Florida Car Accident Settlement and Lawsuits
A look at laws that might affect a car accident claim in Florida, including the state's no-fault rules and time limits for filing a lawsuit.
After a car accident in Florida, you’re probably wondering what to expect if you decide to make a claim for injuries or for vehicle damage -- from navigating Florida’s no-fault car insurance system to understanding the legal landscape if you are able to step outside of no-fault and file a personal injury lawsuit over the accident.
This page provides a guide to the Florida-specific resources on All-About-Car-Accidents.com, so you can understand the Florida laws that could affect your car accident claim, and learn when and how to get help from a Florida car accident lawyer.
First Things First: Florida is a No-Fault Car Insurance State
If you’re involved in a car accident in Florida, the first thing to understand is that the state follows a “no-fault” car insurance system, which means you turn first (and sometimes exclusively) to your own car insurance coverage to get compensation for injuries and lost income.
Florida drivers are required to carry the following minimum insurance:
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, and
- $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) benefits.
Florida drivers can only step outside of the state's no-fault system -- and pursue a claim against the at-fault driver directly -- if the injuries resulting from the accident are considered "permanent," if significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement occurs, or if significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function results from the crash.
Remember that if you’re making a vehicle damage claim, no-fault does not apply, and you can make a claim under the at-fault driver’s property damage liability policy.
Learn more about Florida Car Insurance Laws.
Florida Laws on Car Accident Lawsuits
After a car accident, if your injury claim is serious enough to let you file a liability claim against the at-fault driver in Florida, there are a few state laws that you need to be aware of, starting with the filing deadline for personal injury cases in civil court.
In Florida, you have four years from the date of the car accident to get your case started by filing the initial complaint with the right branch of Florida’s civil court system -- according to Florida Statutes Title 8, Ch. 95, Sec. 95.11.
Learn more about other Florida laws that could impact your case in our article Car Accident Laws in Florida.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer
You likely don’t need to hire a Florida car accident lawyer if you were involved in a minor car accident and are making a claim through your own car insurance company in line with Florida’s no-fault rules. You can probably handle that kind of claim yourself, as long as you’re comfortable doing so.
But if you suffered “serious injury” under Florida’s threshold for taking a car accident claim outside of no-fault -- or if you’re trying to prove that your claim should be exempt from no-fault under that threshold -- you might find that there is a lot more at stake, so discussing your situation with an experienced Florida car accident lawyer is probably a good idea.
A good car accident attorney knows how to handle the back-and-forth of settlement negotiation, how to anticipate and avoid obstacles in the process, and the best way to protect your rights at every stage in the case, including filing a car accident lawsuit in Florida’s courts if it comes to that.