What is the Average Settlement with GEICO in a Personal Injury Case?
In a seven-year period, my average personal injury settlement with GEICO was $60,660.* (I’ll explain in detail in a moment.) I’m referring to personal injury claims. I’m not talking about claims for damage to vehicles.
Below is a graph that shows my percentage of settlements with GEICO for different amounts. It is for the time period from 2010 through June 2017.
(In a moment, I’ll talk about my GEICO car accident settlements.)
My average settlement with GEICO is much higher than my average injury settlement with all other car insurers combined.
(When calculating my average settlement and settlement amounts with GEICO, I used the total settlement from all insurers in the case. Thus, if GEICO was a bodily injury liability (BIL) auto insurer, and I recovered additional BIL insurance from another insurer, I used the total settlement.
For example, I settled a case with GEICO for $25,000, where another insurer paid an additional $45,000. I used $70,000 as the settlement figure, even though GEICO paid $25,000.)
There is a reason why my average injury settlement with GEICO has been much higher than my average settlement with all other insurance companies combined.
The reason is that some of the claimants in these GEICO cases were badly injured. Seriousness of injury is the biggest factor that increases settlement value.
The claimants had surgery in several of these cases.
Does GEICO Make a Fair First Settlement Offer?
Often times, no. For example, I settled a case for $125,000 with GEICO. (I’ll discuss it in a moment.) GEICO’s first offer was $81,000.
That was 65% of their final offer, $125,000.
I settled another case with GEICO for $100,000. GEICO’s first offer was $4,500. That is only 4.5% of their final offer, $100,000. Most of that settlement was for pain and suffering.
Let’s look at some of my injury settlements with GEICO.
$125,000 Settlement with GEICO for Hand Surgery from Car Accident
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
GEICO Pays $100,000 for Herniated Disc from Car Crash
See a $100,000 settlement for a lady hit by a car in North Miami Beach. She said the crash worsened her pre-existing bulging discs and herniated discs.
Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering. I represented the injured driver.
How Long Does It Take for GEICO to Settle an Injury Claim?
When asking how long it takes to settle an injury case with GEICO, three of the biggest factors are the:
- Seriousness of the injury
- BIL insurance limits
- Amount of property damage to the cars
In the above case, the claimant had serious injuries. I argued that her injuries were worth more than GEICO’s $100,000 BIL insurance limits.
Her car was damaged badly in the crash. Thus, GEICO paid within three months, which is quick.
GEICO Settles Motorcyclist’s Case for $100,000 for Herniated Disc, ED and Knee Injury
Check out this $100,000 settlement for a 23 year old man who claimed a herniated disc, meniscus tear & erectile dysfunction were from a car crash. GEICO paid the $100,000 limits. Most of the settlement was for pain and suffering.
I represented the motorcyclist. Learn more about GEICO motorcycle accident claims and settlements.
GEICO Settles Car Accident Claim for $95,000; Driver Hit By Drunk Driver
A 44-year-old man was driving his car in South Florida. Another car, heading in the opposite direction, crashed head on into him.
According to the police report, the at-fault driver was driving the wrong way. She attempted to make a u-turn in the roadway. While doing so, she struck our client’s vehicle.
GEICO’s first offer was $17,500.
When the police questioned the at fault driver, they realized that she had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash. They conducted a DUI investigation.
The driver who caused the accident was arrested for violation of driving under the influence.
To increase the value of our client’s case, we requested the DUI file from the criminal courthouse. In any injury case against a drunk driver, you should request the entire DUI criminal file. It can have a treasure trove of information that may increase the value of your injury case.
The MRI films on my client’s spine showed 2 bulging discs and 2 herniated discs.
We argued that the crash caused or aggravated his herniated discs. He didn’t have steroid injections to his spine. Most of this $95,000 settlement was for his pain and suffering.
The final $95,000 settlement was for over 5 times GEICO’S the first offer. We settled without a lawsuit.
