Florida Car Accident Lawyer

July 2, 2024 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Florida car accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. After an auto accident, most crash victims are overwhelmed and usually have a lot of questions:

  • What happened?
  • What should you do next?
  • How much is this going to cost?
  • Do you need medical assistance?
  • Do you need legal help?

The answer to the last question is easy. Yes. If a negligent driver caused a car accident that injured you or killed a loved one, you need a Florida car accident lawyer to review your case, advise you of your options, and help you get the compensation you need for medical or funeral expenses. 

When you have questions and concerns about a potential car accident claim, trust the Florida car accident lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, to help you recover. Our personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience helping injured clients throughout the state. We'll evaluate your personal injury claim at no cost and work diligently to help you recover compensation that covers all your injuries and losses. 

Step One: Consult With a Florida Car Accident Attorney at Dolman Law Group

After a car accident, you need to devote your time and energy to healing from your injuries. Dealing with auto insurance companies takes time away from your rehabilitation and adds unneeded stress. Dolman Law Group knows how to advocate for you and negotiate with insurance companies to achieve the best outcome for your situation.

Our skilled Florida car accident lawyers have extensive experience fighting for car accident victims. We offer more than 120 years of combined legal experience and client advocacy, along with a dedication to professional excellence. Our tenacious team has received numerous regional and national accolades for the firm.

We also belong to elite organizations like the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum based on our successful history. Also, National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers have recognized many firm members.

Our car accident lawyers throughout Florida are committed to helping crash victims seek justice and recover the financial losses they suffered from the accident and their injuries. We cannot guarantee any specific outcome, but here are some examples of recent results for cases we’ve handled:

  • $5,000,000 for a severely burned car accident victim
  • $1,875,000 for a car crash victim who sustained a mild brain injury and back injury requiring a spinal fusion surgery
  • $1,580,000 for an auto accident victim with two herniated discs
  • $1,000,000 for a car collision victim with various injuries
  • $775,000 for a father and son who suffered car crash injuries
  • $750,000 for a crash victim who sustained a subdural hematoma and rotator cuff injury
  • $425,000 for a car accident victim with a lower back injury
  • $380,000 for a rear-end car wreck victim who sustained a herniated disc
  • $270,000 for a collision victim who suffered a Chiari malformation and herniated disc

Dolman Law Group has the legal knowledge and financial resources to help you resolve your Florida car accident claim. We aren't intimidated by insurance companies and the questionable tactics they use to avoid paying claims or their large legal teams. You can trust one of our seasoned attorneys to handle your Florida auto accident injury claim while you focus on healing.

With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach us to set up a free consultation about your Florida car crash claim. Contact us anytime at any of our convenient offices in:

  • Aventura
  • Boca Raton
  • Bonita Springs
  • Bradenton
  • Clearwater
  • Cocoa Beach
  • Doral
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Jacksonville
  • Largo
  • New Port Richey
  • North Miami Beach
  • Orlando
  • Palm Harbor
  • Spring Hill
  • St. Petersburg
  • Tallahassee
  • Tampa

Call us to discuss your car collision and the extent of your injuries, or write to us using our online contact page link below.

Contact Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers Today

What Compensation Can You Request in Florida Accident Claims?

If you are injured in a collision because of someone else's negligence, Florida law permits you to seek compensation for damages related to the accident and your injuries. Each car accident claim involves unique circumstances that affect the amount and type of damages someone can recover in a settlement or jury verdict.

Examples of damages commonly included in Florida car accident claims include compensation for:

  • Medical expenses, including ambulance and emergency room services, surgery, hospital stay, X-rays, diagnostic tests, medication, follow-up care, and travel costs to and from medical appointments
  • Estimated future medical expenses when a motor vehicle wreck leads to a severe or permanent injury that requires more treatment, additional surgeries, or around-the-clock care in a long-term nursing care facility
  • Rehabilitation expenses for specialized therapies and treatments like physical therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, and other treatments that help crash victims cope with the physical and mental challenges associated with their injuries
  • Lost income caused by time away from work because of the accident itself and related injuries and healing time
  • Estimated future lost income when a car collision causes permanent injuries that prevent someone from returning to their job or working in the future
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium with a spouse
  • Scarring and disfigurement

