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Do I Need a Lawyer for a Car Accident That Was Not My Fault?

May 15, 2023 Legal Team

There is no simple answer to this question. In most cases, you may not need a lawyer to file a claim on your no-fault Florida car insurance, but you may end up wanting one.

The following provides an overview of Florida’s no-fault car insurance system. It then presents common scenarios where having a car accident lawyer working for you just makes sense.

Keep in mind that most Florida car accident lawyers will review your accident claim at no cost and advise you if retaining legal counsel would be to your benefit.

Florida is a No-Fault Car Insurance State

Florida is a no-fault car insurance state. This means that car accident victims must submit claims to their own insurance carriers for accident compensation regardless of who was at fault.

Florida Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Coverage

No-fault insurance coverage is commonly referred to as personal injury protection or PIP. Florida PIP coverage includes:

  • Emergency and non-emergency care;
  • Lost wages; and
  • Death benefits.

However, PIP coverage for medical care and lost wages is only at a percentage of total losses and cannot exceed policy limits. Death benefits for qualified survivors also have a maximum coverage amount.

What Is Not Covered by Personal Injury Protection (PIP)?

Personal injury protection does not cover vehicle or property damage. Nor does it cover:

  • Injuries to vehicle passengers in another car;
  • Injuries to adult passengers in a policyholder’s own car; or
  • Injuries to adults who borrow a car and have their own PIP coverage.

PIP coverage does not allow any claims for pain and suffering regardless of the victim or situation. Pain and suffering is a general term for the following and more:

  • Mental and emotional trauma;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Loss of companionship;
  • Loss of enjoyment of life; and
  • Disfigurement.

Appealing a PIP Claim Denial

Not all PIP claims are approved or paid in full by insurers. Insurers who deny PIP claims must provide a written explanation for their denial.

Policyholders can appeal a claim denial, and many do so successfully with the help of experienced car accident attorneys. An attorney can also ensure a policyholder receives a fair payout from their insurer.

Seek Medical Care Immediately to Protect Your Legal Rights

To receive PIP accident coverage in Florida, a policyholder must seek initial medical treatment within fourteen days of an accident. Policyholders who do not do so could be denied their own PIP benefits.

In addition, policyholders who do not seek immediate medical attention will have difficulties filing for any additional insurance benefits or pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit in a No-Fault Car Insurance State

To file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, a car accident victim must prove they suffered serious bodily injury. A serious bodily injury is one that causes:

  • Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
  • Permanent injuries;
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement;
  • Death; or
  • A reasonable degree of medical probability of death.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough accident investigation and gather evidence to support a claim for serious bodily injury. Parties found at least 10% at-fault for a serious bodily injury accident can be subject to liability.

Filing a Timely Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can also help a car accident victim file a timely personal injury lawsuit. In Florida, a car accident lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of any injury. Otherwise, any claim for compensation will be denied.

Contact an Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney Today

Florida’s no-fault car accident laws can complicate a serious injury accident. Find out if you qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit by having your claim evaluated at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann today.

Our car accident attorneys in Sarasota and Bradenton will review your situation at no cost and offer you valuable legal advice about whether pursuing a legal action in court is right for you. Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann is a personal injury firm with a track record of success securing compensation for accident victims just like you.

Contact our office now to schedule your appointment.