Getting proper and fair compensation for injuries and other losses after an accident is vital for a victim’s recovery. But the thought of fighting a legal battle and dealing with insurance companies and other attorneys can be overwhelming. That’s where a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney can help. For those injured due to another’s negligent or wrongful act in South Florida, having the right legal team makes a huge difference. Here is a brief guide to personal injury claims and how We Are The People Law Group can help.
What exactly is a personal injury case?
A simple definition is any situation when one person suffers bodily injury and economic damages due to someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior. Whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall on a wet floor in a store or an error made by a medical professional while treating a patient, the victim has the right to receive financial compensation from the fault party. At the Porter Law Firm personal injury victims will find professional legal representation with a personal touch. We understand that you are in pain and confused and take the time to learn everything about your case. An experienced personal injury lawyer will get to know you personally, give you honest advice and lift the burden of taking care of the legal procedures from your shoulders.
The Key Elements Of A Personal Injury Case
Before you prepare and file a personal injury claim, you should make sure that you have a case. An experienced attorney will explain to you that, according to Florida Statutes, you must prove the following four things:
that the defendant (the person you want to sue) owed you a duty of care
that they breached their duty towards you
that the breach of duty caused you injuries and loss
that you suffered economic damages as a result of the injuries and loss
It is important to remember that you cannot file insurance claims or start any legal process if you cannot prove that you suffered economic damages. The entire doctrine of personal injury law is based on the existence of economic loss.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury law is a broad category that covers a number of incidents. Ultimately, if a person or entity has a duty to someone else and breaks that duty through a negligent or wrongful act, they can be held liable for damages. And while this can create a nearly endless list of possible claims, there are a few that are more common than others.
Many people do not seek the financial compensation they deserve, because they are not sure whether they have a case. For this matter, a personal injury lawyer at We Are The People Law Group has decided to compile for you some of the most frequent types of occurrences that represent a basis for filing personal injury claims or lawsuits.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Any type of traffic accidents represents a personal injury claim:
Unfortunately, Florida has a very high rate of auto accidents. In 2019, there were 401,867 crashes across the state, leading to:
18,063 accident victims with debilitating injuries
236,753 victims with mild to average injuries
Out of all fatalities, there were:
The leading causes of motor vehicle accidents are driving under influence (drunk drivers), speeding, distracted driving, driver fatigue and failure to comply with traffic rules (yielding right of way).
When you are present at someone’s property (be it a home, a public building or commercial facility), the owner or manager of that property owes you a duty of care. This means that the property should be safe for everyone and, should there be hazardous areas, they need to be properly signaled and cordoned off.
If there is any dangerous condition at that property and you suffer an accident due to it, the property owner or manager is the negligent party and you have the right to file a claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Some of the most common examples of premises liability are:
wet or icy floors causing a slip and fall
uneven floors or driveways
exposed or unsafe electrical wiring
uncovered pools where someone may fall into.
According to laws in Florida, even a trespasser on a property is entitled to receive fair compensation for their severe injuries, economic losses and non-economic damages.
If you are injured at the workplace, in most of the cases, your employer is the liable party and you can receive financial benefits through the workers’ compensation plan. If you were complying with all safety procedures and wearing the PPE issued to you when the workplace injury occurred, then you have a case against your employer.
Even if you believe it is an open and shut case, you should still hire a personal injury law firm to analyze your case and advise you at every step of the process. Your employer’s insurance company will certainly try to fight your claim and reduce the amount of your compensation. Also, while you are not allowed to sue your employer for a personal injury case if they have a workers’ comp plan in place, there is one exception. If the personal injury attorney finds that the employer intentionally caused you harm, you have the right to sue under intentional tort and may even qualify for receiving punitive damages.
Many patients suffer a severe or catastrophic injury due to a medical professional’s negligence. Birth injury, surgical errors, treatment errors as well as failure to diagnose a fatal condition represent common instances of medical malpractice.
As an injured patient, you need an experienced attorney to prepare your claim and negotiate your fair settlement. Hospitals and clinics work with big insurance companies, whose insurance adjusters will look for any weakness in your case in order to dismiss your claim or reduce the claim amount.
