your settlement:
- Medical expenses, including ambulance rides, diagnostic imaging, surgeries, and future medical costs for rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Lost wages due to the time off from your job due to your recovery from the accident
- Loss of earning capacity that you would have had if you didn’t suffer your injury, including loss of the potential to earn an income due to a catastrophic injury such as a traumatic brain injury
- Coverage for vehicle damage and repairs
- Non-economic damages, such as physical and mental pain and suffering or a reduced quality of life from a serious injury
An experienced St. Augustine car accident lawyer from Emerson Straw Injury Law can negotiate a settlement with the auto insurance company. If you and the insurer cannot settle, the attorney will represent you in a personal injury suit and argue your case in court.
Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney
A skilled attorney can provide invaluable guidance and legal support if you are considering filing a car accident liability claim. Our personal injury attorneys at Emerson Straw Injury Law have decades of experience helping injured Florida drivers win millions in financial compensation.
We can assist in determining what are the types of accidents you have been involved in and how they affect your legal options and rights. Our compassionate attorneys understand the stress and uncertainty of a car accident and are available to answer your questions and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. One of our lawyers will help you understand what are the different kinds of car accident liability claim options for your case.
How can I determine who is at fault for a car accident?
The concept of negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care while driving, determines fault in a car accident. Your attorney can investigate the accident scene, review police reports and witness statements, and consult accident reconstruction experts if necessary to determine fault.
Florida also follows a pure contributory fault system, meaning multiple parties can share fault, and the court may reduce damages accordingly.
Can a car accident liability claim in Florida be settled out of court?
The parties involved in a car accident liability claim in Florida, including their attorneys and insurance companies, can settle the claim out of court through negotiation and a settlement agreement. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, a judge or jury will decide the case through litigation or a trial.
What is the average time it takes to resolve a Florida car accident liability claim?
The average time it takes to resolve a car accident liability claim in Florida can vary depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the extent of injuries, and the willingness of the parties to negotiate a settlement.
Many cases take several weeks to months, but complex cases can take years to resolve. Your attorney with Emerson Straw Injury Law can discuss a possible timeline for your claim based on their experience and the details of your case.