A personal injury attorney is filling out paperwork as she talks to her injured client who is in a neck brace and has her arm in a sling.

Like all states, Florida has personal injury laws. These statutes set parameters for filing personal injury claims to recover damages for your injuries or loss after an accident. Reasons for these laws include the following:

  • Allowing victims to seek reasonable compensation
  • Avoiding court backlog
  • Preventing frivolous lawsuits
  • Preventing insurance fraud

When you’re coping with injuries or a loved one’s wrongful death after an accident, you may be overwhelmed by the impact the accident has on your life. The accident may have caused physical and emotional turmoil and led to expensive medical bills and other costs. Additionally, you may be confused by legal jargon as you try to understand how Florida’s personal injury laws apply to your situation and whether you have grounds to file a lawsuit.

Continue reading to learn more about Florida’s personal injury laws, what you must establish to win a personal injury case, what factors determine which damages you can seek, and why you need expert legal guidance to seek the damages you deserve for your injuries or loss.

Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys For a Free Consultation About Your Personal Injury Claim.

Personal Injury Definition According to Florida Law

According to Florida statutes, a personal injury occurs when someone suffers a physical injury or death. Florida laws allow the injured person or the decedent’s loved ones to seek compensation from the at-fault parties in specific situations.

Florida has specific regulations that affect some personal injury claims. 


In 2021, Florida had the third-highest number of motor vehicle accident (MVA) fatalities, with only Texas and California recording more than Florida’s 3,738 MVA deaths. 

The high number of MVA fatalities and injuries could lead to thousands of court cases annually. However, Florida limits legal action after traffic crashes because it’s a no-fault state. This means that those involved in the accident use their own insurance for compensation for their initial medical bills and lost income. MVA claims must meet the state’s serious injury threshold to justify a personal injury lawsuit. 

Insurance Requirements

Before registering a vehicle in Florida, you must prove you have the required insurance. Florida requires two types of insurance:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): The minimum amount of PIP insurance coverage personal vehicle owners need is $10,000. If you’re injured in an accident, you use your PIP insurance to cover 80% of your medical bills and lost income. The PIP insurance requirements increase for registered taxis. 
  • Property damage liability (PDL): You must have at least $10,000 in PDL insurance coverage. Suppose you are at fault for an accident that damages another person’s property. In that case, your PDL insurance covers the repair or replacement costs for damage to the other party’s property.

Serious Injury Threshold

Florida’s serious injury threshold determines when car accident victims can sue others for causing an accident that resulted in serious injuries or wrongful death. 

The serious injury threshold allows people to seek damages after a car accident if the following occurs:

  • The claimant lost a bodily function
  • The claimant lost a loved one to a wrongful death
  • The claimant suffered disfiguration
  • The claimant suffered permanent scarring
  • The claimant suffers from a permanent injury

Common Personal Injury Causes

Accidents can occur at home, work, or public places like parks or stores. Personal injury claim types can include defective products and criminal acts. Still, the following are some of the most common personal injury case types:

  • Motor vehicle accidents (MVAs): MVAs cause severe injuries and fatalities. Often, MVAs occur because of a driver’s negligence, which can establish grounds for a personal injury claim. Types of MVA claims include car accident claims and truck accident claims. These categories distinguish between personal vehicles and business vehicles. Claims against business vehicles may involve reviewing company maintenance records and business practices to determine whether the company is liable for the accident. Suppose someone driving a company vehicle falls asleep and causes an accident. An investigation determines their employer violated labor laws and forced drivers to work long shifts without breaks, causing fatigue. The company may be partially or solely liable. 
  • Slip-and-fall accidents: Slip and fall, trip and fall, step and fall, and stumble and fall accidents fall under the ‘slip-and-fall’ injury case umbrella. Suppose you enter a store and they have a broken staircase. Your foot gets stuck in a crack, causing you to fall and suffer injuries. The business or building manager could be liable for failing to maintain safe premises.
  • Dog bites: If a dog injures another person, the dog’s owner may be liable for damages. Suppose you go to a public park where dogs are supposed to be kept on a leash. A person lets their dog off its leash, and it attacks you. There may be grounds to sue the dog owner for damages. 
  • Work injuries: Workplaces have a responsibility to maintain safe environments. Workplaces failing to adhere to labor laws and safety regulations may be liable for workers’ injuries. 
  • Wrongful death: Wrongful deaths are fatalities caused by another person’s negligence. Florida allows the decedent’s spouse, children, or dependents to file a lawsuit seeking compensation. If the decedent had no spouse, children, or dependents, their parents may file a claim. 

