The last thing on your mind as you prepare yourself for the day is being injured in an accident. However, accidents are an unpleasant reality that we sometimes can’t avoid. Personal injuries can have a profound and long-lasting impact on your life. You may also find yourself drowning in medical bills.
Fortunately, the law in Florida allows personal injury victims to seek compensation for damages when they are intentionally harmed or injured due to the negligence of another individual or company. However, personal injury law is complex and requires the expertise of an experienced Pembroke Pines personal injury lawyer. A qualified attorney will fight aggressively for your rights and ensure that you receive full compensation for your injuries.
Here at Englander Peebles, we handle a wide range of personal injury cases and have extensive expertise in each category. We understand what you are going through and are ready to fight for you. Contact us at (954) 231-1384 to set up a free consultation to go over your case.
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Steps to Follow After Being Injured in an Accident
Personal injuries can come from anywhere (vehicle accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, etc.). After an accident, you may be feeling confused and be enduring a great deal of pain. The steps you take immediately after being involved in an accident can have a huge impact on your wellbeing and the outcome of your case. Below we have outlined some of the key things you need to do.
Assess the Situation
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you need to take a quick look around, check for any signs of further danger, and also if there is anyone who is in dire need of urgent medical attention. You also need to check yourself for injuries. Keep in mind that even seemingly minor accidents can cause severe injuries.
Report the Accident
The next thing you need to do after a car crash is to call the police and inform them about the accident. This is important as you will need them to file an official police report. While Florida is a no-fault insurance state (aggrieved parties in an accident are required to file their claims with their respective insurers instead of the at-fault party’s insurer), most insurance companies will require you to submit a police report before approving damages.
If you’ve been hurt in a workplace accident, you will need to inform your employer of your injury within 30 days from the date of the accident.
This step will be highly useful to your case. You need to document the available evidence while it is still fresh. If it is a car accident, you need to take pictures and videos of the scene, the damages inflicted on the vehicles involved, the presence or absence of tire marks, weather conditions, and so on.
If it’s a slip and fall accident, you can take pictures of the liquid you slipped on, a broken railing, or other important details. Regardless of the type of accident, you need to try as much as possible to document the cause. Also, take pictures of your injuries if visible.
Seek Medical Attention
This is one of the most important steps, not only for your health and wellbeing but also for your claim. Your doctor will need to document your condition as well as treatment. Even if you think or feel like you weren’t that injured, it is still important to undergo a full body examination as some internal injuries take time to manifest themselves. This will help to determine the true extent and severity of your injuries.
Call an Injury Lawyer
You will want to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as you can after the accident; this is particularly important if you’ve sustained serious injuries. Remember that the insurance companies, even yours, are businesses and they will be looking to pay as little compensation amount as possible. They will use everything in their power to make this happen, including using a team of highly skilled lawyers. Having an experienced Pembroke Pines personal injury lawyer on your side will help level the playing field and provide you with the best chances of success.
How Can You Know If You Have a Valid Personal Injury Claim?
When determining whether you have a valid personal injury claim in Florida, a number of factors have to come into play. How you proceed with the claim will depend on the type of accident. First, in all types of accidents, it has to be established that another party was responsible for your accident. Secondly, if it is an auto accident, for you to pursue a personal injury claim in a Florida court, your injuries have to meet Florida’s medical “threshold.”
How Florida’s Personal Injury Law Works
Florida uses pure comparative negligence for most personal injury cases and the no-fault rule for car accidents.
Pure Comparative Negligence
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that the compensation amount awarded to personal injury victims can be deducted based on the victims’ percentage of fault for their injuries.
For instance, let’s say you are found to be 20% at fault for the accident that resulted in your injuries. If the total damages you are to be awarded amount to $100,000, then you will only get $80,000 since the initial amount will be deducted by 20%.
No-Fault Rule for Car Accidents
Auto accidents are the leading causes of personal injury cases in Florida. As a result, the state adopted the no-fault system in order to reduce litigation involving car accidents. Under the no-fault system, instead of the accident victim filing a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance, they file their claim with their respective insurance company.
But you can pursue compensation from the other party in case you suffer serious injuries, and your medical expenses exceed your personal coverage. However, your injuries need to meet the required threshold:
- Permanent or significant loss of a crucial bodily function
- Severe and permanent disfigurement and scarring
- Long-term injury with a reasonable amount of medical probability
How Is Fault Determined After a Personal Injury in Florida?
In order to successfully file a personal injury claim, you or your attorney have to effectively prove the following four elements of negligence.
Duty of Care
It has to be established that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable care. This means that there has to be a legally recognized duty requiring the defendant to exercise a particular level of care to safeguard others.
Breach of That Duty
This is the failure of the defendant to perform the duty. This means that the defendant failed to act as required and breached their duty of care.
Next, it has to be established that due to the defendant’s failure to carry out their duty, the plaintiff was harmed. Is there a close causal link between the breach of duty and the injuries suffered by the plaintiff?
Breach of Duty Resulted in Harm
Lastly, it has to be established that by the defendant breaching their duty of care, the plaintiff suffered injuries or losses that are compensable by the defendant or the courts. Medical bills are an example of compensable losses.
How Much Time Do I Have to File an Injury Claim in Florida?
The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases in Florida, including auto-accidents, assault and battery, and product liability is four years. This means that such lawsuits should be filed within four years from the date of injury. In cases where injuries don’t manifest themselves immediately, for example, asbestosis, it is four years from the date of diagnosis.
What Type of Damages are Recovered for My Injury Case?
There are three types of damages that victims can be awarded in personal injury cases.
This refers to damages that can be assigned a monetary value. They are quantifiable. Economic damages include medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, etc.
This refers to intangible losses that can’t be assigned any monetary value. These include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. as a result of the injuries.
Punitive damages are not always awarded in personal injury cases. They are only awarded in cases where it is established that the at-fault party behaved in a reckless or deliberate manner, thus causing injury. Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the at-fault party and deter others.
In Florida, there is a cap on punitive damages. The awarded amount for punitive damages shouldn’t exceed $500,000 or 3 times the compensatory damages amount, whichever is higher.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Most personal injury lawyers, including us Englander Peebles, don’t charge any upfront amount for our personal injury legal services. We take cases on a contingency basis, which means that you only pay us after your case has been successfully won. We will only take a certain agreed-upon percentage from your awarded amount as payment.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for an Injury Claim?
There are many reasons why it is in your best interest to hire a personal injury lawyer. Having an attorney on your side offers you the best chances of success in your claim. So, why exactly do you need a lawyer for an injury claim?
- They will apply their expertise and experience in personal injury law to your case
- They will provide expert legal advice
- They will carry out investigations and gather all relevant evidence
- They have impeccable negotiations skills
- Can help you get the best medical attention
- They will handle all the paperwork
- Effective legal representation in court
- They will achieve faster compensation
Get in Touch With a Pembroke Pines Personal Injury Lawyer
Suffering a personal injury can have a tremendous impact on your life and family. However, it isn’t fair to bear the burden of someone else’s misdoings on your own. You deserve justice and all the financial support you can get. A qualified personal injury attorney in Pembroke Pines, Florida, will help you get the justice you deserve.
Our team of expert personal injury lawyers at Englander Peebles is here for you. We are prepared to fight for you, and we have all the resources required to help win your case. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free case review with one of our skilled attorneys.