A personal injury claim is a case brought by a plaintiff who has been injured by another person’s careless or reckless acts or omissions. Such claims cover a broad range of causes of injury. Often, these are injuries arising from regular, everyday actions for which the law affords compensation for victims.
There are many causes of injuries, including automobile accidents, injuries caused by the use of manufactured products, injury at a workplace, exposure to harmful materials or toxic fumes, material falling off a construction site, falling off a poorly constructed platform, or being hit by a baseball carelessly flung in the park. In all these cases, our Palm Coast personal injury attorney at the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney will be ready to help you seek compensation.
Understanding the Basics of Personal Injury Law
Personal injury claims are covered under what is known as the law of tort. This is a civil liability where one does not need to prove intentional wrongdoing by the person who caused the injury. Tort covers a wide ground, and for the most part, personal injury is based on the branch of tort known as negligence. To prove a personal injury claim, one must prove that there was negligence on the part of the defendant. This is a complex area of law, and that is why our Palm Coast personal injury attorney is always available to help you navigate the law.
Navigating the Law and Proving Negligence
As explained above, to successfully prove a personal injury claim, it is a must that the plaintiff proves that there was negligence on the part of the defendant. Negligence in law is proven by showing that:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. This means proving that the defendant had an obligation to act carefully because his/her actions will affect another person, as will be apparent below from the causes of negligence, causing personal injury.
- The defendant did not observe the duty of care. This means proving he/she was careless and did not pay attention to the welfare of others who were likely to be injured, and the plaintiff has, in fact, suffered a personal injury.
- The injuries suffered by the plaintiff were a direct result of the carelessness of the defendant.
Some of the Causes of Personal Injury Caused by Negligence
- Wrongful Death
A wrongful death claim is a claim brought on behalf of a deceased person who died as a result of the careless or negligent conduct of another. A wrongful death claim is brought by the next-of-kin. This may be a spouse, a child, or a dependant.
- Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often result in serious injuries. Not just because of the impact of being hit, but also because of the items that a truck was carrying. Some of these can be poisonous or hazardous material causing serious damage. You will need an experienced attorney to assist you in bringing a claim.
- Pedestrian Accidents
Most pedestrian accidents are caused by dangerous drivers. But it covers more than just an incident from driving. It may be caused by debris falling off a construction site, or a baseball carelessly flung from a field in the park or a poorly maintained public pedestrian walkway that poses a hazard to pedestrians.
- Bus Accidents
Whether you are a passenger in a bus or a bystander, bus accidents are covered by negligence law, and a lawsuit to claim compensation for personal injuries can be filed on your behalf.
- Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycles can cause serious injuries to persons when carelessly driven, leaving one with permanent injuries and a disfigured body such as loss of limbs.
- Workplace Injuries
The federal, state, and county laws require all workplaces to be safe. Employers have to maintain safe workplaces. Depending on the type of workplace or accident suffered, the injuries can be significant and completely life-altering. Dangerous chemicals from a manufacturing plant can cause blindness or skin cancer. Or an industrial blast may cause death or loss of limbs.
- Asbestos-related Disease
The State of Florida has had a high number of asbestos-related claims. Asbestos is a component that was used in construction but has been shown to cause significant harm to the health of individuals. In Florida, since 2005, asbestos claims require a much higher standard of proof on the part of the plaintiff. This is all the more reason why you should consult our attorneys if you have any claims of personal injury arising from exposure to asbestos. The plaintiff must bring strong medical evidence showing that his/her illness was caused by exposure to asbestos.
- Medical Malpractice and Clinical Negligence
Medical malpractice lawsuits cover a wide range of personal injuries caused as a result of poor medical attention. Some of the grounds for bringing a claim may be:
- Birth injury causing a victim to have to live with injuries and deformities
- Misdiagnosis of illness leading to wrong or unnecessary treatments and even surgeries
- Failure to treat causing worse consequences
- Automobile Accidents
Many injuries are caused by automobiles carelessly driven. The state of Florida requires victims to pursue claims from their insurers. Most insurers offer Personal Injury Protection cover up to a maximum of $10,000. But where the injuries are substantial medical bills may shoot through the roof, and the plaintiff must meet these costs. Injuries classified as substantial may be such injuries to the spinal cord, brain, and other body functions without which the victim will lead to a diminished quality of life. Such injuries may cause the plaintiff permanent injury and unable to work or cause them to be paralyzed and in need of round-the-clock care.
- Premises Liability
Property owners, tenants, or persons responsible for the safety of premises are under an obligation to maintain those premises in good condition to prevent injury caused by poor or negligent maintenance to visitors and even trespassers.
