After a car accident, you are entitled to file a liability claim to receive the settlement you deserve. If another individual's negligence resulted in your injuries or the loss of a loved one in a car crash, you could be entitled to compensation under the laws, as long as you first use up any Personal Insurance Protection (PIP) insurance coverage. This article describes the various accident liability claims you could file following an automobile accident, as well as the damages you could be eligible to receive for that claim.
Personal Injury Car Accident Liability Claims
The defendant(s) you decide to bring a lawsuit against will determine the type of car accident liability claim you can file. Making a car accident liability claim could entail one or a combination of the following:
Accident Liability Claims Against Other Drivers
Many car accident liability claims are filed against the at-fault driver. This could be a truck or car driver. This claim can be made if you happen to be a motorcyclist, pedestrian, or bicyclist who was struck and injured by a motor vehicle.
In serious accidents, multiple drivers could be held legally responsible for the accident. No matter how many people were involved in the collision, your automobile accident attorney will work to demonstrate that the at-fault party was careless in driving a car, which led to the collision and the injuries you sustained. Most of the time, these "usual" auto accident claims don't contain unusual events. They often arise from the bad choices made by a motorist who was fatigued, distracted, or driving too fast or recklessly.
Dram Shop Liability Claims
Dram shop claims describe third-party liability claims involving intoxicated driving. Dram shop regulations enable you to bring a lawsuit against an entity that provided alcohol to a person who subsequently caused a car accident as a result of their intoxication. However, it only pertains to specific cases.
Under Florida state law, establishments that knowingly serve minors alcoholic drinks could be held accountable if the child triggers a car accident. The laws governing drunk driving and accident liability vary from state to state.
For instance, Florida's statute is different from that of many other jurisdictions when it comes to giving alcoholic drinks to adults. Most regulations governing dram shops hold proprietors accountable if they continue serving or purposely serve a person who is intoxicated.
However, according to Florida law, a business can only be held responsible for injuries triggered by an intoxicated driver if it purposefully provided an individual who is chronically addicted to alcoholic beverages.
Accident Liability Claim Involving an Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist
It can happen that the person who caused your automobile accident has little or no insurance to satisfy your claims. If the other motorist is uninsured in a no-fault state, you can rest easy knowing that your personal injury protection (PIP) policy will take care of any expenses that arise as a result of the accident.
But if the collision is severe enough that your damages surpass the coverage limits, and the at-fault motorist has no insurance (and, more importantly, does not have adequate assets of their own to meet your collision-related claims), then you could find yourself in a difficult position. Underinsured or uninsured motorist protection can be useful in this situation. It's a type of coverage you buy to substitute the other driver's insurance if they are unable to cover the claim you filed.
Product Liability Claim
If the accident that occurred was caused by a faulty vehicle or a faulty part, your attorney can recommend that you file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the faulty vehicle or part to get compensation for the losses and injuries caused by the accident. There are three distinct categories of car defects:
- Design flaws—These are flaws that render the product unduly risky.
- Manufacturing flaws—These are defects that develop before the very first owner receives their vehicle, regardless of whether they happen during assembly, shipping, or at any other stage of manufacturing.
- Informational flaws—These are flaws that arise from a manufacturer's failure to inform the customer of the risks involved in utilizing the item as designed.
It's not unusual for multiple customers to encounter the same kind of accident if one results from a faulty vehicle. The best option for accident victims to get restitution in these situations could be through mass class actions or mass tort lawsuits. You should consult with a lawyer who specializes in vehicle accidents to know how to proceed following your accident.
Auto Accident Liability Claims Against the Federal Government
You could hold the county or city in charge of building and maintaining roads liable for your auto accident if it was caused by a poorly planned or maintained road. Your counsel must demonstrate that the government was aware of the risk or ought to have been aware of the risk.
There are some limitations on bringing a claim against the government. Florida law generally forbids you from obtaining over $200,000 in compensation, or $300,000 when more than a single individual is at fault. You also generally cannot hold specific government officials liable or seek punitive damages.
Medical Malpractice Liability Claims
Medical negligence is rarely relevant to a personal injury case involving an automobile accident, although it does arise occasionally. If you or another motorist are involved in an accident caused by medical negligence, your physician and the medical center where they work could be held responsible. The following are some instances of medical negligence that cause an automobile accident:
- A medical emergency affects a motorist while they are on the road because a doctor misdiagnosed a serious condition or illness.
- The patient is not adequately warned by their physician about the potential risks associated with operating a motor vehicle while taking certain medications.
- A doctor clears a patient to drive after treatment.
- A patient who is known to be allergic to a drug receives a prescription for the same from their doctor.
In essence, a doctor could be held liable for medical negligence if they perform or fail to perform a medical evaluation, therapy, or aftercare procedure that results in a patient losing control while driving and getting into an accident. Despite being a third-party lawsuit, medical malpractice lawsuits in Florida must follow specific pre-lawsuit guidelines, which makes them complicated.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities associated with your accident or injury, whether it was caused by medical malpractice or a car crash.
