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How can I recover damages after a Florida car accident?

If you have been a car accident involving a negligent driver, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Personal injury lawsuits can result in significant financial recovery. Florida is a No-Fault insurance state meaning that your insurance company will provide you with PIP benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who was at fault for the crash. All Florida drivers are required to have at least $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection coverage, as well as $10,000 in Property Damage Liability.

If you are involved in an accident, make sure that you contact the police and have them complete an accident report detailing what happened. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident.

Your next step will be to report the accident to your insurance company immediately after the accident. The claims adjuster will then investigate your case by reviewing the police report, witness statements, medical records, estimates and photographs. Once the investigation is complete, the insurance company will make a settlement offer. If you do not wish to accept the offer, you may seek legal counsel to discuss your next steps.

If your damages and injuries total more than $10,000, or you suffer a "serious injury" under Fla. Stat. 627.737, you may consider suing the negligent driver who caused the crash. A serious injury is defined as a significant loss of body function, likely permanent injury, significant or permanent disfigurement or scarring, or death. If you sue the other driver and win, you can recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional trauma and other non-economic damages, as well as additional compensation for the medical expenses and lost wages not covered by your PIP.

Source: Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, "Vehicle Insurance Questions and Answers," accessed on Jan. 16, 2017

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