Important Laws to Keep in Mind When Filing a Car Accident Claim in Florida
Florida has a number of unique laws on the books that come into play when filing a lawsuit based on a car accident. For instance, unlike many states, Florida applies a no fault theory to car accident claims. While this does not necessarily mean that at-fault drivers will not be held accountable for their negligent actions, it does usually mean that car accident victims will need to go through their own insurers first and can only file a claim in court if they meet a certain threshold. To learn more about the laws that could affect your own car accident claim, please contact a knowledgeable car accident attorney who has the experience and resources to help.
Who Can File a Car Accident Claim?
Florida law only allows certain plaintiffs to overcome the state’s no fault insurance laws to file a lawsuit in court, namely those who can prove that their injuries qualify as serious. Generally, an injury will only be considered serious if it falls under one of the following categories:
- Significant disfigurement;
- Permanent limitation of the use of a body part or organ;
- Bone fractures;
- Significant limitation of a body function or system; or
- Substantial disability lasting for at least three months.
When a car accident victim’s injuries satisfy one of these criteria, he or she can file a claim against the at-fault party in court. In these cases, injured parties will not be limited to recovering compensation for medical bills and lost wages, but can also pursue non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
Even if a plaintiff’s injuries qualify as serious under Florida law, he or she will be prohibited from having his or her case heard in court if the filing doesn’t take place within four years of the date of the accident. Accident victims who fail to comply with this deadlines almost always have their claims barred by the court, meaning that they will most likely remain on the hook for costs and expenses that exceed the limits of their insurance policy. It’s important to keep in mind that this statute of limitations doesn’t apply to all personal injury cases. Wrongful death lawsuits, for instance, must be brought within two years of the victim’s death by his or her immediate family members.
Comparative Negligence Laws
Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that even when an injured party was partly at fault for an accident, he or she will not automatically be barred from recovering damages. Instead, each party will be held responsible for an amount of damages that corresponds to his or her percentage of fault in causing the accident. This ensures that just because a car accident victim contributed in some minor way to a crash, he or she will not be completely barred from holding the other party responsible.
Call Today for a Free Consultation
To schedule a free consultation with one of the dedicated car accident attorneys at Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale, please call 954-566-9919 today or send us an online message at your earliest convenience.