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Three Common Myths About Personal Injury Claims in Florida: Insights from a Personal Injury Attorney in Bartow, Florida

Personal injury attorney in Bartow Florida

Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions out there about Florida personal injury claims. Personal injury claims in the Sunshine State are more complicated than they seem, and winning fair compensation is not as easy as you might assume. It often demands rigorous investigation and research, extensive talks with expert witnesses, and negotiations with defense attorneys.

Below, this personal injury attorney in Bartow, Florida is going to debunk three of the most common myths surrounding personal injury claims in Florida.

1. Florida’s “no-fault” law does not absolve drivers of liability.

Traffic collisions are the leading cause of injury claims in Florida. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 401,867 reported traffic crashes in 2019. These crashes resulted in 236,753 injuries (18,063 of which were incapacitating) and 3,185 fatalities.

As any Bartow personal injury attorney will tell you, Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state. The no-fault system mandates all registered four-wheeled motor vehicles to carry at least a $10,000 personal injury protection (or “PIP”) policy, which covers the insured person regardless of who was at fault. However, this does not mean that negligent drivers are not held accountable — this is great news because $10,000 is barely enough when it comes to medical bills and other financial losses for serious auto accident injuries.

If you want to sue an at-fault driver, you must meet Florida’s ‘serious injury’ threshold, as outlined in F.S. § 627.737. If you suffer severe impairment of a central body function or permanent serious disfigurement or scarring, you meet the threshold. You can also file a claim if you are a survivor of a car crash victim.

2. Your claim is only valid for four years.

Per F.S. § 95.11, four years is the maximum amount of time you have under the state’s statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits. Medical malpractice lawsuits only have a two-year statute of limitations. In other cases, such as those involving the state government or a government employee, you may have to notify the defendant of your intention to file a personal injury claim much sooner than those deadlines (F.S. § 768.28.)

True, there are some instances in which the statute of limitations for personal injury cases may be extended, but those are somewhat rare. The longer you wait to contact a personal injury attorney in Bartow, Florida, the slimmer your odds of prevailing.

3. You could collect compensatory damages even if you were partly at fault.

Florida recognizes the pure comparative negligence rule. (F.S. § 768.81) Per this rule, each party in a personal injury lawsuit is financially accountable for their own share of fault. For example, if the court decides that you were 20% to blame for what happened, the defendant will only be accountable to pay 80% of your damages.

The good news is that you can sue for damages even if the court decides that you are 99% at fault for what happened. Although you will only receive 1% of your total compensatory damages, this is far better than the 50/51 percent bar rule in most other jurisdictions. In some states that follow the pure contributory negligence rule, you could lose your right to compensation if you are even 1% at fault. We are fortunate that Florida does not use those rules to allocate fault in a personal injury case, but your Bartow, Florida personal injury attorney will nonetheless fight to lower any findings of comparative fault on your behalf.

Looking for the Top-Rated Personal Injury Attorney in Bartow, Florida?

Are you looking for a personal injury lawyer who can help you win the compensation you are owed? If so, and if you’re looking for the top-rated personal injury attorney in Bartow, Florida, look no farther than Tonya Stewart. Contact Tonya Stewart Law PA today at (863) 279-4473 to learn how Tonya and her legal team can help.