Nine Factors That Determine How Much to Expect From a Jacksonville Car Accident Settlement
After being injured in a car accident in Jacksonville, Florida, you are likely to face rising medical bills and other expenses resulting from the injury. Luckily, in most car accidents, you aren’t responsible for those costs: You can typically seek compensation from your insurance company or that of the at-fault driver.
That being said, the amount of money you receive — and whether it will be enough to cover your expenses — comes down to nine specific factors. Below is a breakdown of each to help you determine how much to expect from a car accident settlement in Jacksonville.
1. Extent of Injuries
The main factor in determining the value of a Jacksonville car accident settlement is the extent of your injuries. The worse they are, the more your medical treatment will cost.
Medical expenses include all of the following:
- The cost of an ambulance ride
- Emergency room treatment
- Hospitalization costs, if necessary
- Surgical procedures and testing, as needed
- Medical equipment and prescription costs
- Ongoing physical, occupational, and psychological therapy
The good news is that these all count as economic damages, which means you may be able to recover compensation. That said, insurance companies would prefer to pay victims as little as possible. So, if you want compensation, you must maintain records of all your medical expenses.
2. Location of the Accident
Getting into an accident anywhere in Florida, including Jacksonville, means the state’s no-fault laws will affect your claim. Your insurance company will cover all economic losses up to the limit of your insurance policy.
Some states, including those adjacent to Florida, don’t have no-fault laws. In those states, the driver’s insurance company responsible for the accident pays compensation.
3. The Driver Responsible for the Accident
Typical car accident settlement amounts can still be affected by the liable driver, even with Florida being a no-fault state. No-fault rules have exceptions. If you are injured badly enough, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party for additional economic or non-economic relief.
4. Negligence Rules
Florida uses comparative negligence rules to determine how much money you can receive when you sue someone for a personal injury. According to these, if you are partially responsible for the harm you suffered, any compensation you are awarded will be decreased by an equal percentage to how responsible you were for the harm you suffered.
This can easily affect how much to expect from a car accident settlement. Insurance companies understand rules that apply to court proceedings and negotiate settlements with those in mind.
5. Damage Caps
Though there used to be a cap on damage caps for personal injury awards in Florida, it was found unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court.
If you were to get into an accident in a state that applies damage caps to lawsuits, that would affect the typical car accident settlement amounts you can expect. The good news is that those caps usually only apply to non-economic damages, so you should get full compensation for your economic damages.
6. Insurance Gaps
Florida’s no-fault laws can be frustrating because of insurance gaps. Even though your economic losses are covered, the insurance company may not cover 100% of your losses.
The minimum policy you must maintain only covers 80% of medical costs and 60% of lost wages. You can purchase full coverage, but that is a decision you must have made before you got into the car accident.
7. Permanent Disabilities
One of the major exceptions to Florida’s no-fault rules involves permanent disabilities. If your injuries are so bad that you will be unable to fully return to your job, or if you were permanently scarred, you can sue the responsible driver. You may recover economic and non-economic damages, which can significantly increase the value of a car accident settlement.
Insurance companies know that plaintiffs can potentially attain millions of dollars from jury awards in these types of cases. In response, they will offer fair but lower settlements to avoid court costs and the risk of a massive jury award. Claimants often accept these offers because they remove the risks of trial and allow them to get the money faster.
8. Missed Work Time
Even if you weren’t permanently disabled, a severe injury will likely mean missing weeks or even months of work. Typically, compensation for lost wages is the second largest percentage of any money you receive in a settlement, so it is crucial to document all your lost work time.
If you forget to document a $40 prescription, the loss of compensation for that expense may not harm you much. However, if you don’t document two weeks of missed work, that causes anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars of lost income.
9. The Quality of Your Lawyer
Hiring a personal injury lawyer after being injured in a car accident can increase your compensation. This remains true even after attorney fees are deducted. As such, the question isn’t whether you should get a lawyer but who you should hire.
A skilled attorney with experience handling Florida car accidents can make thousands of dollars worth of difference in how much money you receive. When choosing a lawyer, research their past cases and successes, then compare and contrast with other lawyers who handle car accident cases. If your injuries make doing so difficult, entrust the task to a friend or family member.
Many Factors Influence Your Car Accident Settlement
If all of these factors seem like a lot to try to juggle, especially after you have been injured in a car accident, you are right. That is why you should take the steps you can to prepare for a possible car accident. Consider purchasing full coverage insurance and always carrying the phone number of a trustworthy lawyer with you. Doing so will help if the worst happens and you get hurt in a car accident.
Contact the Jacksonville Car Accident Law Firm of Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers Today For Help
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Jacksonville
9471 Baymeadows Rd #105,
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Baggett Law Personal Injury Lawyers – Downtown Jacksonville
121 W. Forsyth St. #170,
Jacksonville, FL 32202