Wrongful Death Claims
If your loved one passed away in an automobile accident, Florida law allows survivors to pursue a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the accident. Wrongful death claims can incorporate any of the aforementioned claims. However, it varies in a single significant aspect.
Survivors of the deceased have only 2 years from the moment their loved one passed away to file a lawsuit, as opposed to the standard four years for personal injury claims. In addition, the deceased's representative often launches a lawsuit for the benefit of the surviving relatives and the estate.
Compensation for Damages in Auto Accident Injury Claim
If you file a car accident liability claim and your attorney is successful in negotiating fair compensation or the court rules in your favor, you could be able to get reimbursed for the following damages:
Car accident victims who sustain serious injuries rack up medical expenses for a range of services, such as ambulance rides, trips to the ER, aftercare, diagnostic tests, surgery, x-rays, and prescription drugs.
Future Medical Expenses
Severe injuries can take weeks or months to heal. After getting compensation or going to court, accident victims would require additional operations, care, follow-up, or other therapy. Future medical care would also involve long-term therapy for chronic conditions brought on by car accidents, as well as long-term care for severe injuries.
Costs for Rehabilitation Services
If the injured victim recuperates fully from the severe injuries, it could take a few months or weeks of physical treatment to allow them to regain all of their normal functions. The court can compensate the victim for future physiotherapy and any assistive technology or devices required to function.
Assistive equipment includes items such as wheelchairs, crutches, prosthetic limbs, canes, and walkers. Assistive technology, on the other hand, involves computer applications that help victims in regaining sensory abilities lost due to a serious accident, such as hearing or speech.
A person injured in an automobile accident can lose a few days, weeks, or months of work, depending on how serious the accident was. Although PIP insurance and employee sick leave would temporarily cover wages, prolonged absences could lead to additional income loss.
Even if an automobile accident victim resumes work, physicians could restrict the number of hours or exercises allowed, making it more difficult for them to get back to full-time status. Lost wages are often included in car accident claims for full-time and regular part-time staff.
Lost Capacity to Earn
This is the phrase used in the law to refer to lost future wages. Similar to future medical expenses, prolonged recovery could result in the injured party missing work beyond their trial date. Accident-related injuries leading to permanent disability often lead to a loss of earning potential.
Catastrophic injuries result in impairments that prevent victims from working again or necessitate career changes that could result in payment reductions. Lost earning capability is frequently taken into account in claims when a victim experiences paralysis, limb loss, or another type of life-altering condition.
Pain and Suffering
Requests for financial compensation to cover suffering and pain are often included in accident claims where significant injuries have been sustained. This involves actual physical pain along with the mental suffering brought on by a lowered standard of living while coping with a major injury.
Tragic vehicle accidents can put a definite strain on marriages by creating an emotional and physical space between partners. Victims of auto accidents who sustain injuries that negatively impact their marriage may file a claim for a lost consortium with their spouse.
Deformity and Scarring
The shame, rage, and humiliation brought on by scarring and deformity as a result of an accident are another form of non-monetary loss from vehicle accident claims. Victims of accidents who sustained severe injuries, such as severe amputations or burns, often receive such compensation.
Property Damage Liability Claim
Many car accidents do not occur in newly manufactured vehicles, but even if you were operating a brand-new car with a price tag that is twice or three times the average car price, your medical expenditures will quickly exceed the price of a wrecked car in a serious accident. However, property damage still contributes to some of the monetary loss and nuisance resulting from an auto collision.
If you suffer property damage, your damages should be covered by the other motorist's property damage liability insurance. You can file a civil lawsuit for more compensation if the damages are higher than the policy's limits (which is at least $10,000). If the judge backs your claim in court, you could recover damages for:
If you bring your wrecked vehicle to a repair shop, they will give you a quote for the repairs that need to be done. Your insurance provider will look into the figure, typically dispatch an insurance adjuster to verify it, and eventually decide whether to pay for restorations or to write off your car and pay for replacement costs.
Property Loss or Damage to the Vehicle
Insurance policies range in terms of what they insure. Although it's unlikely that you'll get paid for every little object that was in your vehicle when the accident happened, you could get reimbursed for the damages of big, expensive parts. However, these things could be cited in a court claim for property damage. Consult an attorney to learn the specifics of your case.
You can include the cost of a rental car in the Property Damage Liability claim against the negligent driver while your vehicle is being repaired or as you search for a replacement vehicle.
Contact an Experienced Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
If you suffered injuries in an auto accident in Jacksonville, Florida, you are likely to be confused about what to do next to hold the negligent driver accountable for what they did. If you need help with your car liability claim, you can contact the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney to schedule a no-obligation consultation and find out how to proceed. Call us today at 904-800-7557.