GEICO Pays $65,000 for a Pedestrian’s Fibula Fracture After a Car Hit Him
Doug, who lived in California, was on vacation in Miami Beach. While he was walking in a crosswalk, a car hit him.Getting hit while not walking in a crosswalk is one of many factors that can reduce the value of an injury case.
Here is the actual Florida crash report diagram:
Paramedics came to the scene. At the scene, the pedestrian complained of leg pain and other injuries.
At the hospital, a doctor diagnosed Doug with a broken lower leg bone (fibula fracture). Below is an image of the fibula.
If he would’ve had surgery, his case would’ve been worth over $100,000. I say this based on recent verdicts for surgery to a broken lower leg from an accident. In addition, I settled a case for $325,000 where a pedestrian suffered a broken lower leg (and had surgery) after a car hit him.
GEICO insured the careless driver.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 627.7137, I sent GEICO a letter asking for the driver’s insurance information.
GEICO responded in writing stating that the driver had a $300,000 bodily injury liability (BIL) policy.
Pedestrian Didn’t Need a Permanent Injury to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering
Unlike most Florida car accident cases, here the pedestrian didn’t need a to meet the tort threshold to get money for pain and suffering. Thus, he didn’t need a permanent injury in order to get money for pain and suffering.
This is because he was a car hit him while he was a pedestrian visiting from another state.
When it came time to pay them from the total settlement, they had to reduce their liens by my attorney’s fees and costs. This is one reason that a Medicare beneficiary should hire an injury lawyer.
California law required Farmers Insurance to reduce its Medpay lien by my attorney’s fees and costs. Lee v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 458, 465-466, 129 Cal.Rptr. 271. This is one unique aspect of a case if someone from California is injured in a Florida accident.
GEICO’s First Offer Was Only $14,780.15
GEICO low-balled me with their first offer for Doug’s personal injury claim. The adjuster was Tiffany Hall.
One of the 5 huge mistakes that injury victims make is to always believe what the adjuster tells you your case is worth.
GEICO Finally Settles for $65,000; Almost 4.5 Times Its First Offer
I negotiated with GEICO. We settled with GEICO for $65,000. Here is the GEICO settlement check.
Therefore, GEICO paid about $57,000 for the pain and suffering associated with his broken leg (fibula fracture). This is a typical settlement amount for pain and suffering for a broken lower leg.
Did I Use a Settlement Calculator to Determine How Much This Case Was Worth?
If the driver had a better car insurance company, they would’ve likely paid more. For example, I think the settlement would’ve been bigger if the driver had USAA, Nationwide, Lyft (Zurich American Insurance Company) and some others.
I don’t know how much Uber’s insurer (James River) would’ve paid.
Did GEICO Use a Settlement Calculator to Make Their Offers?
I don’t know. GEICO didn’t tell me that it used a settlement software program like Colossus. (Allstate is one insurer that has used and may still use Colossus.)
GEICO Pays $25,000 of $70,000 Settlement for Lyft Passenger Hurt in Crash
See a $70,000 settlement for a Lyft passenger who was hurt in a crash. GEICO insured the other car, and paid $25,000 of the $70,000 settlement.
The passenger claimed the crash caused or aggravated his neck, back, wrist and ankle injuries. The rest ($45,000) of the settlement was paid by Lyft’s underinsured motorist insurance with Zurich Insurance Company.
York Risk Services Group handled the claim for Zurich. I represented the passenger in both injury claims.
GEICO Pays $47,000 of $57,000 Settlement for Shoulder Tear
Three cars were traveling southbound near Kendall, Dade County, Florida. A car failed to stop in time and ran into the rear of another car.
It pushed the middle car into the front car, which my client was driving. An ambulance came to the scene and treated every person involved.
An ambulance took my client to the hospital. The driver of the Vehicle 1 received a ticket.
My client had shoulder surgery. Another insurance company insured the middle car.
Progressive paid $10,000 to settle the case. GEICO insured the last vehicle.
GEICO paid $47,600 to settle my client’s personal injury claim.
