Am I at fault?

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Am I at fault?

While driving my car my steering wheel locked up and turned me into oncoming traffic.

Asked on May 25, 2009 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Legally yes you are.  However, Florida is a "no-fault" auto insurance state.  Simply put, no fault means that no matter who is at fault, you use your own insurance and you can't turn around and sue the person who hurt you.  The insurance company picks up medical bills, rehabilitation costs and lost wages up to the amount purchased.  No-fault creates a right among the people not to be sued if they're carrying this insurance unless the person they hurt meets a certain threshold.

That threshold is set out in Florida law and it's basically losses of major bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, death, significant scarring or disfigurement.  Unless you have one of those things happen, you can't sue someone for your future pain, suffering, emotional distress, etc.  

When it comes to physical damage to a car or its contents, unlike compensation for bodily injury claims, insurance claims are still based on fault.  Those claims are handled in the same way as those in a state with a fault law: by filing a lawsuit against the bad driver or looking to your own collision insurance.

This at least is my understanding of the law.  However, I'm not admitted to the Florida bar.  Your best bet is to speak with an attorney in your area.


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