Florida Auto Injury Laws and Consequences
An auto injury is a physically and mentally painful development. Unfortunately, dealing with the injuries and paperwork after the event can be an arduous process. Having an attorney by one’s side to assist with collecting all damages due for physical injuries can be extremely helpful throughout each step of the process.
Florida Auto Injury Laws
Florida is a no fault injury state. This means that state law requires individuals to file a claim with their auto insurance company regardless of which party was at fault. In states like Florida, all drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their auto insurance policy. The motivation behind Florida’s no-fault laws were meant to lower the cost of auto insurance by taking the small claims out of the court systems. The insurance companies compensate their policy holders for the cost of minor injuries, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
However, if the injuries are severe and permanent such as death of a victim, one can file a claim against the other driver as well as a lawsuit in the state courts.
Fault and Limits on Damages
Damages are compensation for the injured party bringing the lawsuit, in this case the plaintiff. The money damages are for harm or any injury suffered as a result of another’s negligence. The amount itself a party can recover depends on the circumstances of the case, including the negligence committed, the injury suffered, and the identity of the defendant.
When one thinks of damages or any monetary compensation for injuries, they usually think of “pain and suffering” that a plaintiff has suffered. However, this is difficult to measure and there are several factors judges or a jury would consider such as the severity of the injury, potential ongoing consequences, age of the injured person, whether the injured person had any pre-existing conditions, and the amount of economic loss suffered.
When courts determine fault, Florida judges look at “pure comparative negligence” of the parties involved. For example, if you have a case in court, the judge or jury will compare fault between the two parties and reduce the money damages in accordance. If a driver is compensated $10,000 but was found to be 50% at fault, then their recovery will be limited to 50% of the damages, in this case a total of $5,000. Moreover, personal injury claims and property damage claims must be filed within 4 years from the day of the accident.
Recent Developments in Florida Law
As of April 2019, Florida’s State Senate has been seeking to eliminate their “no fault” insurance system. For several decades, many state lawmakers have floated the idea of ending this no fault system whereby drivers are required to carry $10,000 in PIP coverage which has been unchanged since 1979. These new bills presented by the Florida Senate would require a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for injury or death of one person and $50,000 for injuries or deaths of two or more people. It is important to note that these proposals would retain the existing $10,000 financial responsibility requirement for property damage.
Reach Out to an Attorney Today for Help
The law in Florida is ever changing and it’s important to have the right counsel by one’s side to navigate this complicated process. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile accident, please contact the West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates at 561-686-1800.