If you have been in a car accident in Orlando, Florida, you may be entitled to both economic damages such as medical expenses and vehicle repairs, as well as, non-economic damages for intangible losses such as physical pain, mental anguish, and disability. While the first steps after a car accident should be to seek medical care, file a police report, and notify your insurance company, it is also important to contact an experienced Florida car accident attorney to help you sort out what compensation you are eligible for. 

What Kind of Damages Are Awarded in Car Accident Cases?Woman sitting by her crashed car after an accident trying to figure our what damages she can claim

The awarded damages may include compensatory damages or punitive damages.  With compensatory damages, these are to help restore a person to the position they were in prior to the car accident.

There are two forms of this: economic and non-economic. 

Economic Damages:

This is reimbursement for injured individuals for money that is lost or will be lost as a direct result of the car accident.  This may include:

  • Automobile repair.
  • If unable to work, you can recoup lost wages.
  • Future wage loss if unable to return to work after recovery.
  • Transportation costs for medical appointments (doctor/physical therapy).
  • Compensation for home renovations for accessibility devices like wheelchairs.
  • Compensation for long-term care and medical treatment or future surgeries. 
  • Medical expenses for bills, adaptive equipment, medication, and physical therapy.

Non-Economic Damages:

This is reimbursement for physical and emotional distress that results from the car accident.  This is most commonly referred to as pain and suffering or mental anguish.  The Florida Statute (627.737) defines this as:

  • Significant or permanent loss of important bodily functions. 
  • Permanent injury with a justifiable degree of medical probability.
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement. 
  • Death.

Non-economic damages are about compensating one for the loss of their dignity and enjoyment in life. Considerations for compensation under this category include physical pain they are in, mental anguish (humiliation, depression, fear, anger), disabilities sustained, disfigurement, inconvenience, and loss of consortium.  To be clear, the loss of consortium is compensation for the non-injured spouse for the loss of support, companionship, comfort, affection, and sensual intimacy. 

Punitive Damages

In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the at-fault party in the event that there were aggravating circumstances. An example of this would be if the car accident was a result of an individual driving under the influence.  While punitive damages being awarded is rare, it does occur if there was deplorable or malicious conduct that resulted indirectly injuring the no-fault party.  

What If There is More Than One At-Fault Party?

In the event of a car accident, there can be more than one at-fault party. For instance, an employer can be held liable if they have a distracted driver on the job in a company vehicle that causes an accident.  

Another example is if the driver is impaired by driving someone else’s vehicle; the driver is negligent, but you may also be able to show negligence on the part of the vehicle owner if they knew that the driver was intoxicated or had a history of drinking and driving.  This is why it is critical to contact a car accident attorney in Florida to determine who is at-fault. 

Common Causes of Car Accidents in Florida 

While in no means an exhaustive list, the most common causes of car accidents in Florida that result in compensation, include:

  • Distracted driving.
  • Speeding.
  • Impaired driving.
  • Tailgating.
  • Failing to yield.
  • Driver fatigue.

What You Need to Know About Pursuing Compensation – Time Limitations & Damage Recovery

There is a time limit on how long you have to pursue a lawsuit in the state of Florida. For personal injury, the lawsuit and filing for compensation must be done within 4 years of the accident date, according to Florida Statute 95.11. If the car accident resulted in wrongful death, where a victim died as a result of their injuries, the surviving family members have 2 years from the date of their death to file. If you do not file within these time limitations, your right to pursue compensation will be lost. 

In the event that you are partially responsible for the car accident, you can still seek compensation due to Florida’s comparative negligence rule.  This means that even if your own negligence is partially to blame, you can still collect from the at-fault driver.  An example of this would be if the second party rear-ended you due to following too closely (tailgating), but you had a brake light out that prevented the driver from seeing that you were slowing down, you will be found partly liable. You can recoup damages minus the amount you are liable for. If you are found to be liable for 20% of the car accident, then you can recoup 80% of your damages in compensation.

Filing for Wrongful Death After a Car Accident

If a loved one is lost during a car accident, a family member may file for a wrongful death lawsuit within 2 years of the decedent’s death.  Those who are eligible for compensation are the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, or a blood relative/adoptive sibling that was solely or partially dependent on the deceased for support or services. 

Damages that can be awarded through a wrongful death claim include:

  • Estimated value of the support/services that the deceased provided.
  • Lost wages/benefits or earnings from the deceased. 
  • Future lost wages that would have been earned if no death occurred.
  • Loss of protection, guidance, or companionship from the deceased.
  • Mental or emotional distress due to the loss of a child.
  • Medical expenses paid on behalf of the deceased by a family member.

Wrapping It Up

Keep in mind that Florida is a no-fault state, which requires you to purchase a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) plan with a minimum of $10,000 to cover your medical expenses and wages. To have your medical expenses covered by insurance, you must seek the initial services within 14-days after the car accident. 

For more information contact our Orlando Attorneys or email us directly at info@frankeidson.com. 

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Frank M. Eidson P.A. has been tirelessly representing the rights of Central Florida victims since 1989.

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If you have been injured in an accident, turn to Frank M. Eidson P.A. Whether your case is a simple collision or a complicated auto wrongful death case, contact personal injury lawyer Frank Eidson today to schedule your free consultation.

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