It's difficult to foresee when you will get injured, and when an injury comes your way, it can have a lifelong effect. It can put a big dent in your financial well being besides giving you emotional and physical trauma. It is worse when you know somebody else through their negligence caused you suffering, and that's why you need to fight hard to get compensated for your loss. If you get injured in Jacksonville, FL, Clay County Personal Injury Attorney can help you seek compensation. Our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys have experience in representing injury victims of automobile accidents, pedestrian accidents, medical malpractice, and wrongful death.
Overview of Personal Injury Laws in Florida
If you get injured because of the negligent actions of another person or entity, Florida personal injury laws, allow you to sue that person or entity to recover damages that will make you whole again. But various state laws can affect your injury claim. So you need to understand the specific statute under which to file your claim. A personal injury lawyer can help you to use the appropriate law and increase your odds of getting compensation for your injury.
Here are the types of claims you can make in a personal injury lawsuit.
Vehicular Accident Injury Claims
Many Florida personal injury claims will arise from automobile accidents such as a car, truck, bus, and motorcycle accidents. But because Florida is a no-fault state, if you are involved in a motor accident, your own car's insurance will pay for your injury and damages. Similarly, the other driver's car insurance will pay him or her.
Typically, therefore, you will not need to file a personal injury claim against the person who caused the accident because your insurance policy will already have taken care of your medical expenses and lost income.
However, if you got a severe injury from the accident, Florida state law allows you to file a personal injury lawsuit. Florida law defines a severe injury to include a permanent injury or an injury that results in substantial and permanent body scarring, disfigurement, loss of a bodily function, or death.
If you think that the vehicular accident injury you got is severe, we advise you to consult our Jacksonville personal injury attorneys on whether you should file a personal injury claim.
And since the Florida Statute of Limitations limits the time within which to file your claim, you must get legal advice immediately after the accident.
Pedestrian Accident Injury Claims in Florida
Pedestrian accidents occur quite frequently in Florida. The Sunshine State is the most deadly for pedestrians in the country. About three deaths per 100,000 people occur every year compared to the national average of 1.55 deaths per 100,000 people. Over the last ten years, more than 5433 pedestrians have lost their lives through accidents.
Besides death, pedestrian accidents can cause serious injuries. When an accident occurs, the unprotected pedestrian gets the full impact of the crash. The impact throws the pedestrian several feet down the road where another vehicle could even crush him or her. The result is severe damage like the brain and spinal injuries, fractures, lacerations, paralysis, and loss of limbs.
If you were walking in the city and a car hit you, it doesn't matter if you were at fault, the driver was at fault, or both of you shared the responsibility. You are still entitled to compensation. This is because Florida laws follow the pure comparative negligence standard.
In the comparative negligence standard, courts apportion negligence between you and the other party. Even if you are responsible for 90 percent of the accident, you can still claim the 10 percent damage from the other party. Often, a jury will look at the facts of your case and apportion fault between you and the other party.
Contact our Jacksonville personal injury attorney for further advice on the appropriate cause of action to take.
Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
When your loved one dies because another party or entity was negligent, you could sue them in Florida's Courts to recover damages and losses that resulted from the death.
You can bring a civil lawsuit if you are named the personal representative of the deceased person in their will or estate plan. Florida law requires that you file the lawsuit on behalf of the dead person's estate and his or her surviving family members.
Family members who can recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case are the dead person's kids, parents, spouse, and other relatives or siblings who depended on the deceased for support.
Medical Malpractice Claims in Florida
A doctor, nurse, or any other medical professional can commit medical malpractice while treating you. But they are not liable for all malpractices. By Florida law, the medical professionals can be put to task only if the mistake they made breaches the legal standard care.
Some everyday situations that lead to liable medical malpractices are:
During the Administration of Anesthesia
When undergoing surgery, the medics give you anesthesia to make you unconscious so that you don't feel the pain.
However, a situation can arise where the anesthesia administered wears out, and you become conscious while the surgery is still ongoing. So you awaken and can feel the probing and cutting of the surgeon.
This experience is traumatizing and excruciating and can constitute a legal ground for you to sue for medical malpractice.
Incurring Injured While Admitted to a Florida Hospital
Situations have occurred where a doctor gives the patient the wrong medication, overdose, or delays treatment to the point that the patient's condition gets worse. At times doctors and surgeons can have surgery mix up and operate the wrong body part.
A 2016 study by Professor Martin A. Makary of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine revealed that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the country.
