Navigating Florida Injury Claims: Should You Hire a Lawyer?
An injury accident always comes as a shock. One moment, you are driving, and the next, your vehicle is smashed, leaving you sitting on the side of the road in pain and waiting for an ambulance. In another case, you may be pushing your shopping cart through the supermarket and suddenly find yourself on the ground, felled by a wet floor.
When this happens to you, chances are good that while you are still recovering, you’ll find yourself beset by medical bills and facing lost income. Where are you going to get the money to replace all these losses?
When another person’s or business’s negligence has caused your injury, a lawsuit provides the avenue to total compensation.
After your accident, a claims adjuster from the liable insurer may offer to settle your claim in exchange for signing away your right to bring a lawsuit. Be warned that once you sign this agreement, you can never receive additional settlement money from the insurer, even if your expenses run higher.
What if you incur future expenses for treatment or therapy? How about your lost income? Does the settlement provide sufficient compensation for pain and suffering?
Personal injury compensation should go beyond economic damages. You have the legal entitlement to remuneration for pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Many injuries become chronic and can lead to pain and debilitation for months or years. The last thing you want to do is sign away your rights to this essential compensation.
Personal injury attorneys practice a specialty within tort law. Torts involve civil litigation for injuries caused by another person’s negligence or bad actions, such as careless driving, reckless driving or battery. A personal injury attorney understands how to build a case that the defense finds unassailable.
If you have sustained a serious injury because of another person’s actions, you deserve full compensation. Contact Rosen Injury Law to find out about your legal options.
How Personal Injury Attorneys Help Their Clients in Florida
Personal injury attorneys seek compensation for their clients through settlement negotiations, settlement conferences, and trials. Most cases involve an insurance company, such as an auto insurer, homeowners insurer, or commercial liability coverage provider. Therefore, negotiating with and litigating against insurance companies are critical skills in the practice of personal injury law.
In addition, personal injury attorneys provide advice and counsel to their clients, apprise them of the law, and gather evidence.
Some of the services personal injury attorneys provide include the following:
Personal injury attorneys meet with accident victims to advise them of their rights and evaluate potential claims. During these consultations, attorneys listen to the accident victim’s account, pose critical questions, and analyze the situation from a legal perspective. From the initial consultation, a personal injury attorney forms an opinion as to the strength of a claim and the possible legal outcomes.
In addition, personal injury lawyers detail the legal issues relevant to the accident. For example, Florida’s personal injury law follows a pure comparative negligence standard. Under this rule, the number of damages a plaintiff can collect may be impacted, sometimes severely.
Pure comparative negligence requires courts to consider partial fault and adjust damage awards accordingly. As a result, a plaintiff may receive 100% of claimed damages or a lesser number depending on the court’s findings.
For example, imagine you were proceeding through an intersection, and another driver abruptly executed a turn and hit you. Clearly, he bears fault for this accident. However, according to comparative negligence, the defense could argue that you have partial fault for the collision and deserve less compensation.
A typical defense argument would state that you must have been speeding, otherwise the defendant would have been able to complete the turn. Also, insurance company lawyers may claim that the damage to the vehicles and injuries were more severe because you were speeding.
They may lack a scintilla of evidence for these claims but may proceed with them anyway in the hope they can force a lower settlement or award. If a court agrees, it may find you 20% at fault and reduce your award by that proportion.
Your personal injury attorney regularly sees similar arguments from defense lawyers and knows how to build a case that dispels these notions and strengthens your legal position.
Describes the Legal Process
Personal injury lawyers also advise their clients on the legal process and the steps involved in a personal injury case. Personal injury cases start with the plaintiff filing a complaint and the defense responding with an answer. Then the case proceeds through discovery, which includes document requests, requests for admissions, interrogatories, and depositions. The case may then proceed to summary judgment, trials, and appeals.
Most cases settle in about 1 to 2 years at some point during the discovery process. Your attorney can detail what happens at each stage and the process of settling or trying the case.
Completes an Independent Investigation
In many cases, building a winning case entails an independent investigation. There may be elements of proof needed for a personal injury claim that has yet to be established through a car accident investigation by authorities or internal investigation by the management of a store where a slip and fall occurred. An independent investigation allows your personal injury lawyer to gather additional evidence specific to your claim.
To prevail in a personal injury case, the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:
- The defendant has a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s injury
- The damages claimed resulting from the breach
Upon reviewing the case, a personal injury lawyer may determine more evidence is needed to show that the defendant breached the duty of care. To bolster the claim, he may seek additional proof, such as surveillance camera footage.
Medical Records Evaluation
Medical records serve as vital evidence in personal injury cases. They help establish that the injury occurred and that it happened because of the incident in question. Also, they show the extent of the injury’s impact on the plaintiff, a key point when establishing special damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Accident victims often remain unaware of the damages they are entitled to until they consult with a personal injury lawyer. In some situations, clients believe they can receive a much higher amount than possible. For example, they may be unaware of how Florida’s pure comparative negligence law impacts personal injury cases.
But often, clients believe they are entitled to less until a personal injury lawyer reviews the claim. Often, people focus on the economic damages, such as medical bills and lost income, and underestimate what they may be due in special damages, such as pain and suffering. In many cases, special damages far exceed economic ones.
Personal injury lawyers advise clients on how to create evidence that helps quantify their special damages. Often, victims have long-lasting pain. By keeping a journal of how the pain impacts them, plaintiffs create a detailed record that proves invaluable in proving special damages.
Personal injury attorneys handle litigation from start to finish. The case begins with the complaint. Your attorney writes the complaint, which explains the incident and the legal basis for the claim.
After the complaint is filed, your personal injury attorney handles discovery. Discovery is a process where each side has the opportunity to see the other’s evidence and use the legal process to compel proof that assists their case. In addition, lawyers interview the opposing witnesses under oath, committing them to their answers and providing a window into what may happen at a trial.
When defendants remain obstinate, you need to proceed to trial. Often, the defense tries to delay settlements in the hope that the plaintiff will wear down and accept less; however, when they continually decline to offer a reasonable sum, a trial may be the only method that brings about the best result. For those cases, your personal injury lawyer prepares for court, presents your claim to the jury, interviews witnesses and cross-examines defense witnesses.
Rosen Injury Law Wins Their Clients the Compensation They Deserve in Florida
When you suffer an injury because of another person’s or a business’s negligence, you need a tough, tenacious litigation team at your side. Insurance companies use many tricks to avoid or reduce claims. You can expect them to employ these strategies and tactics against you.
Rosen Injury Law’s personal injury litigation specialists work every case as far into the legal process as needed to obtain the best outcomes. They provide expert advice and guidance, investigate incidents, prepare winning cases, negotiate with insurers, and try cases. Because of their excellent legal acumen and client-focused representation, Rosen Injury Law’s legal team has built its reputation as one of the foremost Florida personal injury law firms.
You deserve every penny of compensation to which the law entitles you. Contact Rosen Injury Law for an assessment of your legal options.
Related Content: What Happens If You Were Partly at Fault for Your Accident in Florida?