Each state enacts laws that affect the personal injury claims filed in the state. The type of injury claim dictates which statutes apply in the case. Some laws might apply to all types of personal injury claims, but other laws might be more specific. Navigating these laws can be challenging without the help of an experienced Florida personal injury attorney.
A statute is a written law that has been passed by the Florida Legislature and signed by the governor. Statutes cover numerous areas. Examples of issues and areas covered by statutes include:
- Personal injury claims
- Real estate matters
- Criminal cases
- Motor vehicles
- Natural resources
- Public health and social welfare
- Alcoholic beverages and tobacco
If another party injures you, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries, financial losses, and other damages. However, numerous statutes can affect the outcome of your personal injury case. Below are several statutes that impact injury claims in Florida.
Statutes of Limitation
A statute of limitations sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit seeking damages from another party. The statutes of limitations vary by type of case. It is typically a certain number of years starting from when the event occurred that brought rise to the claim until a lawsuit must be filed, or it will be forever lost.
Most, but not all, personal injury claims have a four-year deadline for filing lawsuits. There are also far shorter time periods for certain areas of law such as medical malpractice and wrongful death.
However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. In some cases, a victim may have longer to file a lawsuit if they did not discover the injury was caused by another party’s negligence. Minors may also have longer to file a lawsuit.
It is always in a person’s best interest to talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident. You never want to assume that you have plenty of time to file a personal injury lawsuit. You must file a notice of claim to protect your right to file a lawsuit in some cases.
The government is protected from many types of lawsuits by sovereign immunity. You cannot sue the government unless the government gives you permission to sue it. What happens if your car accident or slip and fall accident involves a government entity?
Florida Statutes include a waiver of sovereign immunity for specific tort actions. If you are injured because of negligence, you can sue the government. However, there are special rules for suing the government.
Florida law requires that you provide notice of your claim to the appropriate government agency before you file your lawsuit. You must also meet specific terms before you can sue the government, and there is a shorter statute of limitations.
The statute, unfortunately, limits the compensation you can receive for a personal injury claim against the government. Compensation for damages is typically capped at $200,000 for one person and $300,000 for all involved in the incident at issue. Therefore, you could receive much less than a jury awards for damages because of this statute.
For example, if a jury awards $1 million for a car accident claim involving a government entity, the most you likely can receive is limited to $200,000 according to the statute. However, the statute does allow for victims to petition the Florida legislature to approve the balance of the judgment. Unfortunately, it requires an official legislative act to pay the full value of the judgment.
Florida’s sovereign immunity act bars recovery for punitive damages. Punitive damages are otherwise paid when a defendant acted with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. The damages are intended to “punish” the defendant for gross negligence.
Florida’s comparative fault statute limits the amount of money you might receive for a personal injury claim based on your own percentage of fault. The statute requires the judge to reduce the amount of compensation an injured person receives for a claim by the percentage of fault assigned to the victim for their participation in causing the accident.
For example, if you are in a car crash caused by another driver, you are entitled to recover the full value of your economic damages and non-economic damages. However, if you were 30 percent to blame for the cause of the accident, your compensation is reduced by 30 percent.
Insurance companies often use this statute to try to limit their liability for an injury claim. If the insurance company says that you contributed to the cause of your injury or accident, you can contact a personal injury lawyer immediately for legal advice.
Other Statutes and Laws Can Affect Your Personal Injury Claim
The statutes mentioned above are not the only laws that could impact your case. Some laws and statutes are broad and impact all types of injury claims. Other state laws and statutes might be specific to a particular type of injury claim, such as the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Working with an attorney who has experience handling cases similar to your case can help level the playing field. Miller Trial Law understands the various laws and statutes that can directly impact the outcome of your case.
If you or a loved one suffers injuries in an accident, Miller Trial Law can help you. Please call us today at (305) 697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation. We look forward to serving you!