Florida is one of several states that relies on no-fault auto insurance laws to reduce the amount of litigation the courts must handle following relatively minor traffic accidents. These laws limit who can file a claim based on fault and offer drivers the opportunity to collect compensation for their injuries and lost wages from their own insurance company.
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, our Fort Myers car accident lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options for compensation after an accident. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation with a car accident lawyer in Fort Myers.
How Does Florida’s No-Fault Auto Insurance Law Help Me After A Crash?
As a part of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance plan, all motorists must carry a personal injury protection (PIP) policy that covers injuries and lost wages after a crash. Because there is no need to establish fault or conduct a large-scale investigation, these policies typically pay out quickly and work well after a fender-bender or other accident with only minor injuries.
However, if you only carry the minimum PIP coverage required, you could face a situation where your insurance policy will not cover all your medical care and related losses. The minimum required coverage is only $10,000, according to the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles. This may be enough to cover a trip to the emergency department to set a broken arm, and injuries beyond that could leave you paying out of pocket or looking for other options for compensation.
This is the downside to no-fault car accident laws. In exchange for PIP coverage, you give up the right to hold the at-fault driver responsible for your injuries unless you meet a certain threshold. We can help you understand what this means and determine if you qualify to pursue action against the motorist who caused your crash.
For a free legal consultation with a car accidents lawyer serving Fort Myers, 800-747-3733
When Can I File A Claim Against The Driver Who Caused My Accident?
In general, you will need lasting, debilitating injuries to a body part before Florida law allows you to step outside of the no-fault system and file a fault-based claim. The treatment needed to stabilize your condition can exceed the limits of your PIP policy in days or even hours.
To meet the serious injury threshold, you need to suffer:
- A significant impairment to an important body part or body system
- Disfigurement of the face, neck, arms, and injuries to prominent areas of the body
- Permanent injuries
- Injuries that will likely cause your death
If you believe you may meet any of these criteria, a Florida car accident lawyer can help you determine if you can collect compensation above and beyond your PIP limits by filing a third-party liability claim based on the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy. This may allow you to recover money to pay for your current bills and losses, as well as your future or ongoing care needs.
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What Can I Expect During The Auto Insurance Claims Process?
Once we determine you qualify to file a liability claim against the at-fault driver, we launch an investigation into your accident. During this period, we collect evidence and build a strong case to support your claim.
We may use a wide variety of resources to prove your right to compensation. This could include calling expert witnesses to help us understand your injuries and prognosis or enlisting the help of accident reconstruction specialists.
Once we understand how your accident occurred, and we can prove the other driver was guilty of negligence (or acted in a careless or reckless manner), we can file your claim. Often, we submit a demand letter to the at-fault driver’s insurance company asking for a specific amount of compensation based on your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses.
This demand letter gives us a starting point for settlement negotiations with the insurer. Typically, insurance adjusters conduct their own investigation after receiving our claim and come up with their own value for your case. They offer this amount, and we go to work negotiating a claim that covers the maximum amount of compensation possible.
In most cases, we can reach a fair settlement with the insurance company after several rounds of negotiations. If this is not possible, state law generally gives us four years from the day of the crash to file a civil suit in court. If we need to pursue this option, a judge or jury will award compensation in your case.
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Pitfalls To Avoid After Getting Hurt In A Fort Myers Car Accident
The insurance company for the at-fault party will assign a claims adjuster to investigate your claim. The adjuster will either deny liability or try to negotiate a settlement. Here are a few things you need to understand about this process:
- The claims adjuster works for the defendant’s insurance company, not for you. Their job is to resolve your injury claim for as little money as possible. This is how they protect their employer’s bottom line.
- Not all insurance adjusters negotiate in good faith. For instance, they may offer less than you’re owed and say, “That’s the best I can do.” They may also delay the claims process, hoping you’ll drop the matter and seek damages elsewhere. Under Florida Statutes § 624.155, you have legal rights against bad faith insurance practices.
- The statute of limitations applies to settlements as well as lawsuits. If the filing deadline passes, and you cannot file a lawsuit, the insurance company and at-fault party have no legal liability. Filing your case outside the prescribed deadline could hurt your financial recovery options.
At this point, you might be wondering what happens if you lose a car accident lawsuit. If you cannot win against the defendant, you will not receive any compensation. This also means that you may have to pay for the damages suffered in the crash out of pocket. However, by working with a car accident attorney from the start, you increase the chances of a successful outcome.
When we represent a person who gets injured in a car crash, they do not have to worry about dealing with the claims adjuster or insurer directly. We handle everything for you, so that all you need to do is focus on getting better. We can even help to make your appointments and arrange for your car’s repairs. So, why go through all of this on your own?
