What Makes An Injury “Minor?”
When you are involved in any kind of accident and wind up sustaining injuries, hearing that the harm you suffered is considered ‘minor’ may feel insulting, somehow. An accident may be a major event in your life, even if you are lucky to escape with less than catastrophic injuries. Still, most states – Florida included – differentiate major and minor injuries under the law, because injuries of differing severity are dealt with differently in terms of how one can receive compensation. Consulting a personal injury lawyer may help clarify the difference.
You Can Seek Compensation
If you have sustained injuries in an accident, and you suspect that they are due to the negligence of another person, you have the right to try and seek compensation for what you have been through, regardless of how severe your injuries are. Whether you have been barely touched or seriously injured, being harmed through no fault of your own can upend your life for a period of time, and compensation for your medical bills and other expenses can go a long way toward getting back to normal.
In other words, the determination of whether to file suit or not in a case with minor injuries should hinge on how they affect you, rather than how a doctor thinks they should. If you can establish that the actions of the other person involved in the accident were the direct cause of your injuries, and that they breached the duty they had which required the exercise of reasonable care, you have a case for damages, regardless of how relatively small that amount might be.
Auto Accidents Are Different
It is important to be aware of one thing if you were injured in an automobile accident (as opposed to another type of accident, such as a slip-and-fall): Florida is a no-fault state, which means that if your injuries do not meet the state’s ‘severity threshold,’ you cannot file suit against the (allegedly) negligent driver who caused them. Instead, you must file a claim with the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance you are required, by state law, to carry. Every Florida driver must have at least $10,000 in PIP coverage, and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL) insurance.
While Florida law does not define a ‘minor’ injury, it does define what constitutes a ‘major’ injury that would meet the severity threshold and allow you to file suit instead of seeking compensation through your PIP insurer. State law holds that a “severe” injury constitutes either:
- “Significant and permanent” loss of an important bodily function;
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement;
- Permanent injury “within a reasonable degree of medical probability,” or
In general, in order to qualify as a ‘major’ injury to allow you to file suit in court, your injuries must be ‘significant and permanent.’ Anything else will generally be seen as sufficiently minor to require you to seek redress via your insurance, instead of in court.
Contact A Tampa Personal Injury Attorney
Every accident case is different, and the variations can double and triple if another person’s negligence played a role. If you have been injured in an accident and suffered minor injuries, a Tampa personal injury attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can help you decide if filing suit is in your best interests, and if not, what the best options for you might be. Contact our office today for a free consultation.