Car Accidents in Florida: When to Take Legal Action
Nobody expects to be in a car accident, but the reality is that in 2019 there were just over 400,000 car crashes reported in the state of Florida alone, resulting in over 250,000 injuries. If you are one of these unfortunate individuals to be injured in a car accident, you are likely looking for compensation for your losses and expenses as a result of the accident. You may already be looking up local personal injury attorneys in your area.
The laws in Florida regarding an individual’s right to pursue legal action after an auto accident are not as clear-cut as residents may believe. If you have been in an auto accident, or perhaps you are a new Florida resident or new car owner, it is important to understand the laws and your right to take legal action after an auto accident. Consider this article a primer for when and how to proceed after an auto accident in Florida.
Understanding No-Fault Insurance
Florida is one of a handful of states that has implemented a no-fault insurance system. With no-fault insurance, residents are required to obtain personal injury protection (PIP) from their insurance providers. In the event of a car accident, residents first file a claim with their insurance provider to obtain compensation for various related expenses such as lost income and medical bills resulting from the crash. This action is taken by all parties involved in the accident, regardless of who caused the crash (hence the term ‘no-fault’).
Although Florida uses a no-fault insurance structure for auto accidents, there are certainly a number of instances in which drivers can pursue legal action against the individual who caused the wreck. In order for litigation to progress, it is important to show the courts that serious injury was incurred due to the negligence of the other driver.
Proving “Serious Injury”
If you have incurred a serious injury as defined by Florida law, you should consider consulting with a personal injury attorney about your rights to pursue legal action against the other driver. Examples of serious injury include:
- Broken bones
- Substantial bodily disfigurement
- Significant or permanent limitation of organs or bodily functions
- Full disability for a period of 90 days or longer
If any of these apply to your situation, you are likely able to take the other driver to court to obtain compensation for losses not covered under insurance, such as pain and suffering.
Know Your Timeline
In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the other driver is four years from the date of the accident. It is always advisable to not wait until the 11th hour to file suit, so make sure to leave yourself plenty of time when preparing to take legal action after a car accident.
Consulting With a Professional
For over 30 years, Payer Law has been advising car accident victims in Orlando and statewide whose losses go above and beyond Florida’s no-fault statutes. If you believe you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering as well as other losses incurred as a result of serious injuries from a car accident, contact the Orlando car accident attorneys at Payer Law today to get the support you deserve.