Negligence and Personal Injury

Justifying a personal injury case begins with demonstrating someone is guilty of negligence or gross negligence. You must also demonstrate that the at-fault person’s negligence caused harm and financial loss. There are four components required to establish grounds for your lawsuit:

  1. Duty of care: A person’s duty of care refers to their responsibility to conduct themselves in a way that should prevent harm to others. This is part of our social contract, and violating that social contract can involve breaking laws or acting in a manner that isn’t consistent with how most reasonable people would act in the same situation. The first step in establishing negligence involves establishing that a duty of care exists. 
  2. Breach of duty: When someone does not act in a manner that would prevent harm, they’ve breached their duty. Establishing a breach of duty is the second crucial element when proving negligence.
  3. Causation: You have to do more than prove someone had a responsibility to act in a way to avoid causing harm and breached that duty to justify a personal injury lawsuit. You must also show that the breach of duty resulted in the incident that caused your injuries or loss.
  4. Damages: The final thing you must establish to justify a personal injury claim is that your injuries or loss caused financial harm

Negligence vs. Gross Negligence

In legal terms, negligence occurs when someone fails to uphold their duty of care. Deliberate actions, inactions, or unintentional actions can result in negligence. 

Gross negligence occurs when a person deliberately disregards safety concerns. Examples of gross negligence include driving more than 60 mph over the speed limit or racing through a construction zone. In gross negligence cases, the claimant may seek economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.

Comparative Negligence

You can sue more than one person if multiple people contributed to the circumstances that caused your accident. There is only one scenario where you’re prevented from taking legal action. Per Florida’s comparative negligence laws, you can sue one or more parties if they’re assigned 50% or more of the blame for the incident.

These comparative negligence laws allow you to seek compensation even if you’re partially responsible for the accident. Once the compensation amount is calculated, each liable party pays their percentage. Consequently, if you were 40% responsible and sued a party who was 60% responsible, you could receive 60% of the total compensation amount.

Compensation Available to Victims of Personal Injuries

Personal injury victims can seek economic and non-economic damages. However, there may be grounds to seek punitive damages if gross negligence is a factor in your case. 

Economic Damages

Monetary damages focus on bills and calculations. These economic damages offer reimbursement for bills or reasonably anticipated expenses you have because of your accident. Ground for economic damages varies from person to person; for example, someone suffering a permanent disability may need to relocate to an accessible home, while someone caring for elderly parents may have home care aide expenses if they cannot continue providing that care.

Expenses you can include in monetary damages claims include the following:

  • Burial bills
  • Childcare bills
  • Funeral bills
  • Home care aide costs
  • Home maintenance costs
  • House cleaning bills 
  • Job retraining costs
  • Lost income
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage bills
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Transportation costs

Non-Economic Damages

Accidents can cause trauma and emotional turmoil. You may also suffer from grief, depression, and other mental health issues because of the way your injuries or loss affect your life. Non-economic damages recognize that suffering and allow you to receive compensation for it. Grounds for non-monetary damages include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disfigurement
  • Grief
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering
  • Phobias
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Trauma

Punitive Damages

Economic and non-economic damages emphasize restoring the victim’s condition before the accident. While compensation can’t make the injuries or loss disappear, it can cover financial costs and offer damages to compensate for how the accident changed your life.

