A personal injury is a serious issue for most people, one that can cause pain, suffering, and significant financial hardship. That is why it is important for the wronged party to retain a personal injury attorney so that they can receive the proper compensation for any medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to their personal injury.
The focus here is on Florida, so anyone who needs the services of a personal injury attorney in Bartow, or other Florida locations, will have the basic knowledge they need to get started. These are just the basic facts about personal injury law in Florida, for more detailed information, a consultation with a personal injury lawyer is recommended.
Statute of Limitations For a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Florida law states that the statute of limitations for a lawsuit against the entity responsible for the personal injury is within four years of the accident. If the defendant waits any longer, then the court may not file their claim. There can be exceptions if the individual did not realize they were injured within that time frame, in which case, the four year window could be extended.
Statute of Limitations For a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
In the case of medical malpractice, the defendant needs to file a lawsuit within two years of discovering the injury or, at the latest, within four years of when the malpractice occurred. So, even if the injury could not have been discovered within four years of its infliction, any lawsuit against the doctor or hospital will be dismissed. The exception is if the guilty party knew about the malpractice and intentionally tried to conceal it.
The Comparative Negligence Law
Whenever someone suffers a personal injury in Florida, they are entitled to compensation, however Florida has a comparative negligence law that complicates matters. In some cases, the person responsible for causing the accident can claim that the injured party was partly to blame for the incident.
If the law decides that the person making the personal injury claim is partly at fault, then the compensation they receive is reduced by a percentage equal to their fault in the accident. This percentage is decided by the courts, so if they decide that the claimant has 15% of the blame for the incident, then their compensation will be reduced by 15%.
No-Fault Car Insurance Laws
In the case of car accidents, Florida personal injury law states that the insurance policy of the injured person should suffice to take care of the majority of out of pocket expenses, like medical bills and lost wages. The exception is if the accident caused a serious injury that results in any of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of bodily function
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injury
Florida Personal Injury Damage Caps
A damage cap sets a limit on the amount of compensation that can be received from non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. There is another Florida personal injury law pertaining to common cases like car accidents, defective products, and slip and fall accidents, that limits the punitive damages to be paid by the responsible party to three times the amount of the compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is the larger amount.
Punitive damages are available in relatively few cases and are meant to punish the responsible party for especially dangerous or reckless behavior. However, there is no limit on the amount that can be paid out in most personal injury cases. That is why retaining the services of a good personal injury attorney in Florida is a must for any claimant who wants to get the maximum possible compensation in their case.