Daytona Beach, FL – Personal injury law is a vast legal domain dealing with the rights of accident victims. Also known as ‘tort’ law, personal injury law allows victims to recover financial compensation for the damages caused by the accident, either by filing an insurance claim or by suing the person who was responsible for the accident.
If you were injured in an accident, you need to talk to an experienced Daytona Beach personal injury lawyer to understand what your rights are. Most of the cases personal injury lawyers deal with are motor vehicle accidents, but they can also help you if you were injured in a slip and fall, medical malpractice, or by using a defective product (which includes drugs or medical equipment).
Tip: Never trust an insurance adjuster to tell you what your rights are and how much your claim is worth.
Here are some important things you need to know when you’re considering filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
How to prove negligence under personal injury law
Personal injury claims are based on proving the other party was negligent and this led to you being injured. To do that, your lawyers need to show that
- The defendant had a duty of care
- There was a breach of duty
- Your injured were caused by the other party’s actions (or lack of)
- You suffered damages (economic and non-economic).
Quick example – If you are in a car accident, the other driver had a duty to care for the safety of other road users. The driver was going at 100 mph which is reckless and constitutes a breach of duty. The other car slammed into yours and you suffered spine damage and a few broken ribs. Your injuries required extensive medical care which left you with a stack of medical bills and, on top of that, you had to take time off work.
Who pays damages under Florida’s no-fault law
Florida is a no-fault law so first of all, you can claim damages under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. You don’t have to prove that it was the other driver who caused the accident at this stage. Depending on your coverage, you may be left with a lot of unpaid bills.
You need to talk to a good lawyer about filing a lawsuit.
How does the comparative negligence rule affect a personal injury lawsuit
If you file a lawsuit, the other party may try to claim that you were also partially to blame for what happened. Under Florida’s comparative negligence rule, if you were somewhat to blame your damages will be reduced by a percentage corresponding to your share of the blame. Make sure to have an experienced lawyer to counter such claims
Statute of limitations
In Florida, you have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. This is because important evidence may be destroyed or misplaced over time or you may lose track of important eyewitnesses.
How to get punitive damages
If you settle a claim with the insurance company, you can only get compensatory damages. This means economic damages for your financial losses and non-economic damages for your pain and suffering.
If you were injured in a DUI crash, your lawyers may advise you to file a lawsuit instead and seek punitive damages. You can only do that if the defendant acted with gross negligence. In Florida, punitive damages are capped at $500,000 or three times the total amount of compensatory damages, whichever is greater. If, for instance, you are awarded $300,000 in compensatory damages, you may get up to $900,000 in punitive damages.
If you were recently injured in a car accident in the Daytona Beach area, schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer at Pappas & Russell PA and let them help you with your claim.
Pappas & Russell PA
213 Silver Beach Avenue
Daytona Beach, Florida 32118
Phone: (386) 254-2941
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