Permanent Link: What Is Florida’s Serious Injury Threshold?

/ / Law Blog

One of the most common lawsuits that are filed in Florida is the personal injury lawsuit.  Thus, among all of the cases that are on the dockets in courts throughout the state, personal injury suits take up much of the court’s capacity. Even though most personal injury lawsuits are settled before they go to court, such cases take up a lot of the courts’ time in Florida.

That is part of the reason why Florida law has established a no-fault system with regard to car accidents.  The idea of having a no-fault car accident law is to minimize the cases that could come to court in the first place.  With Florida’s no-fault system for car accidents, every Florida driver is required to carry “personal injury protection” insurance, or PIP insurance, of $10,000 so that not every single car accident case resulting in injuries makes it to trial.  

Indeed, that $10,000 maximum paid out – regardless of fault – is a way to keep many smaller-injury cases out of court.  In addition, Florida law also has something called a “serious injury threshold” law that is also meant to keep most cases out of court, so the court need only focus on the most serious.

Accordingly, in this article, we will discuss what the serious injury threshold law is in Florida, and we will discuss what facts are required to find out whether you have met or exceeded the threshold or not.  

If after reading this blog, you have additional questions about the serious injury threshold, then we welcome you to contact the seasoned attorneys at Crary Buchanan.  At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

Our personal injury attorneys are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation.  Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form

What Is the Serious Injury Threshold?

As noted, the serious injury threshold is a way for litigants and courts to determine whether a person’s injury is serious enough to allow a case to go to a trial.  In other words, if you were injured in a car accident, your injuries must meet certain requirements if you want to sue the negligent driver who causes your car accident.  

As you might expect, a bruised arm would not meet the “serious injury” threshold, but a torn ligament in your arm just might.  

As for legal significance, another person is not liable for a car accident, even if he caused the accident unless the victim’s injuries meet a medical threshold, i.e., the serious injury threshold.  Notably, PIP insurance, which allows for no-fault coverage, does not allow for pain and suffering compensation for an accident victim.  Thus, a person would not be able to ever receive pain and suffering damages unless they met the threshold to file a personal injury suit. 

Four Categories to Determine the Threshold.

Florida’s serious injury threshold law sets out an overall standard that is used to guide courts in determining which injuries meet the threshold and which do not.  The standard has four main categories:

1. Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function;
2. Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability;
3. Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or
4. Death.

How Do You Know If You Meet the Threshold in Your Case?

The four-part standard above is purposefully vague.  That is because people are very different in what can be regarded as serious injuries.  An Olympic athlete who strains his neck in a car accident may likely recover quickly because of the good shape the person is already in.  By contrast, an 80-year-old person with a strained neck might be in serious distress and may not be able to heal quickly, or at all. 

Thus, a court would need to consider all the facts to determine whether one of the four standards above has been met.

As a rule of thumb, however, a broken bone – which virtually always results in significant loss of a bodily function – is typically found to meet the serious injury threshold.   

Most Importantly, Have an Attorney Help You Determine Whether You Have a Personal Injury Case.

Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation.  Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence.  Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways.  A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent.  When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.

It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained.  You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident.   Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs.  Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages.  If you or someone you love suffered and injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan.  We want to help you recover the money you need.

At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law.  You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.  

Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations.  Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations.  When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.

There is no need to be intimidated by making a personal injury claim after an auto or truck accident when you have the support of the talented team at Crary Buchanan.  If you have more questions or want a dedicated personal injury attorney to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form.  You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust.  Call today.