A Dedicated Car Accident Lawyer in Florida Will Consider Many Factors to Ensure You are Fully Compensated

Your motor vehicle collision claim involves unique factors that impact the amount and type of damages you could receive. A skilled auto accident attorney will consider:

The Scope of Your Injuries

The most severe injuries typically result in higher claims. Certain types of injuries also increase the value of a car accident claim. For example, someone who breaks a leg in a car accident will likely receive less compensation than someone who sustains permanent brain damage after sustaining head trauma. Severe injuries cause more pain and suffering, providing grounds for compensation beyond medical bills and lost income.

The Total Amount of Your Economic Loss

The economic losses a car accident victim incurs usually correlate to their injuries. Severe injuries have higher medical treatment costs and require people to take more time away from work, drastically adding to their economic loss.

Auto accident victims also face vehicle repair or replacement costs. Sometimes, they need outside help for lawn care, pool maintenance, child care, and anything else they can no longer do after their injuries.

What are Your Chances for a Full Recovery?

Those with little chance of fully recovering often receive more compensation from a settlement or jury award. Some car accident victims face ongoing challenges related to their injuries, such as chronic pain. This is especially true with neck and back injuries. Those who sustain broken bones sometimes deal with arthritis and other debilitating conditions forever.

An experienced Florida car accident attorney from Dolman Law Group can review your case, uncover the facts surrounding the accident, gather relevant documents, and reach out to experts, if necessary, to advise you on the amount and type of compensation you might receive for your claim.

Florida Car Accident Lawyer

What is the Statute of Limitations for Florida Car Accident Claims?

Those who suffer injuries in a car crash must bring a lawsuit against the responsible party within two years after the accident. Eligible survivors who lose a loved one in a Florida car accident also have two years to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages related to their loss.

Although it may seem like you have ample time to take action, it's best to consult an attorney immediately after a car accident in Florida. Missing the statute of limitations deadline means you miss the chance to recoup the losses related to your accident and injuries. Courts rarely hear cases filed after the statute of limitations timeframe unless exceptional circumstances exist. After the statutory deadline passes, you lose all leverage for negotiating a settlement with the other side.

Also, it's extremely important to act quickly because the evidence you'll need to support your claim can disappear over time. If you wait too long, for example, your lawyer might not have access to traffic or security surveillance footage showing the accident, among other critical evidence.

Also, accident eyewitnesses can forget important details, or you might not be able to locate them. The sooner you meet with an attorney, the sooner they can start building a strong case, giving you the best chance for a positive outcome.

Common Injuries Caused by Car Accidents in Florida

Whiplash Injuries After an Accident In Clearwater, Florida

Our team has extensive experience serving many people who have suffered a variety of injuries in Florida car accidents. Here are some examples of common injuries that might give rise to a Florida car crash claim:

  • Fractures. Broken bones might not immediately seem like a reason to hire a lawyer after a car accident. However, some people sustain multiple fractures or suffer complex injuries requiring one or more surgeries. Some car accident victims who suffer breaks face chronic pain or discomfort at the site of their injury.
  • Brain injuries. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Some brain injuries heal, but others leave victims with permanent brain damage. This translates into lifelong problems with cognitive and bodily functions. The struggles depend on which part of the brain suffered trauma.
  • Back and neck injuries. Vehicle accidents can lead to painful injuries along the spinal column, like bulged discs and cracked vertebrae.
  • Amputation. Car collisions sometimes lead to crushed limbs, especially at high speeds. If doctors cannot restore blood flow, accident victims face amputation.
  • Internal injuries. Florida auto accidents can lead to serious internal injuries, such as organ damage, bleeding, and broken ribs.

We work with your medical team to fully evaluate your injuries when seeking compensation. We want to know how your injuries will affect your future and your ability to get your life back on track. If you have a permanent disability, we want to be sure we collect the money you need to handle everything your future entails.

