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Proving Permanent Injury In A Florida Car Accident Case

Let’s say you were injured in a car accident due to no fault of your own, and you called a personal injury lawyer like Joe Zarzaur to handle your case. It sounds simple, but is not. There are many complex issues in all personal injury cases, even those as seemingly simple as those described.

Florida No Fault Law

Florida is a no-fault automobile insurance state. This means that drivers must carry personal injury protection insurance (PIP) to pay for their medical expenses and other accident-related damages, regardless of who caused the collision.

In Florida, Treatment And Permanent Injury Diagnosis

If you are injured, you will start treatment with an appropriate specialist. Depending on the nature of your injury, it may be months or even years before you know the ultimate outcome of your injury. For soft tissue or whiplash-type injuries, it usually takes 6 to 9 months before the patient reaches maximum medical improvement. Clients must reach this stage of treatment before the doctor will give an opinion about the permanent injury. Under Florida law, (Florida Statute 627.737) states that you must have a permanent injury to recover from pain and suffering type damages, and you must have this opinion from a licensed physician.

What Is A Permanent Injury?

Florida law defines the term permanent injury. Under Florida’s no-fault law, which is §627.737, subsection two, a permanent injury is: a) significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function; b) permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement; c) significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement; or d) death.

Under this law, if a claimant is able to show that the other vehicle was at fault and caused the plaintiff’s injuries, they will be able to recover any out-of-pocket medical bills incurred (the money owing after the PIP pays; usually PIP pays at 80 percent), any future medical bills, any lost wages, the loss of ability to earn money in the future, as well as any other out-of-pocket expenses legally shown.

How Do You Prove Permanent Injury In Florida?

A diagnosis of permanent injury must be made by the victim’s treating medical doctor.

In court, a permanent injury is generally proven by the expert testimony of the treating medical doctor or doctors. If the treating doctor testifies to a permanent injury, then the plaintiff has made a prima facie case for pain and suffering.

You Must Prove the Other Driver That Hit You Was Negligent

To receive any compensation for any losses, you must first prove that the driver responsible for the accident was negligent. While you may have to sue other parties involved, roughly 95% of car crashes result from careless driving.


What Is The Tort Threshold In Florida?

The Tort Threshold, also known as the “No Fault” Threshold, is compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, paralysis, and other physical injuries that are known as non-economic damages. In Florida, most motor vehicle accidents will only provide the plaintiff with money if they suffer a permanent injury (diagnosed by a treating medical doctor).

The tort threshold in Florida is a law stating that victims of personal injury accidents must sustain one of four types of injuries in order to recover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering or mental anguish.

Injuries That Make Up The Tort Threshold

a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function

b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement

c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement

d) Death

What are Some Permanent Car Accident Injuries?

Some of the most common permanent injuries commonly seen in car accidents in Florida include the following:

Neck and back injuries



Soft tissue injuries

Bone fractures

Loss of limbs

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

Head injuries

Nerve damage

What are the Possible Permanent or Long-Term Consequences of a Car Accident?

Victims of a car accident can experience a variety of long-term effects and health issues, including the following:

Cognitive problems

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Anxiety and depression

Chronic pain



Financial problems

Strained relationships with caregivers or loved ones

What To Do If You Are In A Car Accident While Traveling In Florida

1. Call the police and file a report
2. Swap information (including any insurance info they may have)
3. Gather details
4. Take pictures
5. Gather contact information of any witnesses
6. Seek medical care immediately for any injuries – no matter how minor you think they might be.



Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board-Certified Trial Lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.