I Had a Car Accident While Vacationing in Florida: Now What?
Florida sees over 100 million visitors every year from all over the United States and abroad. So what happens when a tourist vacationing in the Sunshine State is injured in a car accident? The laws that govern car accident insurance and personal injury claims vary significantly from state to state. In most cases, the state in which you had the accident is the one with jurisdiction over your car accident claim. If you live in another state but were involved in a car accident in Florida, you should consult with a Florida car accident attorney right away.
Florida Personal Injury Laws
If you were injured in an accident in Florida and would like to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver, you will be subject to Florida laws and procedures. One of the most important laws regarding personal injury lawsuits is the statute of limitations. Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims is four years, meaning you will have four years from the date of your car accident to file a lawsuit. If the statute of limitations runs out before you can file a legal claim, you will be forever barred from seeking recovery for your injuries in court.
Like many others, Florida is a comparative negligence state. This means you can still recover compensation for your injuries, even if the court finds you are partially responsible for the accident. Your compensation will be decreased by the amount of fault you are found to have for the accident. For example, if you are awarded $100,000 but are found to be 10% responsible for your own injuries, your judgment will be decreased by 10% and the defendant will owe you $90,000.
Florida follows a “no fault” insurance system for car accidents. Florida residents are required to carry personal injury protection insurance that will cover their own medical expenses and lost wages, regardless of fault. One repercussion of the no fault system is that court action for car accidents is only allowed when it involves “serious injury.”
Florida, like several other states, places a cap on a number of punitive damages that can be awarded in car accident cases. Punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant for exceptionally bad behavior, are relatively rare in personal injury cases. Florida state law limits punitive damage awards to three times the compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater.
Car Accident Attorneys in Central Florida
If you were involved in a car accident while passing through Florida, call the trusted personal injury attorneys at Oldham & Smith. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.