Let Us Fight the Insurance Company for You After Your Auto Accident

Insurance carriers don't stay in business by paying each claim they receive. They use every strategy they can to deny a claim or reduce its value. Once the insurance company receives a claim, they will assign a representative to investigate the accident and finalize approval.

Having a tenacious Florida car accident attorney in your corner protects you from insurance company games. At Dolman Law Group, we know how to handle communications and negotiations with insurance companies, and we protect our client's rights to recover the maximum possible outcome.

Where Do Car Accidents Occur in Florida?

Florida is one of the most dangerous states in the country, reporting more car accident claims than most states in the nation. Here, accidents occur at an alarming rate. From local state roads to busy freeways and highways, Florida drivers are more likely to get into a serious or fatal car accident than most other states. When car accident victims are facing an uncertain future, they need a dedicated Florida auto collision attorney who will protect their rights.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), more than 3,000 people die in car-related traffic accidents every year in Florida, and 212,000 suffer injuries. While these accidents occur on virtually every road in every county, some counties are more dangerous than others. For example:

  • According to one study, Bay County, Orange County, Monroe County, and Okaloosa County have the most distracted drivers
  • Orlando is one of the most dangerous cities, with 30,000 car accidents every year
  • Residents in Hollywood, located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, have a 15% risk of being in a car accident. It is the third most dangerous city for drivers in Florida.
  • Hialeah is the second most dangerous driving city in Florida, with the likelihood of getting into a car accident topping 26%.
  • Fort Lauderdale is the most dangerous city to drive in due to its increase in tourism and partying beachgoers.

Did you know that six of America's 10 most dangerous highways are in Florida? Other dangerous roads and intersections include:

  • I-75
  • I-4
  • Alton Road and Dade Boulevard
  • Pines Boulevard and South Flamingo Road
  • A1A and Las Olas
  • Northeast 2nd Avenue and 36th Street

With offices throughout the state, our Florida car accident attorneys personally know the roads, the most dangerous areas, and the car accident victims in our neighborhoods who we want to help. Our car accident lawyers are here for you, 24/7, whenever you need us.

What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Florida?

Put your health first after suffering injuries in a Florida car accident. However, while you heal, you can support your Florida car accident claim and give yourself the best chance to recover the most damages for your injuries.

These guidelines make it more challenging for the insurance carrier to avoid financial liability for your Florida car accident:

  • Attend all doctor appointments and other medical appointments that are part of your treatment plan, so the other side cannot dispute your injuries.
  • Keep all medical bills, paystubs, receipts, and other documents that prove economic loss related to your car accident and injuries.
  • Obtain a copy of the official traffic crash report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or we can request a copy for you.
  • Record how your injuries affected your life in a daily journal, including physical pain, economic hardship, and changes in your daily routine.

Bring all the information above to your initial consultation with a lawyer at Dolman Law Group, so they can review your situation and determine the viability of your claim. You should also share any other relevant information, including photos of the accident scene and vehicle damage, and eyewitness information.

A Respected Florida Car Accident Law Firm Can Help You Recover Fair Compensation

Although many people refer to these situations as car accidents—and you may even hear a Florida accident attorney use that phrase—many car crashes are not accidental at all. An accident implies that there is no one responsible for the collision. When a person is driving while intoxicated or texting and driving, or if an auto manufacturing company knows its steering system is defective, the car crash is probably not an accident and might have been prevented.

Even worse, when your car accident results in serious impairment, disfigurement, or pain and suffering, you may find that the crash has completely destroyed your life and irreparably changed your future. You might face unimaginable struggles and crippling medical expenses in the blink of an eye. 

This is why it's essential to hire an experienced car crash attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses. Our Florida car accident lawyers have an impressive track record of successfully resolving hundreds of Florida personal injury cases for our clients.

Which Out-Of-Pocket Damages Can You Request in a Florida Personal Injury Claim?

Accident injury victims may incur many different financial and personal losses from a motor vehicle collision. Here are some of the most common damages you might request in an accident claim. To fully understand the total compensation you might recieve, speak with a dedicated injury lawyer.

Medical Expenses

With the rising medical care costs, treating any type of injury can get expensive. Even moderately mild auto accident injuries can require a trip to the emergency department, medication, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, follow-up visits, and more.

