Florida Negligence Laws

Under Florida law if you are negligent or at fault for causing an automobile accident and injure someone else you can be liable for their damages which may include past and future medical expenses, past lost wages, future loss of earning capacity, and past and future pain and suffering damages. These are commonly referred to as compensatory damages- where an innocent victim of an automobile accident is compensated for their economic damages (medical bills and wage loss) and for their non-economic damages (pain and suffering).

It is very important to have adequate bodily injury (BI) coverage under your automobile insurance policy to protect you from personal responsibility for any damages you cause while operating a motor vehicle over and above your insurance coverage limits. However your automobile insurance only covers you for damages for your negligent acts while operating a motor vehicle and does not cover you for intentional acts committed while legally intoxicated from alcohol or drugs while operating a motor vehicle.

This is what is known as policy coverage exclusion under your automobile insurance policy. For example, if you were legally intoxicated and rear ended someone causing them bodily injuries you could be sued for compensatory damages which your automobile insurance would cover, but could also be sued for punitive damages which would not be covered under your automobile insurance policy.

Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer for their harmful conduct, and therefore the wrongdoer would be personally responsible to pay these damages as they would be excluded from coverage under their automobile insurance policy.