5 Things You Didn’t Know About Florida Personal Injury Law

by Nov 5, 2019Personal Injury

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Florida Personal Injury Law

by Nov 5, 2019Personal Injury

Things you Didn't Know about Florida Personal Injury Law
Things you Didn't Know about Florida Personal Injury Law

Florida personal injury law is different

How is Florida Personal Injury Law different from other states?

Personal injury laws and legal procedures vary wildly from state to state. As a matter of fact, you would be surprised to find out some of the little-known facts that set Florida apart from many other states. Here are five (5) prime examples:

1. You can collect for emotional distress

Under Florida personal injury law, you have the right to sue for emotional distress related to a personal injury in addition to physical suffering. Emotional distress includes mental anguish caused by the incident and can include humiliation, anger, fear, and conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

You can also collect if such states are not only caused by the actual accident itself, but from situations that stem from it, such as the loss of the ability to participate in activities that the victim once enjoyed, the inability to perform the essential components of his or her job, and also the additional stress due to the financial strain because of such inability.

2. There are Statute of Limitations

Unlike most states, which only offer a two-year statute of limitations, Florida has a four-year personal injury statute of limitations. This means that you have up to four years to file a personal injury case in court under state law. However, personal injury cases involving wrongful death or medical negligence has a two-year statute of limitation in Florida.

Therefore, it is so important to retain a qualified personal injury attorney. A claim that is not filed as a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitations will be forever barred from being filed. The insurance company will have that period of time to settle the matter with you, but once the statute of limitations expires, so will any insurance company offer. A competent attorney will continue to negotiate your settlement within the statute of limitations, and if necessary, file your case well before the expiration of any statute of limitations.

3. Uninsured Motorist Insurance is Crucial

In Florida, in order to register a motor vehicle, drivers must have proof of a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection (commonly known as PIP) and $10,000 property damage liability. There is absolutely no requirement for Florida drivers to carry bodily injury liability insurance. According to many statewide surveys, most drivers in Florida do not carry bodily injury, so there is a high likelihood that you will be hit by a driver that does not have it.

That means that a person hit by a driver without bodily injury liability coverage (i.e. an uninsured motorist), will be unable to make any monetary recovery for medical bills and out of pocket expenses unless he or she carry uninsured motorist coverage. As such, it is pertinent to have an adequate automobile insurance policy that includes uninsured motorist coverage in Florida. It just makes sense, it is essentially the only true form of automobile insurance, and without it, a driver in Florida may as well be driving without any insurance at all.

4. Partially at Fault Victims can File Claims

As a car accident victim, you could have been speeding at the time of a collision, yet you were hit when the other driver who ran a red light. That doesn’t mean you cannot file a claim or sue for your injuries. Like car accident victims, many slip and fall victims also regularly forego speaking to a Florida personal injury lawyer or making an insurance claim because they believe they are partly at fault. A slip and fall victim may also feel that they cannot collect because they were wearing the wrong shoes or may have missed fluid on the floor because they were texting while walking.

Florida’s personal injury law states that you can still sue for damages even if you are partially at fault for an incident that occurred. This is because Florida is a comparative fault state. Potential damages are all dependent on just how culpable you were in the events that led to the accident. It will have to be determined just how your actions and/or inactions contributed to the outcome.

For example, if you were to get into a car accident and it was determined that you were only 20% at fault, while the other party is 80% liable, your total damages would be reduced by that 20%. That is because trial juries in Florida are instructed to weigh the percentages of fault of all parties involved in the wreck, and any possible future compensation is reduced accordingly. That means that even if you were responsible for over 51% of the accident, you can still file a claim.

5. Ignorance does not Negate Liability

In Florida, ignorance is not a defense to civil liability. In other words, if you were to slip on private property, such as a residence or on the grounds of a company open for business, and the owner was unaware of such a hazard, he or she is still liable for your injuries.

In Florida, the law assumes that we each have a civil duty to protect each other. This means that a person walking on private property if he or she is invited should reasonably believe that the property will be maintained to standards in which he or she will be safe. One must also understand that under the law, any company soliciting business through its doors is considered to be inviting customers as guests onto their property. The law provides for an unsaid duty to keep private premises safe for all guests, and the breach of that duty, whether knowingly or not, constitutes liability on the part the one who has breached said duty.

All states have similar laws when it comes to personal injury, but they also have many that are quite different. This means that you should always talk to a qualified Florida personal injury lawyer to learn more about Florida’s laws and the best way to move your potential case forward. Call the Bodden & Bennet Law Group today and set up an appointment to speak candidly about your personal injury matter.

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