After you have been involved in an accident, you may be wondering if you are entitled to seek monetary damages from the person who caused it, or their insurance company. There are some baseline requirements for filing a lawsuit or an injury claim in Florida, which are set forth by the Florida Statutes, which outline a minimum threshold for litigation.
As you read through the statutes, you may find yourself realizing that these limitations are not especially prescriptive though, and what might be minor for one person can be catastrophic for another. This is what makes injury claims a complicated topic, and why you need to understand that the law can be subjective. If you have been injured in a car accident and are not sure if you should be filing a claim or not, your best bet is to speak with a lawyer. Many law firms offer free consultations for this exact reason.
The Standard Requirements of a Personal Injury Claim
Florida requires a few things to be met in order for you to seek financial compensation for your injuries. We explain each a bit more, but again, if you aren’t sure of the validity of your own situation, talk to a lawyer ASAP:
Significant or permanent damage to an important bodily function
Obviously, if you are paralyzed or need to have a limb amputated, this warrants a personal injury lawsuit. However, what about a broken finger, or a hematoma? What if it’s just a bruise that really hurts? This subjectivity is best determined between you and a legal pro, but a bruise on your forearm probably isn’t going to cut it.
Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
This standard is also in a bit of a grey area, which is why “medical probability” is an important issue here. Neck, back, or other whiplash-related injuries can sometimes be hard to prove with medical tools like an MRI or an x-ray. However, just because it does not show up on a machine does not necessarily mean that you are not injured. If a medical professional can attest that you are injured, then you may be able to move forward with your claim.
Significant and permanent scarring
Again, this can be fairly subjective based on the situation. It is highly unlikely that a cut on your thumb that leaves a permanent scar will ever be considered for litigation in a Florida court, but what about a scar of the same size, but on your face? If you are on a motorcycle and suffer severe road rash, it is pretty likely that it will be considered significant, but where is the line? Again: talk to a lawyer.
This is the least nebulous of the standards. If someone is killed in a car accident, then there is no argument that the injuries are severe enough to seek compensation for. In this case, you will likely be filing a “wrongful death” suit, which will include the bodily injuries, but additionally addresses the fact that a life was lost in the crash as well.
If You Aren’t Sure, Talk To a Lawyer
It isn’t uncommon to find a Winter Park personal injury attorney who offers free consultations because of the complexity of these situations. Your best bet is to talk to a professional who can get a better idea of the overall situation, and make a recommendation based on their experience.