Florida Car Accident Lawyers for Passenger Injuries
Skilled Lawyers Help Clients Understand Their Right to Recover Compensation for Passenger Injuries Sustained in South Florida Car Accidents
Not every car crash in Fort Lauderdale or any other part of Broward County will have injuries. But they will always have a driver. And if that driver caused an accident, they could be liable for any passenger injuries that result.
Despite a passenger’s clear right to recover compensation if injured in a car accident, getting that compensation can be tricky. That’s because it’s not always entirely clear where the passenger should look for that compensation.
For example, there’s the driver of the car the passenger was in. But what about the drivers of any other vehicles involved in the accident?
Insurance companies may further complicate matters by resisting their legal duty to provide coverage to you, as a passenger. There’s where the skilled car accident attorneys of Lawlor, White & Murphey can step in.
Florida Car Insurance Coverage
Florida law requires all vehicles registered in Florida to carry a minimum level of car insurance. This includes at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage.
If you’re injured as a passenger, the first place you will seek recovery is PIP. This type of coverage will cover:
- The named insured
- Relatives of the named insured who reside in the same household as the insured
- Anyone operating the vehicle that the insured person owns
- Passengers in the vehicle
- Anyone struck by the vehicle
So now you know that any injuries you sustained in the car accident will be paid for by PIP. But which PIP? Well, there’s the driver of the vehicle you were in. But there may be several other options, such as:
- Your own car insurance. You are not required to have car insurance to ride as a passenger in a vehicle. But if you do have PIP coverage for your own vehicle, that coverage may also cover medical expenses and lost wages related to your passenger injuries.
- Certain relatives. If you live in the same household with a relative who has PIP coverage, the relative’s insurance policy may apply.
- The owner of your vehicle. If the driver of the vehicle you were in did not own the vehicle involved in the accident, PIP coverage maintained by the vehicle’s owner will apply.
- The at-fault driver. If the driver of another vehicle caused the accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation from that driver’s car insurance company. In the case of serious injuries, you can also pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for things like pain and suffering.
In certain situations, you may be able to recover from PIP from multiple car insurance policies. This does not mean you can recover more than once for the same injuries. For instance, if your passenger injuries result in $7,000 worth of medical expenses, you can only recover that $7,000 amount once.
However, if one car insurance policy’s PIP limits aren’t enough to fully compensate you for your injuries, you may be able to obtain additional recovery from a second car insurance policy’s PIP coverage.
The Process of Obtaining a Recovery for Your Passenger Injuries
The first thing you need to do following an accident is get medical attention. Even if you’re not sure if you’re injured or if you think that your injuries aren’t serious enough to get medical help, it’s best to see a doctor. In fact, Florida law requires you to seek out medical care within 14 days of the accident if you want PIP car insurance coverage to apply.
Next, you need to file a car insurance claim for your injuries. At Lawlor, White & Murphey, our experienced personal injury lawyers understand how complicated and difficult this process can be. We will begin by identifying all relevant insurance coverage in your case and ensure that your claims are properly filed.
When things work as they should, the insurance company will pay you what you are entitled to under the relevant policy. But often, things don’t go so smoothly.
Sometimes, the car insurance company will underpay. Other times, they will improperly deny your claim. Finally, they will hold on to your money as long as possible before writing you a check.
If compensation from the insurance companies isn’t enough, we will also work to ensure you are fully compensated by pursuing a negligence claim against the at-fault driver. In these cases, we will investigate to both identify the at-fault driver and build a strong case against them showing that:
- The at-fault driver owed you a duty of care (all drivers owe a duty to everyone else on the roads to drive carefully).
- The at-fault driver breached this duty by failing to drive carefully.
- That breach caused your passenger injuries.
- Those passenger injuries caused you to suffer damages. These damages can be in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering or even property damage.
Not in all situations where you get hurt will you be allowed to sue the at-fault driver for negligence. This is because Florida is a “no fault” state which generally prohibits lawsuits against drivers. Only in certain situations is an injured passenger in a car accident allowed to sue the at-fault driver.
If you do end up filing a lawsuit, you should anticipate the possibility of litigating in court. While most cases settle before trial, they will sometimes require arguing your case in front of a judge and jury. Should this happen, the lawyers of Lawlor, White & Murphey have extensive trial experience and are prepared to take this step to get you the recovery you deserve.
Need Helping Recovering From Your Passenger Injuries?
If you were injured while riding as a passenger in someone else’s vehicle, the experienced South Florida car accident lawyers of Lawlor, White & Murphey are here to help. They can help you figure out what your next step should be to make a full recovery, both physically and financially.
We offer a no-cost consultation to all our potential clients. During this consultation, we can learn what happened and identify the various avenues for you to get the compensation you need. You can call our office or fill out this online contact form and we will respond promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Passenger Injuries in Fort Lauderdale Car Crash Cases
Yes. In fact, for more serious passenger injuries, the coverage limits on any one PIP policy may be insufficient to cover all of the current and future expenses of your claim. In this case, you can move on to the next available policy after exhausting one. Despite this, you are not entitled to recover compensation for the same harm twice. For example, if your passenger injuries result in $7,000 worth of medical expenses, you can only recover that $7,000 amount once.
Yes—both for the sake of your health and to avoid complications in recovering compensation from the relevant insurance companies. Under Florida law, you are technically required to seek out medical care within 14 days following the accident for PIP coverage to apply. Despite this, it is always advisable to get checked for any non-apparent passenger injuries as soon as possible following the accident, even if you don’t appear to be harmed.