An accident can result in severe damages both to property and the victim involved. These damages are likely to cause financial strains as well as personal challenges. When one is involved in a road accident in Florida, various avenues can help them seek compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer is well placed to advise and assist you in filing claims for the damages suffered. If you are in St. Augustine, Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney will help you get your rightful compensation.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
Following an accident, another person may be liable for its occurrence. However, you may also be held responsible for the accident. If it is established that you share the liability for the injuries caused, the amount you receive in compensation gets affected.
With the comparative negligence theory, the compensation amount a person receives gets reduced based on the percentage of their fault in the accident. Computation is one of the reasons you need a lawyer to advise you. Most experienced St. Augustine personal injury attorneys will recommend you not to admit fault at an accident scene.
For instance, concerning the rule of comparative fault, if you ran a stoplight and crashed into another car whose driver was going past the speed limit, both of you share liability. If the total damages incurred cost $10,000, you might not get the full amount in compensation. If your fault percentage is 10%, the payment you receive is less by $1,000.
The Florida courts always follow this rule when dealing with personal injury cases. Subsequently, even when you will be handling your claim directly with the insurance company, the adjuster may bring this up. The insurance company will not want to carry all the burden of the damages, and they will always carry out their investigations to establish the at-fault person and the percentage of their accountability.
No-Fault Insurance Rules in Florida
This rule only applies to car accidents in Florida. The concept behind the insurance system of no-fault is that following a road accident, compensation is provided by the person's insurance policy. That means that one's insurance cover will compensate the victim for their medical costs, lost income, among other damages. The insurer offers compensation, irrespective of the person or entity responsible for the accident. If you had a passenger in your car and they get injured as a result of the accident, they will seek compensation from your insurance provider.
In Florida, the other driver is not held liable for damages, whether through a lawsuit or a third-party insurance claim, unless you incurred significant injuries. This means that minor injuries will be dealt with under the umbrella of no-fault.
However, the law allows someone to step out of the no-fault rule and petition a claim against the at-fault driver if the accident resulted in significant injuries. Our St. Augustine personal injury attorneys will guide you on when this claim can be made. This means that not all injuries can be categorized as severe unless they:
- Result in permanent damages or are permanent injuries
- Permanent and substantial disfigurement or scarring
- Permanent or significant loss of a part of the body's function.
Damage Caps on Personal Injury Cases in Florida
Damage caps in Florida are designed to limit the amount of compensation an individual can receive in particular cases. Damage caps are mostly applied in non-economic damages such as suffering and pain.
These caps also control punitive damages. In most personal injury cases, punitive compensation in Florida has limited to thrice the compensatory damages total, or to $500,000. This is as found under section 768.73 of the Florida statutes. However, punitive damages are not as common in personal injury cases. The law designs punitive damages to punish the person at fault for any reprehensible or reckless behavior.
Statute of Limitations in Florida
A statute of limitations guides every state. This is a law that governs an individual on the time they have to sue for damages. Florida, like other states, also has a statute of limitations for when one can file a lawsuit against an entity seeking compensation.
In Florida, if one has been injured in an accident whether, on the road, workplace, or medical malpractice, they must file a lawsuit seeking damages in four years. According to the law in section 95.11(3), a victim has four years from the date the accident happened, or injuries were caused to file a claim. If a person fails to file their suit within the given time, they will lose their right to seek compensation through the court.
However, sometimes a person may not realize they suffered significant harm following the accident. With an experienced St. Augustine personal injury attorney, you can argue your case and have the window extended. If your claim is against the government or one of its entities, the time frame to file a suit becomes shorter. This makes it essential to have a personal injury lawyer to guide you because they understand the time limitations and what is required to file a suit.
The statute of limitations discussed here, however, does not apply to all injury cases. In Florida, medical malpractice injuries require a different time frame to file a claim. Below, we will discuss medical malpractice and the claims one can seek.
Medical Malpractice Compensation in Florida
A lot of accidents or malpractices can happen in a hospital or through a healthcare provider. These damages can be so significant that the victim can suffer from life-long injuries that will not only affect their bodies but their finances as well.
The law sets out a statute of limitations concerning medical malpractice cases. Before suing for medical malpractice damages, the victim is required to fulfil specific and special requirements. If the plaintiff fails to adhere to the appropriate steps, it may delay the filing of their claims, and eventually, they miss the deadline to file.
In medical malpractice, it is not easy to determine when the clock for the statute of limitations starts to run. To avoid missing on time, a personal injury attorney will be best placed to advise you. In addition to the time limit, the amount of monetary compensation a plaintiff receives is also capped.
In Florida, the statute of limitations states that a person has two years to file a claim upon discovering an injury or four years from when the malpractice is alleged to have occurred. If you try to file a lawsuit past the stipulated time, the case will be dismissed. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If the care provider fraudulently lied about or covered the malpractice by deceiving you about it, the time to file the suit can be extended. If, with the help of your lawyer, you can demonstrate the deception by the health practitioner, the time to file suit is extended by two years from when the injury was discovered. Instead, the plaintiff is allowed to file the claim lawsuit seven years after the date of the malpractice.
Pre-Suit Requirements for Medical Malpractice Claim in Florida
Before you file a lawsuit against a health provider in Florida, the law requires you to serve them with a notice showing your intent to sue them. The notice is accompanied by an affidavit sworn by a medical practitioner stating the validity of your malpractice claim. A St.Augustine personal injury attorney will assist you in creating the notice and handing it to the defendant.
