Florida Car Accident Lawsuit - Litigation Process in No-fault State
UPDATED: February 18, 2020
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Being a no fault state, Florida drivers must basically carry a certain amount of insurance that covers their driving. In many cases, when a Florida driver is in an accident, their insurance is triggered. However, when serious injury or death occurs, another's auto insurance may be on the line. So, how does being a no fault state affect the litigation process in Florida?
We asked Brian LaBovick, of LaBovick & LaBovick, an attorney in South Florida who specializes in auto accident cases, explained. "It affects litigation in a fairly significant way, however not as significantly as I think the state statute originally hoped it would. By creating a burden, fence or hurdle that plaintiffs need to get over before they can sue someone for their future pain and suffering and future damages, it stems the tide of small claim litigation."
"If someone gets into an automobile accident—say there's a bump between the two cars—the person sees a doctor five or six times, they feel better, they don't really have any bodily impairment or permanent injury, then those people should not be suing each other. That should stem the small claim litigation. Whatever your pain and suffering was for that amount of time, you lose it, but you lose it while at the same time gaining the right (by having PIP) not to be sued if somebody else got bumped and hurt. It's kind of a fair, tit-for-tat type of a law. It affects the right to go into litigation at that level."
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No fault insurance, while considered 'fair' to many, has not been without its share of controversy. According to LaBovick, "Unfortunately, there's a lot of unscrupulous people in the system, whether they be doctors, lawyers or plaintiffs, who can job the system, so to speak, and can claim that their injury is worse than it is. They can go to a doctor who may not be doing the right thing by subjectively analyzing the injury and saying that these people are permanently injured within a reasonable degree of medical probability when maybe they aren't. There is a lot of play into the system because of that and it affects the system at that level. There is less of that going on than I think people realize, but it's out there. It's a concern."
How does it affect litigation?
No fault laws affect litigation in many ways, and according to LaBovick, it has its pluses and minuses. "When you're litigating, the defense will take the position (and they're right sometimes) that a jury will not find your client's injuries to be permanent and they can do that in a number of ways. They can do that by sending you to doctors who say you are not permanently injured and they can film the client doing things in their daily life outside. They can get an investigator to go and follow the client around and spy on them with a video camera and go in and show the jury a video of the client riding a bike or riding a horse or race car driving or riding on a roller coaster. It affects litigation fairly significantly at that level, both in a positive and negative light – it has its pluses and minuses."
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