No one living in Saint Augustine South ever imagines an accident will occur to them. However, the tendency of people being in accidents has been in existence for a long time. When accidents occur, the action or inaction of another party sometimes is to blame. Although there is no way to undo the injuries, personal injury claims compensate the victims for their injuries and losses. Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney is available to assist by identifying potential defendants in your claim and help you receive compensation.

Overview of Personal Injury Claims

Whenever you violate someone else’s legal rights, you are deemed to have injured the person. These legal rights include your physical and mental health, property or reputation. When these rights are breached, you can sue the responsible party in court to repay you for the injuries.

Injuries caused by someone’s negligence can be a huge burden because you will have to cover the medical bills. Other people with personal injuries are unable to get back to work which means they lose their wages for the period they are injured. Some physical injuries can also leave you with paralysis or cause a lot of pain. Dealing with all these things can be overwhelming not only to you but even to your loved ones. For this reason, it is wise to sue the liable party for your injuries. But to do that, a Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney must be hired so that he or she can help protect your rights and gather evidence that will ensure you receive payment for the tragedy that wrecked your life.

Determining Liability in Injury claims

Whether it is a truck and car accident or a slip and fall, in case you sustain injuries in an unfortunate tragedy, someone is always to blame. The nature of the accident is usually the one that determines the party at fault. Although there are no set tests to determine who is responsible for the injuries, courts depend on negligence as the concept of determining liability.

Florida Chapter 768 is the law that outlines negligence. As per the statute, the plaintiff or the party that is suing is usually the one that must prove liability. You, as the plaintiff, must prove all the aspects of negligence to receive compensation. Some of the elements that you must prove are:

  1. Duty

The plaintiff must establish that the liable party owed him or her a moral or legal responsibility of ensuring his or her safety.

  1. Violation of the Moral Obligation of Ensuring Safety

You, as the plaintiff, must also demonstrate to the court that the defendant violated or breached the legal obligation or duty of care.

  1. Causation

The plaintiff must also show the cause of fact by proving that were it not for the failure by the defendant; he or she could not have suffered the injuries.

  1. Proximate Cause

Your Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney must also demonstrate that the cation of the inaction of the liable party was the immediate cause of your injuries.

  1. Proven Injuries

You or your legal representative must also show that you have suffered losses or injuries from the tragedy.

An essential issue in injury claims is the kind of duty the liable party or defendant owed you as a plaintiff. It is up to your Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney to convince the jury that a sober person could not have acted in the way the defendant acted under similar circumstances. If you successfully convince the jury the defendant had a moral obligation to ensure you are safe, you will receive compensation in the form of damages.

Compensatory damages are monetary benefits that you receive or are awarded for the losses. You could also pursue punitive damages if the defendant acted with malice. These damages seek to punish the accountable person and not to recover monetary benefits.

Florida is one of the states that uses the pure comparative negligence system in the U.S. As per the system; the liable parties receive compensation depending on their portion of fault. The system allows the plaintiff to recover damages even if he or she is responsible for 99 percent of the fault. The law allows the plaintiff to get compensation even if it is 1 percent of the recoverable damages.

A lot of people will argue that the pure comparative system is senseless because it allows the person responsible for the accident to recover compensation. But the truth is that it allows victims of accidents to cover their medical expenses despite the at-fault person.

Note that in car or truck accidents, more than one person could be liable for the crash. It merely happens to see one person being held accountable for a vehicle accident.

Florida Damages Cap

Specific negligence cases in Florida are capped. It limits the damages to three times the amount of recoverable damages in cases involving lost wages and medical expenses or 500,000 dollars, whichever is greater. However, others, like non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, are not capped. Typical personal injury claims also don’t have limitations. Florida also has a limit for punitive damages when you are seeking to make the defendant pay for malice or bad behavior.

Florida Time Limits for Registering an Injury Claim

Personal injury claims have different statutes of limitations. The time limit for personal injury lawsuits is four years, while that of wrongful death is two years. For medical malpractice, the plaintiff has 24 months.

The reason there is a time limit is to ensure that cases are brought forward while fresh and with reliable information. Within this period, witnesses will also have more explicit memories because the events they witnessed will be recent. Tracking down paperwork will also be a piece of cake. In case you are to blame, dealing with the case within the time limit allows you to live your life comfortably without having to worry about some of your past mistakes coming to haunt you down in the future.

Beginning a Personal Injury Claim

After a slip and fall or a car accident, most victims are confused. Trying to balance between making the liable party pay for their negligence and recovering can be stressful and overwhelming. Your health should come first, and as you recover, you should inform your Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney about the accident so that he or she can commence the process of recovering damages.

