In many ways, the true impact of Florida car accident losses is immeasurable. After all, how can one possibly quantify the death of a loved one? Or the crushing reality that permanent injuries have forever foreclosed on the possibility of doing things that once gave you so much joy?
But when we do look strictly at those black-and-white numbers, the staggering ripple effect of Florida car accident losses is thrown into stark relief.
Almost 3,400 people die in Florida car accidents annually, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Another 250,000 are injured. If we’re solely focused on medical costs incurred as a direct result of Florida car accidents, it’s a $46 million price tag every year (per the CDC). Work loss costs? $4.35 billion.
Broadening that scope, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) just released a new 300-page report that examined the full scope of costs for traffic crashes across the U.S. in a single year.
Among their findings:
- 36,500+ people died.
- 4.5 million+ people were injured.
- 23 million+ vehicles were damaged.
- $340 billion+ is the cost America as a whole pays for motor vehicle crashes. This includes medical bills and work loss, but also taxes, congestion-related costs, excess fuel consumption, insurance premiums, emergency services costs, legal and court costs, lost productivity. $55 billion of that is in medical bills and lost wages alone.
- That $340 billion breaks down to $1,035 for every person currently living in this country.
- $1.4 trillion+ is the cost America pays for motor vehicle crashes when quality of life valuations are considered.
Quality of life valuations are the consideration of the cost when a serious injury or death means that no amount of medical care is going to fully restore the victim. Those who have died – they’re robbed of the entire rest of their lives. Their surviving loved ones will be impacted the rest of their lives as well. Even for those who survive, sometimes there can be lifelong disabilities, physical pain, disfigurement that sometimes prevents them from being independent in even the most basic life functions.
Although there’s no way to truly compensate someone for all of that, the civil justice system tries. As West Palm car accident lawyers, it’s important to underscore that pursuit of these claims isn’t greedy or selfish or frivolous. Yes, it was an accident. Likely no one meant to cause harm. But when someone else’s poor decisions cost you and your family so dearly, financial compensation helps you pick up the pieces and be better prepared for whatever challenges await you in the next chapter. It’s also the exact reason why people have insurance.
It isn’t “fair,” of course. “Fair” would be bringing back your loved one. The use of your legs. Your independence. The time you lost with family during recovery.
Our South Florida injury lawyers can’t give you all that. What we can do is our absolute best to conduct a thorough investigation, careful review of your legal options with you, and then advocate fiercely on behalf of you and your family to collect the full compensation you’re owed.
How Do I Know What My West Palm Car Accident Case is Worth?
NHTSA and other traffic safety organizations conduct these analyses to drive home that we as a society are still heavily impacted by motor vehicle accidents – even if that impact isn’t direct.
But what about when you ARE directly impacted?
The Insurance Information Institute calculated in 2020 for the average car accident bodily injury claim is in the ballpark of $20,000. The average property damage claim was about $4,700. Most crash claims are settled without trial, and the average settlement amount is about $24,000. However, those averages are skewed by a few multi-million-dollar payouts on the high-end. Most people receive less than $10,000.
There are several factors that determine what your case might ultimately be worth. These include:
- Insurance coverage. Florida drivers are expected to carry no-fault personal injury protection coverage that provides up to $10,000 in medical bills and lost wages, regardless of who was responsible. Anything beyond that, you must meet the serious injury threshold to be able to sue the at-fault driver or other parties. The amount of insurance the defendant(s) have may dictate how much the claim is worth. If they don’t have any (or not very much), you may still be in luck if you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- Fault. Yes, Florida is a no-fault state. But if your injuries are serious, you can still take the other driver to task. That said, the insurer and/or the court may find that you were at least partially responsible for your own injuries. Florida’s comparative fault law stipulates that if you are found partly liable, your damage award will be proportionately reduced.
- How serious your injuries are. As mentioned before, Florida’s PIP coverage provides $10,000 in coverage for crash-related injuries and wage loss. But that’s not anywhere near enough if the injuries were serious – or fatal. In general, the more severe the injuries, the more the case is worth. Florida also allows damages to be awarded for emotional distress, but only if it’s also associated with a crash-caused physical injury.
If you’ve been in a South Florida car accident and have questions about how much your case may be worth or how to get started on filing a claim, we can help.
Contact the South Florida personal injury attorneys at Halberg & Fogg PLLC by calling toll-free at 1-877-425-2374. Serving West Palm Beach, Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers/ Naples. There is no fee unless you win.
NHTSA: Traffic Crashes Cost America $340 Billion in 2019, Jan. 10, 2023, NHTSA, U.S. Department of Transportation
More Blog Entries:
5 Signs You Have a Strong Florida Personal Injury Claim, Nov. 25, 2022, Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer Blog