What Happens If You Are Sued After Causing a Collision in Destin, FL?
Paul Brannon | March 30, 2022 | Car Accident
Florida uses a no-fault system of car insurance. The costs of most minor car accidents get resolved between the driver and their auto insurance carrier.
But Florida does allow accident victims to sue the at-fault driver in certain situations. Here is an overview of what happens if you get sued after causing a collision in Destin, FL.
Car Accident Lawsuits in Florida
Florida’s no-fault laws restrict your ability to sue the at-fault driver after an accident. Rather, your first avenue for compensation is your Personal Injury Protection insurance.
An injury victim can only sue for a car accident if:
- Their economic losses exceeded their no-fault policy limits or
- They suffered a permanent, serious injury
If you are sued for a car accident, the plaintiff is alleging one of these two claims.
To win their case, the injured driver must prove negligence. Negligence has four elements:
Every driver owes a duty of care to other road users, including pedestrians and bicyclists. To meet this duty of care, drivers must drive carefully and obey the rules of the road. If the driver violates this duty by disregarding the law or driving recklessly, the driver bears liability for any accidents they cause.
If you get sued for causing a crash in Destin, the other driver must show that you acted negligently. You cannot get sued for simply causing an accident.
Role of Liability Insurance
Florida does not require drivers to purchase bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance — only Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance and Property Damage Liability (PDL) insurance. However, many drivers choose to purchase basic BIL coverage as part of their policy. Minimum BIL policies typically offer $10,000 per person or $20,000 per accident. Many car owners buy more than the minimum policy just in case they get sued for a car collision.
Suppose you have BIL car insurance. When you get sued for causing a car crash, you will notify your BIL carrier. The carrier will defend you under your policy. This means that your insurer will pay for a lawyer to defend you. If you lose, your insurer will pay the accident victim up to the policy limits.
In most cases, a lawsuit will not come unexpectedly. The other driver will prefer to settle rather than sue. You will find out you have been blamed for a car accident when the other driver files an insurance claim against your liability policy. You and the insurer can then begin to formulate a defense.
What If I’m Not Completely At Fault?
Florida uses pure comparative fault to allocate damages where multiple people share the blame for an accident. These rules divide liability among every party involved in an accident, including the injury victim.
If the judge or jury finds you 70% at fault and the other driver 30% at fault, the other driver will only be able to recover 70% of their damages. This could reduce your potential exposure to a large damages award.
If you are being sued for a car accident, contact a personal injury lawyer for help exploring your rights.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida
We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Attorneys – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541