Seminole Car Accident Attorney
If you have been involved in a car accident in Pinellas County, make the call to Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff as soon as you are well enough. Lawyer Niklas L. Stubbendorff and his team will go to work right away collecting and preserving important evidence, intervening with the insurance company on your behalf, and settling your case inside or outside of court. From fender benders that everyone is able to walk away from to the most serious, catastrophic and even fatal crashes, our firm cares about you and will fight to see that you get the help and compensation you need and deserve after being injured in a crash caused by another driver’s negligence. Contact our experienced Seminole car accident attorney today.
Florida No-Fault Car Accident Claims
Florida is one of a dozen “no-fault insurance” states when it comes to car accidents. As the name implies, you can make a claim with your insurance company for benefits if you’ve been in a crash without having to prove the other driver was at fault. The insurance is “no-fault,” so it doesn’t even matter if you were to blame for the crash; your insurance still pays. However, the benefits you can recover from your no-fault insurance, also called Personal Injury Protection or PIP, are extremely limited. Florida no-fault benefits include:
- 80% of medical bills
- 60% of lost income
To get these benefits, you have to seek medical treatment within 14 days of the crash, or else you won’t have a claim. Also, benefits are capped at $10,000, assuming you had an “emergency medical condition” as defined by Florida law. If you cannot get a medical provider to certify that you had an emergency medical condition, your no-fault benefits are limited to no more than $2,500.
Fault-Based Claims for Negligence
In passing the no-fault insurance law, Florida lawmakers tried to make it seem like they were creating an easy way for accident victims to get financial help after a crash. What they really had in mind, though, was limiting the ability to file a lawsuit against the negligent driver. When you sue the negligent driver, it’s their insurance company that ultimately has to pay the claim, and insurance companies don’t like that. No-fault insurance laws benefit insurance companies at the expense of accident victims who aren’t fully compensated for their losses.
Florida’s car accident law isn’t completely no-fault, however. In certain cases, it is possible to step outside the no-fault system and sue the negligent driver for the full amount of damages they caused, including all your medical bills and lost income, plus your pain and suffering and other legal damages. The situations in which you can pursue a negligence claim against the at-fault driver include:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
In a fault-based claim, you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent, such as by speeding, following too close, failing to signal or obey traffic signs, texting while driving, or drinking and driving. You’ll also have to prove that the driver’s negligence was the cause of the crash and your resulting injuries and that the driver should be held responsible. Finally, you’ll have to prove the extent to which you were injured in the crash and all of the harm which you suffered or will suffer because of it. This is true whether you are settling a claim with the insurance company or trying the case in front of a jury. The insurance company, if they don’t try to settle your case cheaply with a lowball offer, will likely either deny that their insured was liable or say that your own negligence was the leading cause. They are also apt to dispute your injuries by claiming:
- You aren’t hurt as bad as you say you are
- Your injuries couldn’t have happened in the crash
- You have some pre-existing condition or degenerative disc disease
Being successful on a negligence claim and getting an appropriate amount of compensation requires the help of skilled and experienced car accident lawyers. At Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff, we know the laws and legal procedures that apply to your case. We know how to gather the facts necessary to prove your claim and get the most compensation possible, whether settling out of court or litigating in front of a judge and jury. Getting hurt in a car accident is a terrible ordeal. Let us help you get the care and compensation you need and deserve.
Contact Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff Today
If you have been injured in a crash in Pinellas County, Reep Coleman & Stubbendorff can establish if you have a claim outside of the no-fault limits and negotiate a settlement for you or litigate in court for a verdict in your favor. Contact our experienced Seminole car accident attorney today.