Car accidents are common, but they can have devastating consequences. Accident victims may suffer serious injuries, such as complex bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, or paralysis. In addition to physical pain, there may be financial or emotional repercussions. If you were injured in a car crash, you should discuss your situation with Jacksonville car accident lawyer Kevin M. Cobbin.No-Fault Claims
Florida is a no-fault state. After an accident, you will need to turn to your personal injury protection (PIP) insurance to cover your economic losses. Every driver must carry a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage. This coverage can pay up to 80% of your medical bills and 60% of your lost wages. It includes a $5,000 death benefit. However, when an accident causes injuries that rise to the statutory definition of permanent injuries, you may be entitled to sue an at-fault party for damages. It is important to take advantage of that because the amount paid by PIP coverage is insufficient to address catastrophic injuries, which are injuries that dramatically change your life.Establishing Liability
Under Florida Statutes Section 627.737(2), a permanent injury that would allow you to go beyond no-fault insurance and sue for damages involves: (1) the permanent and significant loss of a critical bodily function, (2) a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, besides disfigurement or scarring, (3) permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement, or (4) death. If you sustain permanent and significant injuries, you can sue to recover not only the portion of your medical bills and lost income that is not covered but also any intangible, non-economic losses.
To recover losses in a lawsuit, a car accident attorney in Jacksonville will need to establish liability. In most cases, this means that we need to show that the defendant owed you a duty to use reasonable care, the defendant breached the duty to use reasonable care, causation, and damages. A driver may breach the duty to use reasonable care by behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, weaving, cutting drivers off, texting while driving, or driving aggressively. For example, if a driver follows you too closely on the freeway, and you need to brake due to a sudden stop in traffic, and he rear-ends you and causes you to suffer spinal cord damage, you may be able to show negligence. Similarly, if a drunk driver runs a red light and slams into you in an intersection when you had the right of way, you can hold that driver accountable for negligence.Comparative Negligence
Florida courts follow the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under this doctrine, the defendant may point to your negligence as a contributing factor to your injuries to try to get your damages reduced by an amount proportional to your degree of fault. For example, if your damages are $200,000, but the jury determines that you were 20% at fault for a car accident because you were speeding, you may be able to recover $180,000 from the at-fault driver. A Jacksonville car accident attorney can help victims ensure that fault is not improperly attributed to them.Damages
If we can establish liability and show that your injuries are permanent under the statutory definition, we may be able to recover compensatory damages. These are damages that are meant to cover both your economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are concrete, documented losses, such as medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, alterations to the home, mobility devices, and lost income. Non-economic losses are intangible. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life. In the case of a drunk driving accident that causes permanent injuries, we may be able to claim punitive damages, which are damages intended to punish and deter, as well.Retain a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer
Car accidents can result in devastating injuries. You should hold responsible parties accountable for your losses if you have significant injuries or if a loved one dies. If you need representation from a car accident lawyer in Jacksonville, you should consult Kevin M. Cobbin. He represents people throughout Duval County and the surrounding areas. Call him at (904) 357-8448 or complete our online form.