GEICO Pays Ticketed Driver $50,000 for Hip Fracture
A young driver lost control of his car and suffered a hip fracture. He had hardware put inside his hip
He claimed that he was cut off by another car that left the scene. My client received a ticket.
His mother had purchased $10,000 worth of stacking uninsured motorist (“UM”) coverage. She had five vehicles under the policy. This was an uninsured motorist insurance settlement for the policy limits.
GEICO Pays $20,000 of $39,000 Settlement for Herniated Disc and Steroid Injections
My client was driving a pickup truck in Pinecrest, Florida. A car ran a stop sign and crashed into him.
Before the crash, he had pain in his back and neck.
He claimed that the collision caused or worsened his neck, back pain and herniated discs. After the crash, he had steroid injections.
GEICO insured the driver of the car. Amanda Black was the GEICO bodily injury liability (BIL) adjuster.
Scooter Rider Hit by Car Gets $35,000 for Broken Lower Leg (Femur)
GEICO paid $25,000 towards the settlement. United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC) paid $10,000. This is my case.
$30,000 Settlement with GEICO UM Insurance for Herniated Disc
The damage to her call wasn’t that big. The accident happened in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
GEICO Pays $25,000 to Settle Hand Injury from Car Accident
A passenger in a car hurt his wrist in an accident. GEICO insured the careless driver.
They paid its $25,000 BI limits to settle the passenger’s personal injury case.
GEICO Settles Rear End Crash, Bulging Disc Claim for $21,000
GEICO paid $21,000 to a driver who was hit from behind. He claimed that the accident caused or aggravated his bulging disc.
The crash happened in Coconut Grove, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
GEICO UIM Insurance Pays $10,000 of $20,000 Settlement for Spine and Knee Injuries
GEICO paid $10,000 of a $20,000 settlement where a lady claimed that a car made an improper lane change and crashed into her SUV. Her SUV rolled over.
GEICO Pays Driver $20,000 for Spine Injuries
A lady was driving a car. A driver crashed into her in Palmetto Bay, Miami-Dade County, Florida.
A CT scan showed a C5-C6 small broad disc bulge more focal centrally where there may be a superimposed small central herniation entering the ventral aspect of the thecal with resulting mild impression upon the ventral surface of the cord.
She had some numbness of her hand mostly in the radial nerve distribution. She claimed that this was a new injury.
The impact was on the left driver side of the car. A neurosurgeon said that she had a questionable fracture on her lower jawbone (mandible) on the CT scan film.
The same doctor noted that her lower back was tender. She was diagnosed with cervical radiculopathy.
The doctor gave her a neck collar to wear. She was told to not work for three days. The doctor prescribed medication (Vicodin) for her pain.
The Liberty Mutual workers comp adjuster told me that they should be entitled to most of the settlement. My client had an attorney (us).
Florida’s workers compensation statute (law) required Liberty Mutual to reduce its lien by our attorney fees and costs.
I also argued that Florida law required Liberty Mutual to reduce its lien significantly, because my client was not made whole.
Liberty Mutual agreed to waive its lien.
GEICO Pays $10,000 to Driver for Nose Injury from Rear End Crash
See a case where GEICO paid a driver $10,000 for her nose injury after a careless driver rear ended her on the Palmetto Expressway in Miami.
Bike Rider Gets $10,000 Settlement from GEICO; Car Runs Him Off Road
A car ran a bike rider off the road in North Miami, Florida. The bike rider fell off his bike. The car drove off.
If a car runs you off the road and leaves the scene in Florida, then the car is considered “uninsured“. This is true even if the car doesn’t touch you.
GEICO paid us the $10,000 limits of my client’s UM Insurance.
GEICO Pays $10,000 to Settle Tourist’s Soft Tissue Injury Case
My client was visiting Florida from another state. She was driving her car.
Another driver crashed into her. She went to the hospital in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County, Florida.
She later went to a chiropractor for several months in her home state. She had a soft tissue lumber (lower back) strain and sprain. GEICO insured the at fault driver.
GEICO initially offered $500. They then increased their offer to $800. We refused both offers. We later settled with GEICO for $10,000.
