Most people in Central Florida have cars, and they're the main way people here get around. But think about that for a second — most people, on a daily basis, get inside large, heavy, metal objects and move around in them at very fast speeds. That seems like a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, it often is — especially when people don't operate them well, such as when they drive too fast, when they drive distracted or when they drive while intoxicated. And when big metal objects going very fast collide, the people inside them can get hurt, and can get hurt very badly.
If someone in a motor vehicle or a commercial truck has hurt you, an experienced and passionate advocate can make all the difference. For the Melbourne and Palm Bay auto accident attorneys at the Law Offices of James B. Coulter, it's personal: While working as a state prosecutor in Volusia County, James Coulter was T-boned by a big commercial truck. He's been through the process as a victim and understands how you feel dealing with the big insurance companies.
The lawyers at The Law Offices of James B. Coulter care about you and will fight for you. Call us today at (321) 586-9944 or send an online message to set up a free consultation. We represent victims of auto accidents throughout Central Florida, including Brevard County, Orange County, Volusia County, Seminole County, Indian River County and Osceola County. Our office is in Melbourne.
FLORIDA IS A NO-FAULT STATE
The most important thing to note about Florida law if have been involved in an accident is that Florida is what we call a "no-fault" car insurance state. That means that if you have been injured in a car accident in the state of Florida, your own car insurance, to a certain extent, must offer coverage and compensation for your injuries and other losses stemming from the accident, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
Only in certain cases when injuries are serious enough and the fault belongs to another driver, you can step outside the no-fault system and hold the other driver liable for your injuries. Under Florida Statutes, only car accidents that result in a permanent injury, or significant and permanent scarring and/or disfigurement, will allow a potential plaintiff to take a claim outside of the no-fault system. This is known as the "serious injury" threshold.
FLORIDA'S STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS AFTER A CAR ACCIDENT
A "statute of limitations" is a law that sets a deadline for filing certain kinds of lawsuits. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury and property damage cases related to traffic accidents is four years (Florida Statutes Title 8, Ch. 95, Sec. 95.11).
Remember, you can not usually file a lawsuit over a car accident in Florida unless your claim qualifies under the state's "serious injury" threshold as aforementioned in the previous paragraph. But if your claim does qualify, this four-year window "opens" the day of the accident. Weekends and holidays are included in the count. After four years, you may be barred from bringing your case to court, no matter how strong your arguments are.
Injured people who are involved in traffic accidents need to follow a different procedure if the accident involved a government employee and/or government property. For instance, if you were injured when a city bus hit your car, you'll probably need to file a "notice of claim" with the government agency in charge of public transit, and you'll need to do it quickly in order to preserve your rights.
FLORIDA'S COMPARATIVE FAULT RULES
In Florida, your options for settlements after a traffic accident depend in part on who was the "at fault" party. Meaning, who was the cause of the accident. If your case goes to court, a judge or jury may decide that both you and another driver were to a certain extent "at fault" for the crash. If this happens, how does it affect your ability to receive damages?
Florida uses a "pure" comparative fault rule in car accident cases. The rule requires that each driver is responsible for their percentage of fault. Under the "pure" comparative fault rule, you will receive the total damages amount minus a portion equal to the percentage of your fault. The "pure" comparative negligence rule remains the same even if you are found to be more at fault than the other driver.
FLORIDA'S CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS
Florida law requires drivers to have certain kinds and amounts of car insurance, which can affect their traffic accident settlements.
There are many causes of accidents. Some of the most common are distracted drivers, intoxicated drivers and defective roadways. There are many different ways an accident can happen. Common types of car accidents in Florida include:
There are many different types of people and vehicles you could get in an accident with, not all of which are cars. Just a few:
There are also different issues to be concerned about, like uninsured or underinsured drivers, or personal injury protection. No matter the circumstances of your accident, we would be honored and proud to fight for justice on your behalf.
The Law Offices of James B. Coulter | Brevard County Auto Accident Attorney
An insurance company may have offered you a settlement. Remember, the insurance company is looking out for itself. You can have someone looking out for you. At The Law Offices of James B. Coulter, we'll fight for your rights. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if you do. Call us at (321) 586-9944 or send an online message to set up a free consultation.