Partially at Fault for Car Accident Injuries: Can You Seek Damages? 

 August 5, 2016

By  LMW Attorneys

According to Florida Statute 768.81 regarding comparative negligence, a person is able to seek damages from the other party involved in a car accident. Even if you were partially at fault, you are entitled to recover the percent of the damages that was not your fault. For instance, if you were 40 percent at fault for an accident costing $100,000, you would be able to recover 60 percent, or $60,000, of the total amount.

The “No-Fault” Laws in Florida

According to “no-fault” vehicle laws in Florida, anyone who owns or drives a vehicle must have personal injury protection and property damage insurance. The minimum amount of coverage must be for $10,000. This approach is designed to make every driver in Florida responsible for their injuries. As long as you are insured, you will be able to recover the cost of damages from your insurance company. Likewise, relatives in your household, passengers in your vehicle and the people you hit are covered under your insurance policy.

For car accidents only, Florida generally uses this no-fault system. This means that your insurance company must cover your medical expense and lost income even when the other person is at fault. The only way the other driver may have to pay for the costs is if there is a serious injury. To meet this requirement, you would have to have significant scarring, permanent injuries or disfigurements. Since these descriptions are fairly vague, the courts would have to figure out if your injuries fit the “serious injury” threshold.

Recovering Costs

For your medical injuries to be covered, you must get medical treatment within the first 14 days after your accident. You must seek treatment in order to receive the maximum amount of your benefits. If you do not receive medical care in two weeks, you are only able to recover up to $2,500 in benefits.

Filing Deadlines

Under Florida law, you must file your lawsuit within four years from the date of the accident. If you are unable to file your case within four years, the courts are unlikely to hear your arguments. There are rare occasions where medical problems develop years later, but these cases are uncommon and not covered if the symptoms begin after the deadline has passed. If you are filing against a state, city or county government, you have three years to file personal injury cases.

Capping Damages in Florida Car Accident Cases

The state of Florida has set caps on the amount that you can claim in damages. Punitive damages can be claimed for three times the amount of compensatory or for $500,000. The greater number is the one that is chosen. Meanwhile, non-punitive damages do not have any caps in Florida. As long as the costs and injuries were incurred, it is possible to go after the other party for the full amount.

Contact Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins

Like many states, Florida’s accident laws can be complex and confusing to understand. If you have been in an accident, you may be able to recover some of your damages. To find out how to start this process, contact the professionals at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins today.