Car accidents kill thousands of people and injure millions in the U.S. every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 35,092 fatalities and 2.44 million people injured in the most recent year for which statistics are available.
Alcohol-impaired driving accounted for 29% of all fatalities, causing 10,265 traffic deaths. Distracted driving was reported in 8.8% of all traffic fatalities, with 3,477 people killed. Speed-related crashes also contributed significantly to crashes.
No matter how carefully we follow the rules of the road, negligent drivers put us at risk. Drunk drivers, distracted drivers, and aggressive drivers who tailgate, run red lights, exceed the speed limits by 20-30 mph or weave recklessly in an out of traffic cause collisions every day.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by another driver, you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation for your losses. Our St. Augustine personal injury attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have years of experience handling a wide range of motor vehicle claims, and successfully recovering substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients. We work on a contingency fee basis, and you pay us no fees until we obtain a recovery for you.
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Automobile Accident Claims in Florida
All drivers in Florida are required under state law to carry a minimum of $10,000 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance, which will cover up to 80% of their medical expenses and 60% of their lost wages in case of a wreck, no matter who was ultimately responsible for the crash. Medical care is costly, and for many injured motorists, this level of compensation may be insufficient and does not cover the costs of medical bills and lost wages. It will not cover property damage, pain and suffering, or other losses.
If you have suffered serious injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, we can assist you in a personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation for losses not covered by your insurance. To be eligible for this type of claim, you must have sustained significant injuries, such as:
- Broken bones
- Serious head injury
- Brain injury
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement
If you have lost a loved one in a motor vehicle wreck, you may have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim. Survivors of a deceased victim who can prove that the crash was caused by another driver’s negligence may be entitled to recover compensation.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists
Despite financial responsibility requirements under state law, some drivers carry no insurance at all. In other cases, the insurance coverage the other driver carries may be inadequate, and cannot cover your medical expenses and other losses after your PIP coverage has been exhausted.
In such a case, your uninsured motorist coverage may cover your damages caused by the negligent driver – or the difference between your damages and what you received from the other driver’s policy. Collecting from your uninsured motorist coverage can be tricky, and you may need an attorney representing you to help you seek to recover full and fair compensation.
Your insurance company may try to limit your payout amount (they are in business for profit above all). It may be necessary to file a lawsuit against the insurance company to pursue the compensation you are entitled to receive.
Damages in Car Accident Claims
Compensatory damages are designed to compensate a victim for the losses he or she has suffered. Two types of compensatory damages are awarded in automobile crash cases:
- Economic damages: These are damages that can be measured in terms of money. They may include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earning capacity.
- Non-economic damages: This category includes damages that cannot be easily measured in economic terms. Depending on the circumstances of the case, non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium (marital relations) for your spouse.
In addition to compensatory damages, juries award punitive damages in a limited number of accident cases . These damages are designed to punish the defendant for wrongdoing and to discourage similar conduct in the future..