Florida Laws Involved in Personal Injury Cases

If you have sustained personal injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence1 in the state of Florida, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. Florida personal injury laws can be complex, and it is essential that you have an experienced and compassionate personal injury attorney on your side representing you every step of the way.

If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in an accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, our knowledgeable New Port Richey personal injury attorneys are here to help. Our lawyers can help you maximize the value of your case and assist you with obtaining the compensation you need and deserve.

Sustaining Personal Injuries

Anyone can sustain personal injuries as a result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or careless behavior. Some of the most common bases for personal injury lawsuits in the State of Florida include the following:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (e.g., car, truck, motorcycle, or moped accidents)
  • Boating accidents (including accidents involving other types of watercraft)
  • Slip-and-fall accidents
  • Dog bites2
  • Defective products

Statute of Limitations

When it comes to personal injury claims and lawsuits, Florida, like every other state in the country, has a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a deadline by which a personal injury claim or lawsuit must be filed.

In Florida personal injury cases, that period of time is four years from the date of sustaining the injury or injuries (i.e., four years from the date of the accident). If a claim or lawsuit is not filed within that time period, absent some exceptional circumstances (such as the latent discovery of the personal injury or condition), the injured plaintiff is forever barred from filing suit or seeking monetary compensation for injuries and damages sustained in the accident.

Pure Comparative Fault

In Florida accident cases, insurance companies may try and limit the injured plaintiff’s recovery – or deny liability altogether – by alleging that the injured plaintiff somehow caused or contributed to the subject accident and injuries. In some other jurisdictions, an injured plaintiff is completely barred from monetary recovery if a jury finds that he or she caused or contributed to the subject accident and injuries in any way, whatsoever. An injured plaintiff could ‘contribute’ to an accident if he or she speeds or runs a red light or stop sign, for example.

In cases such as these, Florida uses a pure comparative fault standard.3 Under this standard, if an injured plaintiff is partly to blame for the subject accident and injuries, the amount of the injured plaintiff’s potential recovery is reduced by an amount that is equal to the injured plaintiff’s percentage of fault for the accident.

For example, if the injured plaintiff is deemed to be 10 percent at fault for an accident (such as by speeding or texting while driving) and the defendant was deemed to be 90 percent at fault, then the injured plaintiff’s available damages will be reduced by 10 percent. Under this theory of recovery, an injured plaintiff could still recover monetary damages even when he or she is deemed to be 99 percent at fault for the accident.

No-Fault Insurance

The issue of no-fault insurance typically arises in the context of Florida motor vehicle accident cases. Under Florida law, in car accident cases, an injured plaintiff’s own insurance company (as opposed to the other driver’s insurance company) will ordinarily provide insurance coverage for medical expenses and loss of income. This is true no matter which driver was deemed to be at fault for the subject accident.

An injured plaintiff cannot sue the other driver (or the other driver’s insurance company) unless there is a “serious” injury. This generally means that the injury was permanent and/or that it resulted in significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

Available Damages in Florida Personal Injury Cases

If a personal injury plaintiff can prove that an accident occurred as a direct and proximate result of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence, then he or she may be entitled to monetary compensation – or damages. These damages may be either economic or noneconomic.

Some of the most common types of economic and noneconomic damages available to injured plaintiffs in Florida personal injury cases include the following:

  • Compensation for causally related medical bills and treatment
  • Compensation for loss of income and lost wages
  • Compensation for past, present, and future pain, suffering, and disfigurement
  • Compensation for past, present, and future emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Compensation for causally related psychological or psychiatric treatment
  • Compensation for loss of consortium or spousal support
  • Compensation for loss of earning capacity

In a very limited number of personal injury cases, punitive damages might be available. However, punitive damages4 are available only when a negligent defendant behaved in a particularly egregious or reckless manner. In personal injury cases, the state of Florida limits punitive damages to three times the amount of the compensatory damages or $500,000 – whichever amount is greater.

Contact a New Port Richey Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case

It is important to realize that in personal injury cases, the insurance company usually controls the purse strings. No matter whose insurance company is involved, insurance companies, generally speaking, are not on your side, and they do not have your best interests at heart.

Insurance companies often try to settle personal injury claims and lawsuits as cheaply as possible to wash their hands of them quickly. Moreover, insurance companies are not interested in compensating you for your injuries, damages, and inconvenience – all of which resulted from someone else’s carelessness and negligence. Rather, they are most interested in keeping their money in-house to distribute to their shareholders.

An experienced New Port Richey personal injury attorney will be able to negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf and assist you with obtaining the maximum value for your case. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with one of our lawyers, please call us or contact us online.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275

1 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/negligence

2 https://www.cdc.gov/features/dog-bite-prevention/

3 http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.81.html

4 http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.73.html