South Florida is the most densely populated region of the state, so it stands to reason that it will rank high when it comes to the frequency of serious car accidents. Statistics from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) are proof of the dangers, as there are more than 65,000 crashes in Miami-Dade County every year that cause injuries to 31,700 people. Many of these victims can recover compensation for their losses by filing a claim under their auto insurance Personal Injury Protection (PIP); for serious injuries, a victim could pursue a third-party claim against an at-fault driver.
However, your situation is complicated if you were injured as a passenger in a vehicle being driven by a friend or family member. You could be in the awkward position of seeking legal relief from a person you know, yet it is a mistake to forego your rights to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Retaining a Miami car accident attorney enables you to maintain separation, and there are many additional reasons to remain true to your own personal interests.
Your losses may be substantial
In a serious auto crash, you could incur astronomical medical bills for treatment and be forced to take time off work. Plus, your pain and suffering can be extreme, especially when car accident injuries lead to long-term disability or permanent harm. These losses add up and constitute money out of your pocket unless you take appropriate legal recourse.
Your own PIP does not cover certain losses
If you do file a claim under your own auto insurance policy, you do not need to prove fault; however, you are limited to:
- Up to 80% of all medical treatment;
- A maximum of 60% of your lost wages; and,
- A TOTAL of $10,000 for these amounts.
There may not be any other party to pursue
While you might opt to pursue a third-party in a multiple vehicle crash, the scenario of concern is a single-auto collision. There can only be one driver responsible for causing the accident, barring a vehicle defect or fault by external forces. Considering the limitations of PIP insurance, seeking damages from someone you know may be your only option.
Auto insurance is designed to protect victims AND policyholder
Besides being required by law, you procure auto insurance to protect your own interests if you are at fault in an accident. You get peace of mind knowing that an injured victim will file an insurance claim instead of coming after you personally. These points also apply to the friend or family member who was driving when you were hurt. By filing a claim, you are seeking a payout under the insurance policy for which that person pays premiums.
A Miami Car Accidents Lawyer Can Handle the Details
For more information on pursuing your legal options against someone you know after a car accident, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA. We can set up a no-cost case review at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.