What Do I Need To Do If I Want To File A Car Accident Lawsuit?
If you own and drive a car or truck in South Florida, you probably already know that Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to motor vehicle insurance and car accidents. What this means for motorists in the state is that initial compensation for any injuries sustained in an accident will need to come from the injured motorist’s own no-fault insurance policy, which is also known as personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. It does not matter if another driver is clearly at fault for the accident, and it does not matter if the police arrived at the scene and ticketed the at-fault driver or even arrested the at-fault driver for reckless or drunk driving. You will still seek initial compensation through your PIP coverage.
However, it may be possible to file a car accident lawsuit if you can meet the serious injury threshold set out under Florida law. If you do want to file a lawsuit after a car accident, what do you need to do? The following are important steps you should take.
Obtain As Much Evidence As You Can At the Scene of the Accident
If you are able to do so, obtain as much evidence as you can at the scene of the accident to use later in your case, including photos and witness contact information.
See a Doctor As Soon As Possible
You must see a doctor as soon as possible to have your injuries assessed and to be treated. Your medical records from just after the collision, and in your treatments that follow, will be necessary to prove that your injuries are sufficiently serious to justify a lawsuit.
Report the Claim to Your Auto Insurer and File Your No-Fault Claim
Report the accident to your insurer and file your PIP claim to seek initial compensation for your injuries.
Gather Evidence to Show You Meet the Serious Injury Requirement
All of the evidence you have gathered to this point will be critical in proving that you meet the serious injury threshold required by Florida law. What will your evidence specifically need to prove? Under Florida law, to file a lawsuit in order to recover both economic and non-economic damages, you must be able to prove that your injuries include one or more of the following factors cited in the statute:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
File Your Lawsuit Before the Statute of Limitations Runs Out
Most car accident lawsuits in Florida must be filed within four years from the date of the accident. It is essential to file your lawsuit before the clock runs out, or else you can lose your right to obtain compensation through a civil claim.
Work with a South Florida Car Accident Lawyer
If you need assistance filing a car accident lawsuit in Florida, one of our experienced West Palm Beach car accident attorneys can help. Do not hesitate to get in touch with our firm to find out more about meeting the serious injury threshold required by Florida law and moving forward with a civil claim against the at-fault motorist. Contact Lesser Lesser Landy & Smith PLLC for more information.