Florida Auto Negligence Overview
Florida is home to millions, and so many drivers on the road often leads to unfortunate accidents. These car accidents are often the result of a negligent party or a party whose irresponsibility on the road endangers other drivers.
It’s essential to know how Florida handles automobile negligence and what that may mean for you.
Defining Auto Negligence
An individual is negligent when they are not acting reasonably and their actions cause an accident or injury. Similarly, auto negligence occurs when a driver is not driving in a way a reasonable driver should, resulting in an auto accident.
Proving Auto Negligence
Proving negligence in Florida requires you to establish that a driver was not driving reasonably and that their lack of care ultimately resulted in an accident and injury. To prove negligence, you must first satisfy the following elements:
- The driver owed you a duty of care;
- The driver breached this duty of care by failing to drive responsibly;
- The breach was the direct cause of the accident; and
- The accident resulted in damages.
Drivers owe other drivers on the road a duty to act reasonably and drive responsibly. If the other driver did not respect other drivers on the road, they have breached this duty. If this breach of care resulted in your accident and the accident then resulted in damages, including injuries and property damage, there is a chance that you will successfully prove the other driver’s negligence.
It can be challenging to establish auto negligence. Fortunately, a car accident attorney can gather details and information from your case to help establish the other driver’s negligence. Proving negligence is one of the most crucial parts of a car accident case.
Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accidents
No two accidents are the same, and while many accidents are caused by one negligent driver, some accidents are caused by multiple parties. Florida follows the “pure comparative fault” rule for cases involving more than one negligent driver.
Under the pure comparative fault rule, a judge will determine each driver’s exact percentage of fault. The plaintiff’s award will then be reduced by the percentage of fault they have in their accident.
For example, if the defendant crashes into the plaintiff but the plaintiff was texting and driving, the pure comparative fault rule will come in. If the defendant was 70% at fault and the plaintiff was 30% at fault, and the plaintiff’s total damages are $100,000, their award will be reduced by 30%, leaving them with $70,000.
Some states follow a different comparative fault rule, where a plaintiff more than 50% at fault loses the right to recover any damages. However, this is not the case in Florida. Even if it is determined the plaintiff is 90% at fault, they will still be entitled to 10% of the damages award.
Florida’s No-Fault Law
Florida is one of the very few states that follow a “no-fault” car insurance system. This system provides that, after a car accident, you will have to seek monetary aid from your own insurance coverage.
Your personal injury protection, or “PIP,” insurance will cover your medical bills and other accident-related expenses, up to $10,000, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
If your injuries and losses exceed the $10,000 maximum, you may be able to go outside Florida’s no-fault system and file a claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Note that the no-fault system does not apply to property damage resulting from a car accident. You may make a claim against the at-fault driver for property damage and loss.
Serious Injury Under Florida No-Fault
To file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to recover for non-economic damages under Florida’s no-fault system, injuries must qualify as “serious injury.” According to Florida Statute, serious injury includes:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; and
If your injuries do not qualify, you will not be able to collect for non-economic damages.
How a Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help
While you are not legally required to hire a car accident attorney, having representation will often result in the best outcome. Not every car accident case is straightforward, with some cases presenting particular challenges. Your car accident attorney will handle every aspect of your case, including:
- Investigating your accident,
- Gathering information and evidence,
- Calculating appropriate damages,
- Communicating with insurance companies, and
- Engaging in settlement negotiations.
Often, car accident cases settle without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Nonetheless, some cases do end up in front of a jury. Having the help of an experienced car accident attorney will give you peace of mind knowing your case is being handled properly.
A lawyer will advocate for you, protect your rights, and work toward getting you the compensation you deserve.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today
Abrahamson & Uiterwyk has over three decades of experience helping injured clients when they need us most. Our firm has had the pleasure of serving over 20,000 clients to date, recovering hundreds of millions along the way. Client satisfaction is of the utmost importance to us, and we’re happy to have earned the love and respect of so many of our clients.
We provide aggressive representation to help get you back on your feet after an accident. Our firm offers free case reviews. Contact us today, and let’s get started.