If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it’s best to speak to a personal injury attorney immediately. The Florida personal injury lawyers at Long, Jean & Wechsler, P.A. will review your case for free. If it qualifies as a viable personal injury case, our firm will represent you on a contingency basis. In the meantime, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the basic concepts of personal injury law.
Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
These are some of the most common types of personal injury cases that LJW handles.
Car vs. car collisions are prolific in the state of Florida and in Broward County in particular. In fact, out of the 244,000 accidents involving passenger cars in 2021, over 98,000 involved injuries or possible injuries.
Commercial trucks have a Gross Vehicle Weight of up to 80,000 pounds and often transport hazardous materials. For this reason, the government regulations regarding licensing, truck driver hours of service, drinking while driving, etc., are much more stringent than for non-commercial drivers.
Motorcycles offer little protection for riders, and motorcyclists often have a secondary impact on the road. In 2021, out of the 705 motorcycle crashes in Broward County, 574 involved injuries, and 46 resulted in death.
Slip and Fall Injuries
These cases usually occur on public access property, like a retail store, a government facility, or an office building. Slip and fall accidents rival motor vehicle accidents for the most common personal injury cases.
Broward has a high rate of boating accidents compared to other areas of the country. Because maritime law often applies to boating accidents, it’s important to hire a firm that has experience in this area of the law.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Caring for the elderly and disabled is a sacred trust. When a nursing home offers substandard care, or members of the staff are abusive, they should be held accountable. A personal injury lawyer can pursue damages through the civil court system.
The manufacturers and distributors of products have a legal obligation to ensure that the design of the product is safe, that the units are safe, and that they warn consumers of any known dangers. Oftentimes, these cases end up with plaintiffs joining together in class-action lawsuits, which may also involve multiple jurisdictions.
Medical malpractice cases in Florida can be complicated, which is why many law firms are reticent to handle these types of cases. If you are injured due to a medical mistake or a failure to provide medical treatment, you need to contact a medical malpractice law firm to represent you.
Most Florida employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. If an employee has a work-related accident, workers’ comp insurance covers healthcare bills and a portion of their lost wages regardless of fault. A workers’ compensation attorney can ensure you recover damages for your work injuries.
Florida allows family members with standing to recover damages in the event of their loved one’s death. However, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Florida is two years from the date of death.
Florida Personal Injury Laws and Legal Concepts
The personal injury laws in Florida are unique to this state. If you’ve been injured outside the state of Florida, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations is four years for most personal injury cases. That means that a plaintiff can only file a lawsuit within four years of the date of injury. In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. For medical malpractice cases, the plaintiff must file within two years of the discovery of the injury and no more than four years of the date of occurrence.
Under Florida’s comparative fault statute, a plaintiff can recover a portion of damages even if they were at fault. The reduction in damages is proportionate to the plaintiff’s liability. For instance, if a plaintiff was in a car accident that was not their fault but was speeding at the time of the accident, the court may determine that the plaintiff was 20% responsible for their injuries. In this case, the plaintiff could seek reimbursement for 80% of their damages.
There are no damage caps for compensatory damages in Florida. Punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the amount of punitive damages, whichever is greater.
Stages of a Personal Injury Case
Every personal injury case is different, but they often follow the same essential steps. Here is the evolution of a personal injury case.
- Initial Consultation – An attorney will evaluate your case, discuss the contingency fee agreement, and outline the case process with you.
- Damages Calculation – Your attorney will compile a list of economic and non-economic damages to present to the insurance company.
- File a Claim – Your personal injury lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Negotiation – The insurance company may settle or make a counteroffer that’s acceptable. If not, the case will move forward to litigation.
- Filing Suit – Your attorney will file a lawsuit with the civil court.
- Discovery – Both sides must provide the other with the evidence they’ve accrued.
- Depositions – Attorneys will depose all witnesses to the accident, including the defendant and other parties involved.
- Expert Witness Consultation – To strengthen the case, your law firm may consult with investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and medical witnesses.
- Negotiations – Both parties will continue to negotiate for a settlement. If the parties can’t agree, the case will go to trial.
- Litigation – Both sides will present their cases in civil court. The court will decide on whether the plaintiff deserves damages and in what amount.
Steps to Take After a Personal Injury
The hours after a personal injury are critical. Here’s a short list of items that will help your recovery and your case.
- Seek medical attention immediately.
- Make a police report for any motor vehicle accident.
- Document the accident scene by taking photographs.
- Don’t accept a settlement offer without first speaking to an attorney.
When you’re facing mounting medical bills and not earning a paycheck, a quick settlement can be very tempting. However, you will be required to sign a waiver of liability that will prevent you from seeking further damages.
Long, Jean & Wechsler, P.A. of Pompano Beach, will review your case free of charge. Call today to speak to an attorney.