One of the most common questions that victims ask their Fort Lauderdale car wreck attorney relates to the issue of compensation. If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you would naturally want to know how much your case is worth. Unfortunately, this isn't usually a question that attorneys can answer right away. Not only do a number of factors affect the amount you will ultimately get, but attorneys, insurance adjusters, and the courts may all arrive at different amounts.

Technically, there are two types of compensation available to car accident victims: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages, as the name suggests, are designed to offset the losses you sustained. They include:

  • Economic losses, such as medical bills, lost wages, and property repair costs. These are also known as special damages.
  • Non-economic losses including disfigurement, mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. Another name for non-economic losses is general damages.
  • Speculative damages. These are damages that are likely to occur in the future, such as future lost earnings or future medical expenses.
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The other type of compensation available to car accident victims is punitive damages. While all lawsuits resulting from crashes involve compensatory damages, punitive damages are rare. They are reserved for cases in which the at-fault party was grossly negligent, or they acted willfully, and the resulting injuries are severe.

Factors That Determine How Much a Case is Worth

In many car accidents, the victims' injuries make up the bulk of the damages. The severity of your injuries and the type and duration of treatment required will, therefore, play a major role in determining the number of damages you can claim. That being said, the amount of insurance coverage available will limit the amount you actually get. The severity of your injuries can also affect your non-economic losses. 

To put a dollar figure on your case, your Fort Lauderdale car wreck attorney will want to see all your receipts and invoices relating to the accident. They will also want a doctor's report and prognosis, wage slips, and other evidence of how your injuries have changed your life. Remember, you can't just pull a figure out of thin air and expect an insurance company to compensate you. You need to have solid evidence of each loss you claim. The amount you can claim in damages may also be capped by the source from which you're seeking compensation. Let's look at this in more detail.

Sources of Compensation Following a Florida Car Accident

Since Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car insurance, you'll turn to your personal injury protection coverage first. It is important to note that PIP will only cover 80% of your medical costs up to $10,000. If your injury isn't deemed an emergency, you will only be able to claim $2,500 in benefits. However, if the accident leaves you disabled, PIP will cover 60% of your lost wages up to $10,000.

If your injuries are significant, $10,000 won't be a lot of money. Fortunately, there are circumstances under which you can seek damages from the at-fault driver. It all depends on the severity of your injuries. Florida's laws allow you to sue the driver if you suffered: 

  • Significant, permanent loss of an important bodily function
  • Significant, permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement

You can also draw on the at-fault driver's bodily liability insurance if they have it. Unlike many other states, Florida doesn't require motorists to carry this type of coverage. However, drivers can be held personally liable for up to $20,000.

Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer may instead advise you to file a claim under your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This covers injuries and other losses caused by drivers who have no insurance or insufficient insurance, as well as those who fled the scene and can't be identified.

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In some cases, you may also be able to hold a third party liable for your injuries. This may be the manufacturer of your car or one of its components, the employer of the at-fault driver, or even the company responsible for building or maintaining the roadway. It all depends on exactly what caused the crash. When you consult a Fort Lauderdale car wreck attorney, they will investigate your case and advise you on the correct parties to pursue.

If you were involved in a car accident, you need a Fort Lauderdale car wreck attorney to evaluate your case. They will be able to give you a good estimate of how much your claim is worth. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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