How Our Palm Coast Personal Injury Attorney Will Help You
As mentioned above, personal injuries are based on negligence. This is a term of art in law that Palm Beach attorneys are experienced in proving. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must prove to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant was under a duty of care, that he/she failed to observe the duty, and that the injury was a direct result of the failure to observe the duty of care. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible to start the process. We will handle the correspondence with your insurer and the defendant’s insurer. Most claims will be processed through an insurer. Most insurers will look for excuses to deny or refute your claim. That is where we come in. We are experienced in piecing together the evidence and knowing how to challenge opposing claims.
What Compensable Claims Can You Make?
These claims are based on various factors, such as the nature of the plaintiff’s injuries and damage caused. Tort law compensates for a wide range of things, and our attorneys will help you understand and layout these claims. Some of these compensable claims are:
- Lost earnings. An accident may cause one to miss several days of work as a result of hospitalization and post-hospitalization recovery. These lost earnings are recoverable.
- Medical bills incurred as a result of the injuries caused by the accident. These even extend to anticipated future costs of medical care and attention, especially where the injuries are very severe and require specialized care and therapy.
- Compensation for loss of limbs or other bodily sense or function. An accident may cause injuries of varying severity. One may lose sight or suffer a head concussion that will affect the victim and his/her family’s quality of life as they readjust their lives to take care of the victim and the new circumstances of their lives, having to take care of an accident victim.
- Permanent disfigurement and disease caused by negligence. This is very common in the case of employees continuously exposed to dangerous and hazardous environments in the course of their work. Employees who interact and have to work with dangerous chemicals may suffer serious consequences ranging from cancers, lung, and skin infections. These conditions will usually require specialized and many times, long term treatments to manage. Such costs are compensable as personal injury claims.
- Wrongful death, and loss of companionship and expectation of life caused by the death of a family member.
- Pain, suffering, and discomfiture caused by the accident.
Figure Out the Process of Making a Claim
Attorneys will examine your complaint and put together the relevant evidence for bringing a claim. You should keep your medical records and treatment notes for use in court. Our attorneys will call upon these documents to make out an argument for compensation, whatever the nature of your claim is. Other documents will be official incident and accident reports, eyewitness accounts, along with other items of evidence such as photos of the accident spot, clothing, and material left at the scene to determine which party caused the accident and should be sued.
It is important to understand that typically, the insurer of the defendant or even your medical insurer will try to raise arguments as to why they shouldn’t pay monetary compensation. To ensure that you have a watertight and strong case, always speak to an attorney and do not sign any document without consulting an attorney.
The First Steps
A Palm Coast personal injury attorney will start the process by writing a demand letter to the defendant. The demand letter will be dispatched by secure means to ensure it gets to the intended recipient. It must clearly state:
- The injuries suffered
- The defendant’s liability and their admission of liability
- A strong demand for compensation for the injuries suffered
- An amount of money for compensation
If the demand for admission of liability and compensation is not satisfied, our attorneys will get the court process going. The amount demanded is always higher to ensure a margin of negotiation with the defendant. If the defendant is open to negotiating a settlement, our attorneys will take you through the process and engage in the negotiations.
How Much Compensation?
The amount of compensation payable depends on several factors. The most important of these is the severity of injuries and the degree of negligence. Where the degree of negligence is high, and the injuries suffered more serious or even fatal, the amount payable will be higher. Courts will also be guided by the sums paid out in previous cases similar to yours. Our attorneys will advise on these cases. Sometimes, however, the amount payable is fixed by a contract limiting the maximum amount payable by the defendant’s insurer.
You Have a Condition That Made Your Injuries Worse. Will This Affect Your Compensation?
Generally, the answer is no. There is a rule known as the ‘eggshell skull rule’ which protects claimants. So if you have a skull as weak as an eggshell that easily got injured, the plaintiff must take you as you are in your condition. Compensation will be based on the injuries you suffered along with the degree of fault on the part of the defendant.
Statute of Limitations
Personal injury claims must be brought within a set time frame. A plaintiff who fails to act with speed may be completely forbidden from bringing a claim. In Florida, the time limit is generally within four years of the accident, causing injury. In the case of fatal accidents resulting in death, a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of death. In asbestos-related claims, a time of ten years must have elapsed before such a claim is brought. This is why it is important to speak to an attorney at the earliest instance to get the best advice from our attorneys.
Find a Palm Coast Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
There are many issues involved in the process of seeking compensation for your injuries. This should not scare you off because you lack a legal background. We at the Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney are ready to help you throughout this process. Please get in touch with our local attorney in Palm Coast, Flagler County, at 904-494-8242 today.