Auto accidents are a very common occurrence throughout America. However, each state has different car accident compensation laws. This article discusses what you need to know about Florida car accidents, including what to do after an accident, a brief overview of Florida's car accident compensation laws, Florida's negligence laws, and limits on damages in the state.
What Should You Do After an Accident?
Here is a list of what to do immediately after you are in a car accident:
- Don't leave the scene; leaving the scene of the accident, even if it's minor, could be considered an illegal hit-and-run
- Get to safety out of traffic and check everyone for injuries (and consider rendering first aid to any car accident victims)
- Call the Florida highway patrol or the police department for help and medical assistance; you will want to make sure you get a copy of the police report or accident report
- Collect contact information and driver's insurance information from the people who were driving any vehicles involved in the accident
- Take pictures of the scene and get the contact information of any witnesses; also, check with nearby businesses or homeowners that may have recorded the accident through their security cameras and obtain a copy of the footage
- Call your insurance adjuster and notify them of a possible car accident claim
- Get checked out by a doctor
- Contact a personal injury attorney
Florida Car Accident Compensation Laws: At a Glance
Below, you'll find a chart laying out the Florida car accident compensation laws, as well as detailed explanations of key aspects of the laws.
Statute of Limitations
Four years from the date of the accident (Florida Statutes Title 8, Ch. 95, § 95.11)
Limits on Damages
Non-permanent injuries are covered by the state's PIP insurance laws (Florida Bar Information on PIP)
In any action against an automobile liability insurer for damages in excess of its policy limits, no claim for punitive damages will be allowed (§ 627.737)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
'No Fault' and 'Pure Comparative Negligence' Rules
The first thing to know is that Florida is one of only a handful of states that has "no fault" car insurance and accident compensation laws. This means, for accidents in Florida, you'll have to file a claim with your own insurance, under "personal injury protection (PIP)" coverage, for your injuries resulting from an accident.
However, if the injuries are severe and permanent, you can file a claim against the other driver, and if necessary, a lawsuit. Also, if you are making a claim for damage to your car, "no fault" does not apply, and you will file a claim with the other driver's insurance.
In determining fault, Florida is a "pure comparative negligence" state. If your case goes to trial, the judge or jury will compare fault -- calculate percentages of fault for each driver -- and reduce damage awards accordingly. For example, if a driver suffers $1,000 in damages after a fender-bender, but was found to be 40% percent at fault, her recovery will be limited to 60% of her damages -- here, $600.
Limits on Damages in Florida
Florida has few limitations on car accident compensation, once the "no fault" insurance rules are accounted for, other than a time limit for filing cases. For personal injury claims involving significant and permanent injuries and for property (including auto) damage claims, there is a strict time limit for filing a legal case, known as the statute of limitations. In Florida, you have four years from the day of the accident to file a lawsuit.
A Florida Attorney Can Help You Get Compensated for Your Car Accident Injuries
"No fault" insurance laws make Florida claims tricky, as they require you to go to your own insurance first for non-serious injuries, plus pursue a claim for property damage with the other driver's insurance. A personal injury attorney can help you navigate these complex laws. They will also help review your claim and weigh your options moving forward.
Get in touch with an experienced Florida injury law attorney today.