What to Ask Yourself Before Putting Together a Car Accident Claim
If you were recently hurt in a wreck, you may be thinking about taking action against the liable party. While securing compensation could certainly help you pick up the pieces in the aftermath, there’s no guarantee that your claim will actually yield a payout.
As such, it’s wise to confirm that you likely have grounds for a personal injury claim before proceeding. Putting together a compelling case is a lot of work, after all, and you want to be sure doing so has the potential to be worthwhile.
To determine as much, it can be helpful to start by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Was I Responsible for the Accident?
It probably comes as no surprise that if you were wholly responsible for the accident, you won’t have grounds for a claim. If you contributed to the crash in a minor way, however—perhaps you were speeding just prior to the collision, for example—it’s still worth calling an attorney because you may be able to hold the other at-fault parties at least partially liable.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault rule, car accident victims are not barred from seeking compensation even if they played a role in the crash. Instead, the total available compensation is simply reduced by their own percentage of fault.
2. Did I Sustain Serious Injuries?
When assigning financial responsibility for car accident damages, Florida takes a no-fault approach. That means victims are generally expected to file first-party claims with their own carriers under their personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, regardless of whether they actually contributed to the crash.
If you sustained serious enough injuries, however, you may bypass the no-fault system and file a third-party claim with the liable motorist’s carrier. Generally speaking, injuries are considered serious if they result in the permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent disability, permanent scarring and disfigurement, or death.
3. Have I Missed the Filing Deadline?
If the accident occurred several years ago, the statute of limitations for taking the liable party to court may have passed. Should this be the case, the carrier won’t be inclined to settle because there will be no threat of litigation. Consequently, filing a claim could prove futile.
Florida’s typical statute of limitations for personal injury actions is four years. That means most victims have four years from the date on which they were hurt to get a formal lawsuit underway. There are a host of exceptions to this deadline, however, so it’s advisable to consult an attorney no matter how much time has passed because there may still be a way forward.
Discuss Your Case with a Car Accident Attorney in Florida
Handling the aftermath of a crash is inherently stressful. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about putting together a claim on your own.
If you turn to Emerson Straw, you can focus on your health and family while our tenacious team builds your case. To schedule a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Florida, call (727) 821-1500 or submit our Contact Form.