1 Mar

Do You Have A Case? Understanding If You Can Sue For Auto Accident Injuries In Florida

Car Accidents

do you have a case?

If you’ve driven anywhere in Florida, you have seen a ton of billboards advertising for attorneys who can get you cash for your injuries (maybe one of the one’s you’ve seen was ours!). 

“You may have a case!”, sometimes these billboards will say. 

Well, if you’ve been injured in a car accident (or motorcycle accident – really any vehicular accident), how do you know if you have a case or not? 

We understand that it can be confusing, especially if you try to Google it. That’s why we wrote this super simple, easy-to-understand blog post so you can have a clearer idea of whether or not you can sue for compensation (even though the only one who can REALLY technically and legally tell you if you have a case is a qualified attorney, not a blog post sponsored by qualified attorneys, because this blog post can’t ask you questions or get to know your specific circumstance.)

So, do you have a case? Let’s find out! 

PIP Pays First, Regardless Of Fault, Unless…

The first thing you have to understand is that Florida is a no-fault state. 

This does NOT mean that Florida law thinks no one caused the crash. Obviously, someone did – unless it was multiple people who all contributed (see the “Comparative Negligence” section below) – and someone will get a ticket for it. If the accident involved any extreme element of reckless driving like racing or drinking or something like that, the at-fault parties may even face criminal charges and penalties (jail time, fines, etc.). 

However, on a CIVIL level, the parties involved in the crash can’t just automatically sue each other. Regardless of whose fault it was, every injured party has to go through their own insurance company – their personal injury protection policy (PIP) first to get benefits. 

But because PIP benefits leave a lot to be desired (they don’t cover all of your costs), you are able to pursue a liability claim (lawsuit) against the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident if your injuries are “significant” – “significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function”, “permanent injury (within a reasonable degree of medical probability), or “significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement”. 

This definition is open to interpretation, which is why having quality legal representation is so important, but if you can prove that your injuries fall under these categories, or that the cost of your treatment exceeds your PIP coverage, you can pursue compensation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for all categories of economic (monetary) and non-economic losses (like pain and suffering). 

This means that if you are badly hurt – more than just a general feeling of soreness or some light bruising – you definitely should talk to an attorney. A herniated disc, while it may seem like a common injury, can last your entire life and cause you problems; you may have to seek chiropractic care or physical therapy, and modify your lifestyle, and that warrants compensation; how much more any worse injuries! 

Proving Negligence: Duty Of Care, Breach Of Duty, Causation, & Damages

In order to bring a claim/lawsuit for damages, you have to prove that the driver was at fault and that you are owed damages. Legally speaking, you have to be able to prove negligence, which is made up of four parts: 

  1. Duty of care – You (your attorney) must show that the defendant (other driver/their insurance company, because they are responsible for them financially when it comes to damages) owed you a duty under the law to act in a certain way towards you.

  2. Breach – You (your attorney) must be able to demonstrate that the defendant breached their duty of care by acting in a certain way (or failing to act in a certain way).

  3. Causation – You (your attorney) must show that the breach directly led to your injuries.

  4. Damages – You (your attorney) must show that you were economically (and non-economically) harmed by the defendant’s actions. 

So, generally in auto accident cases, this is how it goes:

  1. Everyone has a legal duty to everyone else to drive safely on the roads, obey traffic laws and signals, maintain their vehicles, etc. 

  2. When someone is careless or reckless – say they speed, or run a red light – they are breaching that duty towards you. 

  3. That breach caused their vehicle to collide with yours, and you were seriously injured in the crash.

  4. Your serious injuries cost you, not only financially, but also physically, emotionally, mentally, and in other ways. 

If those four elements can be shown, you may have a case!

Collectability – Who Can Pay

One of the most important elements of an auto accident injury lawsuit is collectability. For example, say you are T-boned by someone who is uninsured (sidenote: 1 in 4 Florida drivers are, so this is a distinct possibility).

They don’t have an insurance company who can pay you, and it’s very unlikely that THEY have enough in terms of assets to pay you if they couldn’t even afford to pay for insurance. If you didn’t have an uninsured motorist policy as part of your own coverage, you may not have a case, because the at-fault party doesn’t have collectability

Comparative Negligence

What if the accident was a little bit your fault? Or mostly your fault  – do you have a case then?

Florida follows something called a comparative contributory negligence standard in personal injury cases. This means that if you, the plaintiff, contributed to the accident in any way, the damages that you would be awarded will be reduced by the percentage you contributed to the accident (and consequently, to your own injuries) – as long as you are under 51% (as of a new law signed in March of 2023)

For example, say that you were rear-ended by a person who was texting and driving, but you weren’t wearing a seatbelt, or one of your brake lights was out. Instead of them being 100% at fault for the crash and your injuries, it may be determined that they are only 75% at fault for the crash and your injuries, and therefore you are only able to recover 75% of the damages you would have been awarded. 

However, if you were the rear-ender (and you were also injured) in the situation where the person in front of you didn’t have one or both brake lights, and you were determined to be 75% at fault, you would not be able to bring a successful lawsuit. 

Speaking To A Florida Auto Accident Injury Lawyer Is The Only Way To Be Sure!


Again, the only REAL way to find out if you have a valid case for compensation is to consult with a local auto accident attorney who can listen to your story, verify the facts, and explain your legal options. Auto attorneys handle hundreds of cases like yours (or not like yours) every year, and will be able to tell you for certain if your lawsuit is worth pursuing, and if you do have a case, what its value may be. Most of these law firms (including ours!) offer free consultations, so there is nothing to lose by calling and speaking to someone to get more answers to your questions. If you were injured, you deserve at least that – if not much more! 

The Florida Law Group is dedicated to winning, and we’ve won over $1 billion for our clients to date. Call us today to schedule your free consultation and find out whether or not you have a case we can take!