Auto accidents can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you end up with medical and car repair bills. Worst of all, you might need to pay these bills, even if you were completely faultless in the accident. Fortunately, there is a solution for people in your situation, and that is to file a lawsuit.
That being said, lawsuits are pretty complicated. They depend on laws that can vary dramatically between states, so you need to make sure that you are well-versed in the laws of your state before you dive in. To help you out with that, here are some of the most important laws that you will need to know when it comes to auto accident lawsuits in Florida:
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations dictates when you can and cannot file. If you are outside the limit, then you cannot file a lawsuit unless your situation is specifically exempt. In Florida, the general statute of limitations for personal injuries (and thus most auto accidents) is 4 years.
Some of the aforementioned exemptions include being a minor and not discovering your injuries until long after the fact.
If you were a minor at the time of the accident and no one was available to file on your behalf, then you can file as soon as you turn 18, even if the accident happened more than 4 years ago. However, the court won't let you take forever, so you will need to file in relatively short order. In most cases, you will be able to file for 4 years from the date that you legally become an adult (the same as the general statute of limitations).
If you didn't actually discover the extent of your injuries until long after the statute of limitations expired, then you may be able to get an extension as well. However, this isn't particularly common in auto accidents, since most injuries are immediately identified. For an example of where this might come into play, consider a car crash involving a large truck that is carrying toxic chemicals. If you were not notified of the toxic chemicals at the time of the accident, then you may not have had any reason to get the proper medical attention until chronic symptoms present themselves decades later. In that case, you could file relative to the discovery of those chronic symptoms, rather than being restricted to four years after the crash.
One of the most important rules that you need to consider is comparative negligence, which deals with the impact that responsibility has on compensation. If the court finds you to be partially or fully responsible for your injuries, then they will reduce your compensation accordingly. In other words, the amount of money that you are awarded will depend on just how much responsibility you actually had in the accident. If you are completely blameless, then you will get all the money that you asked for, whereas individuals that are significantly responsible will incur significant financial penalties.
Florida takes a very lenient approach to comparative negligence, which is very beneficial to you. Pure comparative negligence (the rule that is in place in Florida) simply reduces the damages proportionally to the level of responsibility. If you were 10% responsible, then you will only get 90% of the amount that you asked for, whereas an individual that was 50% responsible would only get 50% of the money that they asked for.
To learn more, visit a website like www.cookevilleinjurylaw.net.