Catastrophic injuries, like those to the neck and back or even the brain, may require hospitalization, surgeries, or even long-term care or assistance. Having skilled attorneys who will consider all of your past and future medical bills will ensure you receive the maximum amount of financial recovery for your injuries.

Florida Auto Accident Attorney

Lost Income

Many injuries can keep you from working for a while or prevent you from returning to your previous job. When you're saddled with medical bills and personal expenses, lost wages can seriously impact your finances.

You deserve compensation for lost income if you miss work due to injuries or medical treatments. In addition, if your injuries are permanent and force you to stop working or seek a lower-paying job, you may recover compensation for future lost earning ability.

Property Damage

Car repairs can cost a lot of money. You can request compensation for vehicle repair costs and diminished value after a crash caused by someone else's negligence. If appropriate, property damages should be a part of any car accident claims you file.

A Florida Car Accident Lawyer Can Also Help Recover Compensation Pain and Suffering and Other Intangible Losses

To receive compensation in Florida for your losses that exceed your PIP coverage, you must bring a personal injury claim against the negligent party's insurance company. Your attorney will divide your damages into economic damages (like medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and non-economic damages (like physical pain and emotional suffering, loss of quality of life, etc.).

In a Florida car accident claim, you can request compensation for out-of-pocket losses like medical bills and future wages. These are easily calculated by adding up the bills and doing some calculations for the lost wages and future losses.

However, crash victims can also suffer other damages during a car accident. You may have the right to seek more subjective losses, including the value of the physical pain you experienced and the emotional or mental suffering the crash caused. Pain and suffering are difficult to define and even more challenging to prove in court.

Two Types of Pain and Suffering

As your attorney builds your case, they will evaluate your specific experience of pain and suffering based on the information you share with your attorney and anything you have to document your condition. There are two types of pain and suffering: physical and mental.

  • Physical pain and suffering refer to the bodily pain you experienced from the crash, surgery, during recovery, and throughout rehab, and any physical pain you will experience for the rest of your life.
  • Mental pain and suffering refer to the emotional anguish or emotional trauma you suffered from your car accident (like PTSD) and emotions like fear and depression you sustained after the wreck.

Pain and suffering are often more difficult to pursue than documented expenses like medical bills. A seasoned Florida car accident attorney knows how to explain to the jury (or during negotiations with the insurance company) how the car accident has affected you and caused your pain and suffering. Additional evidence, like a psychiatric exam, is also helpful to prove emotional distress.

Car Accident Lawyers in Florida

We Can Help You Recover the Most Compensation After Your Florida Accident

Recovering compensation for automobile accident-related losses can be complex in Florida because the law sets out different requirements depending on your situation. After a crash, a car accident attorney may need to bring legal action through:

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance: Florida law mandates that drivers carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance to cover their medical costs, lost income, and other qualified expenses up to a certain amount, regardless of who caused the accident.
  • A negligent driver's insurance: If another party caused your wreck, you might hold their insurance company liable for damage to your vehicle and any medical expenses or losses exceeding your PIP coverage.
  • An auto accident lawsuit: If your injuries are severe, you may have the right to seek compensation through the civil court system by filing a car accident lawsuit against the liable party.

At Dolman Law Group, we know how to investigate and gather evidence after an accident. Our car accident lawyers will skillfully advocate for the compensation you deserve with your PIP insurance company, another driver's insurer, or, if necessary, in court. 

We will always explore every option for you to receive the maximum settlement amount in your case.

Our Auto Accident Attorneys Don't Get Paid Unless You Recover Your Losses

When a firm says that they don't collect any fees unless they win, they mean they are working on a contingency fee basis. Most attorneys who do not work in the personal injury industry charge their clients based on the time and labor of the attorneys and their staff. 

However, a personal injury attorney charges based on how much they recover for their client in a settlement or trial verdict. This means that no money is required upfront for the attorney to take the case, and the client will not have to pay anything until their case is over.

