The following information includes frequently asked personal injury questions.
The answers stated are general in nature and are not intended to apply to every situation. Each case is different and carries its own set of circumstances which must be taken into consideration by competent legal counsel.
Personal injury is any physical or mental injury to a person that results from another person’s negligence or harmful act. Personal Injury involves civil law cases as opposed to criminal law cases which involve a defendant and the State of Florida. Personal injury often refers to bodily injury and can occur in a wide variety of ways. The following are some of the most common accidents resulting in personal injury:
- Auto Accidents
- Other Vehicle Accidents (Aviation, Bicycle, Boat, Motorcycle,Railroad, Truck)
- Burn Accidents
- Construction/On the job Accidents
- Dangerous or Defective Products
- Nursing home abuse and Neglect
- Slip and Fall Accidents/Premise Liability
- Spinal Cord Injury
- Toxic Exposure
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Wrongful Death
Personal injury accident victims are entitled to recover monetary damages for all losses and expenses sustained as the result of an accident. Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income, including overtime wages
- Pain & Suffering
- Physical Disability
- Emotional Trauma
- Mental Disability
- Property Damage
The burden of proof in a tort case, as in most civil law cases, is lower than the proof required in criminal law cases. In a criminal case, the state must prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To win a personal injury lawsuit based on tort law, the plaintiff need only prove that a majority of the evidence shows that an injury was caused by the defendant’s negligent actions. This standard of proof is called “the preponderance of the evidence.” The different burdens of proof mean that a company might be acquitted of criminal charges stemming from its actions, but be found liable in a civil lawsuit stemming from the same actions.
Premises liability generally refers to accidents that occur due to the negligent maintenance, or unsafe conditions upon property owned by someone other than the injured victim. The State of Florida requires landowners to maintain their property in a manner that does not cause injury to those that, for various reasons, visit the property. This law pertains to both business owners and home owners. Crucial to a premises liability settlement is being able to show how long the defect or injury inflicting element was there, how visible it was, and how much notice the owner had of the dangerous condition before the accident.
Most businesses and homeowners carry liability insurance to protect them in the event that someone is injured while on their property. The owner or possessor of a residence, land or place of business has the duty to exercise reasonable care for the protection of those individuals who are invited to come upon the premises; i.e. individuals visiting for business or pleasure. In such cases, the owner, company or person must inspect the premises to discover any dangerous conditions and warn the invitee of dangers upon said premises. Those injured by a negligent owner or possessor of a premise may recover damages for their injuries,including loss of income, medical expenses, pain and suffering,etc.
When a motor vehicle is in an accident, it is important that certain action is taken. The name and address of the operator of each vehicle should be obtained. Additionally, the name and address of the owner of each vehicle involved should be obtained and license plate number of all vehicles should be recorded. Lastly, the name of the automobile insurance company for each vehicle should be obtained. If possible, obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident.
If there has been any type of injury, the police should be called to investigate the accident. The police officer will write a report which includes the details of the accident and the nature and extent of any damages and injuries. Insurance companies will require that a report of the accident be obtained before providing any benefits. It is most important to immediately contact your own motor vehicle insurance company to report to them any property damage or personal injury. If you or a family member is injured in a motor vehicle accident, prompt medical attention should be obtained.
The term liability generally means that an individual, company or some other entity may be obligated to pay damages or compensation to another. The negligent driver, manufacturer or seller of a product may be responsible or liable to pay for damages, including pain and suffering and financial losses, if they are caused by their carelessness.
Every state has certain time limits, called “statutes of limitations,” that govern the period during which you must file a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, for example, you may have as little as one year to file a lawsuit from an automobile accident. When the statute of limitations expires on your case, you simply don’t have a case anymore.
Statutes of limitations differ not only from state to state, but also in regard to the kinds of lawsuits involved. In some states the statute of limitations for medical malpractice, suits against governmental agencies, and wrongful death actions is shorter than that for other types of personal injury cases. In general, however, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is from one to three years, and the time begins from the time of the accident.
The time it takes to settle a personal injury case depends on the circumstances surrounding the case. The more complex the case the longer it may take to settle. Many cases can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months to settle depending on its complexity.
A tort is a civil wrong recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. Torts fall into three general categories: intentional torts (e.g., intentionally hitting a person); negligent torts(e.g., causing an accident by failing to obey traffic rules); and strict liability torts (e.g., liability for making and selling defective products). These wrongs result in an injury or harm constituting the basis for a claim by the injured party (tort litigation).
Wrongful death occurs when a person’s death was caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another, such as careless driving or a deliberate murder. In addition to injuring the person who died, people who depended upon the deceased for financial or emotional support may be entitled to compensation for the wrongful death. The State of Florida has enacted a statute permitting a lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died as a result of a wrongful act.
Under what circumstance scan a wrongful death occur?
Wrongful Death Law provides financial compensation to the family of a person whose death was caused by the negligent, willful or wrongful act of another. Wrongful death cases are filed as a result of a variety of situations, including:
- Medical malpractice resulting in decedent’s death
- Neglect or abuse on the part of a nursing home that results in decedent’s death
- Automobile, bus, train, airplane or other common carrier fatality accident
- Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances(exposure to asbestos, etc.)
- Death during a supervised activity (sports tournament, field trip, etc.)
A contingency fee is an industry standard fee that is applied to personal injury cases and is dependent upon the successful resolution of your case. A contingency fee is a percentage of the monetary recovery obtained by counsel on a client’s behalf and is only paid if and when counsel is successful in obtaining monetary recovery, whether through settlement or litigation. The industry-standard contingency fee is about one third of the awarded settlement. A contingency fee is the form of payment earned by lawyer when he or she states that “there is no fee unless we win your case.”
If you have been seriously injured in South Florida, or within the surrounding areas of Florida, and are unsure about the outcome of your injury, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Make sure this is done before you give any official statements or sign papers of any kind. Florida laws require filing a lawsuit within a specific period of time.Depending upon the circumstances of your case, you may be prohibited from filing a lawsuit and obtaining any compensation for your injuries.
Your first consultation is always free.
Often people do not seek the guidance of an attorney for fear that doing so would be too expensive and complicated. At Levy & Levy, P.A. we alleviate those fears right away. Your first consultation is always FREE. During that first meeting you will find out whether your problem requires the assistance of an attorney and, if so, what we can do to help. Fees and costs are discussed up front. In many cases, our fees are on a contingency basis. You pay no fee unless we win your case, as our fees are paid (most notably on injury cases) as a percentage of the money you recover.