Whenever you experience an accident or injury and plan to file an insurance claim or lawsuit for compensation, you need to aware of the Florida laws that will impact your case. Consider the following Florida Personal Injury Statute Of Limitations laws that will apply to your personal injury recovery.
Every state, including Florida, has a deadline or statute of limitations regarding when you can file a lawsuit in civil court against someone who is responsible for your injury, and a Miami injury attorney can help you do that.
For personal injury cases, the state of Florida allows you four years from the date of the accident to file your lawsuit (Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11). The court is unlikely to hear your case at all if you do not file within that timeframe, though some cases do have special circumstances where you might not discover your injury until some days, weeks, or months after the incident.
The statute of limitation is then extended and the timeframe window begins on ‘discovery’ of the harm. For an injury claim against the government (city, county, state), the statute of limitations is only three years.
Comparative Negligence Law in Florida
If you seek compensation for your injuries, you may find yourself facing the accusation that you are in some way partially to blame for the incident that caused them. You may have partially caused the accident or done something to make your injuries worse. These factors can impact the amount of your recovery in compensation for your claim.
In situations like these, Florida has a pure comparative negligence rule that applies. This means that your recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you are liable for in the accident.
The example of an auto accident is a good way to demonstrate this rule. If another driver runs a red light, but you were speeding, then you may be held 10% accountable for the accident. The other driver is then 90% liable for the accident. If you have $10,000 worth of damages, then Florida’s comparative negligence rule means that your recovery will be 90% of this amount after subtracting the 10% of liability that you hold in the accident (so, you would receive $9,000).
It is very common for insurance claims adjusters in Florida to raise the comparative negligence rule when negotiating with you or your attorney for a settlement.
No-Fault Car Insurance Laws in Florida
There is a no-fault system in place in Florida which ensures that no matter who is at fault for an accident, the injured person’s car insurance will cover his or her lost income and medical expenses. Unless the ‘serious injury threshold’ is met, you cannot hold the other driver accountable for your injuries. Minor accidents typically fall under this no-fault system, though in some circumstances you can file a liability claim. For example, if you experienced the following:
- Permanent injury
- Significant / Permanent scarring
You can discuss in negotiation for a settlement whether or not your injuries fit into the ‘serious injury threshold’ of Florida’s no-fault system.
Dog Bites and Strict Liability
Many states have a ‘one bite rule’ that protects a dog owner from injury liability if they had no reason to suspect that their pet was dangerous. Florida, on the other hand, is a ‘strict liability’ state, which means that the dog owner is always responsible for personal injuries caused by their pet.
This is determined by two different statutes:
- “Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person.” – Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 767.01
- “The [dog] owner” “ is liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owners’ knowledge of such viciousness.” – Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 767.04
Florida Injury Case Damage Caps
An injury case damage cap is the limit on how much an injured person can recover in particular types of cases and for specific types of losses. This generally limits the amount of damages recovered for losses that are not economical, like pain and suffering.
The most important damage caps in Florida personal injury cases apply to punitive damages in auto accidents, defective product accidents, and slip and fall accidents. Punitive damages are available in a very small percent of cases where the at-fault party’s behavior calls for punishment.
These damages are limited to three times the amount of damages or $500,000 (whichever is greater) in most Florida personal injury cases (Florida Statutes Title XLV section 768.73).
There are no other damage cap laws on the books in Florida when it comes to standard personal injury cases. But it’s a different story in medical malpractice cases. Florida law does impose caps on damages in lawsuits against medical practitioners, including strict limits on non-economic damages like pain and suffering. Those laws are a little too complex to get into here.
When it comes to standard personal injury cases, no other damage cap laws apply except in medical malpractice cases. There are complex laws and strict limits on damages that are not monetary (like pain and suffering) that can be recovered from medical practitioners.
To learn more about the negligence and personal injury laws in Florida, view Florida Statutes Chapter 768 (Negligence) and Florida Statutes Title XLV (Torts).