Personal injury laws cover numerous types of injuries caused by another party’s negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing. Being injured through no fault of your own can be frustrating and overwhelming. You probably have several questions about personal injury claims and your right to recover compensation for your injuries and damages.
Below are ten of the most common personal injury FAQs accident victims ask our personal injury lawyers.
Ten FAQs About Florida Personal Injury Claims
Ten things you should know if another person injures you are:
1. File an Injury Report to Document What Happened
If you are unsure how to report an accident or injury caused by another party, contact a personal injury lawyer for advice. Formal accident reports create a written record for a personal injury claim. Some personal injury cases require victims to report the accident within a certain period to preserve the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Examples of how to report accidents and injuries are:
If you slip and fall while on another person’s property, report the injury to the property owner or a person in charge of the premises. Dog bites should be reported to the dog’s owner and the local animal control agency. Boating accidents should be reported to the Florida First and Wildlife Conservation Commission or the local police department.
2. Florida is a Fault-Based State for Personal Injury Claims
Negligence requires that you prove:
- The party owed you a duty of care
- The party breached the duty of care
- The breach was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
- You sustained damages
Some personal injury cases may require additional evidence to prove negligence. For example, a medical malpractice claim requires that you establish what the standard of care would have been in your case and prove the doctor’s deviation from the accepted standard of care caused your injury.
A premises liability case requires that you prove the property owner or responsible party knew or should have known of a dangerous condition and failed to correct the condition or provide adequate warning of the danger.
3. You Can Receive Compensation for Your Financial Losses
Most accident victims incur financial losses or economic damages because of the accident. Examples of economic damages included in most personal injury claims are:
- Bills for medical providers and medical procedures, including physicians, hospitals, labs, etc.
- Loss of income and benefits, including decreases in earning potential because of permanent impairments
- The cost of long-term personal care or ongoing medical care
- Travel expenses to appointments with medical providers
- Cost of medications, medical equipment, and medical supplies
You may receive compensation for other out-of-pocket expenses if you can prove that you incurred the expense and it was necessary because of the accident or your injury.
4. You Can Receive Compensation for Your Pain and Suffering Damages
Accident victims are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering damages. These non-economic damages include:
- Physical discomfort and pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Mental anguish and trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life or quality of life
Pain and suffering damages are challenging to calculate. There is not a bill or invoice to tell you the value of your suffering. The state does not have a standard formula for calculating the value of pain and suffering damages.
Many insurance companies and juries use the multiplier method of calculating pain and suffering damages. A number between 1.5 and give is chosen based on the facts of the case, including the severity and type of injury. Non-economic damages are equal to the number multiplied by the total economic damages.
5. Your Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit is Limited
Florida’s statute of limitations restricts the time to file a personal injury lawsuit. There may be a few exceptions to the deadline, but very few. If you do not file a personal injury lawsuit before the deadline, you lose your right to do so.
If a government entity is involved, the time to file a notice of claim is very short. Contact a personal injury lawyer immediately if you are injured in an accident involving a government vehicle or employee or injured while on government or public property.
6. You Could Receive Compensation if You Are Partially to Blame for the Accident
If you are partially at fault for the cause of an accident, you cannot receive full compensation for your damages under Florida’s comparative fault laws. However, you could receive some compensation for your injuries and damages.
According to the law, a victim’s compensation is reduced by the same percentage as the victim has for causing the accident. Therefore, if a jury finds that you were 20 percent responsible for causing a car wreck because you were speeding, you could still recover compensation for 80 percent of your claim.
7. Prompt Medical Treatment is Crucial
If another party caused your injury, seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You may not experience injury symptoms for a few hours or days after an accident or injury. As soon as you notice the first symptom, go to the doctor or emergency room.
Delays in medical care can create problems and prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve for an injury claim. The insurance company or defense attorney may argue that the accident did not cause your injury because of your delay in medical treatment.
Medical documentation of injuries is a crucial piece of evidence required in personal injury cases.
8. You Can Hire a Personal Injury Attorney for No Upfront Fees
Our law firm accepts most personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee allows you to hire a personal injury lawyer without paying any upfront attorneys’ fees.
The attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of your total recovery for your claim. If we do not recover money for your injury claim, you do not pay any attorneys’ fees for our services.
9. Settlement Offers by the Insurance Company May Not be in Your Best Interest
An insurance adjuster may make a settlement offer early in your case. The insurance company may offer a quick settlement to avoid paying the full value of your claim. If you accept the settlement offer, you cannot demand more money or file a lawsuit, even if you discover additional injuries or damages.
It is never a wise idea to accept a settlement offer before you complete medical treatment. However, if you suffer catastrophic injuries requiring lengthy treatments, you need to talk with a lawyer to ensure you do not have a statute of limitations problem.
Unless you are confident about the value of your personal injury claim, talk with a lawyer before accepting a settlement or signing any documents.
10. Injured Employees May Have Additional Claims Other Than Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ compensation insurance generally covers injuries that occur during the normal course of employment. In most cases, the employee cannot sue the employer for workplace injuries, unless the injury was caused by intentional acts or gross negligence.
Employees may also have third-party claims against other parties for a work-related injury. For example, a construction worker might have a claim against a manufacturer if a defective product caused the injury.
Call Our Miami Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
Contact our law firm to schedule a free case review with a Miami personal injury attorney. We want to discuss your case in detail and answer any questions you might have regarding your specific case. Our goal is to help you recover fair and just compensation for the injuries, suffering, and financial damages caused by a negligent party.