How to Hold Negligent Drivers Accountable After Florida Car Accidents
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If you have been injured by a negligent driver in Florida, you may want nothing more than to hold them accountable. Your life may have been altered forever, and it makes sense to feel a sense of anger and frustration toward the person who caused your car crash. But what kinds of consequences will these reckless drivers actually face in Florida? How can you make sure that justice is served? While some might say that this attitude is vindictive, it is important to hold people accountable for their misconduct. When you see that a dangerous driver has experienced real consequences, it may bring you a sense of closure and help you move on with your life. The real question is how to ensure these drivers are brought to justice.
Florida is a No-Fault State: What it Means for Negligent Drivers
The first thing you need to understand is that Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accident laws. This means that technically speaking, negligence does not even matter in most car accidents. Under a no-fault system, there is no requirement to prove negligence when you pursue compensation for auto injuries. Instead, you can simply turn to your PIP insurance, file a claim, and receive a financial settlement from your insurance company.
At first, you might think that this system allows drivers to escape consequences for their misconduct on the road. But that is somewhat of a simplification. First of all, negligent drivers suffer directly because they have to pay higher insurance premiums and deductibles after each accident they cause. But the financial penalties can go even further – especially if you suffered severe injuries.
If you meet the legal threshold of a “serious injury” in Florida, you may be able to step outside of the no-fault system and file a direct personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver. This is effective because it allows you to recover compensation for non-economic damages. These damages include depression, anxiety, PTSD, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, and much more. Under a standard no-fault injury claim, you would not be able to claim these damages.
In addition, you would be limited in your total settlement amount since the minimum PIP insurance requirement is just $10,000 per accident. Even if you were to file claims with both your own insurance coverage and that of the negligent driver, you would only receive a maximum of about $20,000. This might be enough to cover the cost of minor injuries like whiplash, but it would be woefully inadequate to cover serious, life-altering injuries.
The Criminal Consequences of Serious Accidents
As an injured victim, the only thing you can control is a civil lawsuit or an injury claim filed in connection to the accident. But this is not the only type of consequence a negligent driver may experience after causing a crash. There may also be criminal consequences to take into account, including:
- Hit-and-run charges
- Reckless driving charges
- Distracted driving charges
- Driving with a suspended license
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Child endangerment
- Traffic tickets
You might not have much control over what happens in the criminal courts, but you can put your confidence in the local authorities to put things right. The negligent driver may face a range of consequences, including prison time and fines. While these consequences might not benefit you directly, they can help you achieve a sense of closure and move on with your life as best as possible.
In some situations, you may be able to assist the authorities in their investigations into the crash. For example, you might be questioned by the police about the cause of the crash. This gives you the opportunity to speak the truth and let the authorities know about the negligence you witnessed. You might even be called upon to testify in court if the criminal case goes to trial.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in Florida?
If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney in Vero Beach, look no further than Law Offices of Keith Bregoff, P.A. We know that suffering severe injuries in a car crash can lead to a range of both physical and psychological trauma. With our help, you can pursue justice and address both of these concerns. By ensuring that negligent drivers experience consequences, you can receive compensation for your economic and non-economic damages while achieving a sense of closure and justice. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan. Contact our car accident lawyers in Vero Beach for more legal help.