01 Feb 3 Ways Florida Car Accident Insurance Claims Are Different than Other States
Florida has the highest number of uninsured drivers in the country, and many high-risk drivers, including millions of elderly drivers and tourists. These factors, along with congested roads and many bad weather days, contribute to Florida having some of the highest insurance rates in the country. If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida and file a personal injury claim, you might hear some terms that are new and unfamiliar or have different meanings. For example, the term “serious injury,” has a specific definition in Florida. In today’s blog, we will cover some of the reasons why Florida car insurance claims are different than other states.
#1 Florida is a “No-Fault” Insurance State
Florida is one of a dozen states that is a “no-fault” state. This is a bit of a misnomer as almost always, someone IS at fault for an accident, and insurance companies definitely care who is to blame. So what does “no-fault” mean? Regardless of who was at fault for an accident, if you are involved in an accident, you contact your own auto insurance company and file a claim. You may have the right to sue only if your injuries have certain criteria or meet specific definitions. The “criteria” to sue is a threshold, and an injury either meets it or does not.
In Florida (as well as Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) the threshold is verbal, meaning a doctor can determine if it meets the criteria. Serious bodily injury, under Florida’s statute, “means an injury “that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.” In other no-fault states, the threshold is monetary, based on the cost of medical treatment or damage.
#2 Accidents Must Be Reported Within 10 Days
Every state has specific reporting requirements for traffic collisions. For example, in neighbor state Alabama, people involved in an accident have 30 days to report it. In Florida, an accident must be reported within 10 days. If a law enforcement officer responds to and investigates a collision, they will submit the report. If a collision occurs which does not require a law enforcement report, or if law enforcement is unable to respond (for example, police resources being used during an emergency, or severe weather conditions result in an extreme number of crashes), a self-report must be submitted within 10 days.
#3 You Have Four Years to File a Personal Injury Claim
Every state has a statute of limitations, which restricts the amount of time people have to file a personal injury claim. In Florida, injury claims must be filed within four years. Although Florida gives more time to file a lawsuit than other states, it is always advisable to file a claim as soon as possible, while evidence can still be accessed, and witness collections are fresh.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Florida Personal Injury Case
If you have questions about your legal rights to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering in a personal injury claim, contact Sara Jones Law, P.A. to schedule a free phone or video consultation. If we represent you, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover money for you.