Personal injuries may occur in many different ways. You will want to know your legal options when you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that has caused harm. You may want to file an insurance claim or pursue a lawsuit, depending on the circumstances. In Florida, an accident means the events and actions that were involved in the incident contributed to the related alleged injuries.
Types of accidents that may lead to personal injury claims may include:
● T-bone accidents
● Rear-end accidents
● Scooter accidents
● Motorcycle accidents
● Dog bite accidents
Negligence is a key factor in your case
Negligence is the premise in which the party who has caused the accident had a duty of care and breached that duty of care. Establishing negligence is necessary in order to prove another party is liable for damages. Establishing the four key elements of negligence is a must for any plaintiff attempting to recover compensation for the damages they have incurred. They include proving the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff, the defendant’s breach of this duty, the breach of duty was the causation of the damages and damages.
Negotiations with your insurance company
After you or your lawyer file a demand letter with an insurance company, you may find that you need to negotiate further. Often, insurance adjusters will respond to your claim and supporting documentation with a settlement offer. Sometimes, this offer is below what you or your lawyer asked for. In these cases, counteroffers may continue for several more rounds until you or your lawyer reach a settlement with the insurance company. Always be aware and conscious of the fact that an insurance company is not your friend. They are trying to settle the claim for the lowest possible expense to them, so be careful with the statements and remarks you make to them.
Several factors may affect the negotiation process with your insurance company. First, it is important to have a settlement figure in mind, one that includes a lower benchmark amount you will be willing to accept. As you or your lawyer and your insurance adjuster go back and forth on the strengths and weaknesses of your demand letter, you may want to revise your settlement amount goal, either higher or lower depending on the course of the negotiations.
Damages are monetary compensation for the party who has been harmed because of another party’s negligence. In personal injury cases, the plaintiff, or person who has filed the lawsuit, often seeks economic and non-economic damages from the defendant. The amount of compensation a plaintiff may receive in a personal injury case depends on several factors, namely the severity of the property damage and injuries.
Economic damages may include the following:
● Medical bills and expenses are costs that arise out of the injuries that are caused by the accident
● Future medical expenses should be proven by expert testimony, such as from a physician, that states the plaintiff will incur ongoing care
● Lost wages, which may include past and present income
● Loss of future income also referred to as earning capacity. If the plaintiff’s injuries have impaired them from working at the same capacity prior to the injury, then the plaintiff may be entitled to compensation for their diminished earning power
● Expenses related to the accident, such as the cost to replace or fix damaged property
● Household services that are needed after an injury has occurred
● Vocational rehabilitation in the event that an accident victim needs ongoing care
● Other out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation to and from doctor’s appointments
● The reduced fair market value of real property as a result of the damage incurred during the accident
● Costs of construction repairs, including labor and overhead
Non-economic damages may include:
● Pain and suffering
● Emotional distress
● Loss of enjoyment of life
● Loss of companionship or consortium
Punitive damages are different than the above damages. They are awarded as a punishment to the defendant, and a deterrent for future defendants. Florida Statute 768.72 states, “A defendant may be held liable for punitive damages only if the trier of fact, based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.”
Time limits to file a Personal Injury lawsuit in Florida
The law that limits the timeframe in which you may file a lawsuit against another party is called statute of limitations. Florida statutes dictate that most personal injury lawsuits must be filed within the four-year deadline of when the incident occurred. If you do not file a lawsuit against the individual or a business or entity that may be legally at fault for your injuries, you may forgo the right to sue.