Personal Injury Claims in Florida

Personal injury is an injury to our body, emotions, or physical property. A personal injury claim is a lawsuit filed by an injured person against the person held negligent for the accident. Some examples of personal injury cases include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Product Liability
  • Medical malpractice incidents

Statute of Limitations

The Statute Of Limitations is a time frame in the course of which a person has to file a lawsuit in the court. According to Florida’s statute of limitations, the injured person has FOUR YEARS to file his or her claim from the date of the accident. This law can also be found at the Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11. In rare cases where the injury is not discovered soon, the limitations start from the time when the injury has being discovered.

Motor Vehicle Insurance Claims

Florida follows a ‘no-fault’ insurance policy in motor vehicle personal injury cases. This means that after a vehicle accident, the insurance company of the injured person will provide all coverage for medical expenses and damages, with no reference to who actually was at fault. One cannot hold the negligent driver liable for a fault unless a serious injury threshold is met.

However, one may file a case, if he or she has suffered:

  • Disfigurement,
  • Permanent injury, and
  • Permanent scarring

Determining Fault in Personal Injury Case

Florida follows a ‘pure comparative fault’ in personal injury cases. This means that the amount of compensation to which the injured party is entitled will be determined on the basis of fault shared by him or her and the negligent party. Here is an EXAMPLE:

Suppose you are driving over speed limit, when a driver drives through a red traffic signal and hits you from side. The driver is at fault, but since you were not driving under speed limit, you share part of the fault as well. In court, it is found that you were 10 percent at fault while the driver is 90 percent at fault. Consequently, the compensation gets reduced to $9,000 from $ 10,000.

If you are filing a claim for your personal injury outside the court, the insurance company might also raise the comparative negligence rule during the negotiations.

Florida Personal Injury Law

If you were injured in Florida and this was the result of an action by someone else you need to know the state’s laws so you can exert your rights.

You may be able to recover personal injury compensation from the person who caused your injury, or their insurer, depending on how the accident that caused your injury took place.

Many personal injury claims in Florida are due to traffic accidents but as the state is a no-fault state each driver's own car insurance normally pays for his or her injuries and any other damages that took place due to the accident, regardless of who was at fault.

Florida’s law demands that all drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection for each person if there was more than one injured in an accident.

Usually, a personal injury lawsuit cannot be filed against the person who caused the accident as it is your own car insurance that covers the cost of an injury, which includes medical expenses and lost income.

There are some exceptions in Florida law that permits a victim to file a personal injury lawsuit following a road accident if a serious injury was the result. A serious injury under Florida law can be any of the following:

  • an injury that is permanent
  • an injury that has resulted in a lot of scarring and has been diagnosed as permanent;
  • an injury that has caused significant and permanent loss of a particular bodily function;
  • death.

Proving Negligence is an Important Part of a Personal Injury Claim

Many personal injury compensation claims are won because the victim is able to prove that the person or entity which caused the accident was negligent.

To prove negligence the victim needs to be able to show that the defendant owed a duty of care. For example, in a traffic accident, the victim needs to be able to show that the defendant had the duty to obey all traffic laws and drive safely.

In addition, proof needs to be found that defendant failed to obey traffic rules and wasn’t driving safely.

Product Liability Claims

In Florida there are strict liability laws and manufacturers of products are liable for accidents and injuries caused by any defective products they produce.

It is not necessary for any victim to prove negligence when filing a personal injury claim for damages.

Claim for Pain and Suffering

If a victim of an accident has suffered pain and suffering in Florida there is normally no limit to the value of a pain and suffering claim.

However, according to Florida Statute 768.28, the maximum amount of a claim for pain and suffering permitted is $200,000.

Damage Caps in Florida

Damage caps are incorporated to set the limits on the amount of compensation to be given to an injured person. The damage caps in Florida are as follows:

  • For most cases, the government of Florida limits punitive damages to thrice the amount of compensation or $500,000 (whichever is greater).
  • There are caps for damages in medical malpractice cases. The caps are implied against medical practitioners, including pain and suffering damages.
  • There are no other damage caps for standard personal injury claims.

Nonetheless, if you have suffered a personal injury due to the actions of another party, such as an injury from a slip and fall incident or a car accident in Florida, you should consult with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss how to recover any losses you may have incurred.

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