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Female Motorist Involved In Car Accident Calling Insurance Company

Who's at Fault? Sorting Out Liability in a Car Accident

Mark A. Cornelius Sept. 1, 2021

According to statistics from the Florida Department for Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, there were 341,320 traffic crashes reported statewide in 2020, resulting in 212,531 injuries and 3,343 fatalities. Distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, reckless driving, and running traffic signals are among the leading causes of car accidents in Florida. If you were involved in a traffic accident, determining who was responsible for the car crash is important to recover financial compensation for your injuries.

At the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A., I'm dedicated to providing comprehensive legal guidance and compassionate representation to car accident victims and their loved ones. As an experienced Florida personal injury attorney, I will review and investigate every detail of your accident, work to prove fault, and establish liability. I will also fight to protect your legal rights and help you pursue fair compensation to cover medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, pain and suffering, or loss.

My firm — the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. — proudly serves clients across Altamonte Springs and communities throughout Central Florida, including Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Polk County, and Volusia.

Florida is a “No-Fault” State

Florida is among the few states that follow a “no-fault” system for auto insurance. Under Florida's system, accident victims are required to file an injury claim with their own insurance company to seek damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Due to this, all Florida motorists are required to carry an automobile insurance policy known as a personal injury protection (PIP) policy.

Utilizing PIP Insurance

Under Florida law, every motorist is expected to maintain $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and $10,000 in Property Damage (PD) coverage. The PIP insurance will cover a portion of medical bills and lost wages incurred due to an accident. The PIP insurance will also cover funeral expenses in a fatal car accident.

Generally speaking, PIP insurance will not cover all the costs, but it can cover:

  • 80% of your medical expenses up to the $10,000 limit

  • 60% of your lost wages up to the $10,000 limit

  • Only $2,500 in medical expenses if your medical treatment isn't considered an emergency medical condition

  • Death benefits up to $5,000, paid to the decedent's next of kin

Suing an At-Fault Driver

The injured person can always seek compensation for the portions of medical bills and wages that are not paid by PIP. However, recovering for pain and suffering is not always permitted in Florida. In certain circumstances, an injured person may be allowed to recover, whether in a claim or in a lawsuit, against the at-fault driver for pain and suffering if the accident or injuries meet the following statutory requirements:

The Accident Resulted In a Serious Injury

According to Florida Statute Annotated Section 627.737, a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury in the event that the injury results in:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function

  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement

  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

  • Death

Medical Expenses & Lost Wages Exceed $10,000

The accident victim may also file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver when medical expenses and lost wages exceed the $10,000 PIP limit. Through the lawsuit, the injured party may seek to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

Pure Comparative Fault

Florida follows a "pure comparative fault" rule. Under this system, any negligence on the part of the claimant will not completely bar him or her from recovering damages for their injuries, but the amount of damages that may be recovered will be reduced by the claimant's degree of fault.

For instance, if the judge awarded $30,000 in total damages but found you to be 30% at fault for your injuries, your settlement amount will be reduced by $9,000 (30% of $30,000). The total amount of compensation you may recover will be 70% of $30,000 ($21,000). Under Florida's pure comparative fault system, even if you were 99% at fault for the car accident, you may still seek damages.

Personal Injury Experience You Can Trust

Being involved in a car accident can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. Such an incident can affect your physical, mental, and financial health. You shouldn't have to face the suffering and financial liability all on your own. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help prove fault, establish liability, and seek fair financial compensation for your injuries.

At the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A., I have devoted my career to handling personal injury cases and protecting the rights of auto accident victims and their loved ones. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate all of the surrounding facts of your situation, carry out an in-depth, private investigation, seek to establish negligence, and work to hold the responsible parties accountable.

Using my extensive understanding of the laws addressing liability in personal injury cases, I can guide you through the complexities involved in the legal proceedings. I will fight to protect your legal rights and help you seek fair financial compensation for your injuries, damage, or loss.

Contact my firm — the Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. — today to schedule a one-on-one case evaluation. I can stand up for your rights and help you pursue the financial justice you deserve. I'm proud to represent car accident victims across Altamonte Springs and surrounding communities throughout Central Florida, including Seminole, Osceola, Polk County, and Orange.