Florida Personal Injury Overview
In every state you have the right to pursue compensation if you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. Each state has different rules and laws pertaining to personal injury.
Personal injury is a very broad area of law which includes cases stemming from auto accidents, medical malpractice, property damage, slip and fall, and many other types of accidents.
The state of Florida has very unique and specific rules concerning the percentage of fault and restrictions on compensation.
If you were injured in Florida you may be entitled to compensation for the following losses:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Due to time missed from work to attend medical appointments and therapy
- Permanent disability
- Permanent disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Interference with family relationships
- Property damage
- Other expenses incurred as a direct result of your injury
Limits on compensation
If you hold no responsibility for your injuries, the following limits on compensation apply:
- A defendant who is 10%-25% at fault can be held responsible for up to $500,000 in damages
- A defendant who is 25%-50% at fault can be held responsible for up to $1,000,000 in damages
- A defendant who is more than 50% at fault can be held responsible for up to $2,000,000 in damages
Florida follows the doctrine of pure comparative negligence. If you were partly responsible for your injuries you can still receive compensation, but it will be reduced by the portion for which you were responsible. In most states, pure comparative negligence allows you to receive compensation when not matter how little the other party contributed to the cause of the accident. In Florida, your opponent must be at least 10% responsible to be held liable for damages, and if you were partly responsible your potential compensation is lowered. If you are partly responsible for your injuries:
- A defendant who is 10%-25% at fault can be held responsible for up to $200,000 in damages
- A defendant who is 25%-50% at fault can be held responsible for up to $500,000 in damages
- A defendant who is more than 50% at fault can be held responsible for up to $1,000,000 in damages
In Florida, except in cases involving abuse of children or the elderly, punitive damages are normally limited to $500,000 or three the compensatory damages. This can be raised to $2million or four times the damages if the defendant was motivated by unreasonable financial gain.
In order to be entitled to punitive damages you must prove that the defendant engaged in intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Also, when you are awarded punitive damages in Florida, the state takes 35%.
Most personal injury cases require that you prove negligence, in order to prove fault. Negligence means that the person at fault failed to use reasonable care, thus causing your injuries. There are four elements which must exist in order to prove negligence:
- The person who caused your injuries owed you a duty
- The person failed to uphold that duty
- That failure caused your injuries
- You suffered damages
If you were injured by a defective product, the maker of the product may be held responsible under strict liability rather than negligence. Under strict liability you must prove that:
- The product was unreasonably dangerous, even if used properly
- You did, indeed, use the product as it was intended to be used
- The product caused your injury
- You suffered damages
Every state has a time limit for filing a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Florida is four years. There are some special circumstances which can affect when the four year period begins, and certain types of lawsuits have a shorter time limit. For more in depth information about time limits in Florida read our Florida Statute of Limitations page.
Personal injury laws vary from state to state. If you believe you have a personal injury claim and you live in Florida, please contact one of our Florida personal injury lawyers for a free claim evaluation.