$10,000 Settlement with GEICO for Small Scar from Car Accident
A young man was driving a car in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Another car t-boned his car.
The side airbags deployed. The car was a total loss. My client claimed that he was unconscious after the accident. After regaining consciousness, he claimed to be in and out of consciousness.
City of Miami Fire rescue took him in an ambulance to the hospital.
One of his complaints was that he had headaches since the accident.
He had a small cut on his face. A plastic surgeon used stitches to close it. He was left with a small scar.
He went to a hospital near Flagami, which is near West Miami, Fontainebleau and Doral.
GEICO insured the driver who caused this accident. The injured man also had GEICO PIP insurance.
His Personal Injury protection (PIP) insurance paid 80% of his medical bills. It paid 80% of the hospital bill, the plastic surgeon’s $1,755 bill for stitches, the ER doctor’s bill.
Unfortunately, GEICO only insured the careless driver with $10,000 per person/$20,000 per accident in bodily injury liability (BIL) insurance. Another occupant of my client’s car was badly hurt.
There was also another individual who may have been injured. GEICO’s BIL claim adjuster was Zaharia Brown.
Since there were 3 people who were injured, and 2 of them had bad injuries, GEICO set up a pre-suit mediation. I asked for the mediation to be at my office.
At the mediation, GEICO gave me a $10,000 check for the BIL insurance limits to settle my client’s injury case.
At pre-suit mediation with GEICO, they typically bring their checkbook to the mediation.
GEICO’s PIP adjuster was Lisette Diaz.
$10,000 Settlement with GEICO for Back and Neck Injuries
I settled a case for $10,000 for a client with back and neck injuries from a car accident in Florida. We worked with another law firm on this case.
GEICO Sends PIP Check to Us After Pedestrian’s Personal Injury Case Settles With Driver
Liberty Mutual paid about $2,000 of the pedestrian’s medical bills, and lost wages.
We negotiated with Liberty Mutual, and they accepted $553 to pay off their workers comp lien of about $2,000. I paid Liberty Mutual from the personal injury settlement.
The next step was to get my client reimbursed for the $553. GEICO insured a car that the pedestrian owned. GEICO’s PIP adjuster was Maegan Thompson.
I asked GEICO to use the pedestrian’s PIP to pay us back for the $553 that we paid to Liberty Mutual.
GEICO refused. They argued that since the pedestrian’s PIP deductible was $1,000, GEICO didn’t owe any PIP benefits for the first $1,000.
I told GEICO that GEICO’s deductible argument was wrong since the original workers comp lien was $2,000.
GEICO denied my request. I then sent GEICO a copy of a Florida case that says that GEICO’s argument was wrong.
GEICO then sent us a check for the $1,068.55. This amount covered the workers comp lien that I paid.
It also covered the pedestrian’s first 7 days of lost wages that workers comp didn’t pay.
Claimant Wins $900K UM Verdict Against GEICO for Neck Surgery (Removing and Replacing Facet)
This isn’t my case. On July 27, 2007, Cadle was injured in an automobile accident on I-95, when she was rear-ended by Derek Friend.
Following the accident, Cadle consulted her primary-care physician, who prescribed three weeks of physical therapy, which did not alleviate Cadle’s pain.
Between August 2007 and June 2008, Cadle had ten facet or nerve blocks, which required anesthesia. None effectively managed her pain.
Cadle had a pre-existing-neck injury that had required surgery in France in 1989, but she had been doing well prior to the July 27, 2007, automobile accident.
On December 15, 2009, Cadle had surgery, because of the pain she had continued to experience.
The surgery consisted of opening the front of her neck, removing the twenty-year-old facet from her prior surgery, and replacing it with a larger facet to stabilize her neck. Cadle returned to work on January 4, 2010, with a neck collar and bone stimulator.
GEICO offered the $75K UM Insurance Limits Once It Learned She Had Surgery
GEICO noted, when it became aware Cadle underwent a surgery, it tendered the $75,000 policy limits, which were rejected.
