Florida Auto Accident Laws Explained
Florida auto accident laws follow the same general structure as those in other states - the difference is how they are interpreted and implemented. As a Florida driver, it is important to understand what our state’s auto accident laws are and how they affect you in the unfortunate event of an accident.
Whether you want a driver’s education refresher course or you’re a newly-licensed driver, here’s what you need to know about Florida auto accident laws.
Reporting a Car Accident
Florida law requires all drivers to stop at the scene of an accident to help anyone who’s injured. Whether you're a driver involved in an accident or arriving on the scene, if the accident causes injuries or damage in excess of $500, it must be reported to the local police department. If the accident did not occur in a municipality, report the accident to the nearest station of the Florida Highway Patrol.
If there are injuries, you are required to stay at the scene. You should also gather the following details:
Names, drivers license numbers, and contact information for all drivers
Insurance company information for all drivers and vehicles
Year, make, model, color, and vehicle identification number of all vehicles involved
Photos of the accident scene as well as the location of all vehicles involved
Names and contact information of all accident witnesses to the accident, including passengers of the vehicles
Per Florida law, all drivers are required to purchase care insurance and carry proof of insurance in their vehicle. At minimum, drivers must carry $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage and $10,000 for Property Damage Liability (PDL) coverage. PIP insurance covers all injuries to you, regardless of who was at-fault for the accident. It also could cover you for any lost wages or workdays missed because of the injury. PDL coverage pays for any damage caused by you to other’s property.
Florida is a “no-fault” state, meaning each person’s insurance company pays for their own accident expenses regardless of fault. If an accident causes someone more damage or injuries than your insurance policy coverage limits, you may have a right to sue you for additional damages by filing a lawsuit.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations sets a time limit on your right to bring a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline and you try to file your car accident lawsuit past this date, the Florida court system will likely dismiss your case, unless some rare exception applies to extend the deadline. In most circumstances, you have four years from the date of the accident to file your case in the Florida court system.
Pure Comparative Fault
Even if both drivers are found to be at fault in an accident, you might be able to file an insurance claim in Florida. Florida follows a "pure comparative fault" rule if or when both parties share blame for an accident. In most car accident cases, the jury is asked to calculate two things based on the evidence: the total dollar amount of the plaintiff's damages, and the percentage of fault that belongs to each party. Under the pure comparative fault rule, the plaintiff's damages award is reduced by a percentage equal to the share of fault. For example, if you’re found to be 80% at fault for an accident that resulted in $20,000 in damages, you are still eligible for suing (and be compensated) for 20% of the damages ($4,000).
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it is essential to seek help from a car accident attorney who takes a client-first approach. At Stark Injury Law, our attorneys are involved in all phases of each case, from routine “fender-benders” or a catastrophic injury claim resulting in complex litigation and jury trial. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call 813-221-6889 or complete our online contact form.