Dolman Law Group does not require clients to pay anything upfront, opting instead to deduct fees and expenses from the final settlement. This cost depends on whether your case is settled out of court in negotiations or if it requires a trial to get you compensation. A trial is more time and labor-intensive, so the fees are slightly higher.

A car accident attorney at Dolman Law Group will thoroughly explain exactly how you will be billed and how that payment will affect your final recovery amount. It is vital that you understand what expenses and fees you will incur and how they are applied to your case, so if you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to ask.

We Must Show What Caused Your Auto Accident

Car Crash Lawyers Florida

If your case involves serious injuries, you might exceed your own no-fault PIP insurance coverage and seek monetary damages from the at-fault party's insurance company. Or you might recover your losses directly from the responsible party by filing an automobile accident lawsuit. In these situations, you must prove that the other driver or someone else was liable for causing the accident to prevail on your claim.

Determining liability in any type of accident can be more complicated than you may think. Most negligent drivers don't admit to drinking or texting and won't accept responsibility at the scene of a car accident. At Dolman Law Group, we regularly initiate investigations into the cause of vehicle accidents to identify when our clients have the right to take legal action. 

These investigations can require extensive resources and may involve reviewing specific records, surveillance videos, witness interviews, and the analysis of an accident reconstruction expert. We have the tools and resources needed to determine whether someone else may be liable for your crash.

What are the Most Common Causes of Florida Car Accidents?

In general, drunk driving and distracted driving are the top causes of Florida car collisions. However, there are many types and causes of automobile accidents that Dolman Law Group can successfully handle on your behalf, including:

Distracted Driving

drivers of smashed vehicles calling for help

Despite rules against texting and driving in Florida, distracted driving continues to be a significant and growing problem on the roadways. While drivers may claim to know the risks of distracted driving, they continue to engage in activities that take their eyes or minds off the road. 

Drunk Driving

Similarly, every driver should fully recognize how life-threatening a drunk driving accident can be. Still, police continually arrest drivers under the influence of alcohol, and they only catch a small percentage of the drunk drivers out on the roads.

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

No one likes traffic, and we all seem to be in a hurry. Unfortunately, even though the traffic in South Florida can be frustrating, some drivers allow their frustration and impatience to escalate into belligerent driving and road rage. Such behaviors can include weaving through traffic, tailgating, or intimidating other drivers to get out of the way. 

Some aggressive drivers even intentionally cause harm to others on the road. If you are injured by an aggressive driver, we can help you prove their legal liability and hold them accountable for their reckless driving and reckless actions.

Violating Traffic Laws

The Florida Traffic Code is extensive and sets out many road rules that you must learn to obtain a driver's license. Even though there are lesser-known traffic laws, everyone driving should fully comprehend Florida safety regulations and always comply with these laws. 

Speeding, ignoring traffic lights or stop signs, disobeying right-of-way rules, failing to yield, and many more violations can lead to serious accidents and injuries.

Defective Auto Parts

Sometimes, a driver will lose control of their car, and they might be blamed for the accident, even though they were not at fault. For example, if a driver loses control because their brakes, tires, steering system, or some other part malfunctions, the responsible party may be the auto or parts manufacturer.

When a defective auto part causes a crash, the companies that manufactured and sold that part might be considered the responsible parties and held accountable for their actions. Unfortunately, seeking compensation from a corporation is often significantly more challenging than an individual. Having a respected car accident law firm on your side can help secure your rights and earn you the compensation you're entitled to.

Road Hazards

We all know that the weather in Florida can wreak havoc on the roadways. State and local government agencies are generally responsible for the upkeep and repair of Florida roads unless the road is privately owned. 

Drivers who suddenly hit a large crack, pothole, or another severe hazard might lose control of their car and collide with other vehicles. In this case, the agency that neglected the road might be held liable. Since Florida law sets out particular procedures for legal claims against the government, you need a collision lawyer experienced in handling the legal process in these cases.

These are only some of the many possible causes of car accidents in Florida. Not only do you need to know what caused your crash, but you also need to have sufficient evidence to prove who was negligent. The evidence needed to prove liability will differ from case to case. 

