If you have been injured in an accident, caused by someone else, you should be aware of various state laws in Florida that could impact your claim. Here, experienced personal injury lawyers in Clermont, Florida at MANGAL, PLLC shed light on some important laws that you need to understand while filing a lawsuit or an insurance claim.
Automobile Accidents in Florida
A significant number of personal injury claims stem from traffic crashes in Florida. The Sunshine State is a no-fault state, which means that the insurance company of every driver involved in a crash will pay for the victim’s injuries and losses, resulting from the accident, irrespective of the at-fault party.
All drivers are required by Florida law to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection per individual per crash. In many cases, you may not be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Rather, your automobile insurance policy will cover your medical costs and lost income.
Having said that, Florida law lets victims file a personal injury lawsuit if the accident caused serious injuries to them. According to Florida law, an injury will be considered serious if it falls in any of the following categories:
- A permanent injury
- Substantial and permanent disfigurement or scarring
- Substantial and permanent loss of a bodily function
If you believe that your accident injury meets the criteria above, you should consider talking to an experienced personal injury attorney in Clermont, Florida about your legal options. Florida’s statute of limitations restricts the amount of time to file a claim. Therefore, it is crucial to seek legal assistance soon after your accident.
Product Liability Claims
In Florida, product liability claims are treated in a different way. Such claims arise when an individual is harmed by a faulty consumer product. Florida law applies strict liability principles to such claims – which means that the product manufacturers are required by law to make safe products.
Dog Bite Cases
Several states, including Florida, use strict liability principles, according to which, dog owners could be held responsible even for the first bite if the case meets all the legal requirements. In Florida, a dog owner is liable for the losses incurred by the sufferer, bitten by the owner’s dog, irrespective of the past behavior of the animal. However, this applies only if the sufferer was lawfully on the property of the dog owner.
The legal theory of negligence applies to many personal injury cases. Negligence happens when an individual’s attitude or action falls below the general standards of a rational person, eventually causing harm to another person.
To establish negligence, you must require meeting some specific conditions. The first thing is to prove that the defending party owed you a duty of care. Next, you must be able to prove that the defending party failed to uphold that duty of care. You must also be able to prove that their failure to uphold the duty is the direct cause of your injury.
Establishing the Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
As a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, you have the legal responsibility to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that all the factors of your claim were present. There are several steps to take immediately at the time of the accident or soon after it, to preserve evidence and protect your claim.
Write down everything you can remember about the accident while it is fresh on your mind. If there are any witnesses, do not forget to take their contact details. If your condition allows you, take photographs of the scene from different angles. Contact police to report the accident. Also, take pictures of your injuries and seek medical attention, if necessary. Contact your personal injury attorney for legal assistance, or if you have been asked by your insurance company to provide them with a statement.
Comparative Negligence Principles in Florida
In Florida, there are several important rules pertaining to comparative negligence. In some cases, the defending party claims that the sufferer contributed to the crash or worsen their injuries. If the sufferer has been found to contribute to the crash, it may affect the amount of compensation to be awarded to them.
There are different forms of rules related to comparative negligence. In some situations, a party is not allowed to get compensation if they were completely negligent. In other cases, a party is allowed to recover even when they had greater fault for the crash than the other party involved.
Florida has a pure comparative negligence rule, according to which, the amount of compensation is decreased on the basis of the extent of the fault of the victim in an accident. Many crashes involve such a series of facts. A jury may apply these rules when estimating damages. This is also factored in by insurance company adjusters while attempting to negotiate a settlement.
Florida also uses joint and several liability principles while assigning fault between multiple defending parties. Several defendants can be held responsible for a crash if each of them were found to contribute to the accident.
Statute of Limitations
Florida’s statute of limitations defines the deadline for filing an injury lawsuit in the state. If a sufferer fails to do so within this said deadline, their claim can be rejected, irrespective of how apparent liability is. In Florida, the general statute of limitations is four years for personal injury lawsuits. This time window generally starts from the date of the crash. In a few cases, the duration can be shorter. For instance, if the claim is against a governmental entity, the time period is just three years.
However, there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. In some rare situations, personal injuries may not be discovered for some time post-accident, as in cases of medical malpractice. If this injury was not discovered and/or couldn’t have been discovered, this window can be extended for another two years once the injury is discovered. Also, there is an exception for cases involving fraud that could prevent the injury from being discovered. However, under any circumstances, the lawsuit must be filed within seven years from the time the cause of action became clear.
The statute of limitations can also be put on pause in specific situations, allowing a victim to have more time to file a lawsuit. This may happen if the defending party is not present in the state of Florida or if they try to hide their location to avoid litigation. The mental incapacity of the sufferer can be another reason for tolling the statute of limitations. If the victim was mentally incapacitated before the time of the accident, the statute of limitations may pause during their period of incapacity. The statute of limitations will start once the sufferer’s mental capacity is restored. However, in any situation, the lawsuit needs to be brought within seven years from the date of personal injury.
Such exceptions may extend the statute of limitations, but they are not to be relied on in every situation. Contact a qualified personal injury lawyer in Florida soon after an accident or injury to file your claim on time and protect your legal rights.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Clermont, Florida
If you have been injured in an accident and want to learn more about your legal options for filing an insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party, reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer in Clermont.
A personal injury attorney knows the applicable laws in a particular jurisdiction inside out. Using their expertise and knowledge, they can try to negotiate a fair settlement for your claim, and if required, they can also take your case to trial, so that you receive the compensation you deserve.