Legal Implications of a Fatal Car Accident in Florida

Photo of author

By David

If you’re new to Florida, note that it’s the third most dangerous state to drive in owing to its reckless drivers and auto-cramped highways.

Florida’s alarming number of nearly ten daily traffic fatalities has already become a national crisis. Imagine dealing with the predicaments of a fatal crash.

If you’re facing litigation, it’s important to understand the legalities that can impact the likelihood of receiving compensation. In this article, you can learn more about Florida’s car accident statutes and gain more insights into your legal rights when seeking compensation.

What to Do Immediately If You’re Involved in a Car Crash

According to the Florida Highway Patrol and Motor Vehicles database, there’s been a 10% rise in statewide fatalities caused by crashes from 2020 to 2021.

To control crash fatalities, Florida state laws mandate that any individual involved must stop at the scene of the accident and lend help to the injured.

As per section 316.065 of the Florida Statutes, you must contact law enforcement to assess the level of damage caused as a result of a fatal car crash if the:

  • Property damage exceeds $500 or more
  • Crash results in fatal injuries or sudden death

If you’ve witnessed a car crash, you must take videos or photos to assist with the investigation. This gives the legal authorities enough information to understand how the accident took place and how the people were involved.

Drivers involved in car accidents in Florida can also issue a claim for compensation by using one of these three approaches:

  • Comparative negligence that allows the victim to recover 99% of the damage, regardless of who’s at fault
  • Modified comparative negligence that only considers a claim and allows drivers to recover damages if they’re at 50% fault for the crash
  • Contributory negligence that prevents a victim from claiming any compensation for damage caused in a car accident

Providing thorough documentation of the crash will also support any claim you make as a plaintiff. This works in cases where your vehicle has suffered massive damage as a result of the car accident.

Florida Is a No-Fault Car Insurance State

Florida follows a no-fault car insurance scheme which allows drivers to claim their own personal injury car insurance coverage. This helps address medical bills and other losses after the crash has occurred, regardless of who’s at fault.

If your insurance company is not willing to cover all the expenses for a specific injury, you can seek compensation through a lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit against a suspect is deemed valid if your injuries are severe and meet a certain threshold.

Insurance PIP and PDL Regulations in Florida

Drivers in Florida are legally required to maintain a minimum car insurance coverage of $10,000 for personal injury protection (PIP). The regulations further include $10,000 more for property damage liability (PDL).

The PIP insurance plan covers 80% of the medical expenses incurred during the crash and 60% of lost wages if injuries sustained during the crash have rendered the policyholder incapable of work. Additionally, you must seek treatment as quickly as possible, preferably within 14 days of the accident.

The PDL insurance coverage is geared toward providing compensation for damage caused to a person’s property. For instance, when you damage someone’s vehicle, you are liable to pay for the repairs or any harm caused to the property in the accident.

What Is Comparative Negligence in Florida?

Most car accidents occur as a result of sheer negligence of one or more drivers. This means that the person behind the wheel has failed to maintain a specific level of care and safety while driving in Florida.

Outside the no-fault insurance system, there are many complicated cases that are hard to resolve, like proving someone else’s negligence. In some situations, both parties involved in the accident are considered negligent.

An example of this is when a driver passed by a stop sign and collided with another who was busy texting on the phone. In this case, both drivers are considered at fault. When both parties are negligent, Florida uses a comparative negligence system.

This system helps determine the proportion of loss that can be covered in compensation and the person entitled to it. As per this rule, a jury calculates the fault percentage based on the damage caused by both drivers after collecting relevant evidence.

Will You Go to Jail After a Fatal Car Crash in Florida?

It’s unlikely that you’ll go to jail right after a fatal car crash in Florida.

In fact, those involved in traffic accidents must follow the state’s four-year personal injury and property damage regulations.

If your case is unique and requires more consideration, it’s best to seek legal advice from a reliable personal injury lawyer for more solutions.