In spite of significant safety improvements in automobiles and in road design, car accidents continue to be common occurrences. Most drivers are involved in at least one serious auto accident in their lifetime.
In Florida alone, there were almost 250,000 car accidents last year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) there are a number of reasons why people get into car accidents, with statistics showing the following:
- Of reported accidents, 98 percent involve a distracted driver.
- The most common cause of driver distraction is looking at something else on the road, including other accidents (also known as “rubbernecking”).
- Other distracted-driver activities include admiring the scenery, looking for road signs or landmarks, adjusting dashboard controls, tending to children, interacting with passengers, and using a cell phone.
- Cell phone usage is increasingly popular and has been noted as the cause of more and more traffic accidents in recent years.
Car accidents occur in the blink of an eye. Consider an accident attorney who is available and ready to discuss your injury questions any time. Attorney McIntyre, with over 30 years of experience in handling motor vehicle accident and negligence cases, gives clients his cell phone number so that he is one call away. If you or a family member are involved in a car accident it is important to know your legal rights as soon as possible. Giving a statement to an insurance company before learning about your rights from a car accident lawyer may prejudice your case. Contacting Attorney McIntyre will allow him to counsel you on what actions should be taken to preserve evidence, obtain medical care, and safeguard your legal rights.
Florida is a “No Fault” State: Florida has a “No-Fault” system for those who are involved in motor vehicle accidents. “No Fault” means that whether you are at fault in causing the car accident or not, your own insurance company (your PIP carrier) pays your medical bills and lost wages. Medical bills are paid at 80% subject to a deductible if you selected a deductible when you purchased the automobile insurance policy. PIP coverage will also pay your lost wages at 60% if a doctor has stated that you are unable to work because of your injuries. Additionally, PIP covers or reimburses your medication expense, loss of household services and transportation to and from health care providers.
All Florida car owners must purchase PIP coverage for each owned vehicle up to a minimum of $10,000. You are entitled to PIP benefits up to the $10,000 only if a Doctor certifies that your injury constitutes an Emergency Medical Condition. (A chiropractic physician is NOT authorized under the law to make the determination whether your have an Emergency Medical Condition). If no such determination is made then you are limited to $2,500 in PIP benefits. To be eligible for PIP you must seek treatment for your accident related injury with 14 days from the date of the accident.
Florida also requires $10,000 of property damage liability coverage. Florida’s Financial Responsibility law requires drivers convicted of certain traffic violations, or who are involved in an accident but cannot pay for damages, or who are uninsured, to carry even more coverage. Trucks, Buses, Taxis and other commercial vehicles have different insurance requirements. For example Florida Law requires a taxi to have bodily injury liability coverage of at least $125,000.
The other motor vehicle owner is also required to carry the same PIP coverage required of you. You are allowed to purchase additional coverage in the event your medical bills or lost wages exceed $10,000 and that is almost always a good idea. If you have health insurance coverage you are allowed to submit your medical bills to your health insurance company to pay any medical charges which your PIP policy does not cover.
Most car accidents do not result in a lawsuit being filed. Most car accident and personal injury claims are settled with the insurance company out of court before a lawsuit is even filed. When there are serious injuries such as broken bones, herniated discs or other significant back and neck injuries, scarring, surgery, or paralysis it is more likely the claim will be filed as a lawsuit if the insurance company is making a low or inadequate settlement offer. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident and have questions about your injuries, lost wages and medical bills, contact Injury Attorney Joe McIntyre to answer all of your questions and make sure your auto accident claim receives the attention it deserves.