Car accidents can lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial distress. In Florida, the law provides several avenues for victims to recover damages. This blog post will delve into the types of recoverable damages after a car accident in Fort Lauderdale, focusing on the relevant laws and statutes.
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Florida’s Comparative Negligence Law: An Overview
Florida is a modified comparative negligence law state, which means that the person most responsible for causing the car accident is also proportionately responsible for the resulting damages. In other words, the at-fault party’s insurance company is typically liable for repairs, medical expenses, and other costs associated with the accident.
Economic Damages: The Tangible Costs
Economic damages are the most straightforward type of damages. They include the following.
These are the costs associated with the medical care required due to injuries sustained in the accident. It can include expenses for hospital admission, surgery, medicine, corrective therapy, and any future medical care required as a result of the accident.
If the accident caused you not to be able to return to work, you could be compensated for lost wages. This not only includes the income lost from the work missed immediately after the accident but also any future income lost due to long-term injuries or disability.
This refers to the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle or other property damaged in the accident. It can also include damage to personal items inside the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Non-Economic Damages: The Toll on Your Life
Non-economic damages are more subjective and can include the following.
Pain and Suffering
This refers to physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident and injuries. It can include compensation for physical discomfort, anxiety, stress, and other negative effects on your quality of life.
Loss of Consortium
If the accident has negatively affected your relationship with your spouse, you may be entitled to these damages. This can include loss of companionship, affection, comfort, and sexual relations.
Punitive Damages: A Deterrent for Egregious Behavior
In instances where the defendant’s actions were notably outrageous or deliberate, punitive damages may be granted. The purpose of these damages is to penalize the defendant and discourage such conduct in the future.
Florida Damage Caps
Florida law limits punitive damages. Except for a few specific exceptions, the maximum permissible award for punitive damages is either three times the total amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, depending on which of these two amounts is larger.
Understanding the Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is essentially a countdown. It begins on the date of the car accident and provides a window during which you can file a lawsuit. For most personal injury claims in Florida, including those involving car accidents, this period is two years.
Effective from March 24, 2023, Florida Statute §95.11 was amended to reduce the statute of limitations for negligence claims from four years to two years.
Exceptions to the Rule
However, there are exceptions to this general two-year rule. If your claim is against a government entity, different rules may apply.
The Importance of Acting Swiftly
If you fail to file your lawsuit within the specified period, you may lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Therefore, understanding these time limits is crucial in protecting your legal rights.
Get Help After a Car Accident in Fort Lauderdale
Navigating the aftermath of a car accident in Fort Lauderdale can be challenging. Understanding what types of damages are recoverable can help victims ensure they receive the compensation they deserve. Always consult with a knowledgeable attorney at Klotzman Law Firm to guide you through this process.