Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Answer Frequently Asked Questions on Florida Auto Accident Law
At the Borrow Law Firm, our attorneys help injury accident victims throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, and have been doing so for years. Below are some of the questions we hear most often from people who are unsure of their rights when they have been injured due to the negligence of another. If you have other questions, or if you need advice and representation in a Miami car accident or other personal injury matter, please contact our office for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
The other driver’s insurance company says I could have avoided getting hit, so they refuse to pay. Can they do that?
The insurance company is trying to say that you were the one who was negligent in causing the accident, or at least that your own negligence contributed to causing the accident, even if their insured was also at fault. They do this in order to reduce the amount they have to pay. Under Florida law, if you are considered partly at fault, then any jury verdict in your favor would be reduced in proportion to the percentage of negligence allocated to you. It is important not to let this happen by having an experienced and effective auto accident attorney represent you, who can fend off the insurance company attacks and make sure you are not assigned any of the blame that does not belong to you.
If the insurance company refuses to settle for a reasonable amount, we take the matter to court to prove your case and stand up to insurance company lawyers alleging comparative negligence on your part.
If I wasn’t wearing my seat belt when I was hit, can I still recover compensation from the negligent driver?
Yes, but the amount of compensation you are awarded may be reduced. Not wearing a seat belt may be considered negligence, and the “seat belt defense” is a common example of the comparative negligence defense described above. However, while seat belts do save lives and reduce injuries, not all injuries could have been prevented by a seat belt. It is important to be represented by an experienced car accident attorney who understands your particular type of injury and can determine whether your failure to wear a seat belt contributed to your injuries. Even if it did, we will still fight to hold the other driver accountable for their share of fault in causing the accident, which would never have occurred except for their negligence.
I heard that PIP benefits are now limited to only $2,500. Is that true?
It is true that the law changed significantly in 2013, and in some situations you can be limited to a maximum of $2,500 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) no-fault insurance benefits. However, if you were seen or treated for an emergency medical condition within 14 days of the accident, you may still be able to receive up to $10,000 in PIP benefits. Also, you still have the right to sue the at-fault driver for negligence if you were seriously injured according to the law.
If my injury was caused by a government employee or on government property, do I still have a case?
Yes. The state of Florida and its municipalities have waived their sovereign immunity to be sued for negligence claims, but you must follow special procedures set out in state law to preserve and protect your claim. Generally speaking, you must file a notice of your claim within three years of the occurrence and give the government 180 days to investigate and either settle or deny your claim. The government’s liability is generally limited to $200,000 per person or $300,000 total if more than one person is injured in the occurrence.
Negligence claims against the government could be brought for car or truck accidents where the negligent driver was a government employee on duty, or a slip and fall on government property. The government may also be liable for negligent security in the case of an assault in a public park, or in other situations where the government has assumed a special duty of custodial care for the victim, such as abuse of prisoners in jail, students in school, or patients in a public hospital or nursing home.