Can I sue for Damages?


An automobile accident usually amounts to quantifiable damage, like the cost of repairs or replacement to the damaged car, medical expenses as a result of the accident, or even loss of wages in certain cases where the victim’s injury directly affects their ability to earn.  But in many instances, there are non-monetary damages, such as pain and suffering, that are harder to quantify, and for some states, are not even considered compensable under law. 

The state of  Florida has adopted no-fault automobile insurance policy, also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Most drivers are limited from bringing lawsuits for damages other than medical bills, rehabilitation, and lost wages.  No-fault insurance or choosing a limited tort option may prevent the injured party from pursuing a lawsuit for pain, suffering, and emotional distress unless they meet a threshold.

There are two categories of thresholds: Verbal and monetary.

A Verbal threshold is a qualitative measurement that allows lawsuits based on severe personal injury like death, dismemberment, or permanent injury. This means that a person must exceed a certain degree of injury, usually catastrophic—or the loss of a whole or partial body part, or the use of it thereof, before they can bring a law suit against a negligent party.  They are used in California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Monetary thresholds is based on money spent on medical treatment.  The injured party much reach and exceed a certain dollar amount before a lawsuit is allowed. This threshold is used in Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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