A personal injury lawsuit is a civil action against a person, business, or both whose actions caused you serious harm. The final outcome of a successful personal injury lawsuit is compensation for the expenses and losses—both tangible and intangible—that you experienced. A civil action has no bearing on any criminal charges associated with your case. If you’ve been seriously injured due to the carelessness of another person, you have options. You may want to consider discussing your case with a personal injury attorney.
Understanding Your Personal Injury Claim
At the core of personal injury cases is the term negligence. Negligence is defined as the failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable and prudent person would exercise in similar circumstances. When the negligent actions or behaviors of another person result in life-changing injuries, the responsible party is likely liable for any resulting damages.
A personal injury lawsuit is your right to pursue civil action against the person responsible for your injuries. While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You may need the assistance of an experienced Florida personal injury attorney to ensure you meet the requirements for filing a civil action.
Your injuries were not your fault and a personal injury attorney can help you with the civil claim process. Knowing someone is protecting your best interests can provide the peace-of-mind you need during this difficult time.
Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are a variety of circumstances and situations that can result in a personal injury lawsuit. If you are unsure if your case qualifies for a personal injury lawsuit, you may want to discuss your options with a personal injury attorney.
Common types of personal injury lawsuits include:
One of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits involves car accidents. In 2018, there were more than 400,000 car accidents in Florida. More than 255,000 people experienced injuries and 3,100 people died as a result of their injuries.
No matter how defensively you drive, a car accident can occur in a second, leaving you with devastating injuries. Examples of negligent driver behavior behind the wheel may include:
Distracted driving – The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports there are three key types of distracted driving:
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road.
- Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving.
According to the CDC, more than 1,000 people are injured and nine people die each day in the United States in distracted driving accidents.
Drunk driving – Despite numerous laws and safety campaigns, drunk driving continues to plague Florida streets and highways. The permissible blood alcohol content (BAC) level while driving in Florida is 0.08. However, impairment can begin as early as a 0.02 level.
Aggressive driving – While most people lead busy lives, driving aggressively is no way to share the road. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 51 percent of those surveyed admitted to purposely tailgating another driver. Aggressive driving can quickly escalate into road rage. Examples of road rage include throwing objects at another vehicle and purposely running drivers off the road.
Drowsy driving – The National Sleep Foundation reports that 60 percent of drivers polled admitted to driving while sleepy. An astonishing 37 percent admitted to falling asleep while behind the wheel. The effects of drowsy driving are often compared to those of drunk driving. Impaired judgment and delayed reaction time are just two examples of dangerous outcomes of driving tired or drunk.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident can result in serious head trauma, broken bones, and other injuries. The CDC reports that falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). This type of accident may fall under premises liability.
When you accept an invitation to visit a store or restaurant, you do so expecting that property is safe. The property owner has a duty of care to ensure that invitees are safe from any potential or foreseeable harm.
A slip and fall accident may qualify for a personal injury claim if:
- The property owner knew about the dangers and failed to fix the problem, and
- They failed to warn guests about the danger.
No one expects a night out with friends to end in a serious injury due to the negligence of a property owner. Types of conditions that may cause you to experience harm include:
- Torn carpet
- A wet floor from an existing roof leak
- Stairs with no handrail
- A poorly lighted parking lot
A slip and fall accident usually occurs on private property. This means law enforcement generally does not respond. If you experience a slip and fall, notify store management immediately. Store policy will most likely require an incident report. This report can serve as valuable evidence later should you pursue a civil claim. Document the scene by taking photographs and/or video and be sure to collect the contact information for witnesses.
These are just a few examples of accidents that are common in personal injury lawsuits. There is no excuse for failing to correct a known problem due to poor management or an attempt to save money. If you suffered a serious, preventable injury, you deserve justice. A personal injury attorney can help you hold those responsible for your injuries accountable for their negligence.
Some people never recover from their injuries or their death may be immediate. If you lost a close loved one due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Florida law is very specific as to who may file a claim on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
While no amount of money can ever replace your loved one, financial compensation can ease your financial stress. A wrongful death claim is a legal action that allows surviving family members to pursue compensation for such damages as:
- Final medical expenses for the decedent
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of future income/earnings
An unexpected death can leave you ill-prepared for the expenses associated with a funeral. The average funeral costs $9,000—an exorbitant amount that you should not have to pay when the death is the result of another person’s negligence.
