It is bad enough for you to be injured because of someone’s misconduct. The last thing that you want to do is worsen your situation by overlooking your legal rights or relying upon misconceptions when it comes to personal injury laws in Florida. If you’ve been injured, you’ll want to know some key details relating to your right to sue and the limitations you might face. To get you up to speed, here are six things that you should know regarding personal injury law in Florida.
1. Personal Injury Protection Is No-Fault Insurance
There are two types of insurance that every driver is required to have to operate a vehicle on the roads of Florida: Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and Property Damage coverage. When you’ve been injured in a crash, you have a right to make a claim against this insurance coverage to get your medical bills and lost wages, if any, paid.
Under Florida law, your own PIP insurance is responsible for paying for your medical bills and lost wages if you are injured. While this may be changing next year under newly created laws, for now you don’t have to prove the other driver was at fault or wait for that driver’s insurance company to pay.
2. Ten Thousand Dollars Of PIP Covers 80 Percent
While the law says that you must have PIP coverage in the amount of $10,000, it also says that the insurance company must pay only 80% of your medical bills. In other words, you’re responsible for 20% of your medical costs up to $10,000, and 100% of anything over that. If you have health insurance, that may cover some of the difference.
3. You Have A Limited Time To File A Lawsuit When You’ve Been Injured
Like all states, Florida has what are called statutes of limitations. A statute of limitation is a time limit on your right to take your case to court. Here are some examples:
- Four years – Lawsuits for negligence, such as for a car accident or defective product
- Two years – Wrongful death claims and medical malpractice cases
- One year – Most contract cases
These time limitations are strict cut-off dates in almost all cases. If you miss the filing date by even one day, you can lose your right to a claim forever. So if you have a claim of any kind, consult with a lawyer right away to be sure that you protect your rights before the time expires.
4. Comparative Negligence Means That Everyone Who Contributed To The Injury Shares Blame
If you’ve been injured in a car crash and you’re suing for damages based on injuries you suffered in the accident, you may find out that the money you can get is reduced because the court (or the insurance company) finds that you were partly to blame for the accident. Florida uses what is called “pure comparative negligence” to allow the judge, or whoever is resolving the case, to decide how much each person contributed to the accident. Any money award you get will be reduced by your percentage of fault in causing the crash.
5. You May Have The Right To Sue For Wrongful Death Of A Loved One
When someone is killed by the negligence or intentional act of someone else, the estate of the person who died still has a right to sue the other person for damages. This is called a “wrongful death” lawsuit, and it lets someone represent the person who has passed away in court, to try to get justice. The time limit to file a suit is very short, so you must act quickly.
6. You Can Sue Your Insurance Company If They Treat You Very Unfairly
Since the PIP insurance that you are relying on to get coverage for your medical bills is based on a contract between you and your insurance company, the company has certain duties to you because of that contract. If the company wrongfully denies your claim, unreasonably delays paying what they owe, or is dishonest with you during the process of settling your claim, you may have what is called a “bad faith” claim against your insurance company.
However, if the insurance dispute is with someone else’s insurance company, such as the one that covers the other driver in a car crash, you have no right to make a bad faith claim, because there is no direct contract between you and that company.
Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
Find out more about your legal rights as an injury victim by talking to a qualified Florida personal injury attorney. These attorneys should be familiar with all types of personal injury matters, and should be prepared to chart the right path for you when it comes to bringing a claim or lawsuit. At Koberlein Law Offices, our experienced personal injury attorneys are ready to help you get the most possible compensation for the harm that you suffered. We will take the time to understand your situation, advise you about your options, and fight on your behalf to get you financial relief and justice. To get in touch with us at Koberlein Law Offices, call us toll-free at 877.556.2889 or contact us online.