What Happens if YOU Are Sued After Causing a Collision in Gainesville, FL?
Bill Allen | February 2, 2022 | Car Accidents
You could be sued for a car accident if your liability insurance company refuses to settle an accident claim. Motorists can be financially liable for damages they cause in a car crash.
Therefore, you could be responsible for paying an accident victim’s medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages. You may also be liable for compensating the person for their pain and suffering.
Being sued for a car accident can be frightening. But, knowing what happens when someone sues you after a car accident can help you take steps to protect yourself.
When Can Someone Sue You for a Car Accident in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for car insurance coverage. Therefore, drivers will typically file claims with their insurance provider — regardless of who caused the accident. Individuals must sustain “serious injuries” to file a lawsuit against another driver.
Serious bodily injuries are defined by Florida law as:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- An injury that is permanent based on reasonable medical probability
- Significant scarring or disfigurement
- Wrongful death
Unless a person sustains a serious injury, the person is limited to the benefits of their no-fault insurance coverage. Florida state insurance law requires motorists to purchase and maintain a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.
PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages after a car crash. You must seek medical attention within 14 days of the car accident to receive PIP benefits.
How Much Can Someone Sue for After a Car Accident?
Getting sued for a car accident does not mean that you will pay money to the accident victim. If you have liability insurance, your car insurance company will pay for the damages up to your policy limits.
Therefore, if the accident victim wins the lawsuit, your insurance carrier pays the jury award. However, if the jury awards an amount higher than your insurance policy limits, you could be liable for the remaining portion of the judgment.
If you are concerned about asset protection, you may want to discuss increasing your liability insurance coverage or purchasing an umbrella insurance policy with your insurance agent.
What Do I Need to Know Regarding My Defense?
Your insurance company must provide an attorney to defend the lawsuit. The attorney will respond to the lawsuit and handle all aspects of the legal action. However, you have a duty to cooperate with the defense attorney during the case.
There could be several defenses to a car accident lawsuit. For example, Florida is a pure contributory fault state. Therefore, if the other party contributed to the the accident, their compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault.
Florida statutes may affect your lawsuit and defenses. For instance, a statute of limitations restricts the time to file a lawsuit for a car accident claim. If the accident victim did not file the lawsuit before the deadline, the court might dismiss the lawsuit. The attorney hired by your insurance company explores all potential defenses to the lawsuit.
Steps to Take If Someone Sues You After a Car Accident in Ocala?
If you are served with a lawsuit related to a car accident, do not panic. Instead, contact your liability insurance provider immediately. There are deadlines for responding to the lawsuit. Failing to notify your insurance company immediately could give it a reason to deny coverage and not defend the lawsuit.
When the insurance company attorney contacts you regarding the lawsuit, cooperate with the attorney. The insurance attorney will aggressively defend the lawsuit to protect the insurance company from liability. Of course, an aggressive defense benefits you as well.
You always have the right to consult an attorney you choose about the car accident lawsuit. However, you would be responsible for paying the attorney for their time or services.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
We have two convenient locations in North Central Florida: