Recovering from the injuries you sustained in a Florida car accident can be a long and painful process. While you may be focused on your recovery, you have other things to consider, such as the damages you incurred and the financial impact of the accident.
Understanding how your car accident value is determined is a must for any car accident victim. It is recommended that you hire a car accident lawyer from Zimmet & Zimmet to help you get the full value of your claim in compensation.
Here you can learn more about what your car accident case may be worth, the factors that impact this information, and how an auto accident attorney can help with your claim.
How Much Is Your Car Accident Case Worth?
Some studies have shown that the average car accident claim is $15,000 per victim. Others have the figure closer to $20,000 to $30,000 per accident.
According to a study by the CDC, the financial impact of traffic-related fatalities costs families $55 billion per year. This figure was determined based on the medical care, financial impact, and lost future income resulting from these accidents across the country.
You may wonder what your Florida car accident is worth.
Every year, there are over 38,000 people killed in car accidents across the country. In Florida alone, there are over 395,000 accidents per year that cause more than 252,000 injuries and over 3,000 fatalities. The cost of Florida car accidents is $4.4 billion, which is around $46 million in medical costs and $4.35 billion in lost wages. Remember, though, that these are averages and the actual value of a car accident claim varies based on the severity of the injuries and how they impact the victim’s life.
Determining the Value of Your Florida Car Accident Claim
As seen from the information above, there is a huge financial impact when a car accident occurs. While this is true, there’s no set amount for a single car accident claim. Some may be worth just a few thousand dollars, while others are worth much more.
Your car accident claim should be worth, at a minimum, the total financial impact of the accident. Sometimes, though, insurance companies will only include the short-term costs of the accident when a settlement is offered. Unfortunately, this is usually just a fraction of the costs related to car accidents.
There are often long-term costs after an accident that need to be considered, which injury victims should receive as part of their settlement. Because it can be difficult to get an insurance company to include these costs, it’s recommended that you hire an experienced accident attorney from Zimmet & Zimmet to help with your case.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive
When you hire a car accident attorney for help with your claim, some of the potential costs you can recover include:
- Emergency care transport
- Emergency medical treatment and surgeries
- Hospital fees
- Doctor’s appointments
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy
- Lost wages and lost future income
- Pain and suffering
Your car accident attorney should work to ensure you receive compensation for the full cost of your accident, which includes all the costs above (and, in some cases, others).
What Are Punitive Damages?
Besides the compensatory damages listed above, you may also be awarded punitive damages in a car accident claim. Some personal injury cases involve a situation where the defendant’s conduct was so outrageous, malicious, or deplorable that punitive damages would be awarded to your case. The plaintiff’s conduct must have been directly related to your injuries.
The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party and to deter other people from doing the same or similar things. It’s important to note that punitive damages are rarely awarded in car accident cases.
How to Get a Fair Settlement Based on Your Damages?
In many car accident cases in Florida, getting the at-fault driver’s insurance company to make a fair settlement offer is challenging. In many situations, the insurance adjuster will contact you right after the accident to make an offer. Even though it may be tempting to accept this offer, the first settlement offer is usually not even close to what your accident case is truly worth.
You must realize that you don’t have to accept the first settlement offer. Your car wreck attorney can determine the true value of your case and make a counteroffer to the insurance company. Without an attorney, the insurance company will likely tell you they cannot offer you more money, but an attorney understands this is not the case. They will fight for your ability to recover the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to.
Options for Pursuing Compensation as an Injured Passenger?
If you are a passenger in a Florida car accident, you have a few options to recover compensation. It’s important to talk to an injury attorney about what option to use since the situation, and circumstances of the accident will impact which option is best.
The available options for a passenger to recover compensation after being injured in a car accident include:
Seek Compensation from PIP Coverage
Even if you are a passenger, you may be able to make a claim to your auto insurance policies for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. It’s mandatory in Florida for all auto insurance policies to have a minimum of $10,000 in coverage. PIP is no-fault coverage, and it is typically tax-free. Because of this, it doesn’t matter who is to blame for the accident. Your insurance provider should cover all your lost wages, medical costs, and other out-of-pocket costs up to the policy limit (after the deductible is paid).
If you don’t have this coverage because you don’t have a vehicle or insurance, you can seek coverage under a relative’s policy if they live with you. If this isn’t possible, you can look at the driver’s PIP coverage.
File a Claim Under the Driver’s BIL Insurance Policy
You could recover additional compensation beyond PIP if you experienced “permanent” or “significant” injuries in the car accident. The only difference in this is that you must prove fault to recover from a Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) policy.
For situations where the driver you were riding with is at-fault, and they have a BIL policy, you can file a claim with that insurer. This is what this type of coverage is for. This is just an insurance claim and not a situation where you are “suing” your family member or acquaintance. Your injury attorney can deal with the insurance company for you and negotiate to ensure you get a fair settlement offer.
File a Claim Under the Other Driver’s BIL Insurance Policy
If another driver is determined to be at fault for the car accident, you may be able to file a claim under their BIL coverage. It still requires proof of fault to do this, and it means that you need an attorney to investigate the car accident immediately.
A few types of driver negligence will support fault-based insurance claims. When investigating the car accident, your attorney will look at all potential causes and collect evidence to prove why you should be awarded damages.
Pursue a Third-Party Claim for Compensation
Along with driver negligence, many factors may cause or contribute to an accident where a passenger is injured. Along with looking for evidence of driver negligence, your accident injury lawyer will also seek evidence for things like:
- Road defects
- Vehicle defects
- Improper employee screening or inadequate supervision
- Faulty repair work or maintenance
If any of these issues played a role in the accident, you might be able to file a third-party claim for compensation. While it’s not an easy process, it is the only way to receive the full compensation you are entitled to in some situations.
The Role of a Car Accident Attorney in a Passenger’s Injury Claim
There are multiple reasons you need an experienced attorney representing you after a Florida car accident. To ensure your lawyer can negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company effectively and get you the compensation you deserve, you need to provide as much evidence as possible. Your attorney will also investigate the accident to ensure that they have all the facts.
Keep in mind that even when this is done, there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will maintain good faith with the settlement offer made. In some situations, you may need to take legal action and pursue a lawsuit to demand the money that you deserve.
If you are dealing with a car accident claim, it’s smart to contact the car accident attorneys at Zimmet & Zimmet immediately. Our legal team has years of experience representing clients just like you and can help you recover the compensation you deserve after an accident. The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation.