Someone Totaled My Car in Florida – Can I Sue?
If your car was totaled in a car accident, you may be able to file a lawsuit. It is important to understand what exactly it means to have a car “totaled,” and you must understand your right to sue for a car accident under Florida’s “no-fault” insurance rules. If you think you have a car accident case, call Miami car accident lawyer Prosper Shaked today to schedule a free consultation on your claim.
Can I Sue if My Car Was Totaled by Someone Else?
When a car is totaled, you are usually entitled to some sort of payment. In many cases, insurance will cover the damage to your vehicle, but personal injuries may entitle you to file a lawsuit instead of accepting what the insurance company has to offer.
A car is “totaled” when the damage to the vehicle exceeds the total value of the car. For instance, a brand new sports car would not be totaled until the cost of repairs, parts, and labor reach something close to the purchase price, which is often more than $40,000. This usually will not happen unless the car is seriously damaged and inoperable. On the other hand, a 10-year-old sedan with a current value of around $7,000 might be “totaled” if it suffers chassis damage, engine damage, or enough harm to require moderate body work. Because of this, the fact that the car was “totaled” might not be a good measure of how severe the accident was.
Instead of looking at the damage to the vehicle, Florida law looks at the injuries the occupants suffered to see how severe the accident was. If you are injured in an accident that causes permanent injuries to body function or substantial scarring, your accident may be “severe” enough to file a lawsuit. You also automatically qualify to sue if your medical expenses and lost wages total at least $10,000.
To win a lawsuit for this kind of an accident, you must prove the other driver was at fault for the crash. Pointing to things like speeding or running a red light is a common way to prove fault. If the accident was a drunk driving accident, distracted driving accident, or another serious crash, you may also be able to prove fault by showing the other driver violated these kinds of serious laws.
How Much Does Insurance Pay for a Totaled Car?
When your car is totaled, your insurance company may be able to cover some of the damages for your car and your personal injury. However, your insurance might not be enough to cover the injuries, and you may be able to seek damages from the at-fault driver in a lawsuit instead.
If your car was totaled, the property damage is worth the full value of your car. That means using the current value of your car based on how old it is, what make and model it is, and the current condition. These damages are important and would be part of your lawsuit, but the most important damages are the ones dealing with your bodily injuries.
If you were injured in a crash, you may face expensive medical care costs, you may have lost wages during your recovery, and you may face serious pain and suffering. Damages for a car crash should take into account the full value of all of these costs. In court, you can claim 100% of the damages for these areas, even if the insurance policy limits you to partial recovery.
Insurance often pays only partial damages, so seeking an insurance payment for your injuries might not be the best option you have. If you claim damages through your own insurance, you will be forced to pay deductibles, and you will be subject to policy rules that might say only a certain percentage of medical costs and lost wages are covered. In addition, you will typically be unable to claim pain and suffering damages.
Missing out on these areas of damages may mean filing a lawsuit is a better way to get full damages for the cost of your vehicle, the injuries you face, and the lost wages you suffered. In addition, you may be entitled to rare “punitive damages” if the at-fault driver did something extremely dangerous or negligent. If the driver was a commercial truck driver or another commercial driver, you may be able to sue their trucking or delivery company alongside the driver in a truck accident or commercial delivery accident case.
Call Our Miami Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation
If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident that totaled your vehicle, talk to an attorney right away. The injuries you faced could be extremely serious after a dangerous accident like this, and you might be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with our Miami personal injury lawyer, contact The Law Offices of Prosper Shaked today at (305) 690-0244.