Florida Car Accident Laws
A Tampa car accident attorney explains what legal standards affect your compensation
Until it happens to them, most people are unaware of the Florida laws governing car accident fault and compensation.
Not knowing about the law, though, can land seriously injured people and grief-stricken families in hot water. A missed deadline or incorrectly filled out document could be all an insurance adjuster needs to slash or reject your claim. Without a substantial settlement or verdict, you may spend years paying for expensive accident-related care out of your own pocket.
Understand Florida Car Accident Law Before A Crash
At Armando Personal Injury Law, we believe in giving injured accident victims the trustworthy information they need to make sound decisions.
Below is general information about the laws and standards that most frequently affect car accident claims in Florida. Every case is different. Individual factors can alter how the law is applied to various situations.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Tampa area car accident, contact our law firm to learn how the law applies to your specific situation and your legal options. The consultation is free.
Guide to Florida crash laws
Even if you’ve already been in a wreck, it is never too late (or early) to learn about Florida’s traffic accident laws.
Legally, you must report the accident and stay at the scene
Law: By law, if you get into a Florida accident that causes bodily injury or $500 or more in property damage, you must report it to police.
What to do: Call 911 and stay at the scene until officers arrive to start the crash investigation. You may, however, leave to get emergency medical attention.
Florida is a no-fault car insurance state
Law: In most cases, a Florida driver must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Florida drivers are generally not required to carry bodily injury liability (BIL) coverage.
What to do: After an accident, usually, a Florida driver will file a claim with their own insurance policy for compensation and the PIP coverage will pay for accident-related medical expenses and lost wages regardless of = fault - hence the term “no-fault” insurance. That doesn’t mean fault doesn’t matter, but it does mean you go to your own insurance company first.
The pure comparative fault rule
Sometimes determining fault is straightforward, like in most rear-end crashes. Usually, however, the question of liability is more complicated.
Law: Florida is among about a dozen states that subscribe to the “pure comparative fault” standard when assessing accident liability and compensation. Under this rule, an accident victim is almost always eligible to file an injury claim. Even if the crash was 99 percent your fault, you can technically still pursue compensation for the 1 percent that is not your fault (although usually this is too small an amount to be practical).
What to do: To get the most out of your claim, do not provide crash details to insurance adjusters, police, or anyone other than your attorney. Because your compensation is reduced by the percentage of blame you are assessed in an accident, the insurance company has a financial incentive to pin as much of the blame as possible on you. This is why it is very important that you do not agree to take more responsibility for a crash than you deserve. An experienced car accident attorney can push back against attempts to pin the accident on you.
Law: For the most part, Florida law does not set maximum award caps on damages that are awarded in a car accident claim. Practically speaking, your compensation is most frequently capped by insurance policy limits. Florida sets the minimum value policy a driver must carry. This minimum rarely covers the full cost of an accident victim’s current, let alone long-term, accident-related medical expenses and therapy costs.
What to do: Because Florida does not require most drivers to carry liability insurance, we strongly recommend carrying uninsured and underinsured motorist protection (UM/UIM). This is a type of coverage that “stands in” for the other driver’s insurance if they don’t have coverage, or don’t have enough.
Serious injury threshold
Law: Typically, for an injured car accident victim to seek compensation from the at-fault party, they must meet or surpass Florida’s legal “serious injury threshold” and file a civil lawsuit. In general, this means your injuries meet one of the following criteria:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury, within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Death (wrongful death)
What to do: If your injuries meet any of these criteria, you may be eligible to file a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. A car accident attorney can do an investigation and collect evidence to support your claim.
Statute of limitations
Law: In Florida, you usually have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This legal deadline is called the statute of limitations. However, the applicable deadline can vary depending on the circumstances.
What to do: A Tampa car accident attorney with a track record of success can explain the deadlines that apply to your case. The sooner you consult with Armando Personal Injury Law, the sooner you can rest easy knowing you have someone you can trust to keep your claim moving steadily through the process.
We will fight for your right to compensation
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Tampa area car accident, contact Armando Personal Injury Law to learn more about how our thorough investigations and time-tested legal strategies can help you.
Our attorneys represent injured accident victims on contingency, which means there is no hourly fee or retainer for you to pay. Our fee is part of your final compensation. If we don’t win, we don’t get paid.
Contact our Tampa-based firm to schedule your free case consultation. We are ready to hear from you today.