05 Jun Determining Fault After A Car Accident In A No-Fault State￼
Florida’s reputation as a “no-fault state” when it comes to car accidents has been pushed for many years. Surprisingly after dealing with numerous accident clients, it seems the reputation has often been pushed by the insurance companies. Why would they push that? Well, if individuals after a car accident believe Florida is a no-fault state, then they may not pursue a claim because they are of the understanding that no one is at fault, and everyone is on their own. If everyone is on their own, that would mean the actual at-fault insurance carrier would escape having to pay.
This is NOT the case at all! Florida being a no-fault state only means that there is no-fault insurance coverage available to either party regardless of fault. No-fault insurance coverage is also referred to as PIP or personal injury protection coverage. Someone is still found to be at-fault and you do have the ability to recover from that person, typically from their insurance. Do not be misled by insurance companies that everyone is to bare their own expenses after a car accident. You do have rights, including a right to recover from the at-fault carrier after a car accident. For more details, it is best to contact a qualified and experienced car accident attorney that can review your car accident claim with you.
If No-Fault Insurance Is Available, Why Would I Need To Recover From The At-Fault Party?
Many people may think, if I have no-fault coverage, why would I need to recover from the at-fault party? There are a variety of reasons. First, no-fault coverage only covers 80% of your bills up to $10,000.00, in addition to a possible deductible. This means that you would be responsible for the remaining 20% and possibly your deductible. Moreover, if your current medical bills exceed $10,000.00, again you would be on the hook for those expenses beyond $10,000.00. Finally, no-fault coverage does not cover you for pain and suffering, future pain and suffering and future medical expenses. Therefore, you may need to recover from the at-fault party or your uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage to be properly compensated. To do that, there needs to be a proper determination of fault.
How Is Fault Determined After A Car Accident?
After a car accident, fault can be determined in a variety of ways. Do not worry if you do not have some of these items. A car accident attorney will do their own investigation in an attempt to find all the evidence they can to prove fault. Some cases are easier to determine fault than others. When determining fault, insurance companies will typically look at:
- Police Reports
- Party Statements
- Witness Statements
- Damage Photos
- Scene Photos
- Video Footage
- Expert Reports
If I Am Partially At Fault For A Car Accident, Do I Still Have A Case?
If you are partially at fault for a car accident in Florida, you still can have a case. Florida is known as a comparative fault state. This means that your recovery is reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, your case goes all the way to a jury trial, which is very rare. You were found to be 20% at fault. Your recovery would be reduced by your percentage of fault, in this case, 20%.
Another example, your claim is in the pre-suit or pre-litigation stage. The at-fault insurance company found you to be 50% at fault. The at-fault party has $50,000.00 in insurance coverage. In the accident, you broke your leg and had to get surgery at the hospital. The insurance company may pay their insurance coverage limits as your compensation should be beyond the $50,000.00 because your injuries are so significant. This is even with the 50% of fault.
Every claim is not the same and each case should be looked at individually. However, fault can always be argued and just because an insurance company finds you partially at-fault does not mean a jury will find you at fault. Moreover, if your injuries are so significant, fault may not even be a factor in evaluating your claim. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced car accident attorney look at your claim and fight for you.
How Can You Help Determine Fault?
You can be a large help with determining fault after a car accident. The more evidence that you can provide that can show how the accident happened, the easier fault can be determined. Do not blame yourself if you do not have some of these items. Again, your attorney can still conduct their own investigation. Some of the things that you can do and provide to help determine fault include but are not limited to:
- Waiting for the police so a report can be made
- Taking photos and videos of the scene
- Making notes of any video surveillance in the area
- Collecting any witness contact information
- Writing down what happened as soon as you can
- Noting any statements admitting fault by other party
EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
You need someone that is going to stand up for you when it comes to your car accident claim. This is especially true when trying to determine who is at fault. I understand that the process after getting into a truck accident can be difficult and stressful. You likely have questions and few answers as to the next steps to take. Allow me to be there for you from the beginning. I offer a FREE no-obligation consultation where we can discuss your claim. I will review your accident claim with you personally at one of the office locations in Tampa, Zephyrhills, Saint Petersburg, Brandon, Clearwater, Plant City or Sun City Center. Cannot make it to me? I will come to wherever is convenient to you at NO charge. You deserve to be compensated and I want to get justice for you!
Contact Car Accident Attorney Kevin L. Sullivan II TODAY at (813) 598-4868 for a FREE no-obligation consultation. I look forward to assisting you with your claim!