Personal Injury Laws: Florida

When filing a personal injury claim in the state of Florida, it’s important to understand that your lawsuit will be governed by and evaluated under state laws. For this reason, it’s also important to consider hiring a personal injury attorney familiar with handling claims in the state of Florida. He or she will be accustomed to arguing fault and liability under state statutes and will know how to handle claims that fall outside the scope of the standard statute of limitations, if necessary. A Florida personal injury attorney can also help assess the validity of your claim and will work to get you the fairest settlement or amount of damages possible in your case.

Florida is a “Comparative-Fault” State

Some states require that the injured individual have no hand at all in the circumstances that resulted in his or her own injuries in order to file a personal injury lawsuit. In Florida however, you can be partially responsible and still file a claim against another individual or entity. As long as a comparable-fault determination or contributory negligence evaluation does not show you as holding more than 51 percent of the responsibility or fault for your own injuries, you can file a suit against the other party or parties liable for the injuries you’ve suffered.

It’s important to realize though that your degree of negligence or fault for your own injuries will reduce the damages you can receive in your claim. In other words, if you are 20 percent responsible for the injuries you suffered, you can only hold those you name in your claim 80 percent at fault and will therefore receive damages at a 20 percent reduced settlement or award, if your claim is successful.

Potential Damages for Personal Injury in Florida

The damages that can be sought in a personal injury claim vary from one state to the next. Damages that can be included in a Florida claim encompass the economic and non-economic losses you’ve suffered due to your injuries. Medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, cost of supportive care and household help, and loss of future earnings can all be included in the economic losses you seek in your personal injury claim. Non-economic damages can include compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve experienced.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims in Florida

There is a statute of limitations placed on the filing of personal injury claims in every state, and in the state of Florida, you have two years to file a claim based on liable, slander or medical malpractice. All other personal injury claims carry a statute of limitations of four years in Florida.

Your clock for filing a claim starts running as soon as you realize you’ve suffered harm due to the negligence or intentional actions of another. In most circumstances, personal injuries are immediately apparent, though there are some situations in which the signs and symptoms of an injury do not show up for months or years later. If you’ve suffered injuries that exceed the statute of limitations, you may still be able to have your claim reviewed, but you will need the help of a personal injury lawyer. An attorney may be able to prove extenuating circumstances justify the waiver of the statute of limitations in your case.