Courts consider hospitals that make such glaring mistakes to have abdicated their duty to ensure the safety and care of patients, hence could be held liable for such errors.
Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis of a Medical Condition
People expect medical professionals to have standard procedures to diagnose health conditions accurately. And this is particularly critical for life-threatening diseases such as cancer. Late diagnosis or misdiagnosis will worsen the illness and make it more challenging to treat. So when a doctor makes such a misdiagnosis, he or she can be held responsible. But you have to prove through an affidavit of an equivalent health professional that your doctor was negligent.
So, if you or your loved one suffers injury because of medical malpractice, get in touch with our Jacksonville Personal injury attorney to review your case and pursue damages on your behalf. It's essential to have a skilled lawyer on your side because professional bodies have experienced attorneys who represent them. They can easily have your case thrown out if you try to represent yourself even though you might think you have a watertight claim.
Elements of a Personal Injury Claim
To win your injury case, you must prove the four elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages.
You must prove that:
- The party or entity that injured you owed you a duty of care.
- That the party or entity breached the duty of care
- That as a result of the breach of care you got injured
- And that you can show you have damages resulting from the injury
A skilled lawyer representing you can quickly help to prove these elements in court.
Recoverable Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Damages refer to the extent of the injuries you suffered because of the accident. The losses for which you may get compensation include:
Past and Current Medical Expenses
Medical costs are easy to calculate in a personal injury case because you can have evidence of receipts from the doctor or the hospital where you got treatment. So the medical costs play a significant role in determining the total amount of money you can claim. Plus, they can also be used to estimate the damages for your mental pain and suffering. However, you need to show that the expenses were necessary and reasonable.
Expected Future and Necessary Medical Expenses
You may require medical attention in the future, say, for instance, you broke a limb and have to go back to the hospital for further medical examination and physiotherapy.
When you are too injured to go to work or when you fail to report for duty because you are attending therapy or medical appointments, you lose your wages. Thus, you are entitled to claim for these lost wages.
Lost Earning Capacity
Your injury could affect you in a way that you are no longer able to work, or you have to take a lesser paying job than the one you had before the accident. This means the injury lowers your earning capacity, and you deserve compensation for that loss.
You may be entitled to compensation if you get permanent scars or disfigurement.
Cost of Household Services
If you need to hire someone to do household services you can no longer perform because of your injuries, the negligent party that caused your injury needs to compensate you.
Besides financial loss, often an injury will cause you untold emotional distress, pain, and suffering for which you deserve compensation.
Lack of Consortium
You may lose your spouse in a tragic injury or death, thus losing your marital sexual relationship, fellowship, and companionship.
In the case of wrongful death, you could claim to recover the funeral expenses or any medical costs that you incurred.
The Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Claim
The period provided or in the Statutes of Limitations differ. Each type of personal injury case has a different time as provided for in the Statute of Limitations. So it's crucial to seek advice from a lawyer knowledgeable in injury cases because if you don't file your lawsuit within the window of the statutes of limitations, the court will likely refuse to listen to your lawsuit.
Generally, the Statute of Limitations’ period for personal injury in Florida is four years. Wrongful death and medical malpractice have two-year time limits from the date of the accident. A Personal injury claim against the government has a three-year time limit. However, the statute is two years in cases of wrongful death and includes a mandatory 180-day investigatory period.
Some rare circumstances can lead to an extension of the period in the Statute of Limitation.
For instance, the court can extend the Statute of Limitations in situations that involve medical malpractice where you discover the injury after four years expire. Or, in cases where fraud prevented the injury from being discovered, then you can get an additional two years to file your personal injury claim.
But in any event, the case must be filed within seven years from when the injury happened.
The Florida laws also allow some situations when the Statute of Limitations can be put on pause to allow you more time to file a lawsuit. One example is if the at-fault party hid his or her contact address to avoid service of process, or is absent from the Sunshine State.
Another situation that can lead to a pause of the Statute of Limitations is when the injury mentally incapacitates the victim. The law will pause and begin to run when the victim's mental capacity is restored. But regardless of what happens, you must file the case within seven years from when the injury occurred.
Although these exceptions could extend the applicable time in the Statute of Limitations, you don't have to rely on them. To be on the safe side, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer immediately after the accident to protect your legal rights.
Find a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
If you get injured in an accident or through medical malpractice in Jacksonville in Duval County, get in touch with Clay County Personal Injury Attorney. Our personal injury attorneys will review your case and represent you in court to ensure that you receive due compensation for your injury. Get in touch with us today at 904-494-8242 to file your claim before its Statute of Limitations runs out.