In 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 30,196 people were killed and another 1,542,000 injured in police-reported motor vehicle crashes. That means in nearly one third of all accidents on the road, someone was injured or killed. Florida had the third highest number of traffic fatalities in 2010 (2,445) behind only Texas and California.Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that your own insurance is legally responsible for paying a percentage of your medical bills, but not 100% of those bills. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, their insurance company is responsible for paying for the bills your insurance does not cover. Unfortunately, these insurance companies make money by trying to settle your case for the least amount of money, and often as quickly after an accident as possible, so that you do not have time to find out what the true extent of your injuries may be.
Florida also has what is known as a “Permanency Threshhold” under section 627.737(2), of the Florida Statutes. The law says that before any victim can make a claim for pain and suffering as a result of being the victim of someone else’s negligence, they have to have suffered an injury that consists of:
- (a) A significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; or
- (b) A permanent injury
- (c) A scar or disfigurement
- (d) Death
Florida is also a comparative negligence state, which means that even if the victim is partially responsible for his or her injuries, they are still entitled to recover an award for the portion of their damages that are not their fault.Alabama is much different, as they are what is known as a contributory negligence state. In Alabama, if you are found to be even 1% at fault for a motor vehicle crash, even though the other driver may be 99% at fault, you will recover nothing. This gives insurance companies and negligent drivers every incentive to deny responsibility in the hopes that they can convince a jury the victim was partially to blame.
Many insurance companies will try to settle your case before a doctor has a chance to tell you whether or not your injuries are permanent, and you may then be unable to recover for the pain and suffering you have endured as a result of your injuries.
If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle or automobile accident, do not make the mistake of settling your case without talking to an attorney about your rights, and the responsibility of the insurance companies to compensate you for your loss. Contact the attorneys at Michles & Booth, P.A., for a free consultation today, so that you aren’t the victim twice.