"Whether it's a whiplash, serious injury or wrongful death case, we pride ourselves on representing you with the personal service and aggressive representation that you expect and deserve!" -Attorney Ron Sholes
Gainesville Car Accident Lawyer
Car Accidents in Alachua County
When you are injured in a car accident, knowing what to do next can be challenging. You know you need medical attention, but how much will it cost and how will you be able to pay for it? What if you are out of work—and missing paychecks—because of your injuries? Who is responsible, and how can you recover the compensation you need to get back on your feet?
At the Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A., our team of Gainesville car accident lawyers can help you navigate this process. With over 100 years of collective experience, we know how to effectively advocate for you throughout the claims filing process. We are not afraid to stand up to major insurance companies that would seek to diminish your recovery—or deny your claim altogether. If necessary, we are prepared to represent you and your rights in the courtroom, all while providing you with the personal attention, care, and support you need.
What Florida’s No-Fault Laws Mean for Your Claim
When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, some states follow fault-based systems and others adhere to no-fault rules. Both systems affect how the claims process works, as well as what compensation is available in a typical car accident case.
Florida is a no-fault state. This means that you are eligible to recover compensation after a car accident regardless of who caused the crash. This also means that you will likely file a claim with your own auto insurance provider, rather than through the other driver’s insurance. This is where your personal injury protection, or PIP, insurance comes into play.
PIP insurance is mandatory in Florida, meaning you must have this type of insurance to legally operate a vehicle anywhere in the state. After an accident, you can use your PIP insurance to cover the cost of medical expenses and lost wages, as well as some other economic losses, such as increased childcare expenses.
However, PIP insurance has limitations. Not only does it not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, but it also will not cover the full cost of your medical expenses or lost wages. Rather, PIP insurance will only cover a certain percentage of your economic losses.
Going Outside the No-Fault System
It is possible to go outside of Florida’s no-fault system and file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the other driver if they were to blame for the accident. To do this, you will need to prove that your injuries are “serious,” meaning they meet a state-specified injury threshold.
“Serious injuries” are defined in Florida as:
- Broken bones/fractures
- “Significant” disfigurement
- Injuries that result in “significant” limitations regarding a bodily system or function
- Injuries that result in permanent limitations or loss of use of a body part
- Injuries that result in “substantial” full disability for at least 90 days
If you suffered a compound fracture, brain injury, spine injury, or any serious injury that meets the above criteria, you could be eligible to step outside the no-fault system and pursue compensation from the at-fault person or party. By filing a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for all of your medical expenses and lost income, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost quality of life.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Florida Car Accident Claim?
If your injuries do not meet the state’s requirements to be classified as a “serious injury,” you could face significant challenges in recovering compensation for damages not covered by PIP insurance. However, our Gainesville car accident attorneys have extensive experience helping injured clients navigate this system. We know the tactics insurance companies use to dispute claimants’ claims—and we know how to fight back.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, our firm can help you fight for compensation for your:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Ambulance/hospital fees
- Ongoing treatment and care costs
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income/wages
- Future lost income/wages
- Lost or reduced earning ability due to disability
- Pain and suffering
- Property/vehicle damage repair costs
We are prepared to work with the insurance company on your behalf and, if necessary, can even pursue your case at trial. With a team of 6 investigators and over 100 support staff members, our attorneys have the resources to fight tirelessly for the maximum compensation you are owed.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you would like to learn more about how the Law Offices of Ron Sholes, P.A. can help you with your car accident claim in Gainesville, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney. In Florida, you typically only have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver (if going outside the no-fault system); the sooner we can start building your case, the better.