Personal Injury Attorney Delray Beach
Getting into any kind of accident, especially one that you are injured in, can be very disruptive to your life, and can have serious consequences that go far beyond the injury itself. You will likely run into a variety of economic and financial issues as a result of these injuries and will need to figure out how to best address these problems in order to move forward with your life and get past this experience. In an instance where someone else caused the accident, they should also be held liable for the consequences of the accident, including all of the financial issues that you will need to endure because of their negligence or recklessness.
In a situation where an accident was caused by someone’s actions (or inactions) that led to other people being injured, this person is responsible for the accident and will need to make sure that the victims are covered under a personal injury claim against them or their insurance company. There is a wide range of instances where someone may be able to seek personal injury damages against someone in the form of a personal injury claim, whether through direct negotiations or a lawsuit and trial in the Florida courts. The path forward to a settlement depends on many different specifics of the accident, all of which you will be able to ascertain with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney like Shane M. Farnsworth, P.A.
When you hire a personal injury lawyer in Delray Beach, you can be confident that you have the support and help of a professional with years of experience helping clients in similar situations as your own get the money and care that they rightfully deserve. Whether you are dealing with an insurance company or directly with the party responsible for your injuries, you can be certain of one thing: the other side’s main goal will be to resolve this case with minimal financial impact for themselves. Therefore, you will need to fight to get what you deserve.
Read more below about personal injury cases in Florida, such as how a claim process works, what you can expect when working with an insurance company, examples of common personal injuries, and answers to some frequently asked questions about these types of civil cases. The following information is intended to give you a brief, general overview of what you can expect as you start your own journey towards getting the money that you need and deserve, but the best way to learn about how your specific situation can benefit from the help of an attorney like Shane M. Farnsworth, P.A. is by contacting our firm now for a free initial consultation. Contact us now to request your consultation, and get started on your case as soon as possible.
What Is a Personal Injury?
In strictly legal terms, a personal injury is an injury to your person, as opposed to an injury to your property. Under this definition, a personal injury can be a stubbed toe from banging your foot off of your kitchen table or could be a traumatic brain injury as the result of a car accident. As you can imagine, a personal injury that you caused yourself, like stubbing your toe on your kitchen table, does not entitle you to seek compensation from anyone; however, in the event of a TBI that resulted from an accident that someone else caused, you are well within your rights to seek compensatory damages for the other driver’s actions.
Factors For a Personal Injury Claim
There are a few key factors that can give you an indication of whether or not you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries. Keep in mind that the following factors are very simplified, and it is likely that your situation is more complex. Again, we will be happy to discuss your injuries during your initial consultation to give you direct insight into your own circumstances so that you can understand what your next steps may look like.
The following are the foundation of all personal injury claims:
- The defendant must have had a duty to act in a certain way in order to keep those around them safe from harm (such as driving according to laws, maintaining their property, or otherwise avoiding behaviors that put others in danger)
- The defendant failed in this duty, therefore putting you at risk and causing an accident
- You were injured as a result of the accident that this failure caused
- Your injuries have measurable damages associated with them that you can seek compensation for
Essentially, a personal injury claim can be initiated if someone acted negligently or recklessly in a way that led to an accident that caused you to be injured. As you can imagine, these simple requirements mean that there is a wide range of situations that can qualify for a personal injury claim.
Examples of Personal Injuries in Florida
Car Accidents and Other Crashes
According to 2018 statistics reported by The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles in their Crash and Citation Reports & Statistics, there were a total of 402,592 car accidents reported in Florida in 2017, with nearly half of all crashes having injuries reported (166,881 in total). In these 166,881 accidents, there was a total of 254,873 injuries. In addition to this staggering number of crashes and injuries, there were nearly 3,000 fatal accidents and a total of 3,174 fatalities from all crashes.
Also included in these statistics are 6,575 bicycle crashes with 149 fatalities, 9,122 motorcycle crashes with 502 fatalities and 9,331 pedestrian accidents with 702 fatalities. There were also over 100,000 hit and run accidents reported, resulting in 215 fatalities and over 21,000 injuries.
Comparative Negligence in Car Accidents
In order to reach a decision about a settlement after a car accident, there are a variety of factors that need to be considered. We will discuss how personal injury lawyers calculate settlement amounts below, but another thing to consider in a car crash is something called “comparative negligence,” which considers the fact that each driver in an accident may have been somewhat responsible.
Once the percentage of fault has been assigned to each driver, the victim’s settlement amount will be reduced by the amount that they are held responsible. For example, if a victim’s damages amounted to $100,000 but they were 35% responsible for the crash, then their final settlement would be reduced by 35% for a final settlement of $65,000. It is VERY important that your attorney fights to ensure that any negligence assigned to you is fair and reasonable, and will not impact your ability to move forward from the financial hardships that this accident has caused you.
