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Even for the most careful of drivers, car accidents may be inevitable. After all, you cannot control the other motorists on the road. Usually, these accidents are a nuisance, resulting in property damage and minor injuries. With safety advances in vehicles, even large accidents that result in total losses of vehicles may only lead to moderate injuries. You might know all the steps for what to do after an accident and still be unprepared for the aftermath of a wreck with severe injuries.

Severe injuries are potentially life-altering. You or your loved one are not going to bounce back after a severe injury. These injuries have a permanent impact on your health or ability to function. As a result, they also impact the ability to work and can lead to other economic losses, like the need for a caretaker. The life changes are not only physically and financially challenging; they are emotionally challenging as well. Many people experience significant depression after a severe injury. A dedicated attorney could help you get the financial resources you need to help with the aftermath of serious injury car accidents in Pace.

Defining Serious Injuries

While some states apply a subjective standard to the categorization of injuries, Florida Statutes § 627.737 defines serious bodily injuries. The category includes permanent injuries, which:

  • Lead to a significant and permanent loss of an essential bodily function
  • Significantly disfigure or scar people
  • Kill people
  • Lead to a high probability of death

These criteria are considered the serious injury threshold, which is meaningful because they change someone’s rights under the law. Usually, Florida law protects motorists or motor vehicle owners from personal tort liability if they have insurance coverage. It accomplishes this by not allowing most accident victims to recover for inconvenience, pain, suffering, or mental anguish. However, if you have a serious bodily injury, you can recover for those damages.

The threshold is important. Theoretically, it prevents people from getting windfall payments in everyday auto accidents while still preserving the rights of those who suffer the most. In practice, it can give insurers a reason to try to deny your claims. A skilled Pace attorney could help establish that an auto collision led to serious injuries.

Fault in Florida Car Accidents

For minor car accidents, the state takes a no-fault approach. Florida Statutes § 672.7407 requires drivers to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP insurance is the first line of defense. PIP will cover your injuries, regardless of who is at fault.

PIP coverage is not complete. It caps medical bills at $8,000 and only pays 80 percent of medical bills. It only covers 60 percent of lost wages. Plus, the death benefit is only $5,000. People can always opt-in to higher PIP coverage, but the goal is to protect you in minor accidents.

In serious car accidents in Pace, who is at fault comes into play. Suppose you have a serious bodily injury and can demonstrate the other party was at fault. In that case, you may be entitled to additional compensation, including:

  • More money for medical bills
  • Long-term medical expenses
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium

To recover from the other party, you do not have to prove they were 100 percent responsible for the accident. Florida’s modified comparative negligence approach, found in Florida Statutes § 768.81, holds each party accountable for their portion of an injury or accident. A damage award is proportional to the defendant’s fault.

However, if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you cannot recover from other people for your injuries. This portion of the rule makes establishing fault critical to your financial recovery. If the court finds that you are 51 percent responsible for the accident, it will bar you from recovery from other parties. This is why it is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side.

Contact a Pace Attorney After Suffering Serious Injuries in a Car Accident

The 2023 tort reform statutes have left many people uncertain about their ability to recover after a car accident. If you are unsure whether you qualify to bring a claim against another party, schedule a consultation with an attorney at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon. A qualified legal professional will review your accident and provide you with information about your rights and potential remedies.

Do not delay. The 2023 tort reforms also shortened the statute of limitations, so you only have two years to bring a claim. Talk to a lawyer to find out more about your rights after serious injury car accidents in Pace.