Florida Personal Injury - Limits on Compensation, Deadlines for Filing a Lawsuit, and More

Unless you have been injured because of someone's negligence in the past and filed an insurance claim or lawsuit, you probably have no idea about deadlines to file, limits on compensation, and other topics. Below we will discuss some of the laws and statutory rules so that you have a better understanding on the basics of Florida personal injury laws.

Statute of Limitations - Deadlines for Filing an Injury Lawsuit

All states have a deadline in which a lawsuit must be filed in civil court against an individual or other entity who may be legally liable for injuries sustained in an accident or due to negligent circumstances. This is known as a statute of limitations. Under Florida Statutes Annotated section 95.11, a person has four years to file a lawsuit in Florida from the date the accident/circumstance occurred. Rarely will the civil court hear a case that was not filed within this four year window of time. There is one exception to this rule - the statute of limitations is three years in cases where an individual is suing a city, county, or state government for injuries sustained.

Damage Cap Statutes

You have probably heard the term "pain and suffering" in connection with personal injury lawsuits. These non-economic damages are typically limited n the state of Florida; in other words, there is a "cap" or limit on how much an individual may collect for these non-economic damages. Economic damages include lost income, medical expenses, property damages - things an exact dollar figure can be placed on. Additionally, punitive damages have a "cap," or limit set and are not awarded in most types of personal injury cases. Punitive damages are generally only awarded in cases where the defendant or liable party engaged in particularly reprehensible or dangerous behavior.

For standard personal injury cases, there are no additional damage caps on the books, other than lawsuits involving medical malpractice. In the rare case where punitive damages are awarded, the maximum compensation in most cases is $500,000 or three times the total compensatory damages, whichever is greater.

'Serious Injury' Threshold and No-Fault Car Insurance Laws in Florida

Florida is a bit different than most other states in that we follow a no-fault system. In other words, regardless of who was at fault in a car accident, the other driver cannot be held liable unless the 'serious injury' threshold is met. What does this mean? Your case may meet the 'serious injury' threshold if:

  • You sustained disfiguring injury
  • Your injury is permanent or disabling
  • You suffered permanent or significant scarring

The state's no-fault system is designed in a way that an individual's own insurance covers lost income and medical expenses following a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. The majority of accidents are minor, and will not involve filing a claim or lawsuit against the other party. However, you may want to speak with a personal injury attorney if you feel you have met the 'serious injury' threshold.

These are a few of the Florida laws you may not be familiar with. When you have questions or concerns about whether you should file a claim or lawsuit, feel free to contact our firm.

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