The Basics of a Florida Car Accident Claim
In Florida, like other states, car accident victims can collect compensation from the negligent or reckless parties who caused their injuries. However, Florida’s no-fault insurance laws can make this process more complicated, so if you were injured in a car accident, it is critical for you to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who is well-versed in state law and can help you file a claim against the responsible party.
In an attempt to reduce the number of frivolous accident-related lawsuits filed across the state, Florida adopted a no-fault insurance system. Under this system, fault is irrelevant, and the injured party is required to seek reimbursement for medical expenses and vehicle repair from their own insurer. It’s also important to keep in mind that Florida law requires accident victims to receive medical care within two weeks of their accident if they want to claim personal injury protection benefits.
There is an exception to the no-fault insurance system for those who suffer serious injuries, which includes:
- Permanent injuries;
- Permanent scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant or permanent loss of a bodily function; and
When a victim sustains one of these types of injuries, he or she can sue the at-fault party for damages, including compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages, as well as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
Even if an accident victim’s injury falls under the category of “serious,” he or she will only be able to collect compensation from the responsible individual if there is evidence that:
- The other driver owed a duty of reasonable care;
- The other driver breached this duty by driving recklessly or carelessly; and
- The other driver’s breach caused the plaintiff to suffer a serious injury.
Generally, injured parties will need to collect a substantial amount of evidence to support their claim, including police reports, eyewitness testimony, surveillance videos, and medical records. Fortunately, even when an injured party contributed to his or her own accident, he or she will not be barred from filing a claim. This is because Florida is a comparative negligence state, which means that rather than barring a case, the court will only reduce the amount of compensation that a partially at-fault plaintiff can receive by his or her own degree of responsibility. Finally, plaintiffs must file a claim for damages within four years of the date of the accident or their claim will be barred by the court and they will miss out on the opportunity to collect compensation for their pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity. However, if a person passed away as a result of his or her injuries, then that individual’s loved ones only have two years to file a claim for wrongful death damages.
Talk to a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today