Car accidents are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, speeding and careless driving are two of the leading reasons auto accidents occur. Analyzing the cause of an accident—and the way in which a car crash happened determines who is liable for any wrongful death or personal injury claims.
PIP benefits are there When Car Accidents Happen
Florida’s No-Fault Law provides for Personal Injury Protection, or PIP benefits for the payment of medical benefits resulting from an auto accident. All car owners are required to have PIP to have their medical bills paid up to the PIP policy limits, up to $10,000.00 or $2500.00 if there no determination of an emergency medical condition, if a Florida accident occurs – regardless of whose fault the accident is. The goal of having PIP insurance is to help injured victims get the medical treatment they need within 1 days of the accident without having to wait for their case to settle.
In order to qualify for the full $10,000, there must be a finding that the patient has an emergency medical condition. If there is no finding of an emergency medical condition, the patient can only claim up to $2,500 in medical fees. An emergency medical condition (EMC) is defined as a:
- Serious jeopardy to a patients health
- Serious impairment of everyday bodily functions
- Serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part due to the accident
There is no preset list of injuries that automatically meet the requirements so it’s up to the treating doctor to make the determination of an EMC, though the insurance company’s doctor can challenge this finding.
Common kinds of auto accidents
An experienced auto accident attorney will look at the nature of the auto accident to determine who should be held liable—the owners of the vehicles, manufacturers, and other entities may be at fault in some cases. The way in which the accident happened also indicates which injuries are likely to occur. Majority of South Florida car collisions fall into one of the following categories:
Rear-end car accidents. This is where a car in the rear fails to slow down in time and strikes the back of the car in front of it. In most cases, the driver and owner of the rear car are almost always liable for the injuries that occur. Injuries that are considered soft-tissue, such as whiplash, are a common result of a rear-end collision.
Head-on collisions. This happens when one vehicle strikes another vehicle head-on so that the fronts of both cars collide together. This usually occurs because one vehicle is in the wrong lane. The driver may be going down a one-way street the wrong way, may be intoxicated or may have become distracted while driving due to various reasons. Head-on crashes are often fatal in most cases.
Side-impact crashes. These type of crashed are also called a T-bone crashes because the cars collide in the shape of the letter T. These accidents often happen at intersections due to running a red light or a stop sign. The occupants of the impacted vehicle often suffer very severe and permanent injuries.
Sideswipe accidents. This usually happens when one motor vehicle veers into the lane of another car or fails to merge properly, striking the car in the same lane. Vehicles that pass improperly can also cause a sideswipe.
Auto rollovers. Vehicles that are going too fast, taking a turn to quickly, or are part of multi-vehicle crashes can easily roll over. This type of accident usually results in the death of the occupants or causing catastrophic injuries. Certain vehicles, such as jeeps and sport utility vehicles, tend to roll over due to their higher center of gravity.
Multi-car crashes. These accidents are usually complex because the path of each vehicle before and after the impact can be hard to determine in some cases. The cars involved may be struck more than once. These cases involve multiple plaintiffs and multiple defendants.
Single-car accidents. Majority of these accidents may be caused by product defects. However, if the driver is at fault, the passengers do have a claim against the driver.
The manner in which the accident occurred is often determined with the help of the police and an investigation of the accident site, the vehicles, and by speaking with all relevant witnesses. Sometimes, professional experts are used to determine how the wreck occurred.