The seasoned auto accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group fully understand liability evidence, and we'll use the time and resources necessary to gather the evidence to verify your claim and hold the negligent parties responsible for your losses.

Why You Should Hire a Florida Car Accident Attorney Even After a Minor Car Accident

Florida Car Accident Attorney

Even if you're involved in an accident where there was minor damage to your vehicle or you don't feel immediate pain, you should still seek medical care and hire a car accident attorney, especially when someone else's negligence caused the crash.

Research has shown several types of injuries that people can sustain in minor car crashes don't appear until days later. For example, you might be in a rear-end accident and have no evident physical injury. You're probably not hurt, right? Not necessarily. 

Many of us consider a bodily injury a laceration, a brain injury, or a broken bone. These are wounds that can affect us for a lifetime. However, we may dismiss stretched ligaments, bruising, or strained tendons as minor injuries. 

If your neck and body violently snapped forward and back during the crash, you will likely discover agonizing back pain in days due to whiplash or other injuries following the collision. At the scene, your body will produce adrenaline to protect itself, but this hormone will also mask your injury. Experienced lawyers will suggest you see a doctor as soon as possible to ensure you don't have hidden injuries.

Finally, if you can drive from the crash scene and decline to make an insurance claim or file a police accident report (or both), you may find it challenging to bring your personal injury claims later or in front of a judge. This is true even if you have a doctor or a healthcare professional on your team because the other party will argue your injuries were not related to the crash in question.

An experienced car accident attorney can look over your claim and help you seek maximum compensation for your case. That way, you can avoid paying out-of-pocket expenses for your hospital bills and repair bills for any vehicle damage. Plus, there's no upfront cost for these legal services, so you really have nothing to lose. Reach out for a free consultation today. 

How Long Does It Take an Insurance Company to Finalize a Property Damage Estimate?

Insurance Companies Are Looking Out for Their Own Bottom Line

If you file a claim with your insurance carrier, their insurance representative might offer you a quick settlement. You may think this method comes with the least amount of hassle and will help you get your car fixed more quickly. However, the settlement amount may not be enough to cover the car repairs, and you may find out that you have injuries you didn't expect.

Unfortunately, when you accept an insurance settlement, you sign away any future rights to compensation or legal action. It is common for accident victims to believe the insurance company has their best interest in mind; however, the insurance industry operates like any other business. It is looking out for its bottom line and will attempt to pay as little money as possible.

How Do I Know If My Auto Accident Injuries Warrant Hiring an Attorney?

It's best to follow your instincts. If you think you need a lawyer, you probably do. It costs nothing to meet and discuss your case. It's easy to know if you need an attorney at the extremes. If you had minor injuries, didn't have to miss work for more than a day or two, or did not exceed your PIP policy limit, you might not have a viable negligence claim, but run your case by an attorney to make sure. 

Always hire a Florida car accident attorney if:

  • Your car accident injuries hospitalized you.
  • You missed work because of your injuries.
  • The accident caused a permanent condition or injury.
  • You cannot work because of your injuries.
  • A hit-and-run driver or uninsured driver caused the accident and your injuries.

Err on the side of caution. A skilled Florida car accident lawyer from Dolman Law Group can review your case and advise you on the best action for your situation.

Can I Sue Someone if My Family Member Died in a Florida Car Crash?

Yes. If your loved one died in a Florida car crash due to negligence, Florida law permits the estate to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

A personal representative of the deceased's estate must file the lawsuit on behalf of eligible family members. This usually includes the spouse and children, and other dependents. Parents can file a wrongful death claim for minor children and may seek damages in some situations involving adult children.

Recoverable damages for a Florida wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident varies based on the relationship with the deceased and the situation.

Surviving family members could receive compensation for:

  • Lost support and services from the date of the accident to the date of death
  • Estimated future loss of support and services
  • Loss of companionship and protection for a spouse
  • Mental pain and suffering from the date of injury for a spouse and minor children
  • Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance for minor children
  • Paid medical bills and funeral expenses

If you lost a loved one in a Florida car accident, the compassionate lawyers at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can answer your questions about a wrongful death lawsuit.

