Am I at fault?

UPDATED: May 25, 2009

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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


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

Answered 13 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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