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How Are Settlements Determined In Florida Auto Accident Injury Cases?

A settlement is an alternative to trials. It is the process of reaching an agreement in order to resolve a dispute between two parties. A settlement often involves giving the plaintiff money as a form of compensation for the injuries and damages caused by an accident.

Different types of personal injury cases may be resolved with a settlement. However, settlement may slightly differ when it comes to auto accidents. Florida’s no-fault laws are among the many factors that affect how the settlement for your auto accident injury case is determined.

Since Florida is a no-fault state, damages and medical costs resulting from auto accident injuries are paid by your insurance and/or the at-fault party’s insurance. However, plaintiffs who sustained serious injuries—everything from permanent injury and significant disfigurement or scarring to permanent loss of a bodily function—are permitted by Florida law to file a personal injury lawsuit. Surviving relatives can do the same for victims who have died.

How Much Is The Average Settlement In Florida?

The amount of settlement in Florida could range between $1,000 and $75,000. However, it is possible to get a lower or higher amount depending on the circumstances of your case and how well your lawyer fights for the right compensation. The settlement amount that your lawyer calculates will be what they will attempt to get, but it is not necessarily what you will receive in the end. The settlement amount will depend on how much the other party agrees with or, if you go to trial, how much the judge or jury decides you deserve.

Determining Settlements In Florida Auto Accident Injury Cases

Your auto accident lawyer as well as the judge will refer to these factors when figuring out the settlement amount you should receive:

• Costs of accumulated and future medical treatment
• Repair or replacement of damaged property
• Lost wages and estimated future lost wages, including bonuses and vacation days
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Replacement services (e.g. childcare and housekeeping)
• Burial expenses in case of death

These damages are a combination of tangible and intangible damages, which make the calculation process more complicated. However, one common method for calculating damages is by adding up the tangible costs and then multiplying the resulting amount by two or up to five to account for intangible damages. Most auto accident victims may expect twice the amount of their tangible costs, but keep in mind that no two accidents or cases are the same.

So it is always best to consult the amount with a Florida auto accident lawyer to get the most accurate assessment.

Other Factors That Affect Settlement Amount

There are a few other factors that affect the settlement amount:

• Shared Blame

Florida’s no-fault laws may reduce the compensation you receive based on your share of the blame. Your claim may be denied if you are equally or more to blame than the other party.

• Liability
Your claim may be reduced or denied depending on your ability to prove that the at-fault party caused your injuries. This is called the burden of proof, and it is one of the reasons why collecting evidence is one of the first steps to take if you get into an accident in Florida.

• Excessive Medical Billing

Settlements are limited to reasonable medical expenses. Thus, any tests or treatments that are unnecessary or done repeatedly might be questioned and not be covered.
• Interpleaders

If multiple people were injured in the same accident and the at-fault party does not have enough to pay all the damages, they may file an interpleader. This prompts the court to distribute the available funds among the complainants.

How Much Of The Settlement Goes To Your Pocket?

Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions is that the plaintiff will receive the entire settlement amount. This, however, is not the case. For one, the attorney’s fees and case costs will be deducted from the settlement amount first. The case costs include the retrieval of medical records, copy charges, and postage for pre-suit cases. After that, medical liens and expenses as well as the cost of the burial (if applicable) will be deducted.

The remaining amount after all those expenses are covered may be considered as the compensation for the pain and suffering and emotional distress suffered by the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff is free to spend it however they please.

If you or someone you know was recently the victim of an auto injury case, you or they may be eligible for compensation. Hire a competent Florida auto accident lawyer from our law firm today to help you determine how much you are entitled to.

Michael J. Babboni's wide-ranging legal career is based on the strong belief that everyone should be treated fairly and have access to effective legal help. Michael began putting his beliefs in action by helping the people of St. Petersburg Florida get what they are owed in civil trials fighting to protect families by making corporations pay, and honor their obligations.

How Are Settlements Determined In Florida Auto Accident Injury Cases?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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