Who Determines Fault for a Car Accident in Florida?
Car accidents are a common occurrence in Florida, and determining who is at fault for the accident is a critical step in the process of seeking compensation for damages and injuries. Florida is a no-fault state. This means that each driver’s insurance company is responsible for covering their damages and medical expenses. It doesn’t matter who was to blame. However, fault can still play a role in determining the compensation each party may receive. In this article, we’ll explore how fault is determined in car accidents in Florida.
An attorney with the Jones Law Group will be ready to help if you’ve suffered an injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. We have years of experience in these kinds of cases, and we’ve helped our clients obtain millions of dollars in damages. We’re standing by to work to ensure you get exactly what you deserve.
Florida is a No-Fault State…
Florida is one of the 12 states in the US that has a no-fault auto insurance system. This means that each driver’s insurance company pays for their medical expenses and damages after a car accident. Again, this is regardless of who was to blame. The idea behind this system is to streamline the claims process and reduce the number of lawsuits that arise from car accidents.
All Florida drivers have to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This insurance covers medical expenses, lost wages, and other related expenses up to a certain amount. However, PIP insurance only covers a portion of the expenses. If the injuries or damages exceed the policy limit, the at-fault party may be held responsible for the additional expenses.
…But the At-Fault Party Still Needs to be Identified
Although Florida is a no-fault state, fault can still play a role in determining who is responsible for the accident and the compensation each party may receive. If one party is found to be at fault for the accident, they may be responsible for paying for the other party’s medical expenses and other damages.
The Insurance Adjuster and Your Attorney Will Investigate Your Case to Determine Who’s At-Fault
After a car accident, insurance adjusters will investigate the accident to determine who is at fault. They will review the police report, talk to witnesses, and assess the vehicle damage. In some cases, they may also use accident reconstruction specialists to help determine the cause of the accident.
If you’re involved in a car wreck, it’s essential to document the accident as thoroughly as possible. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, get contact information from witnesses, and keep all of your medical bills and other related expenses. This information will be helpful when your attorney is investigating the accident.
But your lawyer will look for other evidence as well during their investigation. For example, there might have been a surveillance camera located near the accident scene. It could have footage that shows how the wreck took place. If it looks like the at-fault driver was texting while driving, your attorney can request their phone records.
A skilled attorney will also have relationships with expert witnesses who can testify on your behalf. An accident reconstruction expert, for example, can show a jury how a collision occurred. They can explain the details of the accident in an easy-to-understand manner.
If the Insurance Company and Lawyer Can’t Come to an Agreement, a Judge Will Decide
In some cases, the insurance company and the other driver’s attorney may not agree on who is at fault for the accident. In these cases, a judge will make the final determination. The judge will review all of the evidence and decide who is responsible.
What is Comparative Fault?
Florida follows a legal principle known as “comparative negligence.” This means that even if you were partly to blame for the wreck, there’s a chance you could still obtain compensation. But that compensation will decrease depending on the percentage of fault you’re assigned.
For example, if an investigation finds that you’re 30% at fault for the accident, your compensation may be reduced by 30%. So, if you were seeking $10,000 in damages, you may only be able to recover $7,000.
I’m 0% At-Fault. What Will My Settlement Be?
If the investigation shows that you’re 0% at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for all your damages. However, the compensation you receive will depend on the specifics of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle.
This is yet another reason why you need the help of an attorney. You may be convinced you didn’t contribute to the accident in any way. But if you don’t have solid proof, getting the money you have coming will be challenging. A seasoned lawyer will work to collect that proof.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney to Discuss How Fault will Affect Your Case
If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, it’s going to be essential that you contact an experienced car accident attorney to discuss how fault may affect your case. An attorney can help you deal with all the complexities associated with this kind of case. They can also work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
An attorney can also help you gather the necessary evidence to support your case, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent you in court if necessary.
In addition, an attorney can help you understand the nuances of Florida’s no-fault system and how it may impact your case. For example, they can help you determine whether you have exceeded your PIP policy limit and whether you may be able to recover additional damages from the at-fault party.