“Major” And “Minor” Injuries In Florida
When someone is injured in Florida due to the negligence of another person, they generally have the option to seek damages for what they have been through. However, not every injury is considered compensable – state law specifies the definition of a “major injury,” which means that an injury that does not fit that metric will be referred to as “minor.” While minor injuries can still cause havoc in the average person’s life, they are generally not considered sufficient cause to file suit against the negligent actor.
Defining Major & Minor Injuries
Florida law defines a serious injury as one for which a person is legally entitled to claim damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish. Examples include a “significant and permanent loss” of an important bodily function, permanent scarring, and any injury which qualifies as permanent “within a reasonable degree of medical probability” – that is, as far as medical professionals can determine. By definition, any injury that does not qualify as ‘serious’ will be considered ‘less serious or ‘minor.’
The reason that this matters is because very often, minor injuries are not considered sufficient cause to file suit against the person who caused them. It is not that minor injuries are considered insignificant, but that the cost in medical bills and lost wages is very easily outweighed by the costs of bringing suit. Even if a personal injury attorney works on contingency – that is, accepts no fee unless the suit is successful – there are still court costs, filing fees and other amounts that can make a lawsuit not worth the time and trouble.
It is important to keep in mind that your injuries not being serious does not mean you have no recourse in seeking damages. You have the right to try and recover for the harm you have been through, but you may encounter more difficulty than someone with a major injury. If you were injured in an auto accident, however, you may have to pursue a different avenue in order to recover.
Florida has a no-fault system for auto insurance, meaning that each driver in the state is required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, plus additional funds for property damage liability. In the event of an accident, a person with minor injuries is expected not to file suit against the negligent driver, but to file a claim with their PIP insurer in order to recover damages. Some drivers do try to go without, but if you have sufficient coverage, you will generally be able to seek reimbursement.
Contact A Tampa Minor Injury Attorney
If you have sustained injuries that do not meet Florida’s serious injury threshold, know that you can still recover for what you have been through – it may simply be through a different path than it would in another state. A Tampa personal injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help guide you through the legal process. Call our office today for a free consultation.