Trials in Car Accident Cases
Although most cases arising out of car accidents in Florida reach settlements out of court and do not proceed to trial, it is sometimes necessary to go through formal court proceedings in order for victims of these collisions to receive proper compensation from liable parties. Filing personal injury or wrongful death claims may be the only way victims or families can hold the defendant person or entities fully responsible for their harm, and make sure they have the financial resources they need for their recovery. Miami car accident attorney Robert Dixon helps those who have been injured or lost a loved one determine what legal steps are appropriate for them, including whether to proceed to trial on a claim. Mr. Dixon and his staff at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon are dedicated to advocating fully for victims’ rights, and represent clients throughout South Florida, including Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties. If you have questions regarding your legal rights, please contact our office to schedule a free, no obligation consultation and find out more about your options.Florida Trials in Car Accident Cases
Florida is a “no-fault” state, which means that all insurance policies must offer, and also honor, policies with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage for a car accident victim’s injuries, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. As such, a victim’s first claim is often through his or her own insurance company rather than another party’s company. Under Florida law, a victim’s PIP coverage is responsible for eighty percent of his or her medical bills. However, if these expenses exceed a certain amount, even being responsible for twenty percent can be a significant financial burden. Additionally, a victim may incur other damages not covered by their own insurance such as loss of income, diminished earning capacity, and pain and suffering. For additional damages, a claim may be filed against an at-fault driver’s insurance company, which may or may not be willing to reach a reasonable settlement.
In Florida, car accident cases may only go to trial if certain thresholds are met. For a claim to go to trial, a victim must incur $10,000 in medical expenses and lost income, or suffer a ‘serious or permanent injury.’ Under Florida Statutes section 627.737, a serious injury is defined as:
- A significant and permeant loss of an important bodily function;
- A permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
- Scarring or disfigurement; or
Once this threshold is met, at trial in a car accident case a victim must prove that a defendant has acted negligently in causing the accident and his or her injuries. Negligence exists where a defendant breaches a duty of reasonable care owed to the plaintiff. In car accident cases this can take the form of distracted driving, excessive speeding, tailgating, or other unreasonable actions on the road. In wrongful death claims, a family member must show the defendant’s negligence caused the victim’s death in order to be awarded damages such as reimbursement for burial or funeral arrangements or loss of support. Given the length and cost of trials, many victims are quick to settle with insurance companies. However, although settlements are reached in 95 percent of Florida vehicle collision cases, it is still important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to make sure your settlement offer is fair, or if going to trial in your car accident case is more appropriate.Car Accident Lawyers in Miami
Being injured or losing a loved one in a car accident is overwhelming, and the thought of lengthy court proceedings can be daunting. Unfortunately, sometimes relying on a judge or jury’s decision in a trial instead of an insurance company’s judgment is the only way to make sure victims receive the compensation they need. Car accident attorney Robert Dixon assists clients throughout the entire process, from investigation into the circumstances surrounding a collision, to settlement negotiations, to resolution at trial if necessary. If you’ve been injured or a loved one was a victim of a fatal crash, please contact the Law Offices of Robert Dixon today at 877.499.4878 or online to set up a free, no obligation consultation to speak with an attorney. We represent clients in areas including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.