29 Sep

4 Ways That Florida Personal Injury Laws Differ From Other States

Personal Injury

Florida personal injury laws

If you were seriously injured in a car accident, or another accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for the costs of your injuries by working with a personal injury lawyer. However, in order to have the best chance at securing maximum damages, you need to understand how Florida personal injury laws differ from other states’. While all states use the same legal principles in determining fault and awarding damages in personal injury cases, each state has its own laws governing how courts decide these cases. 

The Florida Law Group has been helping injured accident victims secure fair settlements and get the money they need to pay their medical expenses for almost 40 years (and we have 100 years of collective legal experience on our attorney team). We are experts at winning personal injury lawsuits, and we can explain what you need to know so that you can be empowered to protect your rights! Let’s take a closer look at 4 of the crucial differences between Florida personal injury laws and those of other states that could affect your case’s outcome. 


  1. Four-Year Statute of Limitations

In many parts of the country, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim varies by the type of injury and the number of damages claimed. In Florida, however, there is generally a four year statute of limitations that applies. This limitation means that an injured plaintiff only has four years from the date of their accident to file a claim for damages related to their injuries. Victims of medical malpractice only have two years from the date of the incident to file. Therefore, it is essential to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that you file your claim before the deadline expires.

A court can only hear a case filed within the appropriate statute of limitations. As a result, the court almost always dismisses late claims. However, it is vital to note that exceptions to the four-year statute of limitations may apply in some cases. An experienced personal injury attorney can determine whether your claim falls under one of these exceptions and help you take action if necessary!


  1. Comparative Negligence Rules

States vary on how they determine negligence in a personal injury case. A few states have “contributory negligence laws”. In these circumstances, injured victims who contributed to the accident that caused their injuries in any way, even if they were not primarily at fault, cannot recover anything in terms of damages. For example, if you were speeding slightly at the time of a car crash, even if another driver ran a red light and cut in front of you and that is why you sustained your injuries, contributory negligence may prevent you from being able to get paid any amount for medical expenses. Many states have “modified comparative negligence laws”, where victims can only recover damages if their contribution to the negligence that caused the accident is found to be less than 50% or 51%.  

Previously, Florida courts followed a pure comparative negligence standard. This meant that victims could recover damages according to their level of responsibility for the accident. For example, if you were speeding when another car ran a red light in front of you, resulting in a collision, you may be found to be 20% at fault for the crash while they may be found to be 80% at fault for the crash. If you are awarded $80,000 for your injuries, you may only receive $64,000 of that. 

However, in 2023, new laws passed that changed Florida into a modified comparative negligence state; in the above example, if you were the one who was 80% at fault for the crash, you could not recover damages. 

Depending on the level of responsibility the court assigns you, Florida personal injury laws may benefit you when it comes to how much you are able to recover. 


  1. Damage Caps

To limit the recovery judges can award to plaintiffs, state governments often impose damage caps for specific types of cases in their state. In Florida personal injury law, there is a damage cap on punitive damages, which may impact the recovery you can secure, but there is NO damage cap on the amount of economic (tangible) or non-economic damages (intangible costs such as pain and suffering) you can recover. 

The cap on punitive damages is $500,000 in most cases. Punitive damages are damages awarded by the court to punish the defendant and set an example that would discourage others to engage in the same actions (for example, drunk driving cases or reckless driving cases often involve punitive damages). There are exceptions for willful wrongful conduct, or intent to harm, where punitive damages are capped at either $2 million or are not capped at all. 


  1. No-Fault System For Drivers

The “no-fault” system in Florida is unique, and also is the subject of much debate and recent legislative controversy. For now, though, Florida’s no-fault laws are intact and affect every injured motor vehicle accident victim who wants to seek compensation for their injuries (no-fault laws don’t apply to premises liability or medical malpractice situations). 

Florida’s no-fault laws do not mean that no one is at fault for a motor vehicle crash; it just means that regardless of who was at fault, injured victims are able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs. These laws require every driver in Florida to carry a minimum of at least $10,000 in PIP (personal injury protection) coverage. In the event of a collision, injured victims make a claim with their own insurance company for damages first. 

However, this system isn’t perfect, and isn’t always fair. PIP only covers 80% of approved medical expenses (only $2,500 if the injuries were non-emergent) and 60% of lost wages. Florida personal injury laws also don’t compensate car accident victims for the pain and suffering they endured through PIP coverage. 

When the accident wasn’t your fault, you shouldn’t pay anything out of your own pocket. You do have the right to hire a personal injury attorney and file a lawsuit against the responsible party’s insurance company in order to recover full damages! The Florida Law Group can hold at-fault drivers accountable for their action and maximize the insurance benefits you are entitled to receive.


Get Help From A Trustworthy Florida Personal Injury Attorney Today

Trying to navigate Florida personal injury laws can be a complicated, stressful process when you are simultaneously trying to heal from your injuries. While you recover, let us recover the damages you deserve! We fight for your rights under the law and for full compensation to make up for the trauma you have endured because of someone else’s negligence. 

Don’t wait for the statute of limitations to expire – call The Florida Law Group’s aggressive, experienced personal injury lawyers to learn more. We can explain your options, take care of everything for you, and advocate for your best interests. You don’t have to pay us until we win your case! Call today for a free consultation.