No matter who caused it, car accidents are traumatic and stressful events that can negatively impact everyone involved. For anyone accused of negligent or reckless driving resulting in property damage or injury, one of the biggest concerns can be liability and loss of assets up to and including your house.
In short, under Florida homestead exemption law, at-fault drivers cannot lose their homes in an accident-related lawsuit — even if they receive a negative financial judgment in court. This guide will provide an overview of how liability works in car accidents, including limits for insurance coverage and how a lawyer can help you minimize your liability and protect your assets and property.
What To Do After an Accident Where You Were at Fault
The steps you take after getting in a car accident play a key role in protecting your assets and limiting your liability, especially if you are suspected of being at fault. First of all, never leave the scene of the accident, and if you have started to, return as quickly as possible.
Second, never admit fault to the other party, law enforcement, or insurance carrier. Be cooperative and truthfully answer any factual questions, but explicitly or implicitly saying you were at fault can hurt your case. Take pictures of the accident and damage, get contact information from witnesses, and exchange insurance information with the other party.
Getting checked out by a doctor as soon as possible is also important. No matter the accident’s circumstances, your health is still important. As a no-fault state, Florida requires coverage of up to $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance regardless of who caused the accident.
If you believe you were fully or partially at fault in an accident, speak with an attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you file your insurance claim and deal with law enforcement while protecting your interests and assets. You may be asked to sign a financial affidavit of your assets and property by your or the other party’s insurance. A lawyer can help you review this document and ensure that the exposure of your assets is limited.
Insurance Policy Limits
Most accident cases are settled out of court between the involved parties, their attorneys, and their insurance companies. After an accident, the auto insurance carriers will investigate the accident and determine the amount of property damage and injury, as well as who was at fault. After this investigation, the insurance carriers will propose a settlement to cover damages in the car accident that can either be accepted or rejected by the party and their attorney.
In these situations, one of the most significant factors that can affect the outcome of an insurance settlement is the liability coverage the at-fault party has. In a large number of situations, plaintiffs will settle for an amount that is within the limit of liability insurance coverage. This is why having adequate liability coverage is essential.
Liability and Loss of Property for At-Fault Parties
In cases where the amount of damages exceeds the limit of liability coverage, either due to being uninsured, having minimal coverage, or due to extremely high property damage and injury, a plaintiff may choose to sue for damages. If the defendant receives a financial judgment, they will be liable to pay for damages from their assets.
When collecting money from a judgment, the plaintiff will have limits on the assets and money they can collect. A certain amount of wages will be protected to protect the defendant from financial hardship. Additionally, in Florida, a person’s home is treated as a protected asset as long as it is their primary residence.
How a Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Assets and Legal Rights
If you are suspected of causing an accident that resulted in serious property damage, injury, or even death, you need an attorney to help protect your legal rights and financial assets. If you are facing a lawsuit or potential criminal charges, a lawyer will give you sound advice on how to proceed in a way that limits your criminal and financial liability as much as possible.
This can include gathering potential exculpatory evidence, ensuring law enforcement followed all correct procedures, and speaking with witnesses who saw the accident and may have conflicting accounts. From a financial standpoint, an attorney can help you create a plan to legally protect your assets and limit exposure to a civil lawsuit.
Everyone is entitled to defend themselves from criminal charges and civil suits, and an experienced attorney will fight for your case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact Clark Law Car Accident Attorneys Today if You Are Suspected of Causing an Accident
If you were injured in a car accident in the Tampa Bay area, you should meet with an experienced lawyer to help protect your rights and property. Contact Clark Law today for a free consultation on your case. Our experienced and knowledgeable legal team is ready to fight for your legal rights and protect your personal property and assets.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.