An accident and the injuries thereof can completely change the course of your life. From physical disability to inability to work to emotional trauma, accidents have many negative consequences. When the accident is a result of someone else's act of negligence, the issue is even more complicated. A personal injury attorney plays an essential role in solving this complexity. Personal injury attorneys help victims of negligence and their loved ones to recover compensation for damages. As with other cities in the state of Florida, Palm Coast has had its fair share of accidents, including bus accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
Considering the complexity of personal injury cases, victims of negligence need to have an expert personal injury attorney who will not only defend their rights but also help them recover the compensation they need and deserve. If you are in Palm Coast, FL and you or your loved one has recently been a victim of negligence, contact our Palm Coast personal injury attorney at the Clay County Personal Injury Attorney. With our expertise and vast experience in personal injury cases, we will help you get the best possible outcome for your case, including the compensation you deserve.
The Basics of Personal Injury
Florida's laws ensure that you have recourse if and when someone else is to blame for your accident. However, for your injury claim to be successful, you have to show that your injuries are a result of someone else's carelessness or negligence. Additionally, you also need to prove that the other person had a duty not to cause injury but failed in this duty when they injured you. According to Florida personal injury laws, you also need to show that this failure of duty is directly related to the injuries you have. Another element you need to prove is that the negligent actions of the offender caused you to suffer damages. However, the outcome of your case will also largely depend on the nature and specific cause of your accident.
Personal injury lawsuits are among the most common civil lawsuits. The increasing numbers of automobiles in our cities also means that most of the cases are related to car accidents. While Florida is committed to providing recourse for victims of negligence, its laws make an exception for automobile or car accidents. As a no-fault state, parties to an accident pay for the resultant injuries and damages through their car insurance. The no-fault rule is applicable regardless of who was at fault for the accident. Since Florida is one of the states with the largest population, the no-fault law helps to reduce the number of personal injury lawsuits that go to trial by settling them beforehand. By guaranteeing some form of compensation, especially financial settlement, the no-fault law helps to pay most car accident victims in Florida.
However, an individual may still need to recover damages, especially where they feel the consequences of the accident are more than economic. Florida's personal injury laws allow such individuals to file for compensation in case of serious personal injuries. For an injury to be considered serious - a legal ground for filing a personal injury claim, it must meet specific qualifications including:
- It resulted in the death of a victim
- There was a significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- There was permanent and significant scarring or disfigurement
- Other than scarring and disfigurement, the accident caused a permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability
Injuries sustained in a car accident need to meet a specific medical threshold for you to recover compensation. The medical threshold factor seriously complicates the recovery process. In essence, the no-fault law and the requirements thereof significantly limits what you can recover for your pain and suffering in case you are a victim of someone else’s negligence. However, all is not lost! Even when it is not clear whether you have met the medical threshold for compensation or not, a skilled Palm Coast personal injury attorney will help you gather sufficient evidence to support your injury claims.
Buses are different from cars in many ways. Commuting on a bus is not only different in terms of vehicle size and the number of passengers but also with safety standards and precautions. For example, there are buses without properly-fitted seat belts while others have none. Most of these safety standards differences make bus accidents potentially more dangerous than car accidents. Passengers in a bus accident may sustain more severe injuries as a result of being tossed around the buses. The bus accident may also involve multiple vehicles. As with car accidents, the no-fault rule also applies to bus accidents in Florida. However, the fact that numerous parties may also be responsible for a bus accident complicates personal injury claims.
Injured bus passengers can only sue for compensation if the cost of damages is more than their personal injury protection (PIP) policy. Unlike in a car accident where the personal injury lawsuit is against the driver, a compensation claim in a bus accident may be against multiple parties including the bus driver, the bus company or a government institution. The parties may be responsible individually or collectively. The fact that a bus accident may result in multiple and simultaneous personal injury claims make cases involving buses to be significantly different and complicated compared to those involving cars and other standard passenger vehicles. Consequently, handling the complicated dynamics of a bus accident may require an experienced Palm Coast personal injury attorney.
Similar to buses, the large size of trucks increases the severity of injuries victims incur following a truck accident. For example, if a big truck was to be thrown off balance either because of a human error such as over speeding or because of mechanical failure, it can swing and collide with vehicles in the adjacent lane. The sheer size of a truck makes such an accident very dangerous as it can cause severe injuries, including death to passengers in the vehicles involved in the accident. Truck accidents may also severely injure or kill pedestrians and cyclists.
