Florida Car Accident Lawsuits

On this page, our car accident attorneys will discuss Florida auto accident lawsuits. Our attorneys will explain some of the relevant areas of Florida law that apply in auto tort cases, and we will discuss how much settlement compensation plaintiffs typically get in car accident lawsuits in Florida.

Florida is a big state both in terms of population and geographical size. It has over 21 million residents, making it the third-most populated state in the U.S. Even though it is a large state geographically, it ranks 8th in population density, and most of the population is crammed into a handful of urban hubs, including Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando.

Given the size of Florida’s population, it is hardly surprising that the state sees a lot of car accidents and injuries. In 2023, there were a total of 394,456 police-reported vehicle accidents in the state. Nearly 3,500 people were killed in Florida car accidents in 2023 and over 250,000 people were physically injured.

Florida Auto Accident Laws

Every Florida auto accident is governed by 3 separate areas of Florida law that could potentially be applicable: (1) tort law (which determines liability for injuries), (2) traffic laws or rules of the road, and (3) vehicle insurance laws. Florida’s traffic rules and the vehicle laws are set forth in the Florida statutory code. Below is a brief outline of all the key Florida laws that apply in car accident lawsuits.

Florida 4-Year Statute of Limitations for Car Accident Lawsuits

The deadline for filing a car accident injury lawsuit in Florida is set by Florida’s general 4-year statute of limitation for cases involving negligence. Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a) This law requires that anyone injured in a car accident must file their lawsuit within 4years of the date of the accident or the claims will be legally barred by the SOL. There are some very limited exceptions to this rule, such as when the plaintiff is a minor at the time of the accident. But for the most part, you should assume that 4-years is the maximum time you can wait to file suit.

No-Fault Insurance System

Florida operates under a no-fault insurance system, requiring drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. This means that after a car accident, your own insurance policy will cover your medical expenses and lost wages regardless of who caused the accident. Each driver must have a minimum of $10,000 in PIP coverage, which pays 80% of necessary medical expenses and 60% of lost wages up to the policy limits.

Fault-Based Claims

Despite the no-fault system, Florida law allows drivers to sue the at-fault party if their injuries. But only if the injury is severe enough as defined by Florida statute.  To step outside the no-fault system, the injuries from the car accident must result in significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function, permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement, or death. This provision enables victims of severe accidents to seek full compensation for their damages.

Florida’s Comparative Fault Rule

In many auto accident cases, the defendant will allege that the plaintiff’s own negligence or violation of traffic rules was partly responsible for the accident. This is called a shared fault defense. In cases where a shared fault defense is presented, Florida follows the legal doctrine known as modified comparative fault. Under comparative fault, their percentage share of fault reduces a plaintiff’s damages. Below is an example to illustrate how this works in practice.

Let’s say Nancy is driving her Mercedes in Broward County. On her way through a busy intersection she hits Jim, a pedestrian. The jury finds that Nancy was 60% at fault, but Jim was 40% at-fault for not following the cross-walk signals. The jury awards $100,000 in damages to Jim. Jim’s damages will be reduced by 40% so he will only get $60,000.

Damages Available in Florida Car Accident Cases

Florida has some fairly strict caps on the maximum amount of damages that plaintiffs can receive in personal injury lawsuits. In most auto accident lawsuits, however, the damages never get high enough for these caps to apply. Notwithstanding the damage caps, plaintiffs in Florida auto accident cases are still entitled to pursue all of the general categories of damages available to tort plaintiffs, including:

  • Medical Expenses: Florida law gives car accident plaintiffs the right to recover damages for all medical expenses related to injuries suffered in the accident. Compensation covers not only the medical costs you’ve already faced but also anticipated future expenses linked to injuries sustained in the incident. For instance, if a car accident injures your back and your physician recommends back surgery next year, the expense for that can be accounted for in your compensation.
  • Lost IncomeThe plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for all lost income or wages resulting from injuries sustained in the car accident. This encompasses both previous lost income and anticipated future losses. For instance, if you sustain a permanent injury preventing work for the next six months or a year, you’re eligible for lost wages during that period.
  • Pain & SufferingIn Florida, the law permits compensation to be granted for emotional distress and anguish stemming from injuries endured in a car accident. The extent of the injury’s severity and distress dictates the amount of compensation for pain and suffering. Should a case proceed to trial, the judge or jury evaluates and determines the damages for pain and suffering.

Florida Car Accident Verdicts and Settlements

Below are Florida car accident settlement amount and jury payout in recent lawsuits.  Can you use these to calculate the settlement compensation for your claim? No. But they are instructive in better understanding the compensation ranges in different types of car accident lawsuits in Florida.

  • $110,000 Verdict (2024 Duvall): The plaintiff was stopped at a red light in Jacksonville when the defendant slammed into his vehicle from behind. The plaintiff claimed that he suffered permanent injuries to his back, shoulder and neck. The verdict included $75,000 in past and future medicals, but only $35,000 for pain and suffering.
  • $662,000 Verdict (2023 Miami-Dade): The plaintiff, while fulfilling his duties as a tow truck driver, was struck by a non-party vehicle while clearing collision debris because of an alleged failure by a police officer employed by the defendant City of Miami to secure the accident scene. The plaintiff reported fractures of his right tibia and fibula, along with unspecified injuries to his neck, back, right knee, and left shoulder. He sued the Miami Police Department for negligence in securing the accident scene. The verdict included $220,000 designated for pain and suffering.
  • $14,500 Verdict (2023 Alachua):  A woman was rear-ended. She injured her neck, shoulders, and mid-back. The woman also suffered the aggravation of her pre-existing lumbar bulges and herniations. She alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused her injuries.
  • $20,000 Settlement (2023 Broward): The plaintiff, a minor, was a passenger in an SUV that was struck when the defendant negligently made a turn without yielding, leading to a collision. The verdict summary did not specify the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • $1,200,000 Verdict (2023 Orange): The plaintiff alleged permanent injuries, including herniated discs, following a collision where the vehicle she was driving westbound was hit on the passenger side by a car attempting a left turn while exiting a convenience store in Orlando. She argued that the accident caused both temporary and permanent injuries. While the defendant admitted negligence, they contested the causation and extent of damages. The verdict awarded $1.2 million for past and future medical expenses.
  • $286,000 Verdict (2023 Orange): The plaintiff stated that she was traveling westbound on a busy road heading towards Walt Disney World when the defendant’s vehicle collided with hers. According to reports, the defendant was driving eastbound near an intersection when he tried to make a left turn, resulting in the collision.
  • $300,000 Verdict (2022 Sarasota): A 52-year-old man was rear-ended while stopped for a red light at an intersection. The man suffered C2-7 herniations. He sought physical therapy. The man sustained mobility problems and residual cervical and lumbar pain. He now used a cane. The man alleged that the at-fault driver’s negligence caused his injuries. A Sarasota County jury awarded $300,000.
  • $140,000 Verdict (2022 Broward): The plaintiff asserted that the defendant, driving a rented vehicle, rear-ended his car, causing multiple injuries to his neck, back, and shoulder, including a herniated disc. A Broward County jury granted $140,000 in compensation.

Hire a Florida Car Accident Lawyer

The personal injury attorneys at Miller & Zois can help you with your Florida car accident lawsuit. We work with local counsel in Florida at no additional cost to our clients to deliver the maximum possible compensation for your case. Contact us today at 800-553-8082 or contact us online.

Contact Information