According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDHSMC), from January 1 to November 24, 2022, there were 340,747 car accidents. These crashes resulted in 140,270 injuries. Car accident victims face long recoveries and daunting medical and rehabilitation expenses. Their injuries may preclude them from working for a prolonged period or possibly ever returning to their former jobs. However, you may file a personal injury lawsuit if another party caused the accident via negligence or recklessness.
As the largest city in Brevard County, Palm Bay drivers share the roads with many other motorists. There is also U.S. 1, I-95, and other major highways with which to contend. The more traffic congestion in an area, the more likely car accidents will occur. In 2021, there were more than 4,000 car crashes in Brevard County. If this has happened to you, contact a car accident lawyer in Palm Bay at Kogan & DiSalvo. Our team can investigate your case thoroughly and fight for you to receive the compensation you need to rebuild your life.
Florida as a No-fault State
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents and is designed to reduce personal injury lawsuits. It makes no difference under no-fault which party was responsible for the crash. All motorists must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage which pays their medical bills and a certain percentage of lost income.
However, no-fault does not apply when a car accident victim suffers severe injuries, and their medical bills exceed their PIP coverage. Under these circumstances, the victim may file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The following types of injuries qualify as severe:
- Permanent injuries
- Loss of critical bodily functions
- Scarring and disfigurement
Car Accident Causes
Many car accidents result from the negligence of the other driver. The top causes of car accidents include:
- Aggressive or reckless driving
- Bad weather
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Distracted driving accidents–this includes but is not limited to texting while driving
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
- Failure to yield
- Poor road conditions
- Unsafe lane changes
- Vehicle malfunction
Types of Car Accidents
The types of car accidents most likely to result in serious injury or fatalities include:
- Head-on collisions–The most dangerous type of car accident overall.
- Rear-end collisions–These crashes often occur at intersections, where a distracted driver plows into the car ahead stopped at a traffic light.
- Rollovers–Speeding contributes to many rollovers.
- Sideswipes–Improper lane changes or failure to signal causes many sideswipe collisions.
- T-bone collisions–Also known as a side-impact collision.
Serious Car Accident Injuries
Common serious car accident injuries include:
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Vision loss
Many of these injuries result in permanent or long-term disability. The victim may no longer have the ability to care for themselves. In addition, they may require numerous surgeries and rehabilitation.
The Concept of Negligence and Car Accident Lawsuits
Florida operates under a pure comparative negligence rule. That means you could still receive compensation even if you were partly at fault. However, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault awarded by the jury. In many states, a person considered more than 50 percent responsible cannot receive compensation. That is not the case under “pure” comparative negligence.
For instance, if you are deemed 20 percent at fault for the crash, a $100,000 award is reduced by $20,000 to $80,000.
Potential compensation, or damages, in a Florida car accident lawsuit contain economic and non-economic elements. The former may include:
- Medical expenses, current, and future
- Lost wages
- Future lost income
- Property damage
- At-home care during recuperation, such as cleaning or nanny services
Determining economic damages is relatively straightforward. Non-economic damages are more complex because they are more subjective and may include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- The loss of ability to enjoy life
The Car Accident Claim/Lawsuit Process
When recovering from a serious injury, you do not want to negotiate with an insurance company–their business model is based on settling claims as quickly and cheaply as possible. Unfortunately, what sounds like a substantial settlement to the uninitiated often is not fair at all—the amount, for example, may not cover future medical expenses.
It’s best to trust the negotiations with an accident attorney in Palm Bay. They know a reasonable settlement value for your circumstances.
The Burden of Proof in a Car Accident Case
In a personal injury case, you must meet a burden of proof. First, you must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. In a car accident case, that is easy to prove–all drivers owe everyone else on the road the duty to drive safely. Next, you must show that the defendant breached that duty by their negligence. Your claim must establish that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries. Finally, you must then show actual harm done to you so that you may receive damages such as payment for medical expenses and lost wages.
Statute of Limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is much longer than in most states. Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a car accident lawsuit is four years. However, it is vital to seek legal advice as soon as possible to avoid the loss of valuable evidence.
How Kogan & DiSalvo Can Help
At Kogan & DiSalvo, our personal injury attorneys would immediately start investigating your case. For instance, if you suspect the driver responsible for the crash was texting, an attorney can obtain cell phone records and interview any eyewitnesses. Surveillance video provides a great deal of information, but traffic cameras and video from nearby homes or businesses are usually available for 30 days or less before it is taped over. That is why time is of the essence when it comes to proving fault in a Palm Bay car accident case.
Determining which parties are responsible for an accident is not always clear-cut. Besides any other drivers involved, the investigation may show that a vehicle malfunction contributed to the crash. Under such circumstances, the manufacturer or a repair facility may hold some liability. Perhaps poor road maintenance or traffic signal malfunctions played a role, and the city of Palm Bay may bear responsibility. It is not unusual for a car accident case to include multiple defendants.
We may work with accident reconstruction specialists to explain how the collision occurred. Medical experts may testify about the extent of your injuries and prognosis. Financial professionals can provide expertise regarding the long-term expenses expected due to the accident. Finally, vocational experts may testify about your ability to return to your former level of employment or whether you can hold a job in the future.
Contact a Palm Bay Car Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a car accident due to another party’s negligence, you need the services of an experienced Palm Bay personal injury attorney at Kogan & DiSalvo. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today. We serve Brevard County and all of South Florida. Because we work on a contingency basis, there is no fee unless you receive compensation.