There is a lot to deal with following a traffic accident such as injuries, medical and repair bills and insurance. Having the legal option for filing a lawsuit requires knowing the basics about insurance and personal injury law governing motor vehicle accidents in Florida.
Florida is a no-fault state where each insurance company must pay for their insured policy holder even if they were not at fault for the accident. This is different than the principles underlying legal personal injury where the party who violated their duty to act safely or responsibly is liable for damages.
In some cases, however, a lawsuit is permitted if the injuries suffered in the accident are serious. An injury meets this designation if it includes the permanent loss of a vital bodily function, scarring, permanent disfigurement or death.
Victims of a negligent or reckless driver who file lawsuits may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, property damage and emotional distress from the accident. They may also seek wages for time lost from work by going to the hospital, attending therapy, court appearances or taking care of other matters related to the crash.
Time restrictions also govern the filing of a lawsuit. The time imitation to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, also known as the statute of limitations, is four years from the accident date. However, some injuries may not appear until weeks, months or even years after the crash.
Because of this time restriction, it is important to immediately document everything about the accident when it occurred. This includes anything that can be helpful in a lawsuit such as pictures of what happened, witness names and contact information and a detailed narrative of what happened before and after the accident including when injury symptoms occurred. This information may be helpful if a decision is made to pursue a lawsuit months or years after the crash.
An attorney should be consulted to determine rights under insurance policies or a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can help gather evidence and assure that a lawsuit, if warranted, is timely filed.