Personal injury is the harm to someone’s body, mind, and feelings as opposed to the destruction of property. Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, a law firm based in Florida, ensures injured parties are paid for the pain, lost income, diminished quality of life, and medical expenses caused by the injury. Because of the complexity and sluggishness of legal processes in Florida, you need a reliable lawyer to pursue your injury claims. Our Flagler Beach personal injury attorney will refer to the specific laws affecting your situation and walk you through the available options for making a claim.
Proving Whether Your Injuries Were Caused by Negligence
Personal injury is caused by the carelessness of someone who should be mindful of another person’s safety. Here is how to confirm the defendant’s negligence.
- Obligation of Care
Begin by proving that the defendant was expected by the plaintiff to exercise care. For example, a driver should be alert on the road to avoid hitting pedestrians, bicycles, and other cars. Similarly, cyclists and pedestrians are obligated to be careful to prevent injury.
- Violation of Duty
You must establish that the defendant neglected their duty. Take the example of a tenant who falls down poorly lit stairs. The landlord’s duty is to inspect the property and ensure its bulbs are working.
Prove a connection between the noncompliance of duty and the injury to establish whether the respondent’s actions are to blame for the harm. For instance, if a shop owner had dried his floor, the injury would not occur.
The claimant must have incurred definite losses that are calculable. The damage which can be financial or physical attracts monetary compensation.
How Negligence Affects Your Lawsuit
The defendant is also protected in a personal injury lawsuit. One such case is an accident that occurs when a driver runs the light and hits your speeding car. Thanks to the comparative fault regulation, the respondent’s liability can be reduced if you partially caused the injury. If the total damage is $500,000 and the insurance adjuster calculates your fault as 20 percent, the respondent should pay you $400,000.
Multiple defendants are liable for an injury if all of them had a hand in it. For instance, multiple-vehicle collisions may implicate several parties that acted negligently. A party whose fault is 10 percent and below is absolved of all liability. A person whose fault exceeds 10 percent but is below 25 percent can pay as much as $500,000. Likewise, a person whose fault starts at 26 percent and ends at 50 percent pays a maximum of $1 million. Anyone whose liability exceeds 50 percent pays a maximum of $2 million.
Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Case
In Florida, the deadline for submitting a personal injury suit is called a statute of limitations. Usually, you have four years from the day of the incident to file your case. You cannot claim compensation after this time, even if the damage is obvious. This span is shorter in some cases. For instance, you have three years to claim compensation from a government organization.
There are instances when the time limit can be extended. If medical negligence or fraud delays the recognition of the harm, you get two extra years from the discovery date to raise a claim. Similarly, the statute of limitations will take a break until an injured party who is mentally unfit regains their capacity. Even so, under no circumstance should the duration exceed seven years from the injury date.
Common Personal Injury Cases
Here are the claims popular among Florida’s personal injury lawyers.
- Medical Negligence
It occurs when a health facility or medical professional injures a patient through a careless action or omission. Medical malpractices include:
- Premature discharge
- Surgical errors
- Unnecessary operations
- Birth injury
- Misdiagnosis, late diagnosis, or failure to diagnose
- Wrong medication and dosage
- Substandard aftercare
- Lack of proper testing
- Ignoring patient history
- Disregarding or misreading lab results
- Slips and Falls
They occur when you lose your balance, fall, and sustain injuries on someone else’s premises. The fall can occur on private property, public spaces under the care of cities or states, and businesses such as restaurants and shops. Slip-and-fall incidents are categorized as:
- Slip-and-fall: The fall is caused by a slippery surface.
- Trip-and-fall: The fall is caused by an uneven area or an object in the victim’s path.
- Step-and-fall: You fall as a result of a low point or a hole on in your path.
Determining the liable party in a slip-and-fall case can be daunting. While a shop may be run and owned by one person, a mall may belong to different individuals and house multiple enterprises. A personal injury lawyer’s job, therefore, is to ensure all the defendants are answerable for the damage caused to a shopper.
- Vehicle Accidents
This includes vehicles such as trucks, buses, cars, even motorcycles. Seek treatment immediately you’re involved in an accident to get proof of your injuries. Aside from diagnoses and medical expenses, record the damage of belongings damaged during the accident, for example, gadgets. In Florida, car accidents adhere to a no-fault insurance procedure. Therefore, injured parties are compensated by their personal insurance policies regardless of who is liable for the incident. If you’re hurt as a passenger, you rely on your driver’s no-fault insurance.
You can only file a personal injury suit against the other driver if the injury was serious. This means the crash caused irreversible injury, disfigurement, or impairment of body functions.
- Defective Products
Injuries from defective goods qualify you to submit a product liability application. Product liability is divided into the following categories:
- Design Defect: This implies that the product was ineffectively conceived and tested. As such, its performance is unsafe even when the consumer uses it correctly. For instance, a car with a heavy top is likely to roll over.
- Manufacturing Defect: Although the product was correctly designed, there was an error as it was being created. In this case, the manufacturer is answerable if the fault results in an injury.
