Do you even need to determine fault after a car accident in Florida if this is a no-fault auto insurance state?
The answer is yes. You do need to determine fault, even if the outcome of that determination will not influence the settlement amount. Often, there are various factors involved in vehicle accidents that necessitate determining liability. This is particularly true if the incident reaches various thresholds established by law to allow for personal injury lawsuits to move forward.
Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Rules
The state of Florida has a no-fault car insurance system implemented, which means individuals turn to their own insurance carrier for compensation after a vehicle accident in most situations. Current state law mandates that individuals carry the following types of insurance in order to legally operate in this state:
- Bodily injury coverage of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident
- Property damage coverage of $10,000 per accident
- Personal injury protection coverage of $10,000
For relatively minor vehicle accidents, individuals will not have to worry about stepping outside of the no-fault insurance system to recover compensation from another source. However, that does not mean that determining fault is unimportant. Fault is incredibly important after a vehicle accident in Florida, particularly for situations where one or more parties may be able to file a claim against the other due to the severity of the injuries. Contact a West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer today to discuss your options regarding your car accident claim.
Meeting the Serious Injury Threshold
The goal of a no-fault insurance system is to help crash victims recover compensation quicker without having to prove that another party caused the incident, but there are certain tort thresholds written into the law that allow injury victims to file a claim or lawsuit directly against an at-fault party, thus, determining fault after a vehicle accident in Florida is important.
Current law only allows individuals to file a claim against the at-fault party if the injuries are severe enough that they affect a person’s day-to-day activities or if there was a death involved. Generally, if an individual sustains severe scarring or disfigurement, the permanent loss of a central body function, or is expected to experience total or partial disability for 90 or more days, they will meet the tort threshold requirements.
Evidence to Determine Fault
There are generally various ways to determine fault after a vehicle accident occurs in Florida, beginning with the accident scene itself. Law enforcement officials will typically come to the scene to conduct an initial investigation, and their accident report may note which driver the officer thinks caused the incident.
Additionally, other types of evidence from the scene, including photographs taken by those involved, video surveillance footage from nearby cameras, and eyewitness statements, can all help corroborate stories about what happened. In some cases, an attorney may need to obtain vehicle black box data or mobile device data in order to more thoroughly paint a picture of how the accident occurred.
If the injuries caused by the vehicle accident rise above the Florida no-fault tort threshold, knowing who caused the accident is of critical importance. We strongly encourage you to work with a skilled West Palm Beach car accident lawyer if you are struggling to recover compensation after your accident.