Can I Sue the State of Florida for Damages After a Car Accident?

Yes. You can sue the Florida government, a county, or a city after a car accident if it occurs because of governmental negligence.

However, bringing a lawsuit against a government agency comes with some caveats:

  • You cannot directly sue a state employee. You must sue the state if a driver hits your car while in a state vehicle.
  • State law caps damages.
  • Cases against the state for a car accident cannot include claims for punitive damages.

Besides a government employee driving a vehicle and causing an accident, poor road maintenance or design is another situation where it might make sense to sue the Florida government or another government entity. Cities, towns, and the state have a legal duty to maintain roads and traffic control devices.

For example, if you were injured in a car accident because of a malfunctioning stoplight, you might have a viable claim against the government entity responsible for maintenance. Your attorney can review your case and guide your legal options to recover compensation.

Florida Car Accident FAQs

If you have sustained injuries in a Florida car accident, Florida law permits you to take legal action against the driver or other party responsible for your accident and injuries. However, you might not know how to file a claim after a Florida car accident.

Always consult an attorney to find out if you have a viable claim. Until you have the chance to meet with a team member at Dolman Law Group, take a look at the answers to the following frequently asked questions about Florida car accidents. Hopefully, these FAQs will provide preliminary information about the legal process of recovering compensation for your injuries.

Do I Have to Report a Car Accident to My Insurance Company if It Wasn’t My Fault?

Yes. First, Florida is a no-fault insurance state. If you registered your vehicle in Florida, you must purchase $10,000 each in property damage liability (PDL) and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to comply with the state’s insurance laws.

Regardless of who causes an accident, everyone involved must file a claim with their auto insurance carrier under their no-fault coverage. PIP coverage also extends to others in the same household as the primary policyholder. For example, if your child visits home for the weekend from college and gets in an accident with your vehicle, they are also covered under PIP.

Second, regardless of no-fault insurance laws, immediately report accidents to your insurance company. Many policies have clauses that require policyholders to report an accident any time their coverage might apply. Failure to inform the carrier of an accident could result in policy cancellation or nonrenewal.

How Does a PIP Insurance Claim Impact My Florida Car Accident Lawsuit?

A PIP insurance claim should reduce car accident claims. After an accident, those involved must exhaust their no-fault insurance options before bringing a claim or lawsuit against the other side.

Florida PIP insurance covers up to 80 percent of medical treatment costs and 60 percent of lost income up to the policy limit. Car accident victims cannot claim the same amount of damages twice. If you exhaust your policy limit and have a viable claim for more compensation, your lawyer will subtract PIP benefits payments from your demand for damages.

How Much Is My Florida Car Crash Claim Worth?

We cannot guarantee a specific value of your claim. Each case has different circumstances that increase or decrease its value, and you can be sure the insurance company will think the value of your claim is much lower than what your lawyer thinks.

The type and severity of your injuries, disputes over liability, insurance policy limits, and whether your case goes into litigation affect the amount of money you could receive. Massive medical bills and extensive time away from work typically lead to more money because they drastically increase a car accident victim’s economic and noneconomic loss.

Can I Sue for Damages if a Hit-and-Run Driver Caused My Accident?

It depends. You can't sue the driver if you can't find them. In these cases, you must file a claim under your uninsured motorist (UM) policy if you have one. If your insurance carrier approves your claim, you could recover damages up to your policy limit. Additionally, your lawyer might identify other pathways to seek additional compensation.

If the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) or other law enforcement agency locates the hit-and-run driver, you can bring a lawsuit against them. However, many hit-and-run drivers leave the accident scene because they are uninsured. You might find collecting difficult, even if you win your case. Get a lawyer involved after a Florida hit-and-run car accident injures you.

Will My Florida Car Accident Lawsuit Go to Trial?

It's highly doubtful you will have to go to court for your Florida car accident case. Most car accident claims in Florida and throughout the United States settle before trial. Most car accident victims settle before their lawyers formally file a lawsuit. Litigation is expensive, and typically, both sides want to avoid the extra time and costs of going to trial.

