1. Florida is a “no-fault” state when it comes to car accidents.
This means that your insurance company will pay for your medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. However, you can still sue the other driver if your injuries are severe or if the other driver was intoxicated at the time of the accident. For instance, if you lose a limb or suffer paralysis because of an accident, you will be able to sue the other driver, but if you only suffer whiplash, you will not be able to sue.
2. Florida has a “comparative negligence” rule.
When it comes to personal injury cases, if you are partially at fault for an accident, the court will reduce your damages by your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 20% at fault for an accident, you can only recover 80% of your damages from the other party.
Consider a scenario where you are hit by a car while walking across the street. Even if the driver of the car is 100% at fault, you may be found to be partially at fault if you were not crossing at a crosswalk. In this case, your damages would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
3. Florida has a statute of limitations for personal injury cases.
If you have a personal injury case, you must file your lawsuit within a specific period after the accident, or you will be barred by law from filing a lawsuit. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Florida is four years.
Exceptions to this rule are made in cases of medical malpractice, which have a two-year statute of limitations, and for injuries to minors, which have a seven-year statute of limitations. Additionally, if you are suing a government entity, you must give notice of your claim within three years, or the law will bar you from doing so. Also, wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations.
4. You have the burden of proving your case.
You will need to prove that the other party was at fault for your injuries in order to recover damages. This can be challenging, and you will need strong evidence to support your claim. In a scenario where you are hit by a car while walking, you will need to show that the driver was at fault and you were innocent of any wrongdoing before you can recover damages.
You can gather evidence by taking photos of the scene of the accident, talking to witnesses, and obtaining a copy of the police report. You should also keep track of all your medical expenses, as you will need to prove your damages to recover them. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong case.
5. You can only recover tangible damages.
You can only recover economic losses. This means that you can recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, but you cannot recover non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. For instance, if you are in a car accident and suffer a broken arm, you can recover your medical expenses and lost wages, but you cannot recover damages for the pain and suffering caused by the broken arm.
6. Liability for dog bites and animal attacks:
In Florida, a dog or other animal owner is strictly liable for any injuries caused by the animal. This means you do not need to prove that the owner was negligent in recovering damages. This rule applies regardless of the animal’s past behavior, even if the owner did not know the animal was dangerous.
7. Florida damage caps:
There are damage caps in Florida for certain types of personal injury cases.
-For non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, the damage cap is $500,000.
-For medical malpractice cases, the damage cap is $500,000 for each claimant and $750,000 for each incident.
-There is no damage cap for economic damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
Even if your damages exceed the damage cap, you will only be able to recover up to the capped amount.
In some cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. For punitive damages to be awarded, the defendant must have acted with gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
Examples of situations where the court awards punitive damages include drunk driving and hit-and-run accidents.
These are some essential things about Florida’s personal injury statutory rules. Suppose you have been injured in an accident. In that case, it is critical to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate these rules and recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.