Florida is a no-fault state which uses a very different rule structure than other states when it comes to handling insurance claims and compensation. However, that doesn’t mean that a passenger can’t be sought out for compensation in times of negligence or carelessness. When it comes to handling issues with car accidents, you’ll need the help of an auto accident attorney in Tampa, FL.
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What Does No-Fault Insurance Laws Do for Passenger Related Accidents?
The very first thing to do when it comes to seeking compensation is to contact your own insurance company. The no-fault insurance laws in Florida make each person’s insurance policy immediately responsible for injuries. Even when a passenger is part of the issue at hand, you will first file a claim with your insurance carrier.
Your insurance carrier will act within the extent of your policy pulling from the personal injury protection or PIP coverage that you have. PIP protection will cover up to 80% of medical expenses and only 60% of wages that you lost because of the time spent off of work.
After you have exhausted what your insurance company will cover, you may evaluate the options of seeking compensation from the other parties responsible, including other drivers and passengers.
The possibilities of placing a claim against an at-fault party are very limited in Florida. You may have to work closely with a Florida car accident attorney to find out if you have the opportunity to start a case.
A passenger being at-fault or having caused the accident is a prime example of when a claim would not be reasonable in a no-fault situation. Passenger related, or passenger caused accidents will likely have other issues at hand, such as vehicular manslaughter or DUI charges for the other driver. Passengers are often placed at-fault in some capacity for encouraging reckless driving such as drinking behind the wheel.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
While Florida bases most of their auto accident claim resolutions on their no-fault laws, there is an opportunity for alternatives. Florida also employs comparative negligence to cover a few situations or scenarios that might seem exceptionally difficult.
In most other states, the at-fault parties insurance company will be responsible for compensating the injured persons. The level of compensation may vary depending on the degree of fault. Florida uses a pure comparative fault model, which means that the plaintiff’s awards for damages are impacted by the percentage that a judge assigns to them for their contribution to the crash.
Comparative negligence will often come into play when you take your case to court. In the instances of a passenger being at-fault, you will likely not have any fault assigned to you. Passengers are rarely at fault, but when they are, it is often because they recklessly encouraged dangerous driving such as riding on the sidewalk or outright grabbed the wheel.
Passengers are usually only at fault in extreme cases such as wheel grabbing. These cases will often go to trial as they will not likely reach settlement negotiations that are fair to everyone involved. Additionally, you may have to work with the passenger’s insurance carrier even though they were not operating the vehicle. It’s a sticky situation, and you need legal help.
When to Contact a Tampa Auto Accident Attorney?
It seems reasonable that you can contact your insurance company, right? You will need to file the claim with your insurance company first. However, most insurance companies will do everything possible to minimize the payout for their customers.
A minimized payout can leave you with substantial financial debt as you still have outstanding medical bills, and you likely spent time off of work. Instead of accepting a minimalized settlement, work with an attorney.
Insurance companies only look out for themselves, and you need someone who can fight for your best interest. A car crash attorney should do just that, fight for what you need.
Find the Right Car Accident Attorney in Florida
Working with the right attorney can change the course of your case. The law offices of Winters and Yonker help the victims of auto wrecks daily. Choose an attorney that is empathetic and knows that your case will demand personalized attention.
With severe cases that involve passengers who are potentially at-fault, you may need guidance in seeking out unconventional ways to recover the compensation that you need. An auto accident lawyer in Tampa can help you file your claim and know what amount of compensation for your injuries is fair.