Even though Florida's no-fault law still covers truck accidents, similar to bus accidents, personal injury claims in a truck accident are complicated. The number of parties that are potentially responsible for the accident, including the driver and the trucking company is one of the reasons for the complication. These dynamics make it extremely important to seek the services of an experienced personal injury attorney in case you or a loved one is involved in a truck accident.
While Florida jam-packed roads make it hard for riders in cities such as Palm Coast, there are countless bike enthusiasts in Florida. However, the state is among those leading in motorcycle-related fatalities. While law expects motorcyclists to follow the same traffic rules as drivers, most do not observe the rules. Additionally, most of them lack motorcycle insurance and the required protective gear. However, motorcyclists are not entirely to blame for increased accidents. Vehicle drivers also tend to ignore the presence of motorcycles on the road including encroaching motorcyclists designated lanes.
Depending on who is at fault in an accident, you have several options in case you are involved in a motorcycle accident, including seeking compensatory damages. While motorcyclists are not required to have a PIP, Florida's no-fault system still requires them to have some form of insurance. Similar to other accidents, a victim in a motorcycle accident can pursue compensation for severe and catastrophic injuries. Whether or not you intend to seek compensatory damages, a Palm Coast personal injury attorney skilled in a motorcycle accident will be beneficial in case you are involved in a motorcycle accident.
Florida's large population and a large number of tourists mean pedestrian accidents are common in its roads. In addition to intersections and crosswalks and sidewalks are familiar scenes for pedestrian accidents. These forms of accidents not only have the potential of completely changing their victim's life, but they are also likely to be fatal. Even though pedestrians are subject to standard traffic signals such as observing and obeying traffic signals, negligent drivers, including drunk drivers, are the most significant cause of most pedestrian accidents. If you have been in a Palm Coast pedestrian accident, a Palm Coast personal injury attorney can help you sue for damages while also ensuring you are receiving the necessary medical care. With a skilled lawyer and with Florida following a pure comparative negligence standard, you may be assured of collecting some form of compensation even if you were partly at fault for the accident.
While a personal injury lawsuit focuses on recovering damages for the injured party, in case of death, those left behind may need to file a wrongful death claim. Similar to personal injury, Florida laws provide a recourse in case someone else's act of negligence kills your loved one. According to the law, the defendant owes monetary compensation to the estate or surviving family members of the deceased person. However, for it to be successful, a wrongful death claim must meet several criteria including:
- Prove that death is a direct result of the subject incident
- Prove that the negligent act of the defendant caused the death
- Prove that death results in financial hardships for the deceased person's estate
- Prove that death has directly affected you as a surviving member of the dead person's family
In addition to the qualifications, only specific people can make a wrongful death claim. According to Florida laws, only a personal representative as identified in the deceased person's will as appointed by the court can file a wrongful death claim. However, the personal representative only files the claim on behalf of the victim's estate and surviving family members. Some of the family members who may benefit from the wrongful death claims include the deceased person's parents, spouse, and children. Blood or adoptive siblings of the deceased who are wholly or partly dependent on the deceased may also recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Medical malpractice is another act of negligence by someone else; in this case, a doctor or a nurse that may cause severe injuries to a victim. However, it is not always that the doctor, nurse or any other medical practitioner is liable for their mistake. To be responsible, the defendant needs to have breached the standard of care. Some of the common areas that are prone to medical malpractice include in the administration of anesthesia. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is another common medical malpractice. A victim can sue for both economic and non-economic damages in a medical malpractice case. However, Florida laws limit the amount of compensation for medical malpractice.
Types of Compensable Injuries
While there are many forms of another’s acts of negligence that are legally compensable, many people do not deem some as worthy of pursuing. Florida's no-fault system further limits the types of compensable injuries. While some injuries or harms are easily quantifiable, many are not hence the contention surrounding their compensation. For example, in a road accident, it is easy to calculate the cost of surgery or other required medical costs, yet it is impossible to quantify the victim's emotional trauma. With the no-fault system covering basic injuries, only severe or catastrophic injuries are compensable in most accidents. These injuries include spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and other head injuries, whiplash injuries and injuries that cause the permanent of a bodily function including walking.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Personal injury claims in a no-fault state such as Florida tend to be complicated. While someone else’s act of negligence can completely change the course of your life, you may spend months pursuing compensatory damages. The no-fault system further hinders your endeavors. However, in case you or a loved one has been injured by another's acts of negligence in Palm Coast, Flagler County, FL, there is no need to panic. Our Palm Coast personal injury attorneys at the Clay County Personal Injury Attorney, have the experience and expertise to help you seek the compensation that you need and deserve. Contact us at 904-494-8242 to learn more about our services.