If you’re in the position of considering filing a Florida personal injury lawsuit, then chances are you are still reeling from the event. Personal injury litigation can seem daunting. However, if you understand some of the basics of Florida personal injury lawsuits, then it’s a prospect that doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.
Here are some of the most important facts people should know about personal injury in the Sunshine State.
Do You Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
In many cases, your attorney can resolve the matter through the filing of a personal injury claim with the insurer or the defendant directly. Then, your attorney can go through the negotiation process with them instead of you. There are often a lot of risks and costs associated with taking a case to court, something many people want to avoid – so a lot of people negotiate before the case ever reaches a courtroom.
Lawsuits only need to be filed when the responsible party denies that they were a party to any wrongdoing or if fair compensation for damages and losses isn’t offered. But even in cases where a lawsuit is filed, cases don’t make it to trial very often. If you do make it to trial, then it’s up to the court to decide what is fair and who is responsible.
You Can Win But Still Be Partially At Fault
Florida operates under a system called pure comparative negligence. That means that you can be found to be liable in your case for injuries and still get damages awarded to you. The total amount of damages you can collect is reduced proportionately to your degree of fault, however.
For example, if you are injured and declared to be 50 percent at fault for your injuries and are awarded $200,000, then you can collect 50 percent of those damages – so, $100,000. By working with a skilled and experienced attorney, you can work toward a good outcome.
There’s a Statute of Limitations
In the state of Florida, you are given four years to bring a lawsuit for most personal injury claims. If you do not file a lawsuit during that time, then your case is likely going to be dismissed by the court, because it’s outside of the statute of limitations.
Some claims, such as wrongful death and medical malpractice, have to be filed in a shorter period of time – two years. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney as soon as you can after an accident. You’ll want to find out what your options are and under what statute of limitations you may be operating.
Florida Has a Cap on Punitive Damages
Punitive damages are those that are meant to penalize egregious or grossly negligent conduct by the defendant. So they are often not a part of a personal injury lawsuit. If, however, you are allowed to pursue punitive damages in your case, then there is a cap on how much can be awarded to you. In Florida, that cap is $50,000, or three times the amount of compensatory damages – whichever amount is greater.
If you have been injured in Florida and are considering a personal injury lawsuit, then it’s a good idea to meet with an experienced attorney. They’ll help you understand if you have a case that can be successfully pursued, and they will educate you on your rights in the process.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of Winston Law. For over 20 years, he has successfully represented countless people in all kinds of personal injury cases, with a particular focus on child injury, legal malpractice, and premises liability. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and named one of America’s Top 100 High-Stakes Litigators. Mr. Winston is AV Preeminent Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, enjoys a 10.0 rating by AVVO as a Top Personal Injury Attorney, has been selected as a Florida “SuperLawyer” from 2011-2021 – an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state – was voted to Florida Trend’s ”Legal Elite,” recognized by Expertise as one of the 20 Best Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys, named one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the Miami area for 2015-2021, and one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Florida for 2015-2017 and 2019-2021.