Can I Sue For A Minor Injury In Florida?
It is a common myth that only severe injuries warrant a lawsuit. In reality, there are instances when suing over relatively minor injuries is appropriate – but there are a host of factors that may impede you from filing suit. This does not mean, however, that you are barred from seeking compensation completely. Each case may have its different factors, which is why consulting a personal injury attorney is always a good idea. Understanding your options is crucial after an accident.
In Theory, Yes, But …
With certain exceptions, there is nothing explicitly prohibiting a person from filing suit over a relatively minor injury in Florida. For example, seeking damages such as lost wages, though relatively minor compared to more serious accident cases, may mean the world to a person whose injuries temporarily affect their ability to work. In some cases, sustaining mental anguish may also be grounds to file suit – Florida observes the so-called “impact rule,” which states that mental/emotional injuries are only compensable if they accompany physical trauma, but this does allow some cases to move forward.
That said, filing suit while seeking a relatively small amount may be seen as pointless by many attorneys – not out of cruelty or callousness, but in the sense that the fees and costs that add up may eventually eclipse the amount sought. Alternatively, it may be that you would bear some of the fault for your own injuries (this concept is called comparative fault, and it means that you may not recover monetarily for your own negligence), which might render a jury award essentially null and void. A suit can only go forward if it would be practical for it to do so.
Auto Accident Injuries Are An Exceptional Case
If you sustain minor injuries in an accident, you generally have the right to seek compensation from the person who allegedly caused the accident. The only exception to this truism is if that accident occurred in a vehicle – Florida has a no-fault auto insurance system, which means that rather than filing suit against each other in the courts, drivers who incur minor injuries in car accidents can seek compensation by filing claims with their personal injury protection (PIP) insurer. State law requires all Florida drivers to carry at least $10,000 worth of PIP coverage, and in theory, this amount should be used to pay bills for minor injuries.
If you are involved in a car accident and your injuries are severe, however, it is generally understood that PIP coverage may not be sufficient to cover the ensuing medical bills, and Florida has no wish to leave injured plaintiffs without options. In these cases, state law lifts the tort immunity on car accident cases – in other words, the law states that if your injuries are “significant and permanent … within a ‘reasonable degree of medical probability,” you may file suit against the person who caused them in court instead of going through your insurer.
Contact A Tampa Personal Injury Attorney
Being injured is never a welcome event, and in some cases, even a minor injury can cause long-term problems in your life. However, filing suit is not always the best method for seeking compensation. If you have been injured due to the alleged negligence of another person, contacting a Tampa personal injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group is a good first step to determining the best path for you and your family. Call our office today at (813) 831-9999 for a free consultation.