Florida Court Discusses Exemptions to Liability in Car Accidents

October 28, 2023 | Jarrett Blakeley
Florida Court Discusses Exemptions to Liability in Car Accidents

It is not uncommon for a person who suffers injuries in a collision to seek damages from the party that caused the accident. While normally individuals that recklessly cause car crashes may be deemed accountable in a civil lawsuit, in some instances, statutory exemptions will apply that bar the imposition of liability. This was discussed in a recent Florida ruling, in which the court found that Florida’s No-Fault Threshold prevented a plaintiff who was injured in a car crash from recovering damages from the defendant. If you suffered injuries in a collision, it is prudent to speak to a trusted Florida car accident attorney to determine what damages you may be able to recover.

The Accident and Subsequent Lawsuit

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving his car when he was rear-ended by the defendant. Both parties were from Georgia, but the accident occurred in Florida. The plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit in Florida, seeking damages for his injuries from the defendant. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment as to a number of the affirmative defenses asserted by the defendant. The defendant withdrew most of his defenses but opposed the plaintiff’s motion as to the applicability of Florida’s No-fault Threshold. Thus, the only issue the court was tasked with addressing was whether the defendant could proceed with that defense.

Florida’s No-Fault Threshold

Under Florida Statutes 627.737, commonly referred to as the No-Fault Threshold, if a defendant has sufficient insurance or security at the time of an accident, the plaintiff must establish a threshold injury set forth under the law to be eligible to recover certain non-economic damages. An insurance policy will provide adequate security if it meets Florida’s statutory insurance requirements.

Both Floridians and non-residents who maintain the minimum state personal injury protection coverages can exercise the No-Fault Threshold exemption. In the subject case, however, the plaintiff argued that the defendant’s policy did not meet the statutory requirements, and therefore, the defendant could not exercise the No-Fault Threshold.

The defendant refuted the plaintiff’s allegations, noting that the policy contained an out-of-state coverage extension. The court explained this was a coverage provision that mandated that the insurer increase the liability limits under the policy to the limits required by the law of the jurisdiction where the car was being driven. It also obligated the insurer to provide the minimum types and amounts of coverage required by the jurisdiction, including no-fault coverage.

The court found this coverage provision resulted in the defendant’s policy providing adequate security under the No-Fault Threshold Exemption. Specifically, it stated that the broad language in the policy incorporated by reference the Florida minimum personal injury protection insurance requirements when the car was being driven in Florida. Thus, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion.

Meet with a Seasoned Florida Car Accident Attorney

While people injured in car accidents have the right to pursue claims against the driver that caused the accident, in some instances, statutory exemptions will hinder their right to recover damages. If you suffered harm in a car accident, seasoned Florida attorney Jarrett Blakeley can advise you of your rights and help you to seek the full amount of compensation recoverable under the law. You can contact Mr. Blakeley via the online form or by calling (800) 602-5000 to set up a conference.

Jarrett Blakeley

Firm founder Jarrett Blakeley fights to get maximum compensation for all of Blakeley Law Firm’s clients. He has been practicing law since 2006 and takes great pride in representing the rights of injured individuals against the insurance companies and the law firms that represent them. He has successfully represented thousands of clients and recovered tens of millions of dollars on their behalf. Mr. Blakeley strives to give all of his clients personal attention and maximum effort and seeks to instill a firm culture that prioritizes customer service and compassion for the injured over all else. Fighting for the injured is Jarrett Blakeley’s greatest passion and he looks forward to fighting for the injured for the rest of his career.

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