Pursuing a personal injury lawsuit is not as simple as discussing what happened, your feelings, or what you expect to get out of the case. You need to know much more to prepare for such situations. This blog highlights four significant obstacles that may arise as you make your personal injury claim. Understanding such matters will help you take the necessary steps to ensure a successful case.
Statute of Limitations
According to Florida Statutes chapter 95.11(3)(a), four years beginning from the injury's date is the standard statute of limitation regarding personal injuries claims. The injury date refers to when an injury occurred because of an incident or accident. Although the standard time limit is four years, the duration you have to submit your personal injury lawsuit depends significantly on the specific injury claim. When a couple is involved in an accident and unable to file the personal injury claim, the more vital spouse can present a joint claim known as the Surviving Spouse's Act.
The law gives you a period of four years beginning from the accident's date to present your personal injuries lawsuit and submit damages claims if you sustain injuries following a car accident. An exact duration applies to injuries suffered after a truck accident. However, if the victim succumbs because of the accident, you will submit a claim for unwarranted death.
As for the first two instances, you will get an allowance of four years beginning from the accident date to submit your lawsuit of the injury that occurred in a construction place. Nevertheless, if the incident happens at work, you will only have a limit of two years to file for the employee's compensation claim.
The survivors of a victim who died in the hands of another person or an accident can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims have a two-year statute of limitations from the day of death.
When a person sustains an injury because of a medical professional's or hospital omission or negligence, you need to file a medical malpractice claim. Two years is the medical negligence statute of limitation in Florida.
If you were unable to find the damage within the initial two-year term, you might be able to stretch these limitations for an additional two years. As a result, you have a maximum of four years as a victim of medical negligence to identify the harm and submit your lawsuit.
These injuries leave a person with disabilities and severe, long-term injuries. The statute of limitation for such injuries varies based on the accident's cause. However, in a general sense, it will take about four years beginning from the day of the accident to receive your compensation.
Exclusions to the Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury
While the statutes of limitations mentioned above apply in most cases involving personal injury, there may be exceptions that allow for a more extended period.
The Discovery Rule
Some injuries aren't usually apparent right away. These injuries might only surface after a while. In such instances, the statute of limitation will not be effective until you discover the injury.
It's vital to remember, though, that there are the repose statutes, which set a strict deadline for submitting a claim.
However, the repose statute dictates that a victim should not file a lawsuit when the statute of limitation elapses after discovering their injuries, even if he only realized the damage after the period had elapsed.
There are situations under section 95.051 that may allow a victim to pause or toll the limitation statute. Here are the number of reasons when tolling could occur:
- The claimant is below 18 years
- The claimant is mentally challenged
- The defendant departed from the state before filing the lawsuit
- To avoid litigation, the person is hiding.
The repose statute doesn't permit submitting the claim seven or more years following the event if the claimant is underage or mentally incapacitated.
The Danger of Missing the Statute of Limitation
When the period for filing your claim expires before you submit the case, you lose your compensation rights. Although you might still try to pursue the case, there are no chances or guarantee that you will succeed. As a result, you must work closely with a reputable personal injury lawyer to ensure that you file your case at the right time so that you do not forfeit your chance of getting recovery for the sustained injuries.
The No-Fault Insurance Act (NFIA)
To register a motor vehicle, it must have specific minimum levels of motor insurance coverage. In the event of an automobile accident, it's also critical that you know how the state's motor insurance system works:
Because your insurance covers your medical costs and other economic losses, Florida is a "no-fault" automobile insurance state, meaning the insurance claim procedure will be more effective following a car accident.
Under Florida's no-fault regulations, your capacity to start a case and get compensation for non-economic losses such as "pain and suffering" is restricted.
You require both the Property Damage Liability (PDL) and Personal injury protection (PIP), which protects you and specific individuals, which insures damage to another's vehicle in an accident that you caused.
Basics of Florida No-Fault Car Insurance
Florida is among several states that have adopted some form of "no-fault" auto insurance. That implies that, regardless of who caused the accident, your insurance coverage (called "PIP" or "personal injury protection" coverage in Florida) compensates the medical costs and other financial losses of anyone insured under the coverage (to the policy limits).
However, there are limitations to the types of losses covered by no-fault/PIP claims. You are not entitled to compensation for "pain and suffering" or any non-monetary damages caused by an accident.
Your injuries must satisfy the level set by state law to step outside of the no-fault system. This allows you to both submit a third-party insurance claim or complaint against the driver responsible for the accident and to recover "pain and suffering," including all other non-economic losses.
It's crucial to know that the no-fault system does not apply to claims for vehicle damage following an automobile accident. In Florida, you can file a liability claim for car damage (or complete loss) against the driver at-fault without limitations.
Who Does the No-Fault Policy Cover?
Regardless of the party at fault during a car accident, the benefits of the PIP car insurance policy set in, and PIP safeguards help more than just the insured.
- It covers the policyholder's children (not only for incidents in the policyholder's automobile but also for injuries sustained when commuting on a school bus).
- It covers the household members of the policyholder, and
- It also covers most passengers who don't have their PIP Insurance (provided they don't own a car).
