Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
Lorenzo Law is a personal injury and probate law firm in Miami that provides legal services throughout the state. Florida is the third most populous state in the country. In such a populated state, many Floridians are involved in personal injury accidents every day.
A personal injury accident can happen in Florida in a variety ways and can range from motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents to even more bizarre accidents that can even happen in one of the state’s many amusement parks.
Your Legal Right After Being Injured in Florida Personal Injury Accident
Regardless of how you were injured, you need to understand six important things after being injured in a personal injury accident:
1. You may be entitled to be reimbursed for some or all the medical treatment required by your injuries, as well as, rehabilitative care and reimbursement for other costs including:
- Lost wages due to time off work;
- Compensation for damage to your vehicle or other personal property;
- The cost of a rental car;
- Substantial compensation over and above what is mentioned above, including compensation for pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and more.
2. You do not have to do what the insurance company tells you to do. You have rights concerning everything, including which doctors you can consult and treat with.
3. You need to be very careful who you trust for advice and guidance. Remember, even your own insurance company will be looking out for its own interest, not yours.
4. The other party’s insurance company and their lawyers are definitely not on your side and should not be trusted.
5. You have the right to be represented by an attorney.
6. You do not need to agree to anything or sign anything until you have been advised by an attorney of your choosing.
Florida Personal Injury Laws
Florida personal injury statutes allow victims to recover for injuries to their person or property. If you have been injured in an accident, the person who caused the accident may be held liable for your injuries using one of the following three standards
2. Strict Liability
3. Intentional Torts
Negligence is the standard used in most personal injury cases. Negligence essentially means that the defendant failed to act with a reasonable amount of care for your safety and this caused you to be injured.
An international tort is one in which the defendant intended to cause you harm. Battery, for example, is an intentional tort.
In strict liability cases, the law is neither concerned with the defendant’s state of mind at the time of the injury nor whether the defendant acted negligently. All that matters is that you were injured and that the law holds the defendant liable. Dog bites and some injuries caused by defective products are examples of strict liability cases.
Proving Negligence In A Florida Personal Injury Case
The vast majority of personal injury cases will require you to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
● Car accidents
● Truck accidents
● Motorcycle accidents
● Slip and fall accident
● Premises liability injuries
● Product liability injuries
● Medical malpractice, and
● Wrongful death cases
There are four elements of negligence that must be proven in order for you to succeed in a Florida personal injury case. These include:
1. Duty of Care
2. Breach of Duty
3. Damages, and
Duty of Care
Duty of care refers to a legal duty owed to you by the defendant. Essentially, it means that the defendant was required to do everything that a “reasonable” person would do under the circumstances to prevent you from being harmed.
Breach of Duty of Care
You must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to you. Recall that the duty of care uses a “reasonableness” standard, meaning that a defendant is only required to take reasonable steps to prevent you from being or harm.
You must show that you suffered damages (injuries and losses) as a result of the defendant’s conduct.
Finally, you must show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause, or a cause, of the damages you suffered.
Comparative Negligence in Florida
Florida is a comparative negligence state. Comparative negligence apportions fault when the victim of an accident is found to have contributed to the accident in which they were injured. In Florida, if you are found to be partly at fault for the accident in which you were injured, the amount of compensation that you can recover will be reduced by your own percentage of fault.
For example, suppose you were found to be 10% at the fault and the defendant was found 90% at fault. Then, if a jury awards you $500,000 for your damages, you will only be able to recover from the defendant $450,000 ($500,000 – 10%).
What Types Of Damages Are Available To You In A Florida Personal Injury Claim?
The first thing you need to remember is that personal injury lawsuits typically arise from motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, defective products, dog bites, acts of intentional recklessness, etc.
With the exceptions of accidents involving the negligence of a third-party unrelated to your employer, personal injury cases don’t arise from work-related injuries. Compensation for work-related injuries is obtained through the state’s workers’ compensation system, which has a very different set of rules.
But, for the other types of accidents mentioned above, the types of damages available through a personal injury lawsuit boil down to the following:
● Medical bills
● Lost wages
● Damage to Property
● Pain and Suffering/Loss of Consortium
Damages for medical bills can include compensation for both past and future medical expenses. Past medical expenses in Florida refers to the full amount that you have been billed for medical treatment needed to address the injuries you sustained in your personal injury accident.
Future medical expenses depend on how certain your doctors are that you will need further treatment and how well this can be demonstrated. If your doctors only tell you that you mightneed future medical treatment, but can’t say when, future medical expenses are speculative and you are unlikely to recover them. However, if the doctor is able to tell you that you will need a specific treatment, at a specific time, then it’s more likely that you will be able to recover damages for future medical expenses.
Like medical expenses, lost wages can be both past and future. Past lost wages are usually easy to calculate and include the amount of income you have actually missed from your paychecks, as well as, any vacation or sick time you needed to take as a result of the accident and your injuries.
On the other hand, future lost wages are based on loss of future earning capacity. This is a much more complicated subject that usually requires an expert to figure out. Typically, if loss of future earning capacity is a factor in your personal injury lawsuit, either a vocational expert or an economist (or both) must be employed by your attorney to quantify your loss of future earning capacity.
Damage to Property
You may recover compensation for the damage or loss of personal items resulting from the accident in which you were injured. This can include, for example, damage to your vehicle, laptop, cell phone, shoes and clothing, and even lost groceries.
Pain and Suffering /Loss of Consortium
Pain and suffering refers to physical pain and mental suffering that is associated with your injuries. Loss of consortium refers to the loss of services, household support, and affection suffered by a spouse who has lost his or her partner or child who has lost his or her parent.
Pain and suffering and loss of consortium are very difficult to quantify. Because of this, juries award widely different amounts of damages for the same set of circumstances with regard to pain and suffering and loss of consortium.
How Working With An Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
The last thing to understand about the damages you may recover after being injured in a personal injury accident is that working with an experienced attorney will increase your recovery.
Multiple studies have shown that personal injury claimants who are represented by an attorney recover as much as 50% more than those who are not. This is because insurance companies routinely determine how much they are willing to payout based on how likely they are to lose in court.
When an attorney is involved, the insurance company recognizes that it is much more likely to lose because an experienced personal injury attorney knows how the court system works and how to conduct a trial. Individuals who represent themselves rarely know these things and are therefore less likely to prevail at trial.
Lorenzo Law: Florida Personal Injury Law Firm
Personal injuries are often accompanied by devastating medical bills and lost income. Insurance companies and big businesses have experienced insurance adjusters, lawyers, and investigators already working to protect against having to pay you fairly for your claim.
If you have been injured in an accident Florida, don’t wait. Consult with an experienced Florida personal injury lawyer at Lorenzo Law right away. We can assist you in recovering every bit of compensation that you are entitled and deserve to receive.
Call us at (305) 999-5411, or get in touch with us here online. We have offices in Broward and Fort Lauderdale, serving Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County including West Palm Beach.