Naples & Ft. Myers Car Accident Attorneys
What is the “Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law?”
The Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law requires drivers in Florida to maintain certain insurance known as personal injury protection or “PIP” insurance for auto accidents. When a car accident occurs, each driver is covered by his/her own PIP insurance for medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain amount, regardless of who is at fault. If your accident does not involve a motor vehicle, you may review further general information regarding personal injury law.
Who is eligible to recover PIP benefits for an auto accident?
According to Florida Statute Chapter 627, subject to certain exceptions, the insurance policy must provide personal injury protection to the named insured, relatives residing in the same household, persons operating the insured motor vehicle, passengers in the motor vehicle, and other persons struck by the motor vehicle and suffering bodily injury while not an occupant of a self-propelled vehicle.
What types of car accidents are excluded from compensation?
An insurance company may exclude benefits for injuries sustained by the named insured and relatives residing in the same household while occupying another motor vehicle owned by the named insured and not insured under the policy or for injury sustained by any person operating the insured motor vehicle without the express or implied consent of the insured. The insurance company may also exclude benefits to any injured person, if such person’s conduct contributed to his or her injury under any of the following circumstances: 1) causing injury to himself or herself intentionally; or 2) being injured while committing a felony.
What types of compensation am I entitled to recover when injured in a car accident?
In Florida, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation for any combination of the following: property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Every case is different. To contact a personal injury lawyer or Naples car accident attorney, please call 239-775-1004.
What happens if I wait to seek medical treatment?
The law regarding medical benefits for car accidents changed as of January 1, 2013. The Florida Legislature has apparently attempted to limit medical benefits by requiring that individuals receive initial services within fourteen (14) days from the motor vehicle accident. However, this change is new and there is little case law interpreting the law so it is advised that, if injured, you seek the advice of a competent auto accident attorney as to potential ramifications of the statutory amendments.
If I intend to contact a Naples or Ft. Myers car accident attorney, how long should I wait?
Obviously, the first priority following a car accident is to seek appropriate medical attention. If you intend to contact a car accident attorney, you should do so at your earliest convenience so that your attorney can immediately begin working on your case in an effort to preserve your right to fair compensation.
Should I discuss the facts of my car accident with the insurance company?
While you should report the car accident to your insurance company immediately, it may be in your best interests to consult with a qualified car accident attorney prior to providing any written or recorded statement regarding the facts of the accident.
How long does a car accident case take to get resolved?
Every case is different. The length of time it takes to resolve an auto accident case depends on several factors. One of the biggest factors that affect the length of time until resolution is whether the victim is still undergoing treatment for injuries due to the accident. The more serious the injury, the longer it may take for the injured person to reach Maximum Medical Improvement (“MMI”). This is important because it indicates the extent of permanent injury and helps predict future medical and employment needs and restrictions that can affect compensation.
Punitive Damages if at Fault Driver Intoxicated
If you have been seriously injured or a loved one died as a result of an accident in which a drunk driver was at fault, you – or you on behalf of your loved one – are entitled to compensatory damages. You may also be entitled to punitive damages. Anyone may sue for compensatory damages, which cover medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost wages, pain and suffering and loss of consortium. However, you must apply to the court for punitive damages.
Punitive damages are used to punish the person or entity who caused the injury or death. You must apply to the court to sue for punitive damages – this statute is in place to prevent people from filing frivolous claims and causing the accused to spend thousands defending such a claim.
Florida Statutes state that the court may allow punitive damages if:
- The court finds that the injured person (plaintiff) has “clear and convincing evidence” that the accused (defendant) purposefully did something illegal to cause the accident and knew when he knew his actions would most likely injure or kill someone.
- The court finds that the defendant’s actions were reckless to the point of showing the defendant didn’t care that his actions would endanger anyone exposed to the defendant’s actions.
The Florida Statutes also provide for a limitation on the amount you may ask for when the court allows for punitive damages. Generally, the award can’t be more than three times the amount you are awarded for compensatory damages or $500,000. However, if the court determines that the wrong was “motivated solely by unreasonable financial gain,” along with other factors, the award may be up to four times the amount of the compensatory damages you receive or $2 million. Furthermore, if the court determines that the defendant set out to purposefully hurt the plaintiff, there is no cap on the punitive damage award.
Contact Car Accident Lawyers in Naples & Ft. Myers, Florida
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident and would like to personally meet with an experienced personal injury lawyer or Naples car accident attorney for a FREE and confidential consultation, please call (239) 775-1004.
Verderamo Law is committed to providing legal representation primarily in the fields of criminal law and personal injury law. While our offices are situated in Naples and Ft. Myers, Florida, we proudly represent clients throughout Collier and Lee Counties and their surrounding areas, including, but not limited to, Naples, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Golden Gate, Immokalee, Lehigh, and Marco Island. Verderamo Law is located at 2662 Airport Pulling Rd S Naples, FL 34112. For more information, call (239) 775-1004. Naples car accident attorneys Naples Florida residents can contact 24 hours a day, seven days a week.