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Breaking Down Personal Injury Damages & Settlements

Negligence Lawyer in Florida

How Much are You Entitled to Recover for Your Losses? Searcy Law Explains Damages and Settlements for Personal Injury Claims

Card with Damages Claim written on itWhen seeking financial compensation after an accident, it is important to seek compensation for all of your accident-related losses. You only get one chance to assert your legal rights in a personal injury lawsuit; and, if you leave money on the table, you could be forced to live with the consequences for months, years or perhaps even the rest of your life. Here is an overview of the types of damages you may be able to recover with the help of an injury lawyer in Florida:

Financial (or Economic) Damages

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses include all current and future costs of diagnosis, testing, treatment, surgical procedures, rehabilitation and therapy for the injuries you sustained in the accident.

Non-Medical Expenses

In addition to medical expenses, accident victims in Florida are entitled to recover their non-medical expenses as well. This includes everything from gas and ridesharing costs to the cost of hiring someone to perform household chores you are unable to perform on your own.

Loss of Income and Benefits

Lost income and benefits include all forms of compensation that you would have earned had you not been injured. Wages, salary, tips, commissions, retirement contributions, vacation days and other benefits are all eligible for recovery.

Loss of Earning Capacity

If you will be unable to work in the future, you are also entitled to compensation for your lost future earning capacity. The same is true if you will be forced to pursue an alternate, lower-paying job as a result of a disability caused by your injuries.

Property Damage

Recoverable property damage in Florida includes damage to your vehicle (in the case of an auto accident) as well as damage to clothing, electronics and other personal items.

Non-Financial (or Non-Economic) Damages

Emotional Trauma

In addition to treatment costs, accident victims can also recover compensation for the non-financial effects of their emotional trauma.

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering damages provide compensation to an injured party in accident cases beyond the easily identified economic damages. Pain and suffering includes short-term and long-term physical suffering as the injured party recovers. It also includes mental and emotional anguish, which can be immediate or long-lasting. Some examples of pain and suffering are anxiety and fear related to the trauma the victim experienced or grief over not being able to perform tasks and duties in the same way as before the accident. Reduced strength and stamina and a loss of independence in activities of daily living also contribute to pain and suffering.

Scarring, Disfigurement and Physical Impairment

Accident victims who experience permanent scarring and disfigurement can recover compensation for the physical and societal effects of the alteration of their appearance and their physical impairment.

Loss of Companionship, Consortium, Services and Support

Loss of consortium and companionship is another remedy available to the families of accident victims. The hurt individuals are not the only ones impacted in the aftermath of an accident. As the victim recovers from their injuries, their family also suffers. During the recovery period or in the case of death, the injured party’s spouse and children can experience additional losses such as: loss of companionship and affection, loss of support in caring for household responsibilities and duties, loss of parenting time and support, and loss of love and intimacy between spouses. While these are difficult damages to quantify, loss of consortium damages will not be forgotten by our lawyers when pursuing remedies for an accident.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Accident victims are also entitled to financial compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life. This is in addition to compensation for the costs of rehabilitation, psychological or psychiatric therapy, and other forms of treatment to aid in victims’ emotional recovery.

Punitive Damages are Available for Some Injury Claims 

Punitive damages are a special type of damages that exceed the actual damages experienced by the victim. Under Florida law, punitive damages are generally limited to three times the amount of compensatory damages, or up to $500,000, whichever is greater, though there are some exceptions. The concept behind punitive damages is to punish past behavior that intentionally or negligently caused the injury and to change future behavior. Punitive damages are designed to discourage wrongdoers from intentionally acting in the same or similar manner that lead to the injury. Punitive damages are also meant to improve actions to reduce negligent behavior that leads to injury. 

When the Worst Happens, Your Lawyer Can Also Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim

Accidents sometimes result in the death of a party; turning a personal injury claim into a wrongful death lawsuit. In these instances, Florida has specific instructions to juries to determine damages. These instructions allow a surviving spouse to recover lost wages the deceased spouse would have earned from the date of the injury to the date of the death, allow children to recover financial support lost due to the parent’s death and compensate the surviving spouse for lost companionship, as well as pain and suffering as a result of the spouse’s injury and death.

Settlements aren’t as Easy as They Seem. Let Our Attorneys Help

After an injury, or the death of a loved one, you have a right to file a lawsuit for compensation for your injuries and related losses. Typically, your personal injury lawsuit will involve the insurance companies of the involved parties. Our Florida injury law firm works with insurance companies to settle personal injury claims before taking them to trial. By gathering evidence through reports, witnesses, and experts, our lawyers can demonstrate the severity of your injuries or loss to negotiate with the insurance company for a fair settlement. If a settlement is reached it means that all parties agree to a compensation amount.

Although the majority of PI claims end with a settlement, if a fair number can’t be reached, our personal injury attorneys are ready to take your case to trial. 

