Unfortunately, if you drive with any regularity, it’s a near statistical certainty that you will be in a car accident at some point. With over 1,000 car crashes taking place on Florida roads every day, drivers should know these five critical Florida car accident laws.
1. Report Car Accidents with Over $500 in Damages
Any driver involved in a car or motor vehicle collision is required by law to stop at the scene of the accident. More importantly, Florida law (§316.065, F.S.) also requires drivers to report the accident to law enforcement if injuries or damages “appear to 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.
2. Florida Is a No-Fault Insurance State
As one of only a handful of “no-fault” insurance states in the county, Florida law requires drivers who have been in an accident to turn first to their own insurance plans to pay for their repairs and recovery costs—regardless of who is responsible for the accident! These “no-fault” insurance plans are also referred to as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. If an accident causes more damage or injuries than a driver’s insurance policy covers, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to seek additional damages.
3. $10k Minimums for PIP and PDL
Before registering a vehicle, Florida law requires all drivers to show proof of 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. Again, should a car accident occur, each person would turn to their individual PIP coverage first. 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.
4. Pure Comparative Liability Principle
There is no hard and fast way by which is assign fault in a car accident. In fact, each state has its own laws regarding how liability is assessed and determined.
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 or liability. 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.
5. Four-Year Statute of Limitations
If you are injured by a negligent driver, you are allowed by Florida law to file a personal injury lawsuit to seek damages. However, 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 for seeking medical attention is only fourteen days. And PIP will not cover any medical bills if you do not seek treatment within 14 days of the accident.
Get Help and Start to Recover
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in South Florida, you need to seek out an experienced Florida car accident and injury lawyer who will guide you through the claims process.
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 fill out the confidential form below.