Personal Injury

Personal Injury

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Under Florida law, people who have been injured in accidents caused by someone else’s carelessness — the legal term is “negligence” — are entitled to recover damages from the person who caused the accident. The injured person must establish that the person who allegedly caused the accident is legally liable for damages. This applies to most kinds of injuries, with some important exceptions. Injuries sustained in car accidents, for example, are subject to Florida’s “no-fault” insurance law.

Asserting a claim for personal injury in Florida usually starts by making a claim to the other person’s insurance company, which is obligated to pay any valid claim for damages. Personal injury law therefore requires knowledge of both the Florida legal system and the insurance business. The Orlando personal injury attorneys at Cordova Law Firm PLLC have years of professional experience in both worlds. We understand the ins-and-outs of personal injury, cases, and understand how to present these cases to both to an insurance company and, if necessary, to a judge or jury in a courtroom. Learn more about how we can help you with your personal injury claim by calling us or contacting us online. Your initial consultation with us is free and confidential.

Asserting a Personal Injury Claim in Florida

A claim for personal injury requires proof that another person caused your injury, and that they are legally responsible for paying for your damages. It also requires evidence of those damages and their amount. Insurance companies will not pay a claim without this information. Courts will not allow a case to proceed unless a plaintiff can provide this evidence.

Preserving evidence is critically important to a personal injury claim. After an accident, you should obtain as much documentation as possible, including:

  • Names and contact information of witnesses;
  • Police reports or other official documents; and
  • Pictures of your injuries, or of damage to your property.

You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get the legal process started, because time is truly of the essence. Florida sets a time limit for bringing a personal injury claim, known as the “statute of limitations.” In most cases, the deadline is four years from the date of the injury. After that, Florida courts will not allow you to file a new lawsuit for damages.

Damages in Florida Personal Injury Claims

Florida allows people injured due to negligence, or other forms of fault, to recover damages for a variety of losses. These may include:

  • Medical expenses, including past, current, and anticipated future costs;
  • Lost wages for missed time at work due to injuries and treatment;
  • Damage to property;
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement;
  • Costs incurred due to inability to perform regular tasks; and
  • Emotional distress caused by the accident and/or injuries.

Proving Fault in Personal Injury Cases

We mentioned the legal term “negligence” earlier. In many personal injury cases, the injured person must establish that the person who allegedly caused their injuries is legally responsible for paying their damages. This requires proving four points:

  1. The person owed a duty of care to the injured person, such as a duty to keep their business premises reasonably free of hazards;
  2. The person failed in that duty, such as by failing to fix a dangerous condition on their property, like a wet floor;
  3. This failure caused the injuries, such as a slip-and-fall accident; and
  4. The injuries led to measurable damages, usually meaning damages that can be expressed in a dollar amount.

One major exception to Florida’s negligence law is the “no-fault” car insurance law. Every driver is required to have automobile insurance, and auto insurance companies are responsible for paying for their own policyholder’s injuries regardless of who was at fault. Exceptions apply for particularly serious injuries, but most car accident disputes in Florida are between drivers and their insurance companies, not other drivers.

Florida also allows claims for “comparative negligence,” which is a defense to a negligence claim. This involves claiming that, while a defendant might be partially at fault, the plaintiff is also partly responsible for their own injuries. If a comparative negligence claim is successful, the result is a reduction in the amount owed by the defendant. For example, if a court finds that a plaintiff was 25% at fault for an accident, the defendant will only be liable for 75% of the damages.

“Strict liability,” which holds people legally responsible for damages no matter who was at fault, applies in some Florida personal injury claims. A dog owner, for example, is strictly liable under Florida law for injuries caused when their dog bites somebody, as long as the person was not trespassing on the dog owner’s property at the time.

Personal Injury and Insurance

An injured person only has a direct legal claim against the person or people who allegedly caused their injuries. If a lawsuit becomes necessary, the injured person can only file suit against those parties, not their insurance companies. Suing a person involves a great deal of expense, in terms of both time and money. Even if a lawsuit results in a judgment for damages, there is no guarantee that the person will pay. They might not be able to pay a substantial judgment.

This is why personal injury cases often focus on insurance companies. State law requires insurance companies to pay valid claims covered by an insurance policy. Few claims result in a lawsuit, and far fewer lead to an actual trial. Insurance settlements are far more common.

Contact an Orlando Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you need someone on your side to fight for your rights. Cordova Law Firm’s team of Orlando personal injury attorneys can help you. Please call us at (321) 267-3682 (CORDOVA) or contact us online today to speak to someone about your case. Your first consultation with us is always 100% free.

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