Florida Personal Injury Law - The Basics
A personal injury can result from countless circumstances - a car accident, slip and fall, dog bite, boating accident, accident with a commercial truck, defective products, medical malpractice - any accident or circumstance that leaves you injured due to the negligence of someone else. When another individual/persons/company or other party is to blame for injuries you have sustained, you may be eligible to collect financial damages or compensation. In order to win a personal injury lawsuit, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that the other party was negligent or careless in some way, which resulted in your injury.
If the accident/circumstances that resulted in you injury is recent, the first step is to preserve any evidence that may support your case. Here are our suggestions for the period immediately following an accident with injury:
Write down everything, if you are able. Unless your injuries require medical attention and/or are serious, write down the names and contact information of everyone involved and any witnesses to the incident. Also include all details you can remember about how your injury occurred.
Take photos of any injuries that are visible, either to yourself or your property (car, home, etc.) Report the accident or incident to the police department, local sheriff's office, or animal control immediately, depending on the nature of your injury.
Contact an experienced central Florida personal injury lawyer to learn if you may have a valid claim against the person or parties who caused your injuries; do this before you make any statements, whether verbal or written, to the insurance company..Personal Injury Laws in Florida
In the majority of cases, those who sustain a personal injury in Florida must prove the following of the liable party in order to collect monetary compensation:
You suffered damages The other person/party involved had a duty not to injure you but failed that duty, and, The failure of that duty resulted directly in your injury/injuries
In Florida, the one substantial exception to these laws is car accidents. Because Florida is a no-fault state, every individual's own car insurance will compensate you for injuries and/or damages resulting from an auto accident, regardless of who was at fault. Each motorist is required to carry a PIP (personal injury protection) policy, with minimum coverage of $10,000 per individual per crash/accident.
Florida law does allow individuals to file a personal injury lawsuit following an auto accident in the injury/injuries suffered are considered serious. Serious personal injuries in Florida are those that result in:
- Loss of life (death)
- Injuries that result in significant disfigurement or permanent scarring
- Permanent or significant loss of an essential bodily function
- Regardless of the details of your car accident, the most important step you can take is to consult with a Florida personal injury attorney who can help determine if you qualify to file an injury lawsuit.
Individuals who can prove another person/party is liable for injuries sustained in an accident may be entitled to compensation for losses, which include:
- Property damaged caused by the accident/incident
- Permanent disability and/or disfigurement
- Past, current, and future estimated medical costs
- Expenses incurred in hiring someone to take care of household chores when you are unable
- Loss of consortium, otherwise known as interference with family relationships
- Anxiety, depression, or other emotional distress you may suffer
- Other expenses relating directly to your injury
- Lost wages in your employment, including any time spent going to/from therapy or other medical/doctor/hospital appointments
Are you partially to blame for the injury, or is more than one person to blame? There are instances in which someone who is injured may be partially responsible. In Florida, comparative negligence law reduces the damages you are entitled to at trial if it is determined you are partially responsible for your own injuries. How much compensation you may be awarded depends on the percentage of fault; in other words, the percentage of fault of the other person involved in the accident/circumstances, and your own percentage of fault.In some cases, more than one party may be liable for the injury you suffer
Florida has a very structured system for personal injury cases when more than one individual is liable, referred to as 'joint and several liability' rules. Those who are responsible for your injury may be held at any percentage of fault, from more than 10% to more than 50%. Those found to be more than 50% at fault may be liable for up to $2 million in damages, while those less than 25% at fault but more than 10% at fault may be responsible for up to $500,000, depending on the unique details/factors of your case.
Personal injury law in Florida can be extremely confusing and complex to individuals who have been injured due to the negligence of others. If you have suffered an injury, whether due totally to someone else's negligence or a combination of your own negligence and another party's, consult with a skilled central Florida personal injury attorney immediately.