In her uninsured motorist (UM) insurance trial against GEICO, the jury found Cadle had sustained a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability as a result of the July 27, 2007, accident and awarded her a verdict of $900,000.
The judge reduced the judgment to $816,636.31, after applying set-offs for collateral sources and the prior bodily injury settlement. (In a UM insurance claim against GEICO, they get a credit against your settlement with the at fault driver. GEICO also gets a credit against PIP insurance benefits that were paid.)
Cadle’s attorney claimed that GEICO acted in bad faith by not tendering the $75,000 uninsured motorist (UM) insurance limits much sooner.
Claimant Needs To Send GEICO a CRN If She Wants Above the UM Insurance Limits
In a UM case against GEICO, you need to send GEICO a CRN if you want GEICO to pay you more than the UM policy limits if GEICO didn’t pay the UM limits when it could and should have.
GEICO then has 60 days to pay the policy limits. If they do so, your UM case against GEICO is over. You have to accept the UM limits.
If GEICO fails to pay within 60 days, and you win at trial, GEICO may owe you the amount of the verdict. They may not be limited to owing you just the UM policy limits.
The appeals court found that GEICO didn’t act in bad faith because at the time when her Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) under Florida Statutes §624.155 expired, she failed to show a permanent injury for pain and suffering damages.
However, in this case, GEICO only was aware that Cadle’s attorney said that medical bills were above $50,000 and increasing. Thus, Her bills were less than the $75,000 limits.
Make sure that you have shown that your uninsured motorist (UM) insurance case is worth more than the UM policy limits before the CRN 60 day period expires.
GEICO Refuses to Settle Injury Claim for $50K; Victim Gets $243K Verdict
This isn’t my case. In Government Employees Insurance Company v. Macedo, Fla: Supreme Court 2017, the court said that GEICO must pay the injured claimant’s costs and attorney’s fees awarded against GEICO’s insured after GEICO failed to settle.
Zackery Lombardo’s automobile insurance with GEICO provided bodily injury liability coverage for up to $100,000 per person. The policy also gave GEICO the sole authority to settle any claim or lawsuit.
Alysia Macedo sued Lombardo for damages resulting from bodily injuries she sustained in an April 2012 automobile collision with Lombardo. On May 1, 2014, Macedo served Lombardo with a proposal for settlement for $50,000, which was not accepted.
The case went to trial. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Macedo in the amount of $243,954.55.
Here, GEICO was authorized to settle the case. GEICO could have settled for half of the policy limit.
It chose not to. A jury returned a verdict in Ms. Macedo’s favor, awarding more than four times the amount of the offer.
I don’t know whether GEICO should have settled the case for $50,000 when it received the offer to settle. I say this because I don’t know what Macedo’s injuries were at the time she made the offer to settle with GEICO.
If GEICO should’ve paid the $50,000 when it received the offer to settle, this case is another example of GEICO being a below average bodily injury insurer.
Will GEICO Pay You More Money if Your Doctor Mentions the Cost of Your Surgery?
Maybe. In Gonzalez v. GEICO General Insurance Company, Dist. Court, MD Florida 2016, Lisa Anderson was injured in an automobile accident. This isn’t my case.
GEICO insured a driver, Ramjohn, who was at fault for the accident.
An MRI said that Anderson she had a L5-S1 large left paracentral disc herniation with an annular tear impinging on the left descending sacral nerve roots with edema at the endplates of L5-S1. She had other injuries as well.
Her orthopedic doctor’s Final Evaluation said that she had a permanent impairment. Her attorney sent this evaluation to GEICO.
GEICO insured Ramjohn with $100,000 per person bodily injury (“BI”) coverage. Anderson’s attorney demanded the $100,000 limits.
GEICO offered $2,581.16. Anderson’s attorney sent additional medical records, which stated that if Anderson chose to have surgery for an L5-S1 microendoscopic discectomy, the estimated costs for the surgeon’s services would be $24,000. Facility fees or anesthesiologist charges were extra.
