As per the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were nearly 400,000 car accidents on Florida roads in 2016 alone. This represented an almost six percent increase from the previous year. Out of these, 165,940 of these crashes caused a total of 254,155 injuries, over 21,500 of which were incapacitating injuries.
After such an accident, you may be wondering how to cover your basic living expenses, let alone pay your medical bills, if you cannot return to work in a short amount of time. Fortunately, experienced Clearwater car accident lawyer may have seen cases like yours before and know how to handle the aftermath in a positive and proactive way. If you choose to retain one, a capable personal injury attorney could help you take stock of your damages and pursue compensation for them through a civil lawsuit.
No-Fault Insurance Laws in Clearwater
In Florida, plaintiffs are mandated by Florida Statutes §627.7407 to seek compensation for their damages from their own insurance companies first before pursuing damages from individual drivers. This is known as a no-fault system.
No matter who is at fault for the accident, each party must file a claim through their own insurance policy under their personal injury protection coverage (PIP). PIP insurance may generally cover out-of-pocket damages such as lost wages and medical expenses.
In Clearwater, the other driver cannot be held liable for the victim’s damages unless the crash caused serious injury. In order to file a lawsuit to cover their damages, a victim must meet the serious injury threshold, which could mean that they must have experienced at least one of the following:
- Permanent injury
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
Since these terms could be vague and interpreted differently by different parties, it may be helpful for plaintiffs to have the representation of a skilled Clearwater car accident lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
Car accident victims who are considering filing a civil claim for their damages may need to consider the legal time constraints placed on their filing which called the statute of limitations. As per Florida Statutes §95.11(3)(a), claims after a car accident must be filed within four years from the date of the accident.
Waiting longer than the mandated time frame could more than likely lead to the plaintiff forever losing their right to seek compensation for their damages. Accordingly, the sooner the plaintiff hires an experienced attorney, the more success they would likely have in gathering and preserving evidence and filing their case on time.
Calling a Clearwater Car Accident Attorney
Life after a car accident may be full of worries and unknown outcomes. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may wonder if you will ever heal fully and be able to go back to work again. Paying bills could become a struggle. On top of that, your relationships could be negatively impacted.
In addition to attending medical and therapy appointments as instructed by your physician, you may also want to consider hiring a well-versed Clearwater car accident lawyer to help you pursue a claim for recovery of your damages. Call today to learn more about the representation an attorney could provide to you in a car accident case.