Can You Sue for a St. Petersburg Car Accident if You Are Not Hurt?

Most people settle their St. Petersburg car accident claim without suing the other driver. They work with the insurance company to agree to a settlement amount. However, what happens if the insurance company refuses to settle the claim?

Can I Sue the Other Driver for a St. Petersburg Car Accident Claim?

Florida is a no-fault insurance statement for car accidents. You cannot sue the other driver for an accident unless you sustain serious injuries. Florida statutes define serious injuries as:

  • Permanent and significant loss of an important bodily function
  • Permanent and significant disfigurement and scarring
  • Permanent injury 
  • Death

Unless you sustain a serious injury, your only option for recovering damages after a car accident is to file a claim with your PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance provider. 

Unfortunately, no-fault insurance in Florida only pays a portion of your medical bills and lost wages. It does not compensate you for any pain and suffering you experienced. 

Talk with a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer if you believe you sustained serious injuries. You could be entitled to more money than your PIP insurance company paid for the claim. You could have a valid claim against the other driver and might be able to sue for damages. 

Understanding Car Accident Lawsuits in Florida

If you sue the other driver for a car accident, you have the burden of proving a negligence claim. You must have sufficient evidence to prove the other driver caused the accident and the accident caused your injuries.

You must also prove your sustained damages. Damages in a car accident case can include economic damages, such as lost wages, medical bills, and out-of-pocket expenses. However, you can also recover non-economic damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, and physical pain. 

Additionally, if you sustained permanent impairments, you could receive compensation for future damages. Future damages can include ongoing medical care, diminished earning capacity, and a decrease in your quality of life.

Your lawsuit is filed against the driver who caused the accident, even if the driver has liability car insurance. Liability insurance covers damages for accident victims when a driver causes an accident. 

However, Florida does not require drivers to have liability car insurance. If the driver does not have liability insurance, you might not receive any money from a lawsuit. You may receive a judgment, but if the driver does not have money to pay the judgment, you might have a piece of paper that is not worth much.

Before using a driver, it is wise to talk with a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer. A lawyer evaluates your claim and investigates your options for recovering money. You might have other options for recovering compensation for a car accident claim, such as filing a claim with your insurance company for an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim.

Can I Sue the Other Driver if I Did Not Sustain Physical Injuries in Florida?

A car accident can cause emotional distress and mental anguish, even though you did not sustain physical injuries. Just because you were not “hurt” in a car accident, it does not mean that you were not harmed.

Emotional distress can cause severe anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Some individuals can experience disabling symptoms because of the emotional distress caused by a car crash. They may have panic attacks or suffer from severe depression. 

Unfortunately, Florida uses the impact rule for car accident claims. The Florida Supreme Court has upheld the common law standard. The impact rule requires that a person sustain a physical injury to recover compensation for emotional distress. 

Therefore, if you were not hurt in a car accident, you cannot sue for anxiety, emotional distress, or mental anguish. However, there are a few exceptions to the physical impact rule:

  • Intentional torts
  • Wrongful birth injuries
  • Consuming contaminated food
  • Developing physical symptoms of emotional distress after witnessing a family member’s death or traumatic injury

If you sustained serious injuries in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for emotional distress. However, the insurance company may downplay your pain and suffering damages. If you are unsure what your claim is worth, talk with a car accident lawyer in St. Petersburg before accepting a settlement offer.

What if I Am Partially at Fault for the Accident? Can I Sue the Other Driver?

Florida’s contributory fault laws do not prevent you from suing the other driver if you were partially to blame for the cause of the car accident. However, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault. Therefore, if the jury finds you were 20% to blame for causing the car crash, you only receive an amount equal to 80% of the damages awarded.

Insurance companies use contributory fault as a way to undervalue damages. If the insurance adjuster suggests that you contributed to the cause of the car crash, talk with a lawyer immediately before discussing the claim further with the insurance company. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm – Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

Contact a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.

Lopez Accident Injury Attorneys

700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 933-0015

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