GEICO Increased The Claim Reserves Once It Learned of Surgery Cost
Upon receipt of this information, Carl Tims, GEICO’s regional liability director, increased GEICO’s reserves on the Anderson claim to $100,000. (Reserves represent the dollar amount that GEICO can reasonably expect to pay for complete settlement of a claim, including anticipated expenses.)
On December 9, 2009, Anderson’s attorney informed GEICO that Anderson’s surgery was scheduled for the next day. The letter enclosed the surgeon’s notes on Anderson’s evaluation.
The notes said that Anderson wished to undergo minimally invasive microendoscopic diskectomy with the understanding that she would need additional surgery in the future in the form of L5-S1 fusion or artificial disk replacements.
GEICO Increased Its Offer After Learning She Would Have Surgery
Based on this additional information, GEICO increased its offer to $22,500. The record reflects that, although GEICO believed $22,500 was a “fair value based upon other settlements,” no witness in this case has an independent recollection as to how GEICO arrived at the $22,500 number.
It was only until almost four months after the surgery, when GEICO offered to pay the $100,000 policy limits. This offer was not accepted.
At a jury trial, Anderson won and got a final judgment of $398,097.82. Anderson’s bad faith expert, Peter Knowe, said:
As soon as you have a herniated disc on a woman of this age, that in and of itself verifies for insurance professionals that this claim is always worth in excess of a hundred thousand dollars. Her subsequent care and treatment may tend to increase that number as we go forward, but it never gets less than that.
Knowe also said that Geico’s offers of $2,581.16, on November 12, and $2,928.56, on November 19, 2009, which allocated nothing for future medical expenses and only $500 for pain and suffering damages were unreasonable “lowball offers“. He said that they were way off from the insurance industry custom and practice.
GEICO Admits Its First Offer Was At the Bottom End
GEICO admitted that the initial offer was at the “bottom end of the negotiation range.” Gary Gertz was GEICO’s former regional claim manager for the continuing unit that handled Anderson’s claim. He testified that GEICO should “hold the line” and refuse to settle whenever GEICO believed it had any “rational basis” for its lower valuation of a liability claim.
Gertz explained that paying more on one claim “simply because an attorney asked for it” could “set the value of the next 100, 1,000, 5,000 claims” higher. According to Gertz, even where GEICO’s “evaluation” of a claim was only a “couple of grand” less than the claimant’s settlement offer, GEICO would force the injured claimant’s attorney to file a lawsuit against GEICO’s insured, without regard for the exposure its insured faced.
Gertz believed his unit of claim managers and adjusters should encourage more cases to go to trial to “send a very strong and clear message to the claimant’s attorneys about [GEICO’s] attitude and [GEICO’s] capabilities.”
Knowe said that GEICO’s practice of considering average loss payments in its evaluation of its claim-handling employees’ performance goes against industry standards because it “puts pressure on the adjusters to artificially create a lower average loss payment as a result of underpaying claims.”
Evidence Suggested that GEICO Didn’t Reasonably Evaluate Anderson’s Claim
The judge said that a jury could find that GEICO did not handle Anderson’s claim with the same degree of care and diligence that GEICO would have used to handle its own affairs. As I mentioned earlier, Anderson won her personal injury case. After the bad faith trial, GEICO paid the judgment in full, plus attorney’s fees and costs.
GEICO Quickly Pays $10,000 to Pedestrians Hit by Car After They Sue
This isn’t my case. On December 22, 2005, Blanchard, while operating a motor vehicle covered under the Geico policy, struck pedestrians, Edelmida and Paulino Rodriguez. They sued for personal injuries.
The car accident happened near the intersection of SW 72nd Street and SW 97th Avenue in Miami. The Geico policy provided liability limits to Blanchard in the amounts of $10,000 for each claimant.
Geico immediately paid its $10,000 policy limits to each injured victim. The case is Geico General Insurance Co. v. Rodriguez, 155 So.3d 1163 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014).
The injured victims’ attorneys were from Weston, Florida and Miami. GEICO’s attorney was from Miami.
My thoughts: I think that the injured victims’ attorney may have sued GEICO for allegedly acting in bad faith.