Slip and Fall
A slip and fall is just one example of something known as premise liability, which states that the owner and/or manager of a property is legally responsible for maintaining the condition of the property to ensure that visitors are safe from avoidable harm. A slip and fall could result from a situation such as a leaky pipe in a ceiling creating a slick spot on a tile floor in a grocery store that a patron slips on, and suffering injuries from the fall.
Some other common examples of premise liabilities are things like broken stair treads or missing handrails that can cause someone to slip and fall down the stairs, or a hole in a floor that someone can fall through and be seriously injured from.
Determining If You Have a Slip and Fall Case
There are many gray areas with premise liability: if you are trespassing, are you still entitled to legal protection from injuries? When is a hazard not considered to be a premise liability issue? While there are many specific nuances to these types of cases, the central details necessary to these situations are as follows:
- There was a hazard on the property that caused you injury
- The property owner or manager was either aware of the hazard or should have been aware of the hazard
- The party responsible for maintaining the property failed to do so
In order to make sense of your own case, contact us now for your free initial consultation and gain valuable insight into your rights and options as a victim.
When you visit an experienced medical professional for advice, guidance, or a procedure, you are well within your rights to expect that the medical professional is acting in your best interests and taking all possible steps to provide you with a positive outcome. While you are not legally guaranteed to be cured of a health malady, you are well within your rights to expect that the medical professional is upholding their duty of care.
In instances where a patient suffers additional and unnecessary injury as a result of something like a failure to diagnose a condition, an incorrect diagnosis, a surgical error, prescription mistake, or something else that causes an injury, the victim may be entitled to seek compensation from the medical professional or medical organization in the form of a medical malpractice settlement.
Florida Damage Caps for Medical Malpractice
Florida is one of more than half of the states in the United States that have imposed damage caps on medical malpractice lawsuits, which limit the amount of money that a victim can collect in a settlement. It is important to note that the damage cap in Florida is only for non-economic damages, and limits these damages to $500,000. There is no cap for economic damages since these damages are intended to compensate the victim for actual, measurable losses that they have already (or will in the future) experienced.
Calculating Personal Injury Damages
At the heart of any personal injury case is the amount of money that the victim is seeking, referred to as “damages” in legal terms. A personal injury case seeks payment in the form of compensatory damages, which are intended to, as the name implies, compensate a victim for their losses and damages. They are divided into two distinct types of compensatory damages.
Economic damages are the foundation of a personal injury case since they are the actual financial damages that a victim suffers, and are additionally used to quantify the non-economic damages explained in the following section. These types of damages include all medical expenses and costs, including ambulances, prescriptions, copayments, and even your insurance deductibles if applicable.
In addition to healthcare-related costs, economic damages also seek compensation for income-based impacts such as lost wages or reduced earning abilities on behalf of the victim. In cases where the injuries are long-term or permanent, these damages will also consider things such as disability or job-training as additional costs that the victim is entitled to.
Not all impacts of an accident are financial in nature, but this does not mean that they are no less important or less deserving of retribution. Non-economic damages include intangible impacts of an accident like the actual pain and suffering that a victim must endure from their injuries, as well as any possible emotional issues like depression or loss of enjoyment resulting from this situation.
Since these damages do not have measurable dollar amounts associated with them, an experienced Delray personal injury attorney will utilize a variety of different methods in order to reach a clear, fair, and understandable amount. One such method is by choosing a number along a scale that is intended to indicate the severity of all of these damages. Once a number has been chosen, then it is applied to the total economic damages as a multiplier in order to reach a number for non-economic damages. However, each accident is different and therefore the method to determine the value of your non-economic damages depends on a variety of factors that we will be able to explore in greater detail together.
Frequently Asked Questions about Florida Personal Injury
The following are a few common questions that we answer for clients during initial consultations for their injuries.
Does my injury qualify as a personal injury claim?
The best way to determine your options and to understand the legal context of your injuries is to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that we can speak in greater detail about your circumstances. That said, one of the first things that you can do in order to understand your situation better is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Were you in an accident that someone else caused?
- Were you injured in the accident?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to these two questions, contact us now to learn more about what your options are.
Should I accept the first offer from the insurance company?
When you file a claim with an insurance company, you will be assigned a claims adjuster who will spend the next few weeks investigating every aspect of your claim, ostensibly in order to determine how much money you deserve. Unfortunately, this investigation is less about determining what you deserve, and more about determining how the insurance company can pay you as little as possible.
When an insurance company makes you an offer after concluding the investigation of your claim, this simply means that you can initiate a series of negotiations in order to get closer to a figure that actually makes sense for your settlement amount. Working with a personal injury lawyer who is experienced with this process is the best way that you can handle this situation.