This strong opposition will only get harsher since early 2021, when a court of appeal has eliminated the $500,000 cap on non-economic losses ($1,000,000 for wrongful death claims).
Types of Injuries Personal Injury Victims Suffer
Why is it important to hire a personal injury lawyer and maximize the financial compensation you will receive at the end of the legal process? The answer is: because many clients we represented suffered severe, life-changing injuries and requires extensive medical care or even life-long home care.
A car accident or workplace accident may cause:
loss of limb
traumatic brain injury
internal organ damage.
These types of injuries will keep the victim in hospital for a long time and the medical treatment bill will keep coming. At the same time, the victim will no longer receive their wages, leaving the family to struggle financially. A personal injury lawsuit cannot restore victims to the life they used to have before your accident, but it can give injured people the peace of mind that they can pay their hospital bills and will not go into debt.
How Can A Personal Injury Attorneys Do For You?
Now, let us explain you why a personal injury lawyer can make a difference in your case. After an auto accident or a slip and fall, most victims are taken to the hospital. Even if you believe that you are fine, you should still call 9-1-1 and accept the ambulance ride to the hospital. It is the only way of getting the medical records you will need later on to prove that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries.
While in hospital, you will likely be approached by an insurance adjuster representing the responsible party. They will try to dissuade you from filing a claim, stating that you have no case, or present you with a settlement amount and a waiver to sign. The only answer you should give is inform the adjuster that your accident lawyer will contact them soon to discuss your claim.
A good personal injury attorney’s job is to help the injured person recover the compensation they are entitled to from a liable party. Most of the time, this means financial compensation. Your attorney will represent your rights throughout the claims process, whether it is collecting evidence, negotiating with the insurance companies, or even going to trial. They know the ins and outs of the law and can advise you on the best legal strategies. Above all, a personal injury lawyer is your advocate during an incredibly stressful time. They should do their best to take the burden off of your shoulders.
The Attorney Will Determine Each Party's Proportion Of Fault
Once you have hired a personal injury attorney after the initial consultation, here is what happens:
In car accidents or other types of accidents, no party is 100% at fault. However, being partly at fault for your accident does not mean that you do not have a case. The state of Florida uses the pure comparative negligence principle, which means that all parties to a personal injury case can sue for compensations for their economic damages. The amount they will receive will be reduced by the percentage of their fault. Thus, a person who is 70% at fault for their car crash can still recover 30% of their economic loss. However, the other party can counter-sue, as well, being eligible for 70% of their loss (as they were 30 percent at fault).
Determining the percentage of fault as closely as possible will have a big impact on the financial compensation you may collect. Your lawyer will do a thorough investigation of the incident, relying on:
photos, videos, CCTV footage.
The Lawyer Will Identify All The Liable Parties
In some cases, the most obvious responsible party is not the only one liable to pay damages. For example, a truck driver may have been the fault driver who caused your accident. But the trucking company employing the driver or even the company whose cargo they carry may be vicariously liable.
Why is this important? A truck driver’s insurance may not cover all your financial damages and non-economic damages. However, their employer’s insurance definitely will do so.
The Personal Injury Lawyer Will Calculate Your Damages Accurately
Even if you were strong and determined enough to negotiate your own claim, would you know how much money to ask? You may have to spend a long time in hospital, require long-term medical care at home and rehabilitation therapies. You may not be able to do your job anymore.
Personal injury attorneys know how to evaluate each individual case by using their previous experience and talking to your doctors. Also, they can identify all types of compensation you are entitled to, including non-economic damages (for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life) and punitive damages (if the responsible party acted with gross negligence).
Let An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Win Your Case!
At We Are The People Law Group, we believe that anyone should be responsible for their negligent actions and compensate accident victims for their suffering and financial losses. Unfortunately, the insurance industry only cares about its profits, and not your rights.
This is why you need an experienced attorney with a proven track record of success, who can handle both claim negotiations and litigation in court, if necessary. We take the time to know you and treat you as a real person, and not a case file.
If you were injured by a negligent person’s actions, a skilled attorney at the Porter Law Firm is ready to help you, so call us: 305-800-4444