The Clay County Personal Injury Attorney has attorneys who have extensive experience in practicing personal injury law. We help you as our client recover compensation for your injuries. We serve our clients best by guiding them through this challenging period of their lives and help them recover damages for the injuries sustained. So, if you have sustained personal injuries and you require an attorney who is well versed in this field of law, consider engaging the services of a Middleburg personal injury attorney. We will help you understand personal injury by addressing various types of damages and elements for proving negligence.
Personal Injury Law
People often find themselves getting into accidents that may vary in nature and may be caused by a myriad of factors. Since it is almost impossible to undo an accident, personal injury law is meant to compensate the injured individual for their injuries. The compensation may be in monetary or non-monetary forms.
Damages refer to compensations awarded to the plaintiff for their injuries. The rewards come in two forms:
- Compensatory damages which are monetary and
- Punitive damages are meant for situations where the defendant acted maliciously towards the plaintiff
An injury can be defined in several ways, but basically, an injury can be said to be a breach of a person’s legally protected interests. It may include their physical and mental well-being, their reputation, or property that they own. It is common for lawsuits involving injuries to be settled out of court before a verdict is reached.
Formal lawsuits involving personal injuries start when an individual, the plaintiff, files a civil complaint against a defendant. The defendant can be another individual, government, business, or corporation. The defendant's suit is a claim for compensation for injuries sustained in an accident caused by the defendant.
Informal settlements, on the other hand, occur outside the court and are between those personally involved in the dispute, their insurers, and the lawyers representing both parties. In this case, both parties negotiate and come to an understanding in written form. The agreement is an acknowledgment of a settled matter, usually followed by the payment of an agreeable sum of money to forgo a lawsuit.
In some cases, there is a third option besides a lawsuit or an informal settlement to settle personal injury cases. This option can be in the form of mediation or arbitration. It involves a third party, the mediator or arbitrator, who guides and renders decisions in the proceedings. Both the defendant and plaintiff in such circumstances must abide by the decision made by the mediator or arbitrator.
Types of Injuries
Injuries covered under the personal injury law can be caused by various factors and can come in multiple forms. The Middleburg personal injury attorney can help you with lawsuits for injuries incurred in the following situations:
- Bus accidents
- Wrongful death
- Harmful consumer products
- Medical malpractice claims
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents, or
- Dangerous drugs and foods
Some of these injuries are further discussed below.
The Wrongful Death Act is codified under statutes 768.16 and 768.26. The law was enacted to help families or the loved ones of a deceased get compensated because of another individual’s wrongful acts or negligence. The persons allowed to claim compensation include:
- A personal representative of the decedent’s estate
- The estate, and
- The surviving family members (spouse, child, or parent) of the deceased to recover monetary damages
Elements Necessary in Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Not all victims of wrongful deaths are eligible to file a claim. Specific features must exist when applying a claim. These elements include:
- Behavior that portrays negligence, default, wrongful act, or breach of contract
- The negligence or wrongful act which the case is built on must be the cause of death, or
- The behavior must have allowed the individual to seek compensation had death not occurred
The rules of filing the lawsuit are outlined by statute 768.26 and require that all the beneficiaries of the damages be recovered be identified, and their relationship with the deceased stated.
The damages awarded are for lost companionship, pain, and suffering, and restitution for the expenses incurred after the injury occurred, leading to death and the future income of the deceased.
The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Florida is two years. Talk to a Middleburg personal injury attorney about the harm that has occurred to another person and inform the defendants who might have caused the damage on time. The reason being if the statute of limitations window expires, you will lose your right to a legal claim. The clock for the limitation period starts ticking when you discover or ought to have found the cause of death of the deceased.
Although after the statute of limitations period expires, you cannot file a claim; under certain circumstances, you can delay the limitation period, which is known as tolling. You must, however, justify your reasons for tolling the case and be ready to face opposition from the defendant. If the person filing the claim is a minor, the statute of limitations will begin when the person becomes an adult.
Limits of the Damages that can be recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The purpose of compensation is to relieve you of losses and hold the negligent party or wrongdoer liable for the injuries that you have endured due to their wrongful acts. Children can recover damages for loss of companionship, lost service, support, and parental guidance. A child will, however, not be awarded compensation for pain and suffering if there is a surviving spouse of the deceased. An adult who is the child of the deceased also cannot claim loss of companionship or pain and suffering if the claim for a wrongful death caused by medical malpractice.
Accidents involving cars range from minor fender benders to total wreckage of the vehicles involved and the death of the drivers and passengers. In most car accidents, the insurance companies pay for the repairs to the cars involved in the crash, the medical bills for the injured, and in some instances, the legal fees. If you are involved in a car accident, you can contact a Middleburg personal injury attorney to negotiate with the other driver on who should pay for damages. You can file a lawsuit if need be.
