Personal injury claims result from many different places. They are not only car-related accidents. You should know that an injury that results from another person’s negligence is categorized under the personal injury laws. You should remember that the cost of treating such injuries in Florida is high, and most people do not afford it; therefore, compensation becomes necessary for the purpose.
If you want to know the strength of your claims, the injury could have been prevented if the other person had observed the laws and protocols. This means for the victim to sue the other party, they should prove the other party’s negligence.
Handling personal injuries resulting from negligence in Florida
If you or your loved one is suffering from the damages caused by another person’s negligence, you should immediately call a licensed personal injury lawyer. However, it is possible to represent yourself in such cases. Still, if you get a lawyer to do it for you, you will be increasing the chances of winning and receive reasonable compensation.
Florida’s top lawyers highly focus on educating people first to know their rights categorized under the law. Here are the critical 8 Things to Know about Florida’s Personal Injury Laws:
1. Car-related accidents are the leading cause of personal injuries
Car crashes tend to be on the top list of causing personal injuries in Florida, among other car-related accidents. The latest information collected from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that in 2018 there were 403 626 recorded crashes which resulted in 236, 157 recorded injuries, 19,196 among these were incapacitating.
Considering that Florida has no-fault laws, where car drivers should carry at least a Personal Injury Protection worth $10,000. Meaning that it doesn’t matter whose fault it was for the injuries to occur; the insurance providers should pay for the medical bills.
2. Florida’s no-fault laws do not cover liability.
The no-fault policies are meant to ensure that the car crash participants get adequate medical care. However, they do not prevent anyone from providing evidence of fault towards the other person or suing them for the damages, especially where serious injuries are involved.
You should know how serious injuries are defined; Florida’s injury laws state that injuries are considered severe if they are permanent, significant, cause permanent disfigurement, and effective and led to permanent loss of body function. If you sustain injuries with these characteristics, consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Time is an important factor here as the statute of limitations limits the time to claim the injuries.
3. Florida recognizes claims for up to four years only.
The statute of limitations states the deadlines from when any court in Florida should hear the case you present with evidence. The evidence can be given as physical documents or statements presented by eyewitnesses that should be intact and have not deteriorated over time—contacting a personal injury lawyer instantly after the accident will simplify things because the case will need to build up evidence directly.
Florida’s statute of limitations limits personal injury cases to four years from the date and time when the injury occurred. This might seem strict, but limitations sometimes have exceptions; therefore, this can be extended for a little longer in a few rare circumstances.
This mostly happens where the accidents can directly cause some injuries. Still, they take time to surface, especially where there is malpractice in medical cases where the effects of the accident only manifest later in the victim’s life. Where this happens, the statute of limitations may be extended for two years from the date the injuries were discovered.
The statute also can be extended or paused in various situations like when the defendant got a chance to leave Florida or has gone into hiding or when the defendant is mentally incapacitated, thus making it hard to defend themselves. The statute can begin when their mental capacity is restored; however, the case needs to be filed within seven years since the incident occurred.
4. Pain and suffering compensation is dependent on various factors.
The most common cost resulting from personal injuries are economic damages like medical bills and lost wages. The damages can be easily determined as the authorities look at your medical bills and calculate the money you lost while away from work.
However, Florida’s injury law recognizes more than these two economic damages. The other classification is known as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. This cannot be easily quantified, but the law can easily give the value or compensation for this.
To calculate the cost of pain and suffering, remember you will be suing for physical and mental damages or injuries. The following are the factors used to calculate the value of pain and suffering in personal injury claims:
The severity and the type of injury
Of course, compensation is likely to be higher when there is a traumatic brain injury than the standard cuts and bruises. The severity of the damage has a direct correlation with the increase in medical bills; remember, serious injuries are not only physical but also medical conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Required Medical treatment
While other injuries can be easily treated through rest and medication, others need surgery, rehabilitation, therapy, assistive devices, among many other things. Therefore, if you need more extensive treatment, the value of the pain and suffering damages you suffered will be higher.
The discomfort the victim endures during rehabilitation, based on the pain medication, and the period you might learn to use the assistive materials is unquantifiable. However, where these conditions are present, you will be likely to receive higher compensation amounts.
