Personal Injury Law in Florida: Interesting Facts You Might Not Be Aware Of
By Space Coast Daily // December 3, 2021
Common law differs from state to state, which translates into the fact that the rules for personal injury law aren’t consistent across America. If you decide to take the necessary steps to protect your legal rights following an accident, it’s recommended to get acquainted with the law to protect yourself against abuses of power.
Personal injury law can be confusing and, if you find yourself at a loss, reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Someone with the right expertise (and an impressive professional background) can make things easier to comprehend and help secure fair compensation. An attorney understands the law and, most importantly, how the legal system works.
According to the law, citizens have a say if they’ve suffered an injury. If you’re in Space Coast, Daytona Beach, or anywhere else in Florida, there are certain things you need to know about personal injury law. For the most part, it’s based on the theory of negligence, which comprises the following elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Anyone looking forward to recovering compensation must have each of the aforementioned elements. Residents of Florida can be injured in many ways, including car and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, cruise ship accidents, and medical malpractice. But that’s not the interesting part.
These are the little-known facts that set Florida apart from many states. How many of them do you know? Not so many?
Florida Joins Other States in What’s Known as No-Fault Law
Florida is what you would call a no-fault state. Florida’s personal injury attorneys are inundated with claims from car accidents, so the no-fault law aims to guarantee some form of compensation, regardless of the person’s fault or innocence. All drivers have to carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection.
Since an individual can’t take legal action against the party who caused the accident, the car insurance company will cover the medical expenses and lost income. Drivers can sue for severe injuries if the case meets certain conditions. To put it simply, the no-fault law doesn’t prevent anyone from proving fault or suing for damages.
The special conditions we’ve just mentioned are referred to as the tort liability threshold. Once reached, the insured person can sue for non-economic damages. If the person has suffered an injury that resulted in permanent injury or disfigurement, death even, they’ve met the statutory tort threshold.
The plaintiff has the burden of pleading and proving that they’ve met the threshold. In this respect, they can leverage medical records, statements from medical experts, and more. All documentation pertaining to the personal injury case must be retained. Examples are police reports, receipts for services acquired in relation to the accident, medical bills, contact information of witnesses, and photos of the accident scene.
Personal Injury Cases Fall Under a Statute of Limitations
The law sets a maximum period which one can wait before filing a lawsuit. To put it simply, the law places a very strict time limit on the right to bring legal action. The timeframe for a person to bring a personal injury lawsuit is four years. If you don’t make a claim within this timeframe, you risk losing your rights.
The statute of limitations varies by type of injury. Let’s take a car accident as an example. Depending on the type of injury, the statute of limitations can be as short as two years or as long as five years.
The Award for Punitive Damages Can’t Exceed a Certain Amount
The aim of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for engaging in similar conduct that led to the incident. They’re usually awarded for gross negligence, extreme recklessness, and other similar behavior.
Punitive damages are typically granted in cases such as medical malpractice. In Florida, no claim for punitive damages is allowed unless there is reasonable evidence. To be clear, punitive damages are quite rare in Florida. Additionally, the cap for punitive damages is set at $500,000 or up to three times that amount. The money thus obtained can be used to pay for medical bills, hospital expenses, property damage, etc.
An award for punitive damages is a two-step process. A hearing takes place before the trial court to establish whether or not there’s enough evidence for such a claim. Next, the plaintiff needs to prove to the jury that punitive damages should be awarded. Needlers to say, clear and convincing evidence is of the evidence.
It’s unlikely to receive a punitive damages award that is higher than the compensatory damages award. If you’d like to pursue punitive damages for your suffering, reach out to an in-town attorney. For example, if you live in Daytona Beach, contact Daytona Beach injury attorneys because they’re recognized and respected by the courts.
Product Liability Claims Are Handled Differently in Florida
Defective or dangerous products are the cause of countless injuries every year. Claims are brought under a theory of strict liability, yet a theory of negligence is more appropriate. In Florida, lawsuits require a strong basis.
To prove negligence, it’s necessary to prove that the manufacturer’s actions were directly responsible for the injuries sustained. Florida follows the pure comparative negligence rule, which takes into account the contributions of both parties in the accident. Ideally, you should start collecting evidence right away. It’s important not to throw away the product that caused the injury. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you on your journey.
The retailer holds some responsibility for selling the defective product, a fact which is referred to as implicit liability. This is why retailers ought to perform due diligence on new vendors. Any item sold to the customer should meet certain expectations and purposes.
It’s an unspoken and unwritten promise made by the seller to the buyer. Product defects fall into three categories: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Courts impose liability without fault so as to encourage greater investment in product safety, even if it could raise the price. Under Florida law, manufacturers, distributors, and sellers can be held accountable for unfortunate incidents.