Florida Court Discusses What Law Applies in Cases Involving Out of State Accidents

Many people who are injured in car accidents seek to recover damages from the party responsible for their harm in a personal injury lawsuit. While it is important to file such claims within the statute of limitations, in some instances, what time constraints apply is not clear, such as in cases in which the claim is filed in a different state than where the accident occurred. Determining what statute of limitations applies in such cases was the topic of a recent Florida opinion issued in a matter in which the plaintiffs filed claims for damages caused by an accident that occurred in Georgia. If you were hurt in a collision, you could be owed compensation, and it is advisable to speak to a capable Florida personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Plaintiff’s Harm

It is reported that the plaintiff husband was involved in a collision with the defendant while driving in Georgia. The plaintiff husband suffered significant injuries, which he treated in Florida, where he lived. He and his wife then filed a lawsuit against the defendant in a Florida federal court, asserting claims of negligence and loss of consortium. The defendant, who lived in Michigan, argued that the Georgia statute of limitations applied barring the plaintiffs’ claims and filed a motion to dismiss.

Determining Which State’s Laws Apply

After reviewing the case, the court found that the Georgia statute of limitations applied to the negligence claim but not the loss of consortium claim. The court explained that in determining which state’s laws apply, a federal court in Florida will use the “most significant relationship test.” Under this test, the court will look at which state has a greater relationship to the injury in question, based on numerous principles, including the relevant policies of the forum, the needs of the interstate systems, upholding justified expectations, and uniformity of results.

In applying the principles, the court will also take into account where the harm occurred, where the parties reside, and if the parties have a relationship where it is centered. Using this approach, most courts will find that the law of the state where the harm occurred should apply. Thus, as the accident occurred in Georgia in the subject case, the court found that it had the most significant relationship to the plaintiff husband’s injuries. Therefore, the Georgia statute of limitations applied, barring his claim. With regards to the plaintiff wife’s loss of consortium claim, though, the court found that Florida law applied, as it was the state with the most significant relationship to her harm. As such, her claim was not dismissed.

Speak to a Dedicated Florida Attorney

Car accidents can cause significant harm, and people that are injured in collisions are often able to recover substantial compensation. If you were injured in a crash, you should speak to a lawyer about your rights. The dedicated Florida personal injury attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. possess the skills and resources needed to help you seek the best outcome available under the facts of your case, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or at 800-283-7442 to set up a consultation.

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