When the negligence of another party causes you harm, you have a right to file a personal injury claim. Personal injury claims encompass a broad range of different types of injuries, including car accident injuries, medical malpractice injuries, slip and fall injuries and dog bites. Injuries sustained through assault, battery or intentional tort might also result in a personal injury claim. Because Florida’s has a specific window during which personal injury claims may be filed, you need to move quickly following your injury in order to preserve your right to seek damages from the at-fault party.
Florida’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
Personal injury cases are heard in civil court and subject to a law known as the statute of limitations. This is the timeframe that Florida courts give accident victims to file claims of personal injury. Under Florida Statues Annotated section 95.11(3), victims of most personal injury have two years from the time of discovering the injury. In some instances, the statute of limitations is slightly greater (such as with medical malpractice, which is four years from the date the malpractice occurred).
No-Fault Car Accident Claims
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to car accident claims. This simply means that each party’s insurance policy compensates the driver for their injuries through personal injury protection, or PIP. For this reason, only car accidents in which a person sustains a serious injury fall outside the no-fault claims system. Serious injuries are those that are permanent or that cause permanent and significant disfigurement or scarring or that result in permanent and significant bodily function loss.
Dog Bite Claims in Florida
Dog bite claims are a common type of personal injury claim in Florida. Florida is a strict liability state for these types of claims, meaning that the dog’s owner is held liable for injuries caused during an attack, even if the dog has never bitten someone before. This liability is reduced only if the victim is found to be negligent in the case by provoking the attack.
Florida has what is known as a pure comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, if the injured party is partly to blame for their injuries, then they share part of the liability. Any award received under the comparative negligence rule is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the injured party. For instance, if your personal injury stems from a car accident where you were found to be speeding, then you may be assigned 30 percent of the blame. If your damages amount to $100,000, then your damages are reduced by your assigned liability to $70,000.
Limits on Injury Awards in Florida
Florida law provides specific guidelines on award caps in certain personal injury cases, specifically limiting the amount of non-economic (punitive) damages that a victim can recover, such as emotional distress, pain and suffering and loss of companionship. Generally, this limit is $500,000 or three times the compensatory damages. This generally applies to a car accident, product defect, and slip and fall claims.
Personal injury cases can be tricky and complex, especially if the case goes to litigation and a reasonable settlement offer cannot be reached in negotiations. Turn to the Law Office of Bradley S. Hartman and our Davie personal injury attorney for a free consultation to discuss the merits of your particular case.