Why Hire a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida?
At Friedland & Associates, our personal injury lawyers are well-versed in Florida’s laws and regulations related to personal injury claims. A personal injury lawyer on our legal team will:
- Investigate the accident
- Gather evidence
- Negotiate with insurance companies
- Take your case to trial (if necessary)
Throughout the process, our personal injury lawyers will provide compassionate support and personalized attention to ensure you understand your options and make informed decisions.
What Types of Cases Do Personal Injury Attorneys Handle?
At Friedlan & Associates, our experienced personal injury attorneys handle a wide range of cases, including but not limited to:
- Auto accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Ridesharing accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Dog bites
- Premises liability
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Product liability
- Bus accidents
- Boat accidents
- Nursing home abuse
What Compensation Am I Entitled to in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, the compensation you may be entitled to depends on the specific circumstances of your case and the extent of your injuries. Personal injury compensation allows you to pursue both economic and non-economic losses that you have suffered as a result of the accident.
Damages you may be entitled to include:
You can seek compensation for current and future medical expenses related to your injuries. This includes hospital bills, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical care.
If your injuries have caused you to miss work or have reduced your earning capacity, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and potential future income.
Pain and Suffering
Non-economic damages such as physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish are also compensable. These damages consider the physical and emotional toll the accident has taken on your life.
If your personal property, such as your vehicle, was damaged in the accident, you may be entitled to reimbursement for repair or replacement costs.
Loss of Consortium
In cases involving serious injuries, a spouse may be entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship, support, and intimacy due to the injury.
Wrongful Death Damages
In the event of a wrongful death, surviving family members may seek compensation for funeral and burial expenses, as well as loss of financial support and companionship.
What is Comparative Negligence?
In Florida, comparative negligence is a doctrine that governs how damages are awarded in cases. Florida follows the legal doctrine of “pure comparative negligence,” which means that even if you are partially at fault for an accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries, but your total compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
The rules of comparative negligence include:
If you are involved in an accident and it is determined that both you and the other party share some responsibility for the accident, the court will assign a percentage of fault to each party based on the evidence presented.
In Florida, your total compensation award will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you. For example, if the court finds you 20% at fault and awards you $10,000 in damages, your actual compensation will be reduced to $8,000 ($10,000 – 20%).
No Bar to Recovery
Even if you are found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you can still recover damages. Unlike some states that have a threshold for recovery, Florida allows compensation regardless of the degree of fault.
Burden of Proof
It’s important to note that the burden of proving the percentage of fault lies with the parties involved. This often involves presenting evidence, witness testimonies, accident reports, and expert opinions to establish the degree of negligence.
What Factors Can Affect a Personal Injury Case in Florida?
Several factors can affect the outcome of a personal injury case in Florida. These factors can influence the strength of your case, the amount of compensation you may receive, and the overall legal process.
The key factors that can impact a personal injury case in Florida include:
The strength and quality of evidence play a critical role. This includes photographs, accident reports, medical records, witness statements, expert opinions, and any other documentation that supports your claim.
Establishing fault is crucial. If you can prove that the other party’s negligence or misconduct directly caused your injuries, it strengthens your case. Comparative negligence, where both parties share fault, can also impact the amount of compensation you receive.
Injuries and damages
The severity of your injuries, the medical treatment you require, and the impact on your life will influence the compensation you are entitled to. Medical records, bills, and expert testimonies help determine the extent of damages.
Following proper medical treatment and adhering to doctor’s orders is essential. Gaps in treatment or failure to follow medical advice could be used against you to diminish the value of your claim.
Witness statements can corroborate your version of events and help establish liability. Eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, and even video evidence can significantly impact your case.
The insurance policies of both parties involved can impact the compensation available to you. If the at-fault party is underinsured or uninsured, your own insurance coverage (such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage) may come into play.
Keeping thorough records of all relevant documents, including medical bills, property damage estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies, can help strengthen your case.
Your own past medical records or history of accidents could be brought up to challenge the extent of your injuries or damages.
