Every car accident involves a different set of circumstances. When injuries are more serious, or recovering from the injuries takes much longer, or a full recovery is not possible, the settlement amount may be worth more.
If you had a car accident and suffered minor injuries, your own insurance will pay you directly for the injuries because Florida is considered a ‘no-fault’ state. If your accident left you with severe injuries, along with compensation for economic damages such as medical bills and lost wages, you may also file a claim for pain and suffering that may be equal to five times your medical bills and other financial losses. A lawyer knows what the average car accident settlement in Florida is, and can determine how much compensation you can request based on your current and future needs.
Lawyers Can Estimate How Much Compensation You Can Receive
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance policy, all drivers must have a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP). If you were in a car accident and suffered injuries, you can begin to get compensation from your own insurance company without establishing who was at fault for the accident. PIP offers 80% of medical benefits, 60% of lost wages, $5,000 in death benefits, and reimbursement for travel expenses to and from medical appointments. If you have permanent injuries, severe and permanent scarring or disfigurement, severe and permanent loss of an important bodily function, or a loved one has died as a result of their injuries, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
The ‘Negligence’ Theory
To file a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney will need to establish four facts to collect damages for the negligent behavior of another driver. These four elements are:
- The at-fault driver owed a legal duty of care to the victim;
- The at-fault driver breached the legal duty of care that was owed;
- The breach of duty caused the victim’s injuries; and,
- The victim suffered damages as a result.
Insurance Company Adjusters
Many insurance adjusters have an incentive to settle your claim as fast as possible while making you a relatively small settlement offer when you first file your claim. They are also interested in avoiding a lawsuit. Adjusters generally have no medical or legal training, and are busy handling dozens of claims at any one time. You will know the details of your case much better than they do, so you may do yourself an injustice if you settle for the first offer the adjuster makes.
Insurance Company Settlement Offers
Adjusters look at the same factors in your case as a jury would. These factors are:
- Your actual current expenses and what you will need in the future;
- Your lost wages or ability to earn a living;
- Pain and suffering; and,
- Other negative effects of your injuries.
Insurance adjusters will also look at the limits of your insurance policy and they will never pay more than the maximum amount of the insurance policy. They will look at how strong your case is; the stronger the case, the larger the settlement. Some other things the adjuster may use to determine their settlement offer are:
- Past jury verdicts and settlement for a specific injury;
- If you filed for bankruptcy;
- Was there a gap in getting medical treatment;
- Are you married and do you have children;
- Did you take an ambulance to the hospital;
- Do you have pre-existing injuries;
- Do you wear glasses, contact lenses, or hearing aids;
- Were you sick at the time of the accident;
- The type of health insurance you have; and,
- The time it takes to settle your case.
Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer to handle your personal injury case lets the insurance company know that you are serious about your case and that you may file a lawsuit if you don’t receive a fair settlement in your case. Hiring an attorney to handle your case is a good idea if:
- You suffered long-term or permanent injuries;
- Your injuries were severe;
- Liability for the accident is unclear and multiple parties may be involved; and,
- The insurance company denies your claim, makes you a very low offer, doesn’t respond to your communications, uses “bad faith” insurance tactics, violates your rights under the Florida Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights, or negotiating with the insurance company has broken down.
Call Chalik & Chalik to Start Working Toward Justice
If you have suffered serious injuries and are thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit, contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at 855-529-0269 for a free case review and personalized attention before the statute of limitations under Florida law passes. We know what the average car accident settlement in Florida is, and we will fight to secure the compensation you deserve.