Injuries incurred in a car accident can include soft tissue injuries, whiplash, head and back injuries, and chest and neck injuries.
After a car accident, you should document the incident regardless of who is to blame for the accident. This documentation includes calling the police, contacting your insurance company, exchanging contacts with the other driver, and taking photos of the damages done. Documenting an accident makes sure that there is fair compensation for the accident. To reduce your liability in a car accident, you should stay at the scene, check on all the passengers, and drivers involved and be cautious when discussing the accident.
When determining liability in a car accident, the state traffic laws, the type of accident, and the police officer’s report on the accident are considered. You should get a copy of the officer’s story to help settle any insurance disputes that may arise.
Accidents involving motorcycles are not handled any different from car accidents. However, there are some specific considerations in this case. These considerations are helmet laws and product recalls.
In some states, all motorcycle riders must wear helmets that help prevent brain injuries during an accident. In Florida, it is not a requirement to wear a helmet if you are above 21 years of age and have medical insurance coverage that has at least ten thousand dollars.
Factors that are considered in a motorcycle accident include:
- Road conditions
- Care in maintaining the bike
- Weather conditions such as rain
- Changing tires before their worn
Since Florida is a no-fault state, motorcyclists are required to get coverage from their insurance company. They are also required to carry $10,000 for total bodily injury or $10,000 for injury per person and $30,000 for single limit liability. Florida doesn't require motorcyclists to have personal injury protection insurance.
Truck accidents differ from car accidents in two significant ways. The first is that trucks are enormous and can, therefore, cause multiple car pile-ups when they cause an accident. The second way is that when an accident involving a truck occurs, there are many insurance companies involved; the truck driver, the trucking company's, and the cargo's insurance provider.
It is a requirement in Florida for truck drivers to have a personal injury protection insurance cover worth ten thousand dollars. They are also required to have a property damage liability policy and a bodily injury policy for each person. Both of these policies should be worth $10,000.
Buses may be privately owned or owned by the state or government. If a private entity or person owns the bus, then the accident lawsuit will follow the process of personal injury and negligence cases. The government and governmental entities, however, enjoy sovereign immunity, which means that the government is immune to a lawsuit. This can change in cases where the government consents to the lawsuit. Therefore, it is imperative to establish who owns the bus involved in an accident to determine the type of suit you will file if you so wish.
The insurance policy that covers injuries incurred in a bus accident may be from a single-pool policy. The plan may cover all passengers or individual policies depending on the state in which the accident occurred and the type of injuries sustained.
Pedestrian accidents involving vehicles tend to be very severe. Some of the injuries sustained in these accidents include cuts and bruises, broken bones, paralysis, limb loss, and even death.
Pedestrian accidents can be caused by either the drivers’ negligence or they may also be the pedestrians’ fault. Some of the actions of a driver that may cause pedestrian accidents to include the following:
- Drunk driving
- Failing to signal at an intersection
- Disregarding traffic signs
Examples of pedestrian actions that may cause accidents are:
- Not using crosswalks
- Jumping in front of a moving vehicle
- Getting into traffic and disrupting the movement
- Not waiting for the walk signal at crosswalks.
Since Florida applies the pure comparative negligence standard, the jury in a pedestrian accident case will review all the facts presented. They will then apportion fault among the parties involved based on the evidence provided.
Medical malpractice covers the entirety of the medical profession. The following actions are a basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit:
- Giving incorrect medication or dosage
- Unnecessary surgery
- Performing surgery on the wrong site
- Offering poor follow-up care
- Giving the wrong diagnosis
- Misreading laboratory results
- Discharging a patient prematurely
It is a requirement that you provide the healthcare professional with a notice of intent before you start your medical malpractice lawsuit. You and your attorney must be able to prove negligence in a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In Florida, there are no limits to non-economic damages caused by medical malpractice.
Elements the Plaintiff Must Prove in a Personal Injury Case
In most of these scenarios, there is an element of negligence or fault that is involved. Negligence is the basis for most of the personal injury lawsuits. Negligence is when an individual is legally responsible for carelessly causing harm and injury to another individual. For the plaintiff to successfully prove negligence, they have to determine the following:
- The defendant had a duty to take care of the plaintiff
- The defendant acted or didn’t act in a particular way and therefore breached the duty above
- The actions of the defendant caused the plaintiff's injuries
- The accident that led to the injuries could have been foreseen
- The actions or lack of action on the defendant’s part caused the plaintiff’s injuries
Find a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
The death or injuries of you or a loved one can be emotionally and physically draining, especially if the cause of death or harm was the negligence of another person. Our Middleburg Personal Injury Attorney team will help you focus on the physical and emotional pain while we handle your compensation claim. Reach us at Clay County Personal Injury Attorney at 904-494-8242 and schedule a meeting at our office.