After a car accident, you may soon realize that your expenses and bills are piling up. Maybe you’re not sure how everything will get paid or how you’ll ever get back the money you’ve already spent, particularly if you have been unable to work.
The Destin car accident lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell can help you recover damages against the other driver's insurance company or your own insurer, depending on the circumstances of the accident and your situation.
While we are able to fight for you to receive coverage and damages to the fullest extent the law allows, the truth is that the state of Florida has damage caps and other limitations on how much money you are entitled to receive after a car accident.
The factors involved in each accident vary greatly, so be sure to work closely with your lawyer to help ensure the most favorable outcome possible.
Personal Injury Protection Limits
In Florida, many car accidents can be resolved through your own personal injury protection insurance. This is a category of insurance that is used to cover medical expenses and lost wages in a no-fault accident. Unless there are serious injuries at hand, most accidents are no-fault.
Personal injury protection has two upper limits to how much money your insurer will pay out. Florida requires you carry $10,000 of this type of insurance.
If your accident involves an emergency medical condition, up to the full $10,000 is available to you. This money covers 80 percent of your medical expenses, including medical, surgical, X-ray, dental and rehabilitative services, as well as prosthetic devices and necessary ambulance, hospital and nursing services. Furthermore, you must obtain medical treatment within fourteen (14) days of the accident in order to qualify for the full $10,000 in benefits.
If your accident does not involve an emergency medical condition, or you do not obtain treatment within fourteen (14) days, personal injury protection benefits are capped is at $2,500.
If you have sustained a serious permanent injury, you have standing to bring a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company for medical expenses, lost wages and non-economic damages. There are no limits in Florida for the majority of these damages. However, the value of your claim depends on the amount of liability insurance coverage available on the at-fault driver's auto insurance policy.
Compensatory damages — those that compensate you for the expenses and losses related to the accident — do not have a cap stated in the statutes. Working with an experienced attorney is usually the best way to make sure you receive the highest amount of compensatory damages possible.
Non-economic damages are a slightly different story, though. This is where the amount of a claim can vary greatly. After a bad accident, you may suffer in ways that don’t have exact monetary values attached. Whereas your ambulance cost a certain dollar amount, the value of your pain and suffering is a variable.
Your lawyer uses evidence to show the value of non-economic damages — prescriptions or testimony may be part of this evidence, and the amount of money awarded to you is subject to how convincing this evidence is.
However, Florida does have one important cap on damages. Florida caps punitive damages at $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages. Punitive damages are rare, though. They are intended to punish the person at fault for malicious or egregious behavior.
If you have questions about the possibility of receiving damages after your car accident, please contact the lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell.