Florida is one of only a few states that are considered no-fault when it comes to accidents. This means that no party is held liable after a motor vehicle crash, and each party instead turns to their own insurance company to cover their automobile damages and medical bills. However, there are times when the no-fault law goes out the window, and one driver may be able to recover money from the other through legal action. Here are a few instances where no-fault laws won’t protect a guilty party.
Personal Injury Threshold Is Met or Exceeded
When one or more people involved in an accident sustain devastating or catastrophic injuries, the no-fault ban on litigation is lifted. This is typically due to the amount of money necessary for their care after an accident. In the case of a severe injury, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Multiple body systems damaged
These are just a few examples of the kinds of injuries a person may sustain that would cause them to go over the serious injury threshold. When this amount is exceeded, a matter may be litigated through a personal injury attorney tampa filing a civil lawsuit against the guilty party.
The Guilty Party Was Driving Impaired
If you are the unfortunate victim of a crash by a person driving impaired, you can file a civil lawsuit against them right away. You do not have to wait to meet the bodily injury threshold. A crime was committed, and as such, there is an apparent fault by one party. Even if that person is not convicted of the crime, you may still recover monetary damages as the burden of proof in civil court is much different than criminal court.
The Problem With a Lawsuit in a No-Fault State
One of the issues in a state like Florida is by the time it is determined that a lawsuit filing applies, a determination of fault may be difficult to make. After the accident, perhaps the parties didn’t exchange information or conduct any of the typical documentation that would occur after a crash in other states. The insurance companies may not have initiated a comprehensive investigation, and witnesses may not have been contacted or even considered necessary at the time. While there are certainly elements of an inquiry that were begun, it may take some time to get everything up to speed.
Filing a personal injury claim may be more challenging in a no-fault state, but it is not impossible. Speaking to someone who is a pro when it comes to all things accident-related, such as an attorney, may help prepare you for the road ahead.