Punitive damages do not have that emphasis. They focus on the at-fault party. These damages apply because of their gross negligence and acknowledge their reckless conduct that caused harm. They are called punitive damages because they are a punishment.

While Florida allows punitive damages in some cases, the state also limits the amount of punitive damages victims can receive. You can receive a maximum award of $500,000 in punitive damages or triple the combined economic and non-economic damages awarded. The higher of these two amounts is the punitive damages cap for your claim. 

Florida’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations

Injury victims typically have 24 months to file a personal injury lawsuit. The allocated time stems from the date the injury occurred. However, some exceptions could apply that allow tolling; in other words, the countdown to the deadline is stopped, changing your filing deadline.

  • Cases involving minors: Suppose you are a minor when you’re injured. In that case, the 24-month clock starts the day you turn 18.
  • Defendant hides: You may have grounds to extend the filing deadline if the at-fault party flees the state, assumes a new identity, or takes other steps to avoid discovery
  • Discovery: Suppose you’re in an accident and do not immediately realize you suffered a severe injury. The date of discovery may be the starting date for counting down to your filing deadline. 
  • Temporary incapacitation: You may not be able to take legal action if your injuries incapacitate you. Suppose you’re in a coma for two months. The starting date for counting down to your deadline would begin when you regained consciousness and discovered your injuries. 

It should also be noted that those who suffer injuries or wrongful death because of a criminal act, such as assault, have 48 months to file a suit. 

Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, Are Here for You After a Serious Injury

Navigating the legal system involves more than learning Florida’s personal injury statutes. Exceptions and statutes can affect determining liability, how much time you have to file, and how much compensation you can receive. Having expert legal counsel ensures your case proceeds as efficiently as possible so you can get the compensation you need.

At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, we’re ready to use our legal expertise and decades of experience to fight for you. When you hire us to fight for you, you hire experienced personal injury lawyers ready to investigate your claim, build your case, and handle discovery motions and court paperwork. We will also lead the negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance company to get you a reasonable settlement recognizing your emotional, financial, and physical suffering. If we can’t negotiate a fair settlement, we’ll represent you in court and fight for you to receive a judgment for the maximum compensation available.

Call us for a free consultation. You do not need to pay any upfront fees. We only take contingency fees when we win your case. 

Contact Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys Now To Find Out How We Can Help.


Fatality Facts 2021 State by State. (2023). 

Florida Insurance Requirements. (2024). 

Goguen, D. (2024). Florida Personal Injury Laws and Statute of Limitations

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C) 627.737. (2024).

Tampa Car Accident + Personal Injury Lawyers

Jack Bernstein Personal Injury Attorney

For more than 40 years, personal injury lawyer Jack G. Bernstein has protected the rights of individuals who have been injured in a variety of circumstances. Throughout his career, Bernstein has been a strategist thoroughly dedicated to the idea of protecting the rights of his clients. Mr. Bernstein is a member of the Florida State Bar Association, the Hillsborough Bar Association and the Clearwater Bar Association.

Mr. Bernstein has the experience and expertise to handle a wide range of injury cases. Among the types of plaintiffs Mr. Bernstein represents are individuals involved in car accidents caused by drunk drivers or other exhibiting negligence, medical complications resulting from carelessness caused by a physician or a medical facility, including brain injury, bicycle, motorcycle, moped and truck accidents, admiralty law and cruise ship accidents, accidental drownings, all types of wrongful death lawsuits, along with most injury, catastrophic occurrences and legal malpractice issues.

Our firm handles every type of personal injury and accident case, using negotiation and litigation tactics effectively. We handle cases throughout Tampa, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, FL. With a staff of approximately 40 people, including six lawyers and 34 support personnel, we have the legal resources to get the justice you deserve and the maximum recovery for your losses. Schedule your free consultation today; we are always here to help.

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