Lawyer Presenting Settlement Sheet to Client

Factors Insurance Companies Consider When Negotiating Settlements

When deciding whether to settle a personal injury claim and then determining how much is an appropriate settlement, insurance companies consider numerous factors. Our F attorneys work with insurance companies to ensure they have accurate information to help negotiate a fair settlement for your injuries.

The At-Fault or Negligent Party

As your personal injury attorneys our goal is to show that the opposing party was at fault. The more certain the fault is, the more likely the insurance company will be willing to settle.

Seriousness of the Injuries

If your injury disrupts your typical day-to-day life, requires medication, extensive medical treatment, especially long-term treatment, or otherwise requires a long recovery, an insurance company may offer a greater settlement. 

Sometimes insurance companies draw a correlation between property damage and the extent of any injuries. For example, if your car is totaled in a highway accident, the insurance company may be more inclined to assume your injuries are significant.

Cost of Related Medical Bills

Insurance companies will also consider the cost of your medical bills, the value of wage loss and loss of earning capacity, as well as pain and suffering and other types of damages Your personal injury attorney outlines this information for all parties as part of the process of receiving fair compensation for your injuries. 

Our Personal Injury Lawyers Answer Your Questions About Florida Settlements 

After an accident you likely have questions about the personal injury claims process. At a time when you’re focusing on recovery, or helping loved ones through a difficult time, our Florida injury law firm strives to provide information that makes your experience stress-free.

Is there a minimum settlement amount? 

No, although a figure that will help with the payment of your medical bills is a good starting point, each case is unique with multiple factors to consider.

Do I get to decide if I accept a settlement or go to trial?

Yes. Your legal fate is in your own hands. Your attorney or an insurance company may offer opinions, and insurance companies may even try to influence or intimidate you. Nonetheless, no one but you can decide whether you want to settle or take your case to trial.

How much does your Florida injury law firm take from my settlement?

Searcy Denney handles personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our fee is an agreed-upon percentage of the amount of money you recover, and it is contingent upon making a recovery for you. Our law firm does not get paid unless and until we obtain a favorable settlement. 

Our law firm has no up-front fees and we’ll never ask for a credit card or payment. We fund the costs of pursuing your case, which can be significant, and you will not owe those costs unless and until you win your case or receive a favorable settlement. 

How do I collect my settlement check?

If you have settled your personal injury claim, your attorney will receive the settlement check from the insurance company in the mail. He/she will deposit the check into their client trust account, and transfer the money to you accordingly. Unless the insurance company is dragging its feet, this should all happen fairly quickly. 

Are taxes paid on personal injury settlements?

The IRS considers all incoming money to be taxable. However, there is an exception for personal injury settlements or awards. As long as your injuries are physical, your settlement amount is exempt from taxation. Income from non-physical injuries, such as emotional distress, loss of consortium, or pain and suffering, may or may not be taxed, based on a variety of factors.

Steps You Can Take to Maximize Your Potential Compensation 

As soon as possible, after being involved in an accident in Florida you should:

1. See a Doctor

After any type of accident, one of the first things you should do is see a doctor. In order to protect your health and your legal rights, you need to receive a comprehensive diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you have a claim, your health and treatment of your injuries are the most important thing. 

2. Follow Your Doctor’s Advice

Once you receive medical advice, you should either (i) follow your doctor’s advice carefully, or (ii) seek a second opinion if you have concerns about the quality of the treatment you received. In addition to prolonging your recovery, ignoring your doctor’s advice can have significant negative repercussions for your personal injury claim.

3. Preserve Important Evidence

If you took photos or video, if you have damaged clothing or other personal items, or if you have any other evidence from the accident, you should preserve it. Keep it in a safe place, and be prepared to give it to your attorney at the first available opportunity.

4. Do Not Talk to Insurance Companies 

If you were involved in a car accident, you may need to file an insurance claim promptly. But, other than this, you should avoid the insurance companies unless and until otherwise advised by your attorney. Most likely, your attorney will handle all communications with the insurance companies on your behalf.

5. Contact an Injury Law Firm in Florida

To make sure you collect evidence right away and complete all necessary steps, you will need to contact an injury law firm in Florida as soon as possible. Our firm accepts new cases 24/7, and we can put a personal injury attorney on your case immediately if necessary.

Why You Need the Help of Searcy Denney

Our reputation as a leading Florida law firm forces an insurance company to take your claim seriously. Our personal injury lawyers handle all communication with involved parties, coordinate mediations and depositions, consult with expert witnesses, doctors, and medical personnel, and act as your advocate to ensure you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries

If you’ve been injured in an accident, or lost a loved one, contact our Florida injury law firm today for a free consultation. Our legal team can review the facts of your case to determine if you have a personal injury claim. Contact us online today. 

 

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Posted By: Bud Wilder