Sean Lopez | April 20, 2023 | Car Accident
What Should I Do if Someone Sues Me After a Car Accident in Florida?
Florida has a unique auto insurance system that can be confusing for victims of car accidents. If you have been in an accident, it is essential to understand how the “no-fault” system works.
When you purchase auto insurance in Florida, you must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. This type of coverage protects the insured party if they are injured in an accident, regardless of whose fault the crash was.
Under most circumstances, victims in Florida typically make their claims against their personal injury protection policy after an accident. PIP also covers other vehicle occupants during the accident, again without regard to who was at fault for causing it.
The no-fault system prevents most personal injury claims from being filed against an at-fault driver. For a victim to sue an at-fault driver for personal injury and to recover non-economic damages, their injuries must meet certain criteria, which include permanent scarring or disfigurement and significant or permanent loss of a bodily function.
Property Damage Liability (PDL) Coverage
Property damage claims are excluded from Florida’s no-fault system, and victims can file third-party property damage claims against the at-fault party’s property damage liability policy.
PDL coverage will pay for damages to another person’s vehicle or property caused by an insured individual through negligence while operating a motor vehicle on public roads and highways within Florida.
What To Do If Someone Sues You After a Car Accident
Being involved in an automobile accident can be incredibly stressful, and it can be even more difficult if you find yourself being sued as a result. It’s essential to know what steps you should take if it does occur.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Immediately
Contact an experienced car accident lawyer who specializes in cases like yours as soon as possible. Many lawyers offer free consultations to discuss your case’s specifics and determine how best to proceed with your defense.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
Have an experienced lawyer review your policy for any non-obvious implications that might exist. Having this information will give you the upper hand when dealing with the plaintiff or their insurance carrier.
Do Not Talk to Plaintiff or Their Insurance Carrier
Whatever you do, don’t talk to either the plaintiff or their insurance carrier. Any verbal communication with them could be used against you in court, leading to a judgment in their favor at your expense. Refrain from speaking with them until directed otherwise by your personal injury lawyer.
Collect Evidence With Your Lawyer’s Help
Your lawyer will work closely with you throughout the entire legal process and assist with collecting evidence for use during trial and negotiations. This evidence may include witness statements and diagrams of the accident scene, medical records related to injuries sustained during the incident, police reports, and photographs of vehicle damage.
Begin Out-of-Court Settlement Negotiations
Another option for responding to a lawsuit after a car accident is out-of-court settlement negotiations with an attorney present. This involves both parties negotiating terms, such as how much compensation should be paid or who should assume responsibility for medical expenses associated with injuries sustained in the crash.
If an agreement can be reached without going to trial, this will save everyone time, money, and stress.
It’s also essential to prepare defenses before appearing in court or negotiating settlements out of court to protect yourself. Some common defenses include the expiration of the statute of limitations, failure to mitigate damages, non-causation of the accident, and comparative negligence (when both parties share some level of fault).
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Case Review
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help determine which defenses may apply in your situation so that you know what steps need to be taken when responding to the suit. Most attorneys in this area of the law offer free initial consultations to review the facts of your case and offer legal advice.
Contact a St. Petersburg car accident lawyer at Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys and schedule a free case review today.
Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys
700 7th Ave N Suite B
St. Petersburg, FL 33701