PIP coverage also covers the policyholder as a passenger in another person's car and a road user or cyclist if hit by a vehicle.
Your injuries must meet the law's definition of severe to follow a liability lawsuit against the person responsible for your vehicle accident (and escape the no-fault restrictions). This means that you must have suffered any of the following as a result of the accident:
- a significant and permanent loss of a vital physical function,
- a permanent injury, within a fair degree of diagnostic probability,
- substantial and permanent scars or deformity, or
- death because of the event.
You don't have to limit yourself to filing a PIP claim off your own policy should your injuries fit these criteria. Other possibilities like filing a personal injury lawsuit or a third-party vehicle insurance claim to hold the at-fault motorist accountable for the accident exist. You can also seek compensation for non-economic damages, such as suffering and pain (which aren't accessible in a no-fault claim).
You can be the victim of an accident while also being at fault. The accident may result from several people who are all to blame somehow. When you bear some blame, you may collect a portion of your damages instead of the entire amount. Sometimes, you might also end up getting nothing.
If you face accusations of contributory negligence, you must be ready. You need to know the right way to respond to ensure the allegation does not hold up, affecting your case. This is yet another significant obstacle you could face as you file your personal injury claim.
It is your fundamental right to pursue compensation if you got hurt in an accident because of another's negligence. In such a case, various factors will determine the amount you receive. These include the extent of your injuries, the circumstances leading to the crash, the experience and expertise of your personal injury attorney, among several other considerations.
A fault is among the essential aspects. The judge, insurance company, or the jury will play a critical point in whether you receive compensation. These parties have to agree that the accused person's negligence directly resulted in your accident and subsequent injuries.
However, establishing liability in an accident can be complex. Although it is often clear who is to blame, drivers mostly argue and accuse one another; no one likes to confess they were at fault, especially when the accident has significant financial ramifications. Some states employ the "comparative negligence" rule to evaluate blame where a resolution of a dispute of responsibility is necessary to award damages.
Consider the following scenario. Richard is turning right out of his neighborhood while answering an email from a customer while the left hand grasps the steering wheel as the right hand is on the phone. He looks up to ensure that the road is accessible, then returns his attention to his handset as he starts to pull out.
He miscalculates the distance between Gary's automobile and his due to his distraction, and Gary's bigger SUV rams into his car. Gary was driving 15 miles per hour above the legal speed, but he was attentive on the street and tried to stop when he noticed Richard pulling out. Although he was also to blame, possibly even more than Gary, Richard submitted a personal injury claim.
With the comparative negligence or blame rule, the court would have to apportion fault to the parties before granting any damages. The comparative fault has three categories. The state where the accident occurs determines the form of comparative fault in use.
Florida acknowledges pure comparative negligence. (Remember that Florida has a no-fault insurance law distinct from a comparative fault in such claims.) The aggrieved party can recover damages proportionate to their share of blame under the pure comparative fault.
For instance, if the court found that Richard was 60% at blame for driving while distracted and Gary 40% at responsibility for speeding, Richard would be entitled to 40% of his losses. On the other hand, Gary may sue Richard for damages to his automobile and obtain 60% of the injuries.
The doctrine of comparative negligence can assist or damage your personal injury lawsuit, but only an expert personal injury lawyer can let you know the exact worth of your case.
The amount of compensation that one may receive following a personal injury case weighs heavily on victims' minds, and they are unsure of their options. This subject is highly problematic in Florida due to a sequence of legislation and judicial decisions that have crafted a set of damage caps and judgments that have since overturned those caps.
These laws affect the amounts gained in the nearly 95% of lawsuits that conclude in payouts or other resolutions, on top of having a significant impact on compensation awards imparted by judges and juries.
Here are some things that a personal injury victim might expect to encounter when handling the damage caps system given by the state.
This damage addresses the most immediate impacts of an accident. It includes property damage and medical costs associated with treating physical functions or wounded bodily parts, deformations, and other direct injuries. It also handles less tangible concerns, like trauma.
Florida has no caps on these damages. On the other hand, Plaintiffs must adequately detail any damages they may be seeking. These can include a wide range of negative consequences, like the lost potential for future earnings.
Florida imposes damage caps on the amount granted as retribution for alleged wrongdoing in a personal injury case. The limit for punitive damage is $500,000 or thrice the compensatory damages. The jury receives an order to give the higher sum if punitive damages surpass $500,000. In this case, the ceiling isn't a hard limit but rather an attempt to keep juries from awarding punitive damages that exceed the compensatory damages.
For seeking punitive damages, Florida is likewise highly rigorous. The misconduct must be extreme, like when a trucking firm intentionally overlooks poor driving records during the hiring process. As a result, in most personal injury cases in Florida, victims neither seek nor receive punitive damages.
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
To get the best result from your personal injury claim, you need to ally yourself with the best lawyer who understands all the obstacles when filing such cases and knows how to maneuver through each step. At the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, our attorneys have all it takes to represent you in your personal injury claim. Call us today at 904-800-7557 so that we can look into the facts of your case and file your personal injury claim on time.