Understanding Car Accident Laws in Florida

Understanding Car Accident Laws in Florida

In 2021, there were more than 400,000 car accidents in Florida. Nearly 164,000 of these crashes resulted in some type of injury and more than 3,000 were fatal. 

Car accidents are everyday events in Florida. If you drive on a regular basis, there is a chance that you might be involved in a car crash at some point. Therefore, you will want to be prepared just in case. It is a good idea to understand the laws involved so you know what to do and what to expect.

Auto Insurance Requirements in Florida

Each state has different requirements when it comes to the minimum amount of auto insurance needed. Florida requires motorists to have the following types of insurance:

  • $10,000 minimum for personal injury protection (PIP) coverage
  • $10,000 minimum in property damage liability (PDL) coverage

Florida is just one of a few states that does not require bodily injury liability coverage. However, many drivers choose to have this coverage to protect their assets in the event of an accident. Without this coverage, a driver who causes a crash would need to pay for losses out of pocket.

Reporting a Car Accident in Florida

If you are involved in a crash in Florida, you must report it to the police if one of the following conditions apply:

  • The crash caused $500 or more in vehicle or property damage.
  • The crash resulted in injury or death.

For more minor crashes, such as fender benders, you can simply exchange information with the other party. While reporting an accident to the police is not required in these situations, it is still a good idea to file a police report because it can serve as evidence when a person tries to recover financial compensation for damages caused by the crash. 

How Insurance Works in Florida

Florida is a no-fault insurance state, which means that drivers will recover compensation for minor injuries from their own insurance company. It does not matter who was at fault. They just have to file a claim under their own personal injury protection policy. PIP will cover the following:

  • 80% of medical expenses due to crash-related injuries.
  • 60% of lost wages if the accident made the victim unable to work
  • $5,000 in death benefits for fatal crashes, paid to the relatives of the deceased victim

It is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Even if you feel fine, injuries may be hidden and could show up days or weeks later. If you wait until then to seek medical attention, the insurance company may try to deny your claim, alleging that your injuries must not be that serious since you waited so long.  

Because of this, it is important to seek medical help right away. A car crash can cause a variety of injuries, such as broken bones, back and neck pain, head trauma, sprains, bruises, amputations, and dislocated joints. You may even have internal injuries and not even know it. 

If the injuries are serious and result in loss of a bodily function, permanent injury, scarring, or death, victims have another option for recourse. They can pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party and recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress (anxiety, stress, and PTSD)
  • Wrongful death

Sometimes there are situations in which both drivers are responsible for an accident. There are three approaches to this, depending on the state. Florida uses pure comparative negligence, which means victims can make a claim to recover damages even if they are mostly to blame for a crash. In fact, a driver who was 99% responsible for an accident could still recover compensation from the other driver under Florida law. However, their compensation will be reduced accordingly. For example, a person who is considered to be 10% responsible for a crash would lose out on 10% of the total compensation. So if a person was able to receive $50,000 in damages, they would receive 90% of that, or $45,000.

Filing a Timely Claim

If you do decide to file a claim against the negligent party, though, you need to act quickly. All states have statutes of limitations, or time limits, that apply. In Florida, you have four years from the date of the car accident. If you are even one day late in filing a claim, you will be barred from receiving compensation. Therefore, you should not wait until the last minute. While four years may seem like a long time, it is best to file a claim as soon as possible. 

Contact Us Today

There is a lot involved in driving a car. It is a privilege that many people take for granted. They fail to follow traffic laws and drive safely, putting the lives of others at risk.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, see how the team at Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm help you with your case. We will assist you in getting the compensation you deserve. Get started with a free consultation. Call (954) 876-4344 or fill out the online form. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.