The impact of the damage on the victim’s life
Severe and life-threatening conditions usually lead to disabilities, which are likely to affect the victim for the rest of their lives. Disabilities should not derive the happiness you deserve in life, but the victim needs compensation for the pain and suffering resulting from the damages or injuries.
5. Evidence proves your pain and suffering injuries.
When you have deemed with your injury lawyer that the pain and suffering you sustained is significant enough to hold value in court, you should start gathering evidence immediately. Remember, suing for non-economic damages like pain and suffering is more challenging than the economic challenges like hospital bills and lost wages.
They are complex since pain and suffering are intangible and do not correspond to monetary values directly. Therefore, apart from the documents, you will be required to collect some eyewitness evidence.
The following four people’s testimony can be of great importance to the value of your pain and suffering claim:
Due to their profession, your doctor might be called to the court as an expert witness; the doctor should testify about the depth of your injuries and the effect they will have in your lifetime.
Mental health professional
In most cases, physical injuries are usually followed by mental health dangers. Therefore, mental health experts like psychiatrists and psychologists can be called expert witnesses.
A close family member or a spouse
The closest people in your life can testify to how the pain and suffering have affected your life. They are called because they have an intimate knowledge of you for a significant period, and therefore they can speak on your behalf.
As the plaintiff, remember that your experience can be used as evidence; for creditability, you will be required to present the daily recording of the suffering you have heard since the accident happened. Your injury lawyer will advise you to keep a journal; this is important for evidence and collecting events while your memory is still fresh.
6. Florida considers the comparative negligence rules.
Comparative negligence states that negligence or fault needs to be shared by each party involved in the accident. It is commonly known as sharing scheme, which refers to both actions contributing to the accident, ensuring companies pay insurance according to their party’s fault.
Various states have different versions of the comparative negligence rule; for instance, some states allow the less faulty party to receive compensation while others don’t. However, Florida considers the pure comparative negligence rule in that the amount for compensation might be reduced depending on the degree or intensity of fault one had in the accident.
7. Florida considers the Punitive Damage Cap.
Punitive damages are not common in Florida as much as the personal injury cases are a significant concern; the damages are typically reserved for the defendants whose actions are considered complete negligence, intentional or malicious. Besides the determining intent, the court will also check similar cases to determine whether the same was awarded to the plaintiff.
In such cases, they will award punitive damages on top of the compensatory damages for both economic and non-economic. This is done to ensure that the defendant will not repeat the same in the future; in Florida, the punitive damages are set at $500,000. It can be three times the compensatory damage amount or either that will be greater than the other.
The plaintiff can use the punitive damages to cover additional medical bills, property damage, hospital expenses, etc.
8. In Florida, you can sue the government for negligence.
The plaintiff can easily sue the government office or agency for negligence that led to personal injuries in sporadic cases. This has been facilitated or supported by the Florida Statutes Section 768.28, which states that Florida has waived its immunity from liability in various circumstances.
The process to sue the government of Florida follows a set of different rules than when you are using or taking legal action against a private entity or a single person. The following are some of the things to have in mind before you sue the government of Florida:
• You are not eligible to file a lawsuit against Florida Government until an investigation of 180 days has been carried out where it is triggered by you filing the claim to the government agency involved. Moreover, the state’s Department of Financial Services must receive a copy of the same.
• The claim should be made within the three years when the accident occurred that led to your injuries.
• The letter must be written on paper considering the directions given by the Florida Division of Risk Management. The letter should have the facts, dates, and losses sustained by the plaintiff with full descriptions. Or you can use the claim forms that the agency will provide.
• Where the claim is denied, the plaintiff can file a personal injury lawsuit against the state within three years.
• Wrongful death claims against the state of Florida are given a statute of limitations of two years.
• The Punitive cap of damages awarded in cases against the state of Florida government is $200,000. However, if the claims are made against multiple state entities, the cap increases to $300,000
• The Government of Florida retains the right to appeal resolutions made against the Government.
Find a personal injury lawyer for help.
Personal injuries can easily negatively affect your life quality; thus, they should not be ignored. If you or your loved one sustained severe mental and physical injuries due to another person’s negligence, contact a personal injury lawyer instantly. This will enable you to receive the compensation you require to cover your medical bills and lost wages.