The court where your case is heard can impact the outcome. Different courts may have varying procedures and judges with differing perspectives.
How Do You File a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
Filing a personal injury claim in Florida involves several steps to ensure that you follow the proper legal procedures and maximize your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
The process of filing a claim includes:
Notify the At-Fault Party
If applicable, inform the person or entity responsible for your injuries that you intend to file a claim. This can be done through a formal letter or communication, but it’s often best to do this through your attorney to avoid misunderstandings.
Consult With An Attorney
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial. They can guide you through the legal process, evaluate your case’s merits, and help you determine the appropriate course of action.
File a Claim With Insurance
Notify the at-fault party’s insurance company of your intent to file a claim. Provide basic information about the accident and your injuries. However, avoid giving recorded statements or signing documents without consulting your attorney.
Your attorney will investigate the accident, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and evaluate the extent of your damages. This thorough investigation is crucial for building a strong case.
Your attorney will draft a demand letter outlining your injuries, damages, and the compensation you are seeking. This letter will be sent to the at-fault party’s insurance company as a formal claim.
The insurance company will respond with an initial settlement offer. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to achieve a fair settlement that covers your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Filing a Lawsuit
If negotiations fail to yield a satisfactory settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit. They will prepare the necessary documents, file the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, and initiate the legal process.
Both parties exchange information, evidence, and documents relevant to the case. This process involves depositions, interrogatories, and requests for documents.
Before going to trial, mediation may be required. A neutral mediator helps both parties reach a settlement agreement.
If a settlement cannot be reached, your case will go to trial. Your attorney will present evidence, question witnesses, and argue your case before a judge and jury.
If successful, the jury will render a verdict, and you may receive compensation for your damages. If not, you have the right to appeal the decision.
What Injuries Meet the Serious Injury Threshold in Florida?
In Florida, the “serious injury threshold” refers to the legal requirement that must be met for a person to step outside the state’s no-fault insurance system and file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party after a car accident.
Under Florida’s no-fault insurance laws, individuals are required to seek compensation from their own insurance company for minor injuries, regardless of fault. However, if an accident victim sustains injuries that meet the serious injury threshold, they may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the at-fault party for additional damages.
The injuries that meet the serious injury threshold in Florida can vary, but typically include:
Significant and permanent loss of a bodily function
Injuries that result in the loss of a bodily function, such as paralysis, amputation, or permanent disability, may meet the serious injury threshold.
If the accident causes a permanent injury that affects the victim’s ability to perform daily activities, work, or enjoy life as they did before the accident, it may meet the threshold.
Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
Injuries that result in visible and lasting scars or disfigurement may qualify as serious injuries.
If the accident results in the death of the victim, their surviving family members may pursue a wrongful death claim against the at-fault party.
Severe bone fractures that require surgical intervention and lead to lasting impairment or disability can also meet the threshold.
Permanent limitation of use of a body part or organ
If the victim’s ability to use a body part or organ is permanently impaired due to the accident, it may qualify as a serious injury.
Other permanent injuries
Various other injuries that have lasting and significant effects on the victim’s life may meet the threshold, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and internal organ damage.
Meeting the serious injury threshold allows an accident victim to pursue a lawsuit for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic damages beyond what is covered by their own insurance. Determining whether your injuries meet the serious injury threshold can be complex.
An experienced personal injury attorney at Friedland & Associates can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to understand your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in FL?
In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim varies depending on the type of case.
- For personal injury claims, you will have four years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit.
- If an injury claim involves medical malpractice, the statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the malpractice incident or the date the malpractice was discovered, but no more than four years from the actual date of the incident.
- In Florida, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the individual’s death. This timeline is applicable regardless of the underlying cause of the wrongful death, whether it’s a car accident, medical negligence, or another factor.
Contact Us Today!
If you’ve suffered injuries in a personal injury accident in Florida, don’t hesitate to reach out to the personal injury lawyers at Friedland & Associates.
We offer free consultations to discuss your case and provide you with an understanding of your rights and legal options. Contact us today to learn more.