The Sunshine State Florida is one of the fastest-growing states in the union, increasing 1.9% between 2021 and 2022. This rapid growth leads to car accidents, particularly in roadways not designed for current Florida traffic. When you encounter a car crash, it’s important to know Florida car accident laws to protect yourself in court.
Florida’s percentage gains since 1946 have been impressive: its 2022 population is just over 9 times its 1946 population of 2,440,000.
FAST FACT: In 2022 there were 396,486 crashes in the state of Florida. Of these, there were 251,901 injuries.
If you’ve recently been in an accident in Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, or another Florida city, you should be familiar with Florida car accident laws.
These laws will help you understand comparative negligence, rules about minimum insurance coverage, and what kinds of damages you’re entitled to through your settlement.
How to Report a Florida Car Accident
Florida drivers involved in a car accident must report the crash to the police under Florida Statutes Section 316.065 if one of the following conditions are true:
- The crash caused at least $500 in vehicle or property damage
- The crash caused injury or death
According to Florida Statutes §316.027, the first thing you must do is stop after you’ve been involved in an accident. Move your car out of traffic if able and stay at the scene.
What Info to Collect at the Scene of the Crash
A lawyer experienced in Florida car accident law will need the following information to properly defend your case. The more evidence you have that proves your damages, the greater your chances of a higher settlement.
- Get the other driver’s information. Here is what you should gather:
- Full name
- Phone number and address
- Insurance information like the name of their insurance provider, policy number, and the policyholder’s relationship to the driver.
- Note their vehicle make and model, vehicle registration information, license plate number, and name of vehicle owner.
- Gather witness information. A police report offers an objective viewpoint to your accident that can greatly boost the credibility of your claim. You can purchase a police report through the FLHSMV via website or by mail, and it will be available within 10 days per Section 316.066, Florida Statutes.
- Take accident scene photos. Use your phone camera to record:
- how much damage occurred
- what the weather conditions were like
- the position of street signs and signals
If a crash did not cause an injury, the driver can complete a Driver Report of Traffic Crash form which can be found on the FLHSMV website. You can self-report your crash in case a law officer did not submit a report on their own.
Common Injuries After a Car Accident
Car accident injuries often involve broken bones, nerve damage, or other bodily injuries. There are many types of orthopedic injuries that occur when a person is involved in a car crash, including:
- Upper extremity injury – broken wrist or arm, ribs shoulder impingement
- Lower extremity injury – broken hip, legs, or ankle, torn ACL
- Soft tissue injury – ligaments, tendon, and muscles
Common examples of broken bones caused by car accidents include:
- Rib fracture – Caused by a seatbelt or airbag.
- Hip fracture – This is the most common fracture in a car accident.
Types of nerve damage:
- Spinal nerve damage
- Sensory nerve damage
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm
- Broken ribs
- Internal Bleeding
Florida Car Insurance Laws
However, Florida car accident law does require you to have Personal Injury Protection and property damage liability insurance, per Florida Statutes § 627.7407. Here are the following amounts Florida requires every driver to carry on the road:
- Minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection
- Minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage pays for some of the policyholder’s losses after an injury-causing collision. It kicks in regardless of who’s at-fault for the crash.
Property damage liability (PDL) coverage pays for property damage the policyholder causes others.
Additional Coverage Options
Even though these minimums are required, you can purchase additional coverage to protect yourself from further damages. Why? Because when a driver without insurance is sued, they would need to pay all their losses out-of-pocket.
Drivers may choose to purchase comprehensive coverage for their vehicle. This covers the repair cost or replacement cost of their own vehicle after an accident, regardless of fault.
Is Florida a No-Fault State?
Yes, the state of Florida is a “no-fault” car insurance state. This means that regardless of who was to blame for the accident, drivers will recover compensation for minor injuries from their own insurer.
So, you will make a claim under your own required Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP will pay for:
- 80% of reasonable medical expenses incurred due to crash-related injuries
- 60% of lost income if crash-related injuries prevent you from working
- $5,000 in death benefits if a collision is fatal, paid to the estate of the deceased
If injuries are very serious in the state of Florida, victims can recover compensation despite the no-fault system.
IMPORTANT: Consulting a Florida auto accident attorney — even if you have insurance — is the best way to get the money you deserve. Why? Because an experienced Florida car accident lawyer can help you determine if your crash was serious enough that they can try to recover compensation from the other driver.
Comparative Negligence Car Accident Laws in Florida
Sometimes, both drivers share some fault for their car accident. Florida car accident law’s pure comparative negligence rules apply in this situation.
IMPORTANT: This means car accident victims in Florida can always make a claim to recover damages regardless of their amount of fault in causing the crash.
In other words, a driver who was 80% responsible for a crash could still theoretically recover compensation from the other driver in Florida. However, the first driver’s compensation would be reduced by the share of responsibility they hold, 80%.
Florida Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
Florida Statutes §95.11 says that for car accidents involving injuries, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the car accident. This means that drivers with serious injuries who want to file a lawsuit will need to file within two years. Wrongful death plaintiffs also only have two years to file a lawsuit in Florida.
IMPORTANT: This recent two-year Florida statute of limitations update took effect on March 24, 2023. If your car accident injury occurred before that date, you’ll have four years to get your lawsuit filed, measured from the date of your accident.
You must notify your insurance agency right away, however. This means within days of your accident.
Types of Damages After a Florida Car Crash
In serious accidents, the victim can recover compensation from the other driver for both economic and non-economic damages. These damages are meant to “make the victim whole” after suffering losses they did not cause. Proving these damages requires extensive evidence and the expertise of an auto accident attorney.
Economic damages are the measurable losses related to the accident. Preserve your receipts and keep your bills, because your attorney needs to tally how much you lost due to this accident. Examples of economic damages include:
- Vehicle repairs or replacement
- Loss of income or wages
- Loss of use of property
- Past and future hospital bills
- Laboratory fees
- Rehab fees
Non-economic damages are non-measurable losses from a car crash. Bills or receipts may not accurately measure these emotional losses, but things like therapy visits and journal entries may count as evidence. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Reputational damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of consortium (companionship, comfort, affection or sexual intimacy)
LegalASAP Connects You with a Trusted Florida Car Accident Lawyer
An expert lawyer can help you navigate the lawsuit process and get the cash settlement you deserve. The good news is that working with an experienced lawyer is more affordable than you think.
LegalASAP can put you in touch with an auto accident attorney who knows Florida car accident laws and is ready to review your case.
The process is free until you win your settlement, so click below or call 888-927-3080 to continue.
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.