Florida Car Accident FAQs
After a car accident, you’ve got repair bills, doctor bills, a major disruption in your life, and lots of questions about where you go from here and how you go about filing a claim for no-fault benefits or pursuing full compensation from the at-fault driver. To get you started, here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions we hear at Hale Law as we help people who’ve been injured in car accidents in Sarasota and Bradenton. If you have other questions or need to speak with a lawyer about your claim, call Hale Law, P.A. at 941-735-4529 for a free consultation with an experienced and successful Sarasota car accident attorney.
What do I need for my car accident claim?
Once you retain a personal injury attorney for your car accident claim, they’ll take over and ensure that all the necessary evidence is gathered and the proper steps are taken to obtain excellent results for you. Your focus during this time is on getting better medically and putting your life back in order after a crash. You can help your lawyer, however, by obtaining certain information at the time of the accident and afterward, and sharing what you learn with your attorney. The following information can be especially helpful: the other driver’s name, phone number, driver’s license number and plate number, and the name and phone number of their insurance company, including their policy number; name and phone or email of any witnesses to the accident, along with a description of what they saw; a copy of the accident report if the police were called to the scene; medical records, including emergency medical treatment, doctor appointments, labs and test results such as x-rays and MRIs, bills and receipts from doctors, hospitals and pharmacies; and property damage receipts.
How do you determine what a car accident claim is worth?
There are many different types of legal damages recoverable after a Sarasota car accident (medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.), and many different factors go into calculating a case’s settlement value or ultimate worth. Some of the main factors influencing claim value are:
- The nature and severity of your injuries
- The cost of your care
- Costs of anticipated future treatment
- The impact of your injuries on your ability to work
- The impact of your injuries on your quality of life
- Type and amount of insurance coverage
- The quality of the evidence, such as an accident report, witness statements, and what kinds of witnesses the accident victim and negligent driver would make
Many of these costs and factors are not fully known until after you have reached a point of maximum medical improvement with your doctor, so it may be several months before the value of your claim is known.
Are punitive damages available after a Sarasota car accident?
That depends on the other driver’s conduct. Florida law only allows punitive damages for intentional misconduct or gross negligence. This means the driver knew he or she was engaging in wrongful conduct that was highly likely to injure someone but went ahead and did it anyway, or the driver was so careless or reckless that their behavior exhibited a conscious disregard or indifference for the safety of others. Examples of conduct that might merit punitive damages could be driving at a highly excessive speed, drunk driving, intentionally clipping a pedestrian or trying to run a bicyclist off the road, or leaving the scene of the accident knowing an injured person was left behind.
Can I get no-fault benefits if I’m injured as a motorcycle rider?
Florida’s no-fault insurance law does not cover motorcycles. No-fault insurance and personal injury protection are not required for bikers, and not many insurance companies will offer no-fault insurance to motorcyclists. Riders who are injured in a motorcycle accident instead may need to pursue a civil negligence claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver personally. This process may be more difficult than applying for no-fault benefits, but much more compensation is typically available, which is most often needed to cover the serious injuries often faced by injured riders.