Who Pays For Your Car’s Damages in Florida?

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Legally reviewed by Eric Feldman on September 16, 2022 Eric Feldman is a member of the 1-800-Injured network.

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After a car accident, there is a lot that you will have to think about: how you will get to and from work, school, medical appointments, or other engagements and obligations; what it’s going to take to get your car back on the road; if you’re injured, how you are going to make a recovery; and ultimately, who is going to pay for it all?

What Does No-Fault Insurance Mean?

Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning that all drivers are required to carry an additional policy called Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, that will issue $10,000 in benefits regardless of who is at fault in the accident. These benefits can be used to cover medical expenses and lost wages, but PIP doesn’t cover vehicle damage or any other property damage.

Compensation For Vehicle and Property Damage

If your car is damaged in the accident, you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. If the other driver was at fault, their insurance company should pay for the damages to your car. If you have collision coverage, your insurance company may also pay for the damages minus your deductible.

Compensation For Personal Injuries

If you were injured in the accident, you would need to file a personal injury claim. This can be done through the at-fault driver’s insurance company or, if they do not have insurance, through your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In either case, you will be able to seek reimbursement for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.

This all sounds pretty straightforward, right? The unfortunate truth is that the insurance company — yours or the other driver’s — will do everything in their power to pay you as little as possible to protect their bottom line. This is why it is so important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side.

Determining Who Pays For Your Damages

The first step in seeking compensation for property and vehicle damage is to determine who was at fault for the accident, which may be abundantly clear in some situations but could be murkier in others. If someone else caused the crash, their insurance company would be responsible for paying for the damages once fault is determined.

There are a few ways to determine fault after an accident:

  • The Police Report: After an accident, one of the first things you should do is call the police. The responding officer will create a report detailing what they saw and how they believe the accident happened. This report can be used as evidence in your claim.
  • Eyewitness Statements: If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, get their contact information so that their statements can be obtained.
  • Photos and Videos: If you have a dashcam or if anyone else took photos or videos of the accident, this can be helpful in determining what happened.
  • Skid Marks: Skid marks can indicate how fast a car was going and whether or not they were able to brake in time.
  • Damage to the Vehicles: The location of damage on the vehicles can also give clues as to what happened.

Pure Comparative Fault

In Florida, there is a law known as “Pure Comparative Fault” that allows people to file claims in car accidents for which they are partially responsible. This means that even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still receive compensation for your damages, but it will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault, and the total damages are $10,000, you would only be able to receive $8,000. Beware: while this is an important law to keep things fair, insurance companies will use it to their advantage by trying to pin additional fault on a victim to reduce the amount they must pay. Your attorney will be able to combat these tactics, but they can be overwhelming to deal with alone — especially if you are recovering from injuries at the same time.

Determining fault can be a complicated process, which is why it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney on your side who can investigate the accident and build a strong case for you. 1-800-Injured is here to help you find an attorney for your case.

After Fault Is Determined

Once fault has been determined, the next step is to file a claim with the appropriate insurance company. If you were not at fault, you would file a third-party liability claim with the other driver’s insurance company. If you were at fault or the other driver did not have insurance, you would file a first-party claim with your insurance company.

If you only seek compensation for property damage, your case may be pretty straightforward. If you find that the insurer is giving you trouble about repair quotes for your vehicle, or they don’t want to total your vehicle, it might be a good idea to have an attorney on your side who can negotiate with the insurance company and make sure you are getting fair compensation.

However, if you were injured in the accident, things get much more complicated. You will likely be dealing with mounting medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The insurance company will want to minimize their payout, so they may try to lowball you or say that your injuries are not as bad as you claim. This is where an experienced car accident attorney can be invaluable in making sure you get the compensation you need and deserve.

Contact -1800-Injured To Find an Attorney Near You Today

1-800-Injured is a legal and medical referral service that can help you find the right lawyer or doctor after a car accident. We work with a network of experienced attorneys and medical professionals who can help you get the care and compensation you need to recover. Call 1-800-Injured today to be connected with a proven and experienced personal injury attorney for a free consultation where you can discuss the specifics of your situation and get legal advice about the appropriate next steps to take.