Nine Factors That Determine How Much to Expect From a Car Accident Settlement in Florida

After a car accident in Florida, you may wonder how much compensation you can expect.  Your settlement amount will reflect your losses. The amount you can expect from a car accident settlement will depend on nine key factors.

1. Florida Has a No-Fault Insurance System

If you get in a car accident in Florida that is the fault of another driver, you’ll seek compensation from your own insurance company first. This is because Florida follows a no-fault insurance system.

Under a no-fault insurance system, car accident victims rely on their own insurance to cover medical expenses and any lost wages until a specific limit is reached. It does not matter who is at fault for the accident. The state mandates that all drivers purchase and maintain insurance coverage for personal injury protection benefits (PIP). PIP covers a limit of $10,000 in medical and disability benefits and $5,000 in death benefits.

2. Did You Sustain a “Serious” Injury?

Suppose your injuries are considered serious under Florida law. In that case, PIP limits may not fully cover your damages, and you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.

In Florida, the law determines whether an injury is serious. Under Florida law, a serious injury may include a permanent loss of a bodily function or a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

A car accident lawyer can help you pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver to recover damages for a serious injury. The extent of your injuries is a key factor that will determine your settlement amount. 

3. Who Is at Fault for the Accident?

Determining fault can be tricky; there may be times when more than one driver is at fault, and a damages award will reflect that. 

Florida has a modified comparative fault system where damages are reduced by the victim’s percentage of fault. For example, if a victim is found to be 30 percent responsible for a car accident and the victim’s damages are $1 million, the victim would receive $700,000. However, if the victim is more than 50 percent responsible for the car accident, the victim cannot recover any damages. 

4. What Medical Treatments Did You and Will You Receive to Treat Your Injuries?

Your car accident settlement will include your economic damages. Economic damages cover the specific economic costs resulting from the accident. They are meant to put you in the same position you would have been in had the accident not occurred.

Your economic damages include the money you have spent on medical treatments for your injuries, including medical bills, therapy, hospital stays, medical devices, and in-home care. 

Your damages also include the money you will spend in the future. Because you have yet to incur these damages, proving them requires hiring an expert. An experienced car accident lawyer will hire competent expert witnesses who can provide valuable opinions on future medical expenses. The expert examines factors like your projected life expectancy and the cost of the necessary future medical care to arrive at a number.

5. Are You entitled to Pain and Suffering Damages?

You may be entitled to pain and suffering damages that will increase your settlement amount. Pain and suffering damages are noneconomic and meant to cover the physical and emotional distress a car accident victim experienced as a result of the accident. 

There is no exact formula to calculate these losses; they are subjective. After a car accident, pain and suffering damages are negotiated between the parties involved or determined by a jury if a personal injury case goes to trial.

Pain and suffering damages include emotional distress, the loss of enjoyment of life, and physical pain. 

The factors that determine the value of the damages include:

  • The extent of the victim’s injuries
  • The impact of the injuries on the victim’s life
  • The expected duration of recovery 

There is no cap on the damages a car accident victim can receive for pain and suffering. 

6. What Is the Extent of Your Property Damage?

The extent of your property damage will also determine your car accident settlement amount. Your property damage includes the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged in the car accident. 

7. Did You Miss Work Because of Your Accident?

If you have missed work because of the accident, your damages include your loss of earnings–your salary and any paid vacation time.

8. Will the Accident Permanently Prevent You from Going Back to Work?

If the car accident caused a permanent injury preventing you from returning to work, your damages include your future earnings–the money you would have earned had you not been injured. This calculation is complex, and a personal injury lawyer can carefully assess several factors to estimate the amount of your lost future income. This assessment will require reviewing and analyzing your medical evaluations, employment history, future earnings projections, and inflation adjustments.

9. Are You Working With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer?

It’s important for victims to work with an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure that they receive the amount of damages they deserve following a car accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have the skills to navigate the complex legal system. Working with a seasoned personal injury lawyer may also maximize your total settlement amount.

Your lawyer will also receive a percentage of your total settlement amount as compensation for the work done. Typically, lawyers charge by the hour. But car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee–they do not get paid unless you win–either because a fair settlement was reached or a case resulted in a damages award after a jury trial.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will advocate for your rights. They will also work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve and help determine how much to expect from a car accident settlement in Florida.

Contact the Pinellas County Car Accident Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg car accident law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
(727) 796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
(727) 349-1728