Florida Car Accident Laws Guide 2022 – Forbes Advisor

The state of Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance state. This means that regardless of who is responsible for the accident, drivers will get compensation for minor injuries from their own insurer.

Specifically, they will make a claim under their required Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP will compensate:

  • 80% of reasonable medical expenses incurred due to accident-related injuries.
  • 60% of earnings lost if accident-related injuries prevent the insured from working
  • $5,000 in death benefits if a collision is fatal (this amount will be paid to the estate of the deceased or the relatives of the deceased victim)

If the injuries are very serious (including death, loss of bodily function, permanent injury, or permanent scarring), collision victims may obtain compensation outside of the no-fault system. When injuries reach the threshold of severity under Florida law, victims can take legal action against the driver who caused the accident. In these situations, the victim can obtain compensation for:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost salary
  • pain and suffering
  • emotional distress

An experienced Florida car accident attorney can help collision victims determine if their accident is serious enough that they can try to recover compensation from the other driver rather than being forced to rely only to their PIP coverage.

Comparative Negligence Rules in Florida Auto Accidents

Sometimes both drivers involved in a collision share responsibility for the car accident in Florida. In such cases, Florida’s pure comparative negligence rules apply.

Comparative negligence is one of three approaches that different states use to determine when victims of motor vehicle accidents can seek compensation if they are partly responsible for their own injuries. The three approaches are:

  • Sheer comparative negligence: Victims can always claim damages, regardless of the share of responsibility they share. A motorist who is 99% responsible for an accident could always try to recover compensation from the other motorist. It’s the Florida rule.
  • Modified comparative negligence: With this rule in place, only drivers who are less than 50% or 51% responsible for the accident can sue for damages.
  • Contributory negligence: This rule applies in the minority of states and prevents someone from pursuing a claim for damages if they were even a small percentage to blame for the accident.

In Florida – and in all pure and modified comparative negligence states – compensation will be reduced when a victim is partly at fault. If an accident victim was 20% at fault for the collision and suffered $100,000 in losses, the victim could recover 80% of their $100,000 in damages or $80,000 in total.

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