- Failure to Warn: Despite meeting all the design and production requirements, the product lacked the necessary instructions and cautions, therefore, exposing consumers to injury. An example is a medicine that has adverse effects.
- Dog Bites
You can claim compensation if a dog bites you in a public space or when you’re legally on private property. Aside from bites, you’re eligible for reimbursement when a dog harms you in other ways if you prove its owner acted negligently. An owner who fails to restrain their dog is answerable if it knocks you down and causes injury. However, the defendant can argue the dog harmed you because you trespassed on their property. Similarly, they can contest the claim by proving you were partially to blame for the injury. Suppose your friend’s dog bites you when you unknowingly step on its tail. Despite being at their house legally, the jury can find you partly liable and reduce the damages.
- Wrongful Deaths
Wrongful death occurs when an individual’s recklessness causes another person’s death. The compensation addresses the decline of household earnings, emotional and mental distress, as well as funeral costs. Florida laws provide two years to apply for compensation. You can only file a claim if you’re named in the deceased person’s testament or estate plan as their representative. In the absence of a will, the court reserves the right to choose a personal representative. Though the representative submits a claim, only the departed person’s family and estate can receive the compensation. Family members who can be paid for the damage include the late person’s spouse, parents, children, foster siblings, and blood relatives supported by the deceased. A child with unmarried parents is entitled to a settlement if their mother dies. Even so, the child can only seek compensation if the deceased father acknowledged and supported them.
Procedure for Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
For starters, see a doctor and get the necessary documentation to prove the harm. Secondly, find a Flagler Beach personal injury attorney. Look for client feedback before approaching a law office. When the firm assigns you an attorney, ensure you’re comfortable enough to share the intricate details of the claim. Find out their success rate working on similar cases and whether they have any pending disciplinary issues.
A journal will also come in handy for detailing events relevant to the injury, such as appointments, mediations, and daily struggles. Similarly, liaise with your Flagler Beach personal injury attorney to inform your insurer of the accident. Insurance agencies in Florida give a maximum of $10,000 in their injury protection plans. Any amount beyond this figure requires your health insurance. Because it might hamper your compensation, refrain from issuing reports to insurance agencies. Don’t forget to retain the proof of the expenses from your injury. Some crucial pieces of evidence include:
- W-2 reports confirming lost wages
- History of vehicles and machinery, for example, service records,
- Victim and witness reports
- Police statements
- Medical reports proving injury
- Insurance documents such as insurer statements, insurance cards, and the defendant’s insurance details
- Medical bills, repair estimates, receipts of payment
- Physical evidence such as clothes worn at the time of injury and destroyed belongings
- Videos, photos, and audios of the accident scene showing property damage, injuries, and road condition
Your lawyer will present the insurer with a demand letter as a last resort for compensation before going to court. Here is what you need to know about drafting payment demands:
- Present clear facts to the party that offended you
- Send the demand via a recognized mailing network and request a return receipt
- Ask for a reply within a sensible period like seven days
- Name a reasonable amount for compensation but increase the figure slightly in case of negotiations
- Provide legal advice if the respondent refuses to negotiate
Taking the Lawsuit to Court
Though out-of-court settlements have minimal costs, you can move to trial if you don’t reach an agreement. Your Flagler Beach personal injury attorney will notify the defendant of the intention to take them to court. The court can either dismiss your case or enter judgment. The case will go through a discovery phase where your lawyer will explore the facts of the case, present the necessary paperwork, take depositions, and examine the emerging disputes. During the hearing, the judge welcomes motions related to your case. The judge can choose to award or deny you compensation. If you win the case, the damages can be paid in a lump sum or installments. However, the defendant may appeal for a lower figure than the one proposed by the court. The length of the trial depends on the total damages, the extremity of your injuries, the difficulty of the case, respondent’s preparedness to pay, your endurance, and the court caseload.
These are regulations that control the sum a jury can grant as damages. You’ll encounter the following caps during personal injury suits:
Punitive Damage Caps: Punitive damages go beyond regular compensation to punish the respondent’s misconduct and prevent others from involving themselves in similar offenses. Suppose you break your leg when a drunk driver hits you as you’re crossing the road. This situation qualifies you to more damage than the normal restitution you would receive. But the law restricts exemplary damages to thrice the compensation amount or $500,000.
Medical Recklessness Damage Caps: Florida controls the resettlement of non-economic expenses on medical malpractice cases. Such costs include emotional pain, diminished quality of life quality, and loss of companionship. While the cap for health professionals like doctors is $500,000, you can’t get more than $750,000 from non-health practitioners. Even so, this law doesn’t interfere with the compensation you’re awarded for hospital bills, declining earnings, and other financial hardships caused by the injuries.
Find a Flagler Beach Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Florida has rigorous personal injury filing processes. To concentrate more on your recovery, talk to Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney in Flagler Beach for help with case formalities such as filing requirements, communication to the relevant stakeholders, and negotiating for better compensation. Have you suffered injuries, emotional pain, or reduced wages as a result of an accident? Reach us at 904-800-7557 to schedule a consultation.