Florida statutes may have a big impact on your ability to seek compensation for your injuries. Many different statutes will impact when, where, and how you can pursue a personal injury claim.
Statutes can have complex legal language. It may be difficult to determine exactly what a law means or how it applies to your case.
If you need assistance, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer to request a free case evaluation.
Important Florida Personal Injury Statutes
Statutes are state laws passed by the legislature. There are statutes regulating all types of activities and setting forth rules that must be followed when filing a lawsuit.
Some of the most important statutes you should be aware of are:
Statutes of limitations place deadlines on how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long after an accident to file your claim, Florida law may bar you from filing a lawsuit. Your case will be dismissed. You should always be aware of the statute of limitations for your claim.
Comparative fault laws determine liability for an accident when multiple parties share blame. In some states, the victim’s shared fault can prevent them from filing a lawsuit. Other states divide the fault among parties but still allow a lawsuit to be filed.
Insurance laws also have a big impact on personal injury cases. Each state has different statutes that require drivers to carry certain types of insurance. Different jurisdictions also have different rules about whether you should file a claim with your own insurance or the insurance company of the person who was at fault for the accident.
Even when a statute applies, there may be some exceptions to the general rule. It’s important to fully understand how a statute will affect your case to avoid missing your chance to seek compensation for your injuries.
Florida Statutes of Limitations
The Florida statutes of limitations give you four years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. Once this deadline passes, you will be barred from filing a lawsuit to seek damages related to your injury.
Certain types of cases have different statutes of limitations in Florida. Wrongful death cases have a two-year statute of limitations. Malpractice cases also have a two-year statute of limitations.
The time limit generally begins on the date you were injured. However, there may be some situations where you don’t immediately know that you’ve been harmed. For example, a doctor may commit medical malpractice during your surgical procedure, but you may not discover the problem until a year after the surgery.
In this case, the clock starts running on the date you reasonably should have discovered the problem. With medical malpractice, you would have two years to file a lawsuit starting with the date you discovered the injury.
Florida Comparative Fault Statutes
The Florida contributory fault statute follows a pure comparative fault rule. You can still seek compensation from another party even if you share fault for an accident. However, your compensation will be reduced to account for your share of blame.
For example, say you were involved in an accident and had $100,000 in damages. Suppose it’s determined that you were 60% at fault and the other driver was 40% at fault. You can still seek $40,000 in compensation from the other driver.
Florida No-Fault Insurance Statutes
Florida has two important rules that affect your ability to sue another person for damages from a car accident:
- The no-fault insurance statutes (which have some exceptions)
- The personal injury protection (PIP) plan statutes
Under the Florida no-fault insurance law, you generally can’t seek compensation from another party for injuries from an accident, even if that party caused the accident. You deal with your own insurance company regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
There are some exceptions to this general rule. You may seek damages from another party if you’ve experienced any of the following due to an accident:
- Significant and permanent loss of important bodily function
- Permanent injury other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
You can also seek non-economic damages if you satisfy any of the conditions listed above.
If you don’t meet any of these conditions, you would instead seek compensation under your own PIP plan. Florida statutes require every driver to carry a PIP plan. These policies should cover some medical expenses, lost wages, and certain other costs from your accident.
You must seek compensation from your own PIP plan before filing a claim against another person’s insurance — unless one of the exceptions listed above applies. However, many PIP plans have low policy limits, and you may quickly exhaust all of your PIP benefits.
In that case, you may be able to file a claim against another person’s liability insurance policy. You must show that the other person was at-fault for the accident to receive a financial recovery.
Florida’s no-fault laws can be complex. You may be required to file multiple claims for your injuries. Seek help from a personal injury lawyer if you need assistance.
Florida Liability Standards
Many personal injury cases involve negligence. If a person failed to act as a reasonable person and caused an injury, they may be liable for the victim’s damages.
Other cases follow a strict liability standard. This standard is used in special cases where a person can be found liable for damage even when they acted reasonably and did not intend to harm another person.
For example, the Florida dog bite law places strict liability on a dog’s owner when the dog bites another person and causes injury without provocation. Strict liability may also be used for persons participating in certain abnormally dangerous activities and for manufacturers for defective products.
Consult a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer for Help
Many other Florida statutes could impact your ability to seek compensation for injuries. To learn more, contact a Miami personal injury to discuss your case.
During a consultation, you can get answers to important questions about your personal injury claim. You can determine how Florida laws may be applied to your case and figure out how to seek the best possible settlement for your injuries.