If your car has been totaled in a single car collision in Florida, it’s likely that you or someone riding with you was seriously injured. The immediate issues you face are: 1) understanding how to get your car replaced 2) navigating getting your medical bills paid and 3) receiving the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. We’ve helped hundreds of Florida motorists just like you who have been injured in single car crashes.
Causes of Single Vehicle Collisions
When you are the passenger in a vehicle driven by someone else, he or she has a duty of reasonable care to each passenger. When a person drives carelessly and causes a crash resulting in injury to you or another passenger, that person may be held financially responsible for the harm caused. Claims such as these are commonly against a friend, acquaintance, or coworker. This is particularly true in high school and college-aged young people, but is equally applicable in any similar situation at any age.
One caveat included in most insurance policies is the limitation, restriction, or exclusion called “household or family exclusion.” That means an injured passenger may be prevented from bringing a claim against a driver who is a family member or residing in the same household as the insured. This restriction is designed to prevent collusion in the compensation process. You should consult with an attorney before assuming you may or may not be eligible to bring a claim in your particular situation.
Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Single Car Crash
If you, as a passenger, are injured in a single vehicle collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your bodily injury caused by the driver of the vehicle. Your first source for compensation is the driver’s insurance policy. He or she could be insured as the owner of his or her own vehicle. If the driver is not the owner but was driving with the owner’s consent, the driver could be insured under the owner’s automobile liability policy. Or the vehicle owner could be covered under an employer’s business auto policy.
Your second source of compensation for being injured as a passenger is under the UM (uninsured motorist insurance) policy. In addition to paying for past and future medical bills, UM also provides compensation for all your general damages, including lost wages incurred as a result of the crash up to the point of settlement and any future lost wages as a result of injuries. It can also pay for pain, suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as a result of being limited in what you enjoyed doing in the past but are unable to do now or in the future.
UM may be available on your own auto policy or you may be eligible for UM on a policy of a family member with whom you resided at the time of the crash.
Who else may be responsible for paying medical bills in single car collisions? If you own a vehicle and are covered by Florida no-fault insurance, you would look to the no-fault or PIP (personal injury protection) coverage on your own auto policy for up to the first $10,000 of medical bills. If you do not own a vehicle in Florida or are not insured with PIP through a family member, you would look to the PIP on the vehicle you were occupying at the time of the crash.
Negligence and Common Road Accidents
While people generally fear common road accidents with other vehicles, more than half of traffic deaths in our nation happen in single vehicle collisions. About three million people are non-fatally injured in motor vehicle crashes a year. In Florida, when you are a passenger in a car—any vehicle, including a delivery truck—you may have a claim against the driver if the driver was negligent and caused a crash resulting in your injury.
Reasons for negligence include losing control, speeding, distraction (texting, talking on the phone, eating), careless or inattentive driving (including drunk driving), or running off the road causing the vehicle to strike a tree, guardrail, parked or moving vehicle. In rollovers, often the most deadly single vehicle accidents, the national rates for non-commercial vehicles is 12 percent for SUVs, 7 percent for pickup trucks, 4 percent for vans, and 3 percent for passenger cars. Almost three-quarters of fatal rollovers occur in rural areas on roads where the speed limit is 55 mph or above, according to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Board.
Other circumstances that can cause single vehicle collisions involve hitting a median, mailbox, telephone pole, or tree. Either colliding with or swerving to avoid hitting an animal—a dog, cat, or deer—can also cause an accident. Inclement weather, such as rain, hail, or strong winds is another potential hazard that can lead to loss of control and a crash. Relative driver errors such as driving too fast for conditions, failing to slow for rain, storm, or low visibility caused by smoke or fog on the highway, can contribute to loss of vehicle control.
We Are Here to Answer Your Questions
Despite your best, most careful driving efforts, accidents happen. If you are seriously injured in a single vehicle collision in Florida, you will need the advice of an experienced car accident lawyer to guide you through the compensation and appropriate settlement process.