If you live and drive in Florida then you likely know that this state uses a no-fault system when handling vehicle accident claims. If you don’t know much about no-fault systems, they basically operate on the idea that each person should recover compensation for damages through their own insurance policy, no matter who was to blame for the crash.
There are positives and negatives to this system. The good thing about no-fault insurance is that you can receive your benefits faster, without having to prove fault to recover compensation. On the other hand, the person who caused the crash really doesn’t have to deal with any negative repercussions of their negligent actions.
No-fault claims are the primary way of receiving monetary payment for your auto wreck damages, but they aren’t the only way.
Serious Injury Accidents
There is an exception that allows you to take your claim out of the no-fault system and pursue the party that caused the wreck—when you’ve been seriously injured.
Only if you’ve been seriously injured, or in the event of a wrongful death, can you file a case against the at-fault driver. That party’s insurance company will pay you for your damages, assuming that you win your case.
You will have to prove that your injuries are substantial, and that your damages exceeded the limits set by your own insurance policy.
What injuries are considered serious? Florida’s serious injury threshold law is kept fairly vague, but essentially any injury that is substantial, debilitating, or permanent, could qualify. The following are a few examples of “serious” injuries that might qualify under this definition.
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Severe burns
- Spinal damage
- Significant organ damage or internal injuries
How Do You File a Claim Against the At-Fault Driver?
If you believe that your injury will meet Florida’s definition of serious, then you will need to investigate your accident, gather evidence, and prove fault. Your lawyer can also handle a lot of this process for you, and it’s usually advisable to have legal help when filing a case against another driver.
Once you prove fault, you can negotiate compensation with the driver’s insurance company to obtain payment for your damages. Should the insurance company refuse to pay you fairly for your injuries then you can take your case to court by filing an injury lawsuit.