Fort Myers Car AccidentsYOU CAN TRUST US 800-747-3733
How Do I Know The Full Value Of My Claim?
It is impossible to know how much money you will get from your claim until we successfully negotiate a settlement with the insurance company or the court announces your award. However, we will need to determine the fair value of your damages before we can begin negotiations.
To calculate a fair settlement value, we need to collect all bills, receipts, and other documentation of your expenses and losses suffered because of the crash. This may include your medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy costs, lost wages, ongoing care costs, property damages, and other losses. We can help you identify all possible financial losses to maximize your payout and ensure you recover as much compensation as possible for your losses.
In addition to requesting money for your financial losses, we also use the sum of these damages to calculate your non-economic damages. This includes compensation for the pain and suffering the accident caused. If you suffered permanent impairments because of your injuries, your pain and suffering damages may be exponentially higher than your financial damages. We can help you understand how we calculate these damages, which can vary between cases.
Your Potential Compensation Depends On The Extent Of Your Injuries
Every car accident case is unique. How much you can recover depends on your injuries and how they affect your life. Some injuries lead to chronic conditions that require ongoing medical care. You will want your claim to reflect both your current and future accident-related losses.
Some car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Scarring and disfigurement
Prioritize Medical Treatment After A Car Accident
Nothing is more important than your health and physical recovery. See a doctor immediately after any car accident, even if you believe your injuries are minor. A doctor can assess your injuries and prescribe appropriate treatment to help you reach your maximum medical recovery.
Medical documentation can also prove invaluable for your case. It can help link your losses to the accident and give us an idea of how much you stand to recover. Plus, you don’t want an insurer to undervalue your losses and offer you an unfair settlement. If you forgo medical treatment, an adjuster may also argue that you contributed to your losses.
Protect your right to compensation and seek medical attention.
How Our Fort Myers Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
Our legal team advocates for accident victims across Lee County, and we want to see how we can help you and your family now. We handle a variety of cases, including:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Head-on collisions
- Side-impact collisions
- Rear-end accidents
- Truck accidents
- Distracted driving accidents
- Uber and Lyft rideshare accidents
- Road rage accidents
- Reckless driving accidents
- Hit-and-run accidents
- Failure to yield accidents
- Speeding accidents
- Brake failure accidents
- Bus accidents
We handle other types of accidents, as well. We can discuss your particular accident during a free, no-obligation consultation.
See Our Five-Star Google Reviews
You might find it helpful to read what our clients say about us in their testimonials:
- “I was hit on my way to work by a young woman that ran through a red light. Before this accident I loved driving and my time in the car was relaxing for me. After this accident, I’m a mess in the car and definitely needed someone to help me sort it all out and get back some control over what happened. That’s where my attorney Dean Levy came in. Attorney Levy has been very patient, helpful and diligent in helping me as much as possible and not only is settling my case but got a much bigger settlement then I expected!!!” Toni A.
- “I can’t thank the Law Offices of Anidjar and Levine enough! They did such a great job in settling my case and I’m so pleased with their work. I want to especially thank Larry Levine and the whole team for all their hard work and dedication to my case. I highly recommend them to anyone who needs legal assistance!” Rivka N.
- “Attorney Dean Levy, and the entire team rocks!! The level of professionalism was awesome!! From the start to the end they have been there for me each and every step of the way! With the help and support that I needed. Thank you very much for all that you do and for a great outcome. Highly recommended!” Sonia N.
We have hundreds of five-star reviews on Google like these. Come see why.
Fort Myers Car Accident Statistics
In 2021, fatal car accidents across Lee County surpassed those in 2020. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reported 3,098 fatalities out of 341,399 crashes in 2020, and Lee County saw 3,771 fatalities out of 401,179 fatal crashes a year later.
The FLHSMV also reported the following for 2021:
- 593 motorcycle crashes
- 186 bicycle accidents
- 9,552 pedestrian accidents
- 5,061 accidents involving alcohol
The Most Dangerous Roads In Fort Myers
According to WinkNews, the following intersections in Fort Myers remain particularly dangerous:
- Colonial Boulevard and Summerlin Road
- Six Mile Cypress Parkway and Colonial Boulevard
In another report, US-41 at Littleton Road also poses dangers for motorists. In February 2022, a 78-year-old man died after being rear-ended at the intersection. The two vehicles involved went up in flames during the collision.
Lee County Sherriff’s Office regularly updates its active traffic report, where you can see the location of current accidents. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) also has information on the highways that run through Lee County.
How Can I Talk To A Car Accident Lawyer In Fort Myers For Free?
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine has the resources and skills you want to win your case and get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. We have offices throughout Florida to ensure you get the service and representation you want after a car accident.
We want to put our knowledge, experience, and resources to work for you.SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY NOW