Although it’s unlikely, you should always be prepared for the possibility of going to trial. At the very least, you might have to give a deposition—formal testimony under oath with your lawyer present conducted outside of the courtroom. Settlement negotiations do not always proceed as one would hope.

Liability disputes, disagreements over the extent and scope of injuries, and the inability to reach a number that satisfies both sides sometimes lead to trial. Once you meet with a lawyer, they will evaluate your claim and give you a better idea if your situation has a higher chance of leading to litigation.

How Long Will it Take to Settle or Litigate My Accident Claim?

Timeframes for car accident cases vary greatly based on the facts of a claim. If liability is clear and injuries are undeniable, you may settle faster. Waiting to learn someone's long-term prognosis from doctors and specialists can cause delays.

You don't want your lawyer to rush a settlement if there is a chance you have a permanent injury or your injuries are severe enough that you need more medical treatment. Once you know the full scope of your injuries, your lawyer can place an appropriate value on your claim. They have the leverage they need to negotiate.

Litigation will follow if both sides can not agree on a number. This includes preparing for trial, depositions, and other administrative duties that add months to the timeline of a car accident claim.

Multi-vehicle accidents also complicate things and can delay settlement or force litigation. More than one plaintiff or defendant usually results in lawyers passing the blame around. In cases with major liability disputes, catastrophic injuries, and/or multiple parties, settling or litigating your case could take two years or longer.

Should I Accept an Early Settlement Offer from Another Driver’s Insurance Carrier?

It's your choice whether to settle, but it's always best to let a lawyer review the offer before you decide. Insurance carriers sometimes make early predatory settlement offers to rush the process and avoid a larger payout later on. Accepting an offer too soon could leave you in a dire situation.

Settlements require waiving your right to seek future compensation for the same injuries and event. If you find out you need surgery, need ongoing treatment, suffer a permanent disability, or cannot return to work, you cannot go back to the insurance company to ask for more money.

It's in your best interest to let a lawyer read through the offer and advise you on your options. Often, car accident attorneys use early lowball settlement offers as a negotiation starting point. Your lawyer can review the facts of your case, discuss the likelihood of a full recovery, and place a fair value on your claim. With a realistic idea of your potential long-term challenges, your lawyer can better advocate for maximum compensation for your injuries.

Can I Afford to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer in Florida?

Yes, you can. Everyone deserves the opportunity to recover damages after falling victim to negligence. It’s standard industry practice for personal injury law firms to accept new clients on a contingent fee basis. This means your lawyer doesn’t get paid unless they recover damages from a settlement or jury verdict in your favor.
If you prevail in your claim, expect your lawyer to deduct attorney costs and other representation costs before giving the balance to you. You do not have to pay an upfront fee to retain a Florida car accident lawyer like you would for a divorce attorney, tax lawyer, business attorney, or criminal defense lawyer.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer You Can Trust

Matthew A. Dolman, Attorney
Matthew Dolman, Florida Car Accident Lawyer

Aren't sure if you need an experienced car accident lawyer? Don't worry! During a FREE consultation with one of our compassionate and dedicated car accident lawyers, we can discuss your unique circumstances and your possible accident injury claim.

We want to get to know you better, so we can help you explore all your legal options. But, then, the legal path you take is up to you!

Our car crash attorneys will never pressure you into filing an auto accident claim. Instead, we offer solid and valuable legal counsel to help you maximize the compensation you deserve. You owe it to yourself to protect your future and learn more about your legal options. 

With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, at (727) 451-6900 or write to us using our online contact page.

Our team of experienced and dedicated auto accident lawyers provides exemplary service throughout the United States. Office locations include:

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I was in a car accident and not sure what to do. I called dolman law group and they were very helpful. The staff is very nice and treats you like no other. Lauren kept me updated the entire case. I am happy with the outcome.
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*The above information was written and reviewed by either Attorney Matthew Dolman or another injury lawyer at the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA which has a combined 90 plus years of experience practicing Florida personal injury law. Matthew Dolman himself has been practicing personal injury law in Clearwater and St. Petersburg for the last fifteen (15) years. The information provided comes from extensive research and years of experience trying legal cases in courtrooms throughout Florida.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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