Car accidents often leave individuals facing severe injuries and pricey vehicle repairs. A car accident settlement allows you to seek compensation for these losses. Many drivers wonder how much they could receive from such a settlement in Florida.
The amount of compensation depends on several factors, including liability for the accident and the extent of your injuries. Learn more about what to expect from a settlement with the professionals at Olsen Law Firm. Call us at (352) 671-9777 to speak with a member of our team in Ocala, FL.
The Basics About Settling After a Car Accident
What does it mean to settle a car accident claim? Drivers “settle” when they come to an agreement with insurance companies for a monetary payment to cover their losses following a truck, car, motorcycle, or bus accident.
Once you settle your car accident claim, you give up the right to seek additional compensation for your losses through a lawsuit. For this reason, many attorneys recommend that you only settle your claim after you receive complete medical treatment and understand the full extent of your expenses.
Insurance agents often try to convince you to accept a subpar settlement immediately after your accident. They even approach some drivers in the hospital. Make sure that you allow an injury attorney to review the terms before agreeing to their settlement offer.
Car Accident Settlements and Florida’s No-Fault Laws
Florida uses a variation on standard “no-fault” car insurance laws to handle collision claims. The no-fault system means that you file a claim with your own insurance company to secure compensation for medical expenses in many cases.
Note that these rules change if you sustained a severe injury in the collision. The state of Florida defines serious injuries as:
- Permanent injuries
- Injuries leading to disfigurement or significant scarring
- Injuries that lead to the loss of a bodily function
Death also qualifies as a serious injury under the legal codes in Florida. Individuals left with a significant injury have the legal right to file a third-party claim against the liable driver’s insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit.
Drivers can also file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company to secure compensation for their vehicle repair expenses.
Valuing a Car Accident Claim in Florida
Generally, insurance companies review several factors to determine how much compensation to award.
Insurance companies assess the severity of your injuries when deciding your settlement award. As a result, drivers with higher medical expenses often receive a larger settlement to cover the expenses.
Lasting Impacts of the Injury
Sometimes, drivers recover fully from an injury associated with a car collision. However, some accidents lead to more lasting repercussions like a:
- Permanent disability
- Mental anguish
- Inability to go back to work
Speak with a lawyer about any of the ways your injury has impacted your daily life, as this may increase the compensation you receive in a car insurance claim.
Impacts on Other People in Your Life
The injuries caused by a car accident often impact everyone in your family, including your children or your spouse.
Economic Losses from a Car Accident
When you file an insurance claim following a car wreck, you may receive economic damages. Economic damages cover expenses directly tied to the effects of an accident. Depending on your situation, you could secure compensation for your:
Medical expenses represent one common form of economic loss. You may receive compensation to cover emergency medical treatment, time in a hospital, medical procedures, and physical therapy.
The amount of compensation you receive for your medical expenses depends upon the costs of your treatment. Car accidents can lead to severe injuries including:
- Head, back, and neck injuries
- Spinal cord and brain injuries
- Broken bones, sprains, and strains
- Damage to internal organs
- Cuts, abrasions, and bruises
Seeking medical treatment right away frequently makes it easier for you to secure compensation for your healthcare costs. A lawyer must prove that the accident led to your injury in order to bring you compensation for your losses.
Make sure that you keep all paperwork associated with your medical care. Provide your lawyer with this paperwork so they can include all pertinent information on your claim. Keep in mind that, in Florida drivers generally receive compensation for medical expenses from their own insurance company.
Drivers must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits in our state. These benefits may kick in to cover your losses after a collision. You also have the opportunity to purchase larger insurance policies before an accident.
Car accidents often lead to property damage. If you have a crushed car, you can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance to seek compensation for repair or replacement costs.
Florida requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance. This regulation means that you may receive up to $10,000 that you can put toward vehicle repairs after a collision with another driver.
Lost or Diminished Wages
Finally, the injuries you sustain in a car accident may prevent you from returning to work right away. In some situations drivers face serious injuries that lead to a disability that prevents them from returning to their previous careers.
Speak with us about filing a claim to receive damages from lost wages or diminished earning potential.
Non-Economic Damages from a Car Accident
Non-economic damages generally fall outside of the scope of an insurance claim. Do not factor in this form of compensation when calculating how much to expect from a car accident settlement.
When you are awarded non-economic damages, it compensates you for losses that do not come with a set dollar value. For example, your pain and suffering.
You may seek non-economic damages by filing a lawsuit against the driver who caused your injury. Note that you only have the ability to file a lawsuit if you sustained a serious injury in the collision.
Valuing Non-Economic Damages
Lawyers determine the value of economic damages by reviewing bills from your medical care and vehicle repairs. Unfortunately, non-economic damages do not come with receipts, making them more difficult to calculate.
Generally, the professionals use a multiplier method to determine the compensation for non-economic expenses. They first add up all your economic losses. Then, they multiply this amount by a number between one and five.
Lawyers use a higher number as a multiplier if you have more severe injuries, increasing the amount of non-economic compensation you may receive after a car collision.
Punitive Damages from a Car Accident
Can you expect punitive damages from a car accident settlement? Generally, insurance companies do not provide you with punitive compensation or damages designed to punish the other driver for causing the accident.
However, you may receive punitive damages if you sustain a severe injury and qualify to file a lawsuit against the other driver. The court system may award punitive damages if your lawyer shows that the other motorist displayed intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Drivers cause accidents for several reasons. Generally, they display gross negligence by acting in very dangerous ways. Examples of gross negligence may include:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Racing other drivers
- Driving the wrong way on the road
- Demonstrating dangerous levels of road rage
A lawyer must show that the other driver both caused your accident and acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct to secure punitive damages in car accident cases. Lawyers question witnesses, review police reports, and visit the scene of the accident to gather evidence about what happened.
Valuing Punitive Damages
Compensation for punitive damages varies greatly depending on your other losses. The court system in Florida generally caps your payment at three times the amount you receive for economic and non-economic damages OR $500,000.
Sometimes, juries award punitive damages deemed too high by the court system. In this situation, a judge has the right to reduce the amount of punitive damages you receive. Speak with a lawyer about all forms of compensation for a car accident.
Find Out How Much Compensation You May Receive After an Accident
Are you wondering how much to expect from a car accident settlement in Ocala, FL? Review the possible compensation for your claim today with our team at Olsen Law Firm. Pam Olsen, Esq., has three decades of experience helping drivers in your situation.
We focus on listening to our clients and considering their circumstances after a collision with another vehicle. Allow us to help you file a claim with your insurance company or the company representing the other driver involved in the wreck. You can get started today by calling us at (352) 671-9777.