Do You Have a Claim? Understanding the Basics of Florida Personal Injury Cases
Florida law gives people who have been injured in accidents the right to seek compensation from those responsible. It is not always easy, however, for injured individuals who do not have experience in this area of the law to determine whether they have a valid legal claim.
At Searcy Denney, our Florida personal injury attorneys have decades of combined experience helping people get the full compensation available for their injuries. We have the resources and background to fight big insurance companies and a track record of success for the people that we represent.
It is vital that you have a proven Florida injury lawyer in your corner. Our team can guide you through the legal process with personalized attention and develop a strategy that meets your individual needs.
Negligence Claims for When an Accident Occurs
Florida law imposes a “duty of care” on people, businesses and other entities, in certain circumstances. Those who do not live up to a specific duty are considered negligent and may be deemed legally liable for any injuries that happen as a result.
To prove negligence, a person injured in a car crash, a slip and fall or another accident has to establish that the person or entity that caused the accident breached a specific duty of care. Drivers, for instance, owe others on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. Property owners owe a duty to maintain the place in a safe condition. Product makers owe a duty to ensure that their products are reasonably safe for normal use.
Injured parties must also show that the breach of the duty of care caused him or her to be injured. In a car accident case involving a drunk trucker, for example, you have to prove that the truck driver’s intoxication caused the crash and that you were directly injured in the collision. On-board computers, driver logs, police reports, witness statements and medical records can go a long way in proving your case. So can the help of a knowledgeable Florida injury lawyer.
How to Prove Strict Liability in Florida
Unlike cases involving negligence, a person asserting strict liability does not have to prove that the person or entity that caused the injury inappropriately acted or failed to act. You also do not need to establish that there was a certain duty of care involved.
Instead, the law implies a certain responsibility on manufacturers who make commercial products for sale in Florida. The product maker can be automatically liable for injuries caused by defects in either the product’s design or production, under certain circumstances. An injured person must show that the product, used as it was intended, was “unreasonably dangerous” at the time of the injury and that this defect directly caused his or her injuries.
Florida law also imposes strict liability on dog owners whose pets bite another person. The victim must be lawfully present on private property or the attack must happen in a public space in order for strict liability to apply.
What If the Accident Was Partly My Fault?
Florida is a “comparative negligence” state. That means a person who is partly to blame for an accident can still recover some money damages based on proportionate fault.
A car driver whose vehicle stops short at a red light, for example, may share at least some of the blame when another car rear-ends the vehicle. If it is determined that the lead driver is 40 percent at fault for the crash, he or she still has the right to seek up to 60 percent of the available compensation.
Comparative liability can come down to complicated and hotly contested factual debates. That is why it is it is important to have a top-notch Florida injury lawyer in your corner.
What Kinds of Compensation are Available in Florida Accident Cases?
Money damages in Florida accident cases are intended to make an injured person whole. In other words, they are meant to return the person back to the financial situation he or she was in before the accident.
Typically, the compensation available in Florida personal injury cases includes money for current and future doctor’s bills and other related medical expenses. Additional compensation is also available for any lost wages that an injured person incurs as a result of being unable to work, as well as any impact on the individual’s future earning capacity.
In cases in which a person dies in an accident, his or her family has the right to seek compensation for wrongful death. Loved ones can seek many of the same damages that would have been available had the person survived the incident. They can also seek additional compensation for burial and funeral expenses.
How Can Our Firm Help?
A Florida injury lawyer can play a key role in helping ensure that injured parties get the full remedies available to the under the law.
That starts with building the strongest possible case for compensation. An experienced attorney understands how to gather the evidence and present it in a way that establishes negligence or strict liability. He or she can also guide an injured person through the legal process, keeping them appraised of his or her rights and options along the way.
Some cases can be resolved without a trial. A Florida injury lawyer can haggle with insurance companies that often try to settle cases with low-ball offers in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Having an attorney by your side will allow you to focus on your physical recovery without the stress of having to protect your legal rights.
Contact a Florida Injury Lawyer Today
At Searcy Denney, our personal injury lawyers help injured people and their families put the pieces back together following an accident. We offer contingency fee arrangements in which we do not get paid unless you win your case.