A phrase that gets mentioned during a personal injury claim is “serious injury threshold.” This is a crucial element to your case because it will impact your ability to seek compensation for injuries you received as an accident victim. The state of Florida relies on no-fault insurance laws to handle car accidents. Therefore, in situations where a negligent driver’s injury requires compensation beyond their insurance, they must establish that their injuries justify this legal action. If not, they may not have any other option available than their own insurer from their damages.
How is a Serious Injury Defined in Florida Law?
Generally speaking, serious injuries have a severe impact on the victim’s life. They might suffer for months, years, or permanently from this condition’s symptoms and side effects. Non Serious injuries typically heal quickly with minimal pain and medical costs for treatment. A serious injury is one that significantly impacts the victim’s life.
Florida Statute 627.737 provides the state’s definition of these injuries types for civil suit liability.
- Permanent and/or substantial loss of the victim’s body functions
- Scarring or disfigurement that is significant and permanent
- Injuries deemed permanent by a medical assessment
Injuries must meet these criteria to satisfy the serious injury threshold in Florida. Compared to moderate and minor injuries, those shown to be serious can provide additional rights to the victim.
Examples of serious injuries in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken skull and/or bones
- Spinal cord trauma
- Burns and dismemberment
How Florida’s No-Fault Laws Affect the Serious Injury Threshold
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance law, establishing the other driver’s negligence isn’t always required when pursuing compensation for your injuries. Generally, those whose injuries meet the serious injury threshold have no responsibility in proving fault to use their insurance benefits. A third-party claim is avoided by those who only suffered minor injuries, which PIP covers.
Currently, Florida drivers must carry the below minimum amounts of policy coverages:
- $10,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $10,000personal injury protection
- $10,000 in property damage liability
- $20,000 in bodily injury liability per incident
Another important compensation option is the mandatory personal injury protection (PIP) all resident Floridians are required to carry. This policy does not care who is at fault but does come with a maximum benefit. The default is $10,000, but it’s possible to buy additional insurance coverage if desired. PIP doesn’t cover non-compensatory damages either, and if your injuries are very serious and exceed this insurance, you can pursue the difference with the other driver’s insurance policy.
How Can I Prove My Serious Injury Threshold in My Personal Injury Cases
Florida law places the burden of proof on the victim in a personal injury case to prove the severity of the injuries suffered. Therefore, defendants could petition the court to verify that the plaintiff’s injuries meet this threshold. However, doing so will require the court to review the claim being made and whether the victim who filed suit can meet the burden of proof necessary. In situations where a court rules that the plaintiff has insufficient evidence to support their claim, it gets dismissed.
This can be a challenging process to navigate without the professional legal advice of a talented Seminole County personal injury lawyer to advise you. Not only will they have the resources to bring in experts to testify on your behalf, but they can work with accident reconstructionists to build a solid case based on evidence. Proving that a serious injury meets Florida’s threshold may take assistance from a car accident lawyer. Depending on how egregious the defendant’s negligence was, you may also qualify for punitive damages.
Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Attorney Right Now
If you or a loved one was involved in a severe car accident, you might be wondering what recovery options are available for the damages you suffered. From medical bills to diminished work ability, Jordan Law is here to help you get on the road to recovery. We can provide you with sound legal advice about your circumstances and determine what next steps need to be taken.
Our firm uses our years of personal injury case practice to make the negligent parties responsible for your injuries pay. We will fight tirelessly on your behalf and pursue the best possible results for your case’s circumstances. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about what rights you have to compensation.