To say the risk of getting into a motor vehicle accident in Florida is high would be an understatement. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), 2021 saw a total of 401,533 car crashes. Of those crashes, 163,961 led to injuries, while 3,445 were fatal.
If you get involved in a motor vehicle accident, your immediate concern should be your safety. You must seek medical attention as soon as the first responders arrive at the scene. Treatment is a priority before any talk of insurance or filing a lawsuit against the other driver happens.
But apart from medical treatment and discussing insurance, you should keep a couple of things in mind when handling an accident.
Reporting to the police
State laws say that drivers involved in a crash must report the incident to the police if at least one of two conditions are met:
- If the collision caused at least $500 worth of vehicular or property damage.
- If the collision led to an injury or death.
If none of these conditions apply, you must accomplish a crash report on the FLHSMV website. But if you’re looking to sue the other driver for damages, a police report will be essential for your case.
Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance system state. Regardless of who may be responsible for the collision, insurers will cover motorists’ injuries through Personal Injury Protection (PIP) for up to $10,000. But once your medical expenses go beyond this cost, you may file a lawsuit against the other driver and their insurer for additional compensation.
Statute of limitations
The state’s statute of limitations gives drivers four years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit for compensation. Four years may sound like a lot of time, but considering the time it would take to recover from traumatic injuries such as fractures or possible brain injuries, those four years could easily slip by. You should keep this timeframe in mind, or else your claim will be barred if you miss the deadline.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, you can’t just threaten the other driver with a lawsuit on the spot – there’s a system and process in place which will allow you to seek compensation. Injured motorists might want to discuss their situation with an attorney to determine their next course of action.