The most critical step after an accident is ensuring that you are in good health. Whether it is a slip and fall or car accident, you must seek medical attention. But if you have already received medical treatment, the next major step in protecting your legal right is registering a lawsuit against the potential defendant for your injuries and losses.

Remember, in injury claims; the plaintiff is the party that carries the burden of proof. So, if you are a victim of a car crash, the first thing is to check on others and ensure they are safe. The next thing is to begin gathering evidence. You should look for anything that might have caused the accident. Also, you should be quick to jot down the damages the accident has caused. You can take pictures or record videos of the injuries you have suffered and the damage sustained by your property.

If there were any eyewitnesses when the unfortunate tragedy happened, you should consider getting their names and personal information like physical address, phone number or email address. You should try to contact these people right away to corroborate the contact information. In the event police came to the scene of the accident, you should get a copy of their report or statement if possible. Also, take note of what other people involved in the accident have to say if you get into a conversation with them.

The other essential thing is to note down how your life has changed after the injuries. If you have paid for hospital costs out of pocket, you might want to note the money you spent to cover your treatment. During the time of healing, if you were unable to work or engage in income-generating activities, you might want to record the salary or wages you have lost because of the accident. In case the injuries have caused the permanent or temporary disability, it would be right for your Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney to pursue damages for forfeiture of future earnings and medical costs.

Once you have done a thorough investigation and gather the evidence you need, you can notify the potential defendant that you are planning on suing them for the injuries. If the potential defendant is the government or government agency, there is a limit on the time you should take to notify them on your intentions to register a claim. But with other liable parties, there is no limit on when you should inform the liable party of your intentions to register a claim against them.

The fact that there is no time limit on when you should notify a potential defendant shouldn’t allow you to take your time on the matter. It’s wise to act fast and efficiently to increase your chances of resolving the case than when you delay it. By notifying the defendant of your intentions to sue, it doesn’t mean you must file a lawsuit. The notice helps preserve your legal rights and deny the defendant the opportunity to contest the claim by arguing that your statute of limitations is elapsed. A notice also marks the beginning of negotiations on matters settlement. If you fail to settle, then the case can proceed to court. 

Liable parties in injury claims are not always willing to compensate. It means settlements are not always successful. If you fail to reach an agreement, you can take the case to court.

Florida Court Systems

The highest court in Florida is the Supreme Court which is only one in the entire state. The second level courts are district courts, and they are five in number in the whole state. Florida also has 20 circuit courts and 67 county courts at the bottom level. Whenever a settlement is not arrived at, you can present your case in any of these courts. The problem is that many people in Saint Augustine South don’t know which court to go to based on the nature of their case.

County Courts

Florida has 67 counties. The constitution established that each county must have one county court to resolve misdemeanors, traffic claims or claims involving an amount of 15,000 dollars or less. So, if you are seeking compensation for damages worth $15,000 or lower, you should take your case to the St Johns County court.

Circuit Court                     

These courts are made up of several counties and deal with appeals from county courts. They also have a general trial jurisdiction.

District Court of Appeals

As mentioned earlier, these courts are five in number and are located in Miami, Lakeland, West Palm Beach, Tallahassee and Daytona Beach. Their role is to conduct a final evaluation of your case, but if they can’t resolve their claim, they can forward it to the Supreme Court. District courts review the decisions of the lower courts and mend the mistakes made to ensure the decisions are in consistency with the Florida and federal laws.

Before 1957, the Supreme Court handled all appeals from the circuit and county courts which led to a lot of congestion. But after the district court of appeal was established, the congestion reduced.

Supreme Court

These courts are the oldest and have helped shape the law up to date. The court handles very few cases whose decisions directly conflict with the lower courts. Cases with great public importance are also decided by this court.

The decision on the court to take your injury claim depends on how much the claim is worth. It is for this reason you should work closely with your Saint Augustine South Personal Injury Attorney to determine the number of damages to recover. That way, if the compensatory damages you are seeking are $15,000 or below, you can go to the county court. But if the amount exceeds 15,000 dollars, you will have to go to the circuit court. Remember, if you are in Saint Augustine South, you will have to file your case in the county where the injury happened. You do this because state laws regarding injury claims differ; hence it’s wise to have the case handled by Florida state courts.

Find an Personal Injury Attorney Near Me

The process of pursuing a personal injury claim in Saint Augustine South is a complex one. Fortunately, Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney will provide the legal guidance necessary. Call our attorneys at 904-800-7557 for a free consultation.