This page will discuss St. Petersburg car accident lawsuits. Our St. Petersburg auto accident lawyers will explain some of the main points of law that apply to auto accident injury cases in Florida. We will also look at the average settlement payout value in St. Petersburg auto accident lawsuits by examining recent verdicts and reported settlements.
Auto Accidents in St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is the 5th biggest city in Florida with a population of around 250,000 people. St. Petersburg is in Pinellas County, Florida in the Tampa Bay metro area. In 2022, there were 15,646 auto accidents in Pinellas County. 113 of those accidents involved fatalities and 6,383 involved serious physical injuries.
Florida Auto Accident Laws
St. Petersburg auto accident cases are governed by Florida law. Auto tort cases in Florida involve 3 potentially relevant areas of law: (1) traffic laws (rules of the road), (2) vehicle insurance laws, and (3) tort law which applies to liability for injuries. Below is a brief outline of all the key Florida laws that apply in car accident lawsuits.
4-Year Statute of Limitations for St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawsuits
If you are seriously injured in a St. Petersburg auto accident, you will have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is because Florida has a statute of limitations that imposes maximum time deadlines on how long plaintiffs in injury cases can wait before filing suit.
The statute of limitations for a car accident injury lawsuit in Florida is 4-years (Fla. Stat. § 95.11(3). The 4-year period starts running on the date that the accident occurred. This means that you must file your injury lawsuit within 4-years of the accident. If you don’t get your case filed before then it will be legally barred.
Florida Follows Comparative Negligence Rule
In many auto accident cases, both drivers are guilty of some degree of negligence in causing the accident. These are called shared fault cases. When shared fault is present, Florida follows a modified comparative negligence system. This means that the amount of money a plaintiff is awarded for their accident case may be reduced based on their percentage of fault contributing to the injury. Below is an example to illustrate how this works in practice.
Let’s say Jack makes a left turn in front of Jill and she hits him. Jill files a lawsuit and Jack argues that Jill was partly at-fault because she was going 20 miles over the speed limit at the time of the accident. The jury finds that Jack was 60% at fault and Jill was 40% at-fault and awards $100,000 in damages. Jill’s damages will be reduced by 40% so she will only get $60,000.
Compensation in St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawsuits
Damages are a legal concept that determines how much compensation a plaintiff is entitled to receive in a St. Petersburg auto accident lawsuit. The law recognizes certain types or categories of damages resulting from an auto accident for which successful plaintiffs are entitled to receive financial compensation.
Unfortunately, the Florida legislature recently enacted new laws which imposed maximum caps or limits on the amount of damages plaintiffs can get in personal injury cases, including auto accident cases. However, if you are seriously hurt in a St. Petersburg car accident that was not your fault, you can get compensation for all legally recognized categories of damages. There just might be a limit on some of those damages.
For the most part, however, these damage caps apply to medical malpractice cases and only impact the most serious, high-value auto cases. The basic categories of damages in Florida accident cases are outlined below.
Pain & Suffering: Florida law allows damages to be awarded for mental pain and suffering related to injuries sustained in a car accident. The more severe and painful the injury, the more compensation a plaintiff can get for pain and suffering. The judge or jury determines pain and suffering damages if a case goes to trial.
Medical Bills / Expenses: plaintiffs can get damages for any and all medical bills and expenses that they incur as a direct result of the car accident. This includes not just medical expenses that you have already incurred, but also estimated medical expenses that you are going to incur in the future. Damages are awarded even if these costs were covered by health insurance.
Lost Income / Wages: if your injuries in the car accident cause you to lose income or wages because you can’t work or run your business, you legally entitled to collect damages for that lost income. Just like with medical expenses, you can damages for both past and future lost income.
How Much are St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawsuits Worth?
The settlement value of a St. Petersburg car accident injury lawsuit is determined by a variety of factors. The most impactful factor that drives settlement value more than any other is the nature and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries. More serious injuries involve more medical expenses and more pain & suffering, which equates to a higher settlement value. The chart below shows the average settlement value range of St. Petersburg car accident cases based on the severity level of the plaintiff’s injuries.
|INJURY SEVERITY LEVEL||SETTLEMENT VALUE|
|LEVEL I (minor)||$19,000 – $41,000|
|LEVEL II (moderate)||$58,000 – $152,000|
|LEVEL III (severe)||$180,000 – $490,000|
St. Petersburg Car Accident Settlements & Verdicts
Below are summaries of recent settlements and verdicts in St. Petersburg car accident lawsuits. These summaries are provided only for informational purposes and they cannot guarantee similar outcomes in your own case. Most of the summaries below do not include descriptions of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries because the Florida verdict summaries do not include those.
$109,783 Verdict (Pinellas County 2023): The plaintiff was struck in the side by the defendant at the intersection of 66th Street and 51st Avenue North in St. Petersburg. As a result of the collision, the plaintiff suffered back injuries including multiple herniations and underwent two spinal surgeries. The jury awarded damages for past medical expenses only and declined to award future medical expenses or pain and suffering.
$200,813 Verdict (Pinellas County 2023): Plaintiff, Progressive Insurance, claimed that the defendant negligently operated a motor vehicle and caused a collision with the motor vehicle of plaintiff’s insured. Progressive claimed that it paid to or on behalf of its insured $28,367.35 for property damage/loss and $160,000 for bodily injury/uninsured motorist benefits, less $7,602.80 salvage recovery.
$29,000 Verdict (Pinellas County 2022): The plaintiff was stopped at a red light in St. Petersburg when the defendant slammed into his vehicle from behind. The plaintiff claimed that he suffered permanent injuries to his back, shoulder and neck. The jury was apparently not fully convinced that the injuries were permanent because they only awarded damages for past-medical expenses and not future medicals.
$82,312 Verdict (Pinellas County 2022): The plaintiff was driving west on Tampa Road near the intersection of Lake St. George Road in Pinellas County when she was struck by the defendant. She alleged injuries to her neck, back, and legs and aggravated a preexisting condition. Liability was admitted and case went to trial on damages only.
$726,000 Verdict (Pinellas County 2022): The plaintiff was struck from behind at high speed by the defendant, who was cited for drunk driving at the time of the accident. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries and the verdict included $103,000 for past medical expenses, and another $573,000 for future medical expenses. Curiously, only $50,000 was awarded for pain and suffering.
$50,000 Settlement (Pinellas County 2022): The plaintiff was driving on on 68th Avenue North at the intersection of 66th Street North in Pinellas Park, when the defendant negligently struck his vehicle. The plaintiff claimed injuries to his neck, back, and shoulder and the case eventually settled for $50,000.
Hire a St. Petersburg Car Accident Lawyer
If you have a St. Petersburg car accident lawsuit, contact our injury lawyers today for a free consultation at 800-553-8082, or contact us online.