If I’m A Passenger In A Car Accident In Fort Lauderdale Can I Sue?

If you are a passenger in a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, you can sue the at-fault party to recover damages. However, the process can be quite complex, depending on how many cars were involved and how many drivers contributed to the accident. The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. have helped numerous passengers recover compensation from negligent drivers and they can help you too. Call us today: 954-524-2820.

PIP Covers Passenger Injuries

Every motorist in the state of Florida must have personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. PIP benefits provide the driver with up to $10,000 for medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, regardless of fault. Generally, no-fault benefits will pay 80 percent of medical bills and 60 percent of lost wages up to that $10,000 limit.

Passengers involved in Florida motor vehicle accidents are also able to receive PIP benefits after an accident. However, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • If you were a passenger in another vehicle at the time of your accident, your PIP coverage will cover any injuries you have up to your policy limit.   
  • If you do not have insurance and you were a passenger in someone’s vehicle, the driver’s PIP policy will cover your injuries.
  • If you do not have insurance but you have a family member residing in your household that does, you may be able to use his/her PIP insurance.

We will make sure that you receive the proper compensation as quickly as possible after your accident.

Note: You must visit a doctor within 14 days to recover PIP benefits.

What if my injuries exceed PIP coverage?

If your injuries exceed available PIP coverage, you can file a claim with either one or both drivers. However, under Florida law, to be eligible to file a claim against another driver, you must prove that you suffered a serious injury. Per Florida Statute § 627.737, a serious injury involves:

  • “Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function,
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement,
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
  • Death.”

Proving a serious injury is not as straightforward as it should be. We can work with you to prove your serious injury and help you build your case against the negligent driver.

Filing a Claim

Whom you file against depends on how many cars were involved and which drivers were negligent. If the driver of the car you were riding in overcorrected and caused the car to rollover, you would file against him/her because s/he is likely the only liable party.

However, if you were involved in an accident with another driver, you can file against both parties (if both parties were negligent in some way). In this case, the insurer will assign a percentage of fault to each driver. If the insurer finds that the driver of the other car was 90 percent at-fault for the collision, s/he will cover 90 percent of your damages, while the driver of your car will be responsible for 10 percent.

If a third car caused the accident, you can file against him/her but know that this might lessen what you can recover. This is because all injured parties will be filing a claim against him/her. This means you could end up splitting an insurance policy three or more ways.

What if the at-fault party did not carry bodily injury liability insurance?

Florida law does not require drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. While this can make recovering compensation more difficult, you do have the option of suing the party responsible for the crash.

If you have not already enlisted our help in the process, now is the time. Filing a lawsuit can be complicated, especially when you are attempting to recover from serious injuries. We will investigate the at-fault party and his/her net worth to determine how much we can recover for your injuries.

What damages can I recover?

Passengers injured in a motor vehicle accident may be able to recover compensation for various types of damages including:

  • Medical expenses for hospital stays, prescriptions, surgeries, and therapies
  • Lost wages for days missed from work during the recovery process
  • Lost earning capacity if the accident required you to take a lesser-paying job or retire completely
  • Pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other noneconomic damages

Keep in mind that your actions can reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to. For example, if you were not wearing a seat belt or somehow contributed to the crash, the insurer or at-fault party’s attorney may claim that you contributed to your injuries.

Insurers might also claim you are falsifying your injuries if you wait too long to seek treatment or if you ignore doctor’s orders.

Passengers involved in motor vehicle accidents are innocent victims and deserve to recover for their injuries. The car accident team at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman is here to help. The attorneys on staff are dedicated to making sure accident victims receive the compensation they deserve.

Call 954-524-2820 for your free consultation.