Car Accident Laws in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

Florida Auto Accidents

Car Accident Laws in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

Car accidents happen every day, and Florida drivers should be aware of the state laws that pertain to auto injury cases. Understanding what you need to do after a car accident and the laws that may impact a future claim is important. Here are the main Florida auto accident laws that drivers should be aware of.




Minimum Insurance Requirements:

All drivers in the state of Florida are required to carry the following insurance requirements:

  • $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage
  • $10,000 for personal injury protection
  • $10,000 per individual and $20,000 per accident (uninsured motorist coverage)

You should keep in mind that Florida’s financial responsibility law may have higher requirements for certain types of motorists based on their driving history. If a driver has been convicted of DIU or had their license revoked because of repeated offenses, they may be required to carry full liability insurance.

Car Accident Statute of Limitations in Florida:

One of the most important laws you need to know about car accidents is the statute of limitations of the state where the crash occurred. The statute of limitations for car accidents in Florida is four years, and they start counting from the date of the crash. In other words, if you’re thinking of filing a car accident claim in Florida, you need to do it within four years of the day when you got injured. There are rare exceptions that may extend the deadline, but it is best to consult with an attorney to see if they apply in your case.


Florida’s No-Fault Car Insurance Law-

Florida is a no-fault car insurance state which means that after a car accident, regardless of who caused the crash, you usually need to turn to your own insurance company and file a claim under your personal injury protection coverage to get compensation for your financial losses and medical bills. In certain cases, you can file a claim directly against the at-fault driver, but you need to consult your lawyer.

Exceptions include permanent injury, significant or permanent scarring or disfigurement, a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, and death. Another exception to the no-fault rule is if the accident’s damages exceed the $10,000 threshold. In this case, you can sue the at-fault driver for the expenses that were not covered by your personal injury protection coverage.


When Should an Auto Accident Be Reported in Florida?

Under Florida auto accident laws, all drivers are required to report any auto accident they have been involved in if the crash resulted in injury, death, or apparent property damage of at least $500. If the accident occurred within a municipality, motorists are required to report the accident to the local police department. If the crash happened outside of a municipality, drivers must report the accident to the nearest office or station of the Florida Highway Patrol or the office of the county sheriff.


Comparative Negligence in Florida Car Accident Cases:

According to Florida laws, the degree of negligence of all involved parties in the accident should be considered to determine liability. If the other driver was entirely at fault for the accident, their insurance carrier would have to pay your compensation (including medical bills and lost wages).

However, when both (or all) parties have a partial fault for the accident, things are a little different. Florida has the so-called “pure comparative fault” rule that applies if both parties share the blame for the accident. When that happens, the jury will be asked to calculate the percentage of fault that belongs to each party and the total dollar amount of the plaintiff’s damages. Under this rule, the plaintiff’s compensation is reduced by the percentage of his or her share of fault.

For example, if the jury decides that your total damages award should be $80,000, but the jury also determines that you are 40 percent responsible for the accident, under Florida’s comparative fault rule, you are entitled only to 60 percent of the $80,000 total. In other words, you should receive $48,000. You need to keep the pure comparative fault rule in mind when you’re filing for a car accident claim in Florida.


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Auto Accident FAQ

Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation. There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver. Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include: ● Current and future medical bills ● Property damage ● Emotional duress ● Lost wages ● Loss of enjoyment of life ● Loss of future earnings potential On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.