One of the top misconceptions about auto accident claims pertains to Florida insurance laws. Unfortunately, Florida is one of only two states in the country that does not require an owner of a motor vehicle to carry bodily injury liability insurance. Therefore, if you are injured in a car collision caused by a driver who does not carry bodily injury liability insurance, you may not be able to obtain a recovery. This is why it is important to purchase underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage. Such insurance coverage is not expensive, and it will provide you the right to recover money damages in the event that you are in a motor vehicle crash caused by the carelessness of another driver. If you do not know whether or not your policy includes underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, we would recommend that you contact your insurance carrier.
Another misconception involves coverage called no-fault or PIP (personal injury protection insurance). This insurance is required under Florida law for all persons who own a motor vehicle. It is called no-fault insurance because, even when the accident is not your fault, your own insurance carrier is obligated to pay your medical bills and any wage loss benefits. However, important limitations and restrictions on the payment of PIP benefits apply. For example, if you do not treat with a doctor within 14 days, you may risk losing all or some of your PIP benefits coverage. For these reasons, if you are seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible so that all of your rights and benefits are protected.
Another misconception regarding auto claims involves the types of damages that may be awarded by a jury in the state of Florida. These damages generally fall into two categories, economic damages, and non-economic damages. Economic damages include out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. These damages are recoverable even if a person has not suffered “a permanent injury” from an auto accident. Noneconomic damages include damages for pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, scarring and disfigurement, disability, mental anguish and impairment. These damages are only available if you can show that your injuries are permanent. Whether an injury is permanent is usually confirmed by the medical records or the testimony of your treating physicians. In addition, if your injuries involve scarring and/or disfigurement such injury also qualifies as a permanent injury entitling you to recover non-economic damages. In the event that your injuries are not permanent, you can still pursue a claim for past and future wages and past and future medical bills.