What You Should Know About How Personal Injury Cases Work in Florida

**You must seek treatment for you injuries that you have suffered as a result of your auto accident at a hospital, doctors office or chiropractor within 14 days of the day of the accident or you will loose you personal injury protection benefits under you insurance policy forever.**

06.26.2017

For people living in the Florida Panhandle, it's important to understand how personal injury cases work in their particular area. Northwest Florida also contains people who may have preconceived notions of how personal injury cases work based on their proximity to Georgia and Alabama. Here's what you need to know about how personal injury cases work in Florida.

Florida Requires You to Satisfy All the Elements of Negligence

To collect damages from a personal injury case, the injured party must satisfactorily prove the core elements of negligence.

A duty of care – This implies the negligent party had a responsibility towards you. For example, motorists have a duty to follow traffic laws, and store owners must ensure there's no hazards inside or outside of the store.

A breach of duty – This implies a violation of the duty of care. For example, a driver runs a stop sign, or a store owner doesn't clean up a spill in a high-traffic part of the store.

An injury – The breach must cause you an injury. For example, the negligent motorist crashes into you, or you slip and fall on a spill at a store. The injury doesn't have to be a physical one.

Damages – Your injury must cause you quantifiable damages. For example, a car crash leaves you unable to work, or a slip and fall gives you injuries that create medical bills.

It may seem like all of these things are a given, but it's not always easy to prove each one of these elements.

What This Means for You

Because you must satisfy all these elements, you must take your potential personal injury case very seriously. Stay diligent about your case by:

  • Documenting everything you can about the accident and its aftermath
  • Keeping records of every medical bill and medical correspondence
  • Keeping records of all wage statements and correspondence with your job

You don't want to leave any doubt about how the situation occurred. Any evidence you have or witnesses you can contact will all help.

Florida Has a Statute of Limitations on Filing Personal Injury Cases

In Florida, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a claim against a negligent business or inpidual. It's possible to file later, but only in very limited circumstances. You may have grounds for filing later if the discovery of your injury doesn't come to light until later.

What This Means for You

While four years can seem like a good amount of time, you should not dawdle on filing your claim. The longer you wait, the harder it can become to prove the circumstances of your accident happened as you say. In addition, the faster you press your claim, the faster you can recover damages for your medical bills and wages you missed due to your injury.

Florida Is a Pure Comparative Negligence State

Comparative negligence systems allow the court to reduce your possible damages in correlation to the percentage of your own liability. If the discovery process shows you hold partial fault, you will only receive partial damages.

If the court assigns you 5% of the blame, then you can only recover 95% of the damages. By contrast, Alabama uses a pure contributory negligence system. If your injury occurs over the border, and the court finds you carry even 1% of the blame, it's possible you won't recover any damages at all.

What This Means for You

You should seek out a personal injury lawyer who can help you with strategies to lower or eliminate any liability on your part. Don't accept any blame without speaking to a lawyer first. There are defenses for negligence claims that can come against you in these cases, and a lawyer can help you with them.

There's a lot more to personal injury laws in Florida, and each case is different. While it's good to know a little about how personal injury cases work in Florida, it's more important to learn how such cases will work for you specifically. If you suffer an injury due to someone else's negligence, contact David Mann & Associates immediately to discuss your next step.

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