GEICO Pays $10,000 for Crash Victim’s Surgery; He Rejects Offer
He also filed a Civil Remedy Notice (“CRN”) as authorized by section 624.155, claiming that he sustained serious and permanent injuries exceeding his UM policy limits.
GEICO answered the lawsuit and responded to the CRN, stating that based on its investigation, which included a review of his medical records, it would not offer policy limits.
After learning he had undergone surgery several years later, GEICO offered the $10,000 policy limits.
He did not accept the offer. I don’t know the final outcome. The case is GEICO Casualty Company v. Barber, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 5th Dist. 2014.
Personal Representative of Estate and Spouse Claim GEICO failed to pay an agreed $100,000 policy limits settlement
Ms. Lepine claimed that GEICO, as agent for its insured, Mr. Taylor, agreed to pay policy limits of $100,000 to Ms. Lepine.
The appeals court ruled that Ms. Lepine could not sue GEICO as a defendant until she obtains either a judgment against or a settlement with Mr. Taylor, GEICO’s insured.
Can a Ticket Be Used in an Injury Case to Show Who Caused the Accident?
Generally, no. A Florida appeals court said that jurors:
should not be informed of the investigating officer’s determination of who caused the accident and who was cited. Galgano v. Buchanan, 783 So.2d 302, 304 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)
In addition, in a personal injury case, questions to a driver or a witness, asked by one of the drivers, about whether traffic citations were issued is not allowed.
However, if one driver caused death or serious bodily injury to another driver, then an in person guilty plea to the ticket may be used in the personal injury case if two conditions are met.
“In person” means that the the driver appeared to the traffic court. If the ticket was paid via the mail-in procedure of section 318.14(4), this isn’t enough for the guilty plea to be used in the injury case.
Additionally, the “serious injury” standard to use a guilty plea is high. Section 316.1933(1) involves a blood test for impairment or intoxication in cases of death or serious bodily injury. It defines “serious bodily injury” as:
an injury to any person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.
Which Injuries Aren’t Considered “Serious Bodily Injury” for Purposes of Using a Guilty Plea on the Ticket Against the Other Driver?
For purposes of using a traffic court guilty plea in an injury case, courts have said that many injuries aren’t considered a “serious bodily injury.” For example, these injuries didn’t amount to “serious bodily injury”:
- a broken leg which resulted in a 5% permanent impairment (Galgano v. Buchanan, 783 So.2d 302, 304 (Fla. 4th DCA 2001)
- the only injury resulting from the accident were two fractured ankles, from which she fully recovered (State v. Schreiber, 835 So.2d 344 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003)
Which Injuries Are Considered “Serious Bodily Injury” for Purposes of Using a Guilty Plea on the Ticket Against the Other Driver?
On the other hand, for purposes of using a traffic court guilty plea in an injury case, Florida courts found these injuries to be “serious bodily injury”:
- Child was airlifted from the scene for concerns about possible serious head or internal injuries. State v. Catt, 839 So.2d 757, 759 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)
- Where a car accident victim suffered a broken back it was considered a “serious bodily injury”. Gerlitz v. State, 725 So.2d 393, 395 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998)
- Accident victim was screaming, holding her side and had trouble breathing. Her automobile suffered extensive damage. She was removed from it by the “jaws of life”, placed on a back board with a neck brace, and taken from the scene in an ambulance. Paramedics told the officer that the victim had possible internal injuries. State v. Cesaretti, 632 So.2d 1105 (Fla. 4th DCA 1994)
There are many other cases that talk about what a “serious bodily injury” is [for purposes of being able to use a traffic ticket in a personal injury case]. I just listed a few.
The “serious bodily injury” standard is higher than Florida’s tort threshold in personal injury claims.
Check out some other interesting articles on injury claims and settlements with GEICO
- GEICO car accident claims in Florida
- neck injury claims with GEICO in Florida
- injury claims for herniated discs against GEICO in Florida.
- wrist and hand injury cases with GEICO in Florida.
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