A wrongful death is a complex process that a licensed legal professional has experience handling. The grieving process can leave you feeling a mix of emotions and not thinking clearly. Don’t settle for less than you and your family deserve by giving in to pressure from insurance companies. Your time of grief is no time to sign any settlement agreements without first speaking with a lawyer.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You
When you experience an injury due to the negligence of another person, you may feel overwhelmed and confused. The uncertainty about your future can cause you and your family extreme anxiety.
As you are learning to adapt to your new injuries, you should expect to be contacted by insurance company representatives. Their primary goal is to settle your case quickly and for the least amount of money possible. No matter how friendly or helpful they seem, they want to protect their best interests, not yours.
In the time immediately following your accident you should not have to deal with aggressive insurance representatives. Should they pressure you into accepting a settlement offer, you may forfeit any right to pursue a civil action in the future, even if your condition worsens. To protect your best interests, it is a smart idea to avoid speaking with insurance companies until you secure legal representation.
When appropriate, a personal injury attorney may negotiate with insurance representatives on your behalf. Not only can this reduce your stress, but it can enable you to concentrate on your health.
The right personal injury attorney knows the tactics insurance companies use to deny or to delay a claim. Insurance companies may even try to pin the blame for your accident on you and discredit the extent of your injuries.
Time Limits for Personal Injury Lawsuits
With so much on your mind, it is easy to put off pursuing a civil claim. Dealing with your immediate medical needs is important and requires a great deal of focus. However, when it comes to filing a civil claim, time is of the essence. The Florida statute of limitations requires injured parties to file a personal injury claim within four years of the accident and a wrongful death claim within two years of the victim’s death.
While this may seem like a lot of time, it can pass quickly when you are healing or grieving. Delaying your pursuit of a civil claim may ultimately bar you from bringing a claim.
Many personal injury lawsuits are settled out-of-court. If the personal injury attorney you choose is unable to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, they may demonstrate a willingness to go to trial.
Personal injury cases require careful planning. A personal injury attorney will need time to review evidence, interview witnesses, and to read police reports.
How to Protect Your Best Interests
A personal injury lawsuit is your chance to protect your best interests. A sudden and traumatic accident that leaves you with serious injuries can change your life forever. From lengthy hospital stays and expensive medications to medical procedures and personal care, the costs can quickly escalate into an unmanageable amount.
Insurance companies like to protect their best interests, making it essential that you protect your best interests. Finding a personal injury attorney that aggressively represents their clients while treating them with the respect they deserve is a smart idea.
It is understandable to feel overwhelmed by your situation. A personal injury attorney may help ease injured parties’ minds by reminding them that they are not alone in their fight for justice. Most Florida personal injury attorneys offer free case evaluations and many work on a contingency-fee basis.
If you experienced serious injuries due to the negligence of another, you may want to consider filing a personal injury claim. If you lost a close loved one, you may be eligible for filing a wrongful death claim. Either type of litigation requires a personal injury attorney familiar with Florida law.
Trying to pursue compensation on your own is never a good idea. Insurance companies are too skilled at what they do. Your financial future depends upon the best outcome possible for your civil claim.
The first step after a traumatic event is often the hardest. Summoning the courage to contact a personal injury attorney, in the midst of your medical care, isn’t easy. However, after contacting an attorney, you may feel a sense of relief by knowing that someone is in your corner.
Depending upon the severity of your injuries, you may never return to life as you knew it before the accident. The same is true with a loved one who experiences a severe head injury or spinal cord injury. A careless action or behavior by another person can not only have serious consequences for the victim but also for those who love the victim.
As you contemplate your future, know that you have legal options. If you are too injured to travel to a personal injury attorney’s office, ask them to come to you. By contacting an attorney that offers free case evaluations and who works on a contingency-fee basis, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Gather as much information about your accident so the attorney can learn the facts of your case.
A personal injury lawsuit takes time to resolve. Like your injuries, there is no quick fix that makes everything better. Practicing patience is key to holding out for an outcome that you deserve. If you want to learn more about how to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida, give careful thought to contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Dolman Law Group
800 N Belcher Rd
Clearwater, FL 33765