Recovering Non-Economic Damages in a Florida Car Accident Lawsuit - Jiminez v. Faccone

February 18, 2012

1264251_biscayne_beach.jpgIn a recent post, we covered the Second District Court of Appeals' recent ruling in Jiminez v. Faccone as it applies to the presumption that the rear driver in a rear end collision is the sole proximate cause of the accident. Specifically, the Court overturned a lower court's summary judgment ruling that Defendant Ana Jiminez was the sole proximate cause of an accident that occurred when her car crashed into a stalled vehicle on a Collier County highway, finding that the question of whether the stalled car's flashers were illuminated at the time of the accident precluded a summary judgment ruling on liability. In the same opinion, the Court also considered whether Jiminez could argue that Defendants George and Rita Faccone had not established the requisite "threshold injury" to support their claim for non-economic "pain and suffering" damages.

Section 627.737(2), Florida Statutes provides that a plaintiff may not recover non-economic damages (covering pain, physical and emotional distress, disfigurement, etc.) from the registrant, operator or occupant of a car "which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730-627.7405" unless the plaintiff claims one of the following injuries:

(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.
Regarding the necessary security, Section 627.733(1), Florida Statutes states that every vehicle required to be registered in the state must have security in the form of an insurance policy or other authorized method.

The Court rejected Plaintiffs' argument that because Defendant was covered under an Illinois auto insurance policy at the time if the accident - she had recently moved from Illinois to Florida - she did not have the requisite security to raise the Section 627.737(2) threshold as a defense against Plaintiffs' claims for non-economic damages. Florida law requires all automobile insurance policies to carry a minimum amount of "no-fault" insurance for reasonable and necessary medical expenses in order to ensure that those injured in car accidents can seek proper medical care, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. After reviewing the Illinois policy, the Court found that its out of state coverage incorporated coverage under Florida's "no-fault" system and, as a result, Defendant was entitled to raise the threshold non-economic damages defense.

Accidents can have devastating consequences for the victim, as well as his or her family and friends. The physical and emotional pain and suffering, long hospital stays, medical expenses and significant time off from work can take a huge toll on everyone involved.

The South Florida rear end accident attorneys at Anidjar & Levine work hard to zealously represent clients throughout the region, including in Pompano Beach, Coral Springs and Boca Raton. Anidjar & Levine's lawyers commonly represent individuals who were injured in rear end collisions, and we persevere to get the best possible results for our clients. If you were involved in a rear end collision, a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney can help you to weigh all of your legal options. Call Anidjar & Levine's Fort Lauderdale office today at (800) 747-3733.

Related blog posts:

Florida Court Explains Liability in Rear End Accidents - Jiminez v. Faccone