Driver’s often aren’t aware that usually car crash claims will never move into a criminal court unless there is clear assault or death involved in the wreck. Most wrecks may not even make it to a civil court based on the insurance companies involved.
To break this down quickly, the criminal court system handles matters between the accused party and the state. The civil court handles matters between two people often not necessarily involving crime, but instead, involving damages including unintended physical damage and property damage. As with any Tampa auto accident attorney, you should expect your attorney to help you make decisions on whether to proceed to either court, not to make them for you.
What are the Statutes for Filing a Criminal Case
Generally, a crime can be “commenced” or pursued legal resolution through the state at any time. For the victims of a crime, such as the surviving family members of vehicular homicide, that means the case could happen right away or years from now. Usually, with car accidents, criminal cases happen pretty quickly.
In vehicular homicide cases or cases of extreme negligence where the at-fault driver will face charges, the police will often make an arrest within the days or weeks following the wreck. Afterward, that person may get out on bail, while the investigation continues, the state builds a case, or a grand jury reviews the evidence. When a grand jury is involved, they may choose to indict the suspect, or they could decide that there’s not really grounds for a criminal case.
What are the Statutes for Filing a Civil Case?
The no-fault system in Florida is rather unique in that it eliminates the possibility of suing the other driver except in rare cases. Now, for civil car crash claims, you must act within four years, and that means filling your claim at that time.
Then, you must show extreme negligence. Far past the option of saying that someone didn’t check their blind spot, extreme negligence means that the driver went far out of the bounds of reasonable conduct. For example, a driver with a .18 BAC may be held liable for some damages in civil court as they were far above the legal limit and caused harm.
You have four years to make your claim, but you should thoroughly discuss the likelihood of the case moving forward with an attorney before you file. If you file a claim that doesn’t exactly meet the needs within Florida, then you may not get anything at all and be left with court fees.
When the Florida no-fault system is set aside, it takes on a pure comparative fault. That means that each driver is solely responsible for the portion of their contribution to the crash and can only obtain compensation within the scope of the other person’s fault. For example, if the other driver had that .18 BAC, they may very well be at fault. However, if the second driver involved has gone through a red light, then both drivers may be found with a 50/50 fault.
When it comes down to compensation, it means that the judge would reduce any reward by 50%. When juries are involved, they may be more critical of fault and place blame more on the person trying to obtain compensation.
Any Car Accident Attorney in Tampa, FL Should Provide Thorough Explanations
What most drivers need after a crash is guidance. They may not understand how the no-fault system applies to their case and what to do if their coverage isn’t enough. It is possible that they could and even should take their case to court. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to obtain “full” compensation for their damages.
Florida juries and judges are critical when it comes to evaluating fault and compensation because the no-fault system exists to avoid these battles. So when someone appears in court, they want to see a true victim. Your attorney should work hard to explain what you should expect if you go to court.
Your attorney in Tampa should also layout how you could proceed and how you can build a strong case.
Our Tampa Auto Accident Attorneys Have Handled Many Car Crash Claims
As you choose the auto accident law firm in Tampa, FL for your case, consider Winters & Yonker. Our passionate, experienced, and skilled attorneys have worked on numerous car crash claims. We provide support for the victims and help them pursue compensation to cover their damages.