Accidents on Florida roadways can result in significant injuries. Oftentimes, your medical bills, lost time from work and other expenses are not covered by insurance. Since Florida is a “no-fault” state, generally after an accident you will file a claim with your own insurance company. However, if you suffer serious injury, the insurance may not pay all of your expenses.
What is Considered a Serious Injury?
Under the no-fault laws, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if your injuries rise to a specific level which is defined as “serious”. This means:
- You have suffered a significant loss of a bodily function such as blindness or limb amputation
- Your injury is considered permanent (excludes scarring and disfiguration)
- Your loved one dies as a result of their injuries
In these cases, you may file a personal injury claim after a car accident.
Understanding Personal Injury Statutes
Under Florida law, you have a specific period of time, four years, to file a personal injury lawsuit. Once this time, known as the statute of limitations expires, you may not seek additional compensation. In order to have a basis for a personal injury suit, you must be able to prove certain conditions existed:
- You were injured and suffered damages as a result of an accident
- The person responsible had a duty to not cause injury but failed
- Because the responsible person failed in their duties you were injured
For car accidents, a drunk driving accident is fairly simple to demonstrate the person failed in their duty. However, other cases like slip and fall accidents may be more challenging. Anytime you are injured because someone failed to exercise proper care, you should speak with a Florida personal injury attorney to determine if you have a case.
Other Important Personal Injury Rules
Florida does not place caps on actual damage, though they do place caps on punitive damages of $500,000. In most cases, victims can be compensated for lost wages, pain and suffering as well as medical expenses. Additionally, Florida also uses a “pure comparative negligence rule” which means if you are found to be partially responsible for an accident that results in your being injured, your final settlement would be reduced by the percentage of your liability.
Personal injury laws can be complicated so if you are injured or you lose a loved one because of someone’s negligence, contact The Law Office of Andrade, P.A. at 407-389-5151. We handle Florida personal injury cases all over the Central Florida area from Volusia to Pinellas.