Can I Make a Personal Injury Claim If I Was at Fault?
Car accidents are expensive both due to the property damage involved, the injuries you receive, and thus the medical bills and because of lost wages and other out-of-pocket expenses. However, is there a way to reduce your spending by submitting a personal injury claim even if you were at fault?
According to a Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney, you might. Even though Florida drivers are covered by the no-fault insurance claim known as personal injury protection (PIP), you will only recover a little over half of your medical and lost wages.
This means that you can’t sue the other driver for additional damages, yet, if you suffer serious injuries, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. Here is what you should know.
What Florida Defines as Serious Injuries
Serious injuries might seem vague, as most car accident injuries are relatively “serious.” However, the state of Florida has defined serious injuries under Florida Statue 627.737 as the following:
- A victim that suffered a permanent loss of an important body function
- Significant or permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Wrongful death
- A permanent injury or scarring other than disfiguring within a reasonable degree of medical probability
Since Florida is a no-fault state, determining fault is vital in receiving damage awards. Florida follows the pure comparative fault system, which means that if you have a personal injury claim that is valued at about $100,000, and you are 20% at fault for the incident, you will receive only $80,000 in compensation.
Proving Fault or Negligence
Proving fault for a Florida car accident claim is essential if you hope to receive any damages, and you can receive compensation even if you are at fault. The plaintiff, otherwise known as the person who brings the case to the court, will most likely hire a personal injury lawyer to prove their innocence and your negligence.
To prove negligence, the plaintiff needs to provide evidence that showcases that you owed them a duty of care, that you breached that duty, the duty was the direct cause of the car accident and that the victim sustained damages because of that breach.
To prove what caused the accident, the plaintiff’s lawyer will most likely hire accident reconstruction experts and witnesses to prove causation. Suppose you are sued for a car accident. In that case, the plaintiff must prove that the accident caused their injuries, which can include economic and non-economic damages.
As a defendant, your best move is to hire your own personal injury lawyer and use the comparative fault system. For example, you might have been in an accident because you were speeding, while the other driver couldn’t avoid you because they were texting and driving instead of paying attention to the road.
What You Should Do After a Car Accident
Even if you bear most of the fault for a car accident, you should never admit fault. Call authorities to the scene, especially an ambulance, to assess your injuries, and take photos of the accident scene.
Write down the contact information of everyone involved, including eyewitnesses, and contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. Car accidents aren’t always caused by only one person’s negligence. Other factors may be involved, such as bad roads or faulty mechanisms. Let your lawyer do the hard work and prepare your case while you rest and heal. Set up a consultation with one to learn more if you can make a personal injury claim even if it was your fault.