What Happens When You Are at Fault for a Car Accident in Fort Walton Beach?

Any car accident can be an overwhelming and traumatizing experience. When you are at fault, you face additional worries on top of the property damage and injuries you may have suffered. 

Florida has a no-fault insurance system, but that does not mean fault is never considered. Here’s what happens when you are at fault for a crash in Fort Walton Beach. 

How No-Fault Insurance Works In Florida

Under Florida’s no-fault insurance system, drivers must generally file an accident injury claim with their own insurance policy regardless of who caused the accident. This is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance.

PIP coverage pays for the medical bills and lost wages and the policyholder and other passengers. 

Injury victims can step outside the no-fault system and pursue the at-fault driver for their damages by meeting the serious injury threshold (or if another exception applies). This requires: 

  • A serious and permanent injury, 
  • Disfigurement or substantial scarring, or
  • Significant loss of a bodily function

If you were at fault for an accident that caused serious injury, the injured party can file a claim or lawsuit against you for their losses. 

Potential Consequences of Causing an Accident in Fort Walton Beach

If you are found at fault for a crash in Florida, you may face the following consequences. 

Liability for Injuries and Property Damage

The most basic consequence of causing an accident in Florida is liability for damages. 

Other drivers can file a claim against your insurance policy for property damage to their vehicle. This will be covered by your property damage liability insurance up to your policy limit. 

Injured parties can pursue you for damages if they qualify for an exception to the no-fault insurance system. This usually means demonstrating they suffered a serious injury. 

If you caused serious injuries, your bodily injury liability coverage will pay for the victim’s medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering that exceeds their PIP coverage. It also pays for legal representation and court fees if you are sued. 

If you do not have enough coverage to pay for all the damages you caused, other parties can file a personal injury lawsuit. This is usually only done if you have enough assets that can be pursued. If the other party wins a judgment, they can use wage garnishment, levies, and liens against your property to pursue the money. 

The Florida DMV can even suspend your driver’s license for failing to pay a judgment from a car accident. 

You Must Pay for Your Own Medical Expenses and Damages

You will be responsible for your losses if you were at fault for an accident. However, your auto insurance policy may cover some or all of your damages. 

PIP coverage will pay for 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to your policy limit, regardless of fault. 

Medical Payments or MedPay coverage is optional coverage that pays for medical expenses after an accident. It can give you additional coverage beyond PIP and it’s also no-fault coverage. 

Optional collision coverage pays for damage to your vehicle in an accident, regardless of fault. 

You May Be Cited and Have Points Added To Your License

You may be ticketed for your role in the crash if you committed a traffic infraction by speeding or failing to yield, for example. If you get a ticket, three to six points will be added to your license. Accumulating too many points on your license will lead to a license suspension of 30 days to one year. A point suspension starts at 12 points within 12 months. 

A ticket may also increase your car insurance premiums. 

You May Face Criminal Charges for Serious Violations

Traffic violations are more serious than infractions. Violations like driving under the influence, reckless driving, and hit-and-run are criminal offenses. These violations can be punishable with jail time, fines, and more. 

In most cases, traffic violations become felonies if they result in serious bodily injury. A hit-and-run becomes a felony with any injury, not just serious injury. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Northwest Florida

Have you been involved in an accident involving serious injury in Fort Walton Beach? A lawyer can help you defend yourself to minimize the penalties of an at-fault collision. If you were not entirely at fault, your attorney can fight back against attempts to shift more blame to you.

If you need legal assistance, contact the Fort Walton Beach car accident lawyers at Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We have two convenient locations in Northwest Florida:

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Fort Walton Beach Office
975 Mar Walt Dr
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
(850) 863-5297

Brannon & Brannon Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers – Destin Office
4507 Furling Ln Suite 214
Destin, FL 32541
(850) 790-0243