Cities in South Florida are fairly spread out and public transportation is almost nonexistent, which means drivers put a lot of miles on their cars. Unfortunately, given the number of drivers in Florida, it’s almost a statistical certainty that you will be in a car accident at some point in your life.
If or when this situation occurs, there are a handful of critical laws that you should know about that could affect your ability to get compensation for your injuries. By being aware of these laws and knowing how to act after an accident, you can better protect yourself and your rights.
Pro Tip: Currently, there are five big car accident laws. However, Florida’s personal injury protection statutes, one of the most controversial laws, may be changing drastically very soon depending on whether Gov. DeSantis signs SB 54 into law.
Stop and Report Car Accidents
Florida law requires drivers who are involved in a car or motor vehicle collision to stop at the scene of the accident. Drivers are also required to report the accident to law enforcement if injuries or damages exceed $500. If anyone is injured, you have to stay at the scene of the accident, and you must also exchange information (e.g. name, address, vehicle registration) with all parties involved.
Filing a police report is also beneficial in that it will ensure there is an unbiased record of the accident and any injuries that can be used in possible personal injury claims.
No-Fault Insurance System
Florida is a “no-fault” insurance state—one of only a handful in the country. Given the high number of transplants and tourists in Florida, there is often confusion about what this means.
When a car crash occurs, each driver turns first to their own insurance company to pay for their repairs and recovery costs—regardless of who is responsible for the accident. If an accident causes more damage or injuries than an insurance policy covers, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to seek additional damages.
$10,000 PIP and PDL Insurance Minimums
As of June 2021, Florida requires all drivers to have an auto insurance policy with a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) coverage. PIP coverage pays:
- 80% of crash-related medical bills up to the policy limit,
- 60% of lost wages if the injured person cannot work,
- $5,000 in death benefits, in addition to the benefits provided under the policy.
To further complicate matters, if you do not have an “emergency medical condition,” PIP will not pay out more than $2,500 in benefits.
However, lawmakers have sought to reform or repeal this decades-old law for years now, and they may soon get their wish.
Pure Comparative Fault
Florida operates according to the principle of “pure comparative fault” for assigning responsibility in an accident. Under this system, both parties in the accident essentially share fault.
For example, if one driver makes an aggressive left turn in front of an oncoming driver who was speeding, there will be a discussion of what percentage of the fault to assign to each driver. These percentages of liability will then directly determine the amount of damages recoverable by each party.
Four Year Statute of Limitations
Florida law states that you may be able to seek financial compensation if you are injured by a negligent driver, but such personal injury claims must be filed within a specific time frame. In general, the Florida statute of limitations for car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases is four years from the date of the accident.
However, the “statute of limitations,” as it were, for seeking medical attention is only fourteen days. And your PIP coverage will not pay any benefits if you do not seek medical treatment within 14 days of the accident.
Get Help and Start to Recover
Don’t let an aggressive insurance company force you into accepting less than you deserve. The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation or take our Car Accident Quiz to find out how strong your car accident claim is.
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