Once the notice is issued, the process of settlement begins and lasts for 90 days. During this time, the defendant can indicate if they want to reimburse you or not. In case they refuse to pay, your injury lawyer can file a lawsuit against them within the remaining days. During this time, if there is a need for further investigation into your case, your lawyer can register to have an additional 90 days known as the investigation period. This period allows another medical expert to investigate your case to ensure your claim is valid.
If the medical malpractice resulted in wrongful death, a plaintiff under the capping rule could not get more than $1,000,000 in damages. On the other hand, non-economic damages are also capped to $500,000 in Florida.
Compensable Damages in Road Accidents
There are many causes of road accidents through the various modes of transportation a person chooses to use. You can get help to file a claim for:
- Car Accidents. This may involve a crash between two or more motor vehicles. In this type of accident, the injured victims can seek compensation from their insurance providers if the injuries are minor. If the injuries are significant or severe, payment can be sought from the at-fault driver's insurance provider.
- Truck Accidents. Accidents involving trucks are caused by many things, from poor road conditions to the driver's negligence. Irrespective of the cause of the accident, an attorney will assist in establishing the entity to claim from. Additionally, the lawyer will ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
- Pedestrian Accident. A vehicle or a motorcycle can cause an accident that injures a pedestrian. If, as a pedestrian, you are involved in a crash, a personal injury lawyer can help you file a claim. Your lawyer, with your help, will pursue compensation on your behalf.
- Bus Accidents. Someone can be involved in a bus accident as a passenger or while driving their car. Just like in other accidents, the cause of the crash must be established and the right entity to pay for damages determined. All this, a personal injury lawyer will assist you in determining.
- Motorcycle Accident. Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries. Regardless of the cause of the accident, Florida permits an accident victim to seek compensation for the damages suffered. A personal injury lawyer can help pursue claims for damages in a motorcycle accident as well.
As earlier stated, road accidents can be devastating to the victim and their family both physically and financially. The law allows the victim of an accident to seek compensation for damages suffered. Our St. Augustine personal injury attorneys will guide you on how to go about the claim.
Your attorney will advise you against contacting the other driver's insurance provider or your own. This is because an insurance provider will try and avoid paying claims at all costs. The insurance firms could try and blame you for the accident or offer you the least compensation possible.
However, your lawyer because they understand the legal requirements and the justice system, they are qualified to get you better compensation. When your lawyer sends the insurance company the claim, the insurance adjusters will look for the following:
- What are the actual bills incurred in treating injuries and those likely to be incurred in the future?
- The lost income by the victim or their inability to earn a living in the future
- The pain a victim undergoes as well as their suffering through the injuries
Aside from the quantifiable damages, the insurance adjusters will take into consideration the non-economic damages. The compensation here will be based on the extent of injuries. The cap on the damages, according to the law, is also considered.
In making the compensation, the insurance adjusters will also take into consideration the limits of your policy. No insurance company will pay over the maximum amount of a policy. For instance, if your plan would allow for a maximum cover of $100,000, you cannot receive compensation for more than that. If the damages exceed the coverage, the victim can sue the at-fault driver for compensation.
When your lawyer engages in discussion with the insurance company, they represent your best interests to ensure you receive sufficient compensation. However, the talks with the insurance company can sometimes flop. The leading cause of this is usually a disagreement on how much the victim should be compensated. When this happens, your lawyer can advise you to file a claim against the insurance company.
During the trial, your lawyer will present all the evidence that will support your claim. Some of the evidence will include a doctor's report on your injuries and their cost, police report, witness statement, photos of the accident scene as well as other pieces of evidence. At the end of the trial, the jury will decide on the case, and the victim will be awarded compensation in keeping with the law.
When someone suffers damages because of an accident, they can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic losses are those that can be quantified in monetary value, while non-economic are those that cannot be quantified.
Damages that are compensated here are supported by documents that can attest to their cost. These include:
- Damages to property in this case your vehicle
- Cost of medical treatment and necessary procedures
- Lost wages as the victim recovers from the injuries
- Lost ability to earn. This is especially when the injuries are so significant that the victim cannot earn a living anymore. A calculation is made of what the victim would have earned over the years if they were not injured. The final figure is then awarded as damages.
A victim can also seek compensation for damages that are not quantifiable. However, it is essential to remember that the law puts a cap on the amount one can receive in non-economic damages. These damages may include:
- The suffering and the pain the victim goes through
- The companionship lost in case of death
Wrongful Death Compensation
If a loved one dies as a result of an accident, the surviving family can seek compensation for their life. Every insurance cover has a provision for this, and the family can be awarded the same. Funeral and burial costs can also be compensated under this.
Find a St. Augustine Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
No one wants to suffer injuries, but unfortunately, they are happening every day. Road accidents, work-related accidents, as well as medical malpractices, can leave you with significant injuries. The repercussions of these injuries can be devastating, both financially and physically, to you and your family. Getting compensation for the damages, however, helps victims in coping with the repercussions of the accident. An experienced attorney will be able to fight for you to get your rightful damages. At Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney, we are committed and experienced in getting our clients in St. Augustine the compensation they deserve. Call us at 904-800-7557, and let us help you seek compensation.