Florida Personal Injury Guide

Florida Personal Injury Guide

The Florida Personal Injury Guide was created by Layman Law Firm to help residents of Brevard County who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Let us help you obtain the full compensation you deserve.

Florida Personal Injury GuideIf you are the victim of a preventable accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, it is important to know your rights as well as your options when it comes to pursuing compensation for your injuries and losses. Our Brevard County personal injury lawyers are dedicated to providing our clients with the caring and knowledgeable legal guidance they need to hold the responsible parties accountable for their harmful actions. We would be proud to assist your family during this difficult time.

Contact our Layman Law Firm, P.L., today to schedule a free consultation.

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We protect our clients’ rights and interests in a variety of types of cases, including the following:
  • Car Accidents
  • Bicycle Accidents
  • Boating & Jet Ski Accidents
  • Bus Accidents
  • Children’s Injuries
  • Motorcycle Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Pool & Drowning Accidents
  • Bodily Injuries
  • Slip & Fall Injuries
  • Trucking Accidents
  • Wrongful Death Claims

Basic Information About Personal Injury Cases

Florida Personal Injury GuideThis is a field that covers injuries caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of another. A person who has suffered some sort of injury may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, whether this is an individual or a business entity.

The injured party (the plaintiff) seeks to hold the responsible party (the defendant) accountable for their conduct by seeking compensatory damages for various items:

  • Medical expenses, including future medical treatment and care
  • Lost earnings, including future loss of earnings or loss of earning potential
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Loss of companionship (in wrongful death claims)

The specific value of a claim and the type of compensation a plaintiff can seek will vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case, the extent of injury, and various other factors. Most of the time, cases of this nature are settled out of court and are paid by the responsible party’s insurance company. There are exceptions, however, and it is therefore important to discuss your particular case with a Palm Bay personal injury lawyer who can offer insight applicable to your particular situation.

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Grounds for Accident and Injury Claims

An injured party may be able to file a personal injury claim based upon one of three primary grounds:

  • Negligence
  • Intentional Conduct
  • Strict Liability

Negligence is the most common grounds for personal injury claims. This is defined as any failure to act as a reasonable person would in the circumstances, resulting in a lack of proper caution or care that leads to the injury of another. Speeding or running a red light may be considered forms of negligence.

Though typically associated with criminal law as opposed to civil law, intentionally causing harm to another person may offer the injured party grounds for a personal injury lawsuit to seek financial compensation for medical care and other damages the injury caused. Various types of assaults and attacks may be covered under this area of personal injury law.

Finally, strict liability may grant an injured party the opportunity to sue for damages regardless of the specific intent or negligence of the defendant. In Florida, strict liability claims are typically related to dog bites, where a dog owner can be held accountable even if the dog showed no previous aggression and product liability claims, if a manufacturer produced a defective product that caused an injury.

What to Do After Your Accident

Florida Personal Injury GuideAt Layman Law Firm, we know the difficulties facing accident victims as they recover and try to pick up the pieces of their lives. We believe they and their families deserve fair compensation for their losses to help them rebuild, and we have dedicated our practice to helping these victims obtain justice under personal injury law. For over 17 years, we have assisted the people of our community who have sustained painful injuries due to negligence, and we would be proud to represent your case.

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We are experienced in countless types of personal injury cases and seek the best outcome for our clients through detailed preparation and caring legal counsel. Our attorneys serve clients based on a contingency fee basis, which means victims do not have to worry about paying our firm unless we recover compensation in their cases. If you would like to learn about your options to seek justice through a personal injury claim, contact a Brevard County injury lawyer from our team to discuss your case!

Frequently Asked Personal Injury Questions

Are There Alternatives to Litigation in a Florida Personal Injury Case?

There are several alternatives to litigation in a Florida personal injury case. The most notable example would be if your case resolves before a lawsuit is even filed. Approximately 75 to 80 percent of all personal injury claims are resolved before a lawsuit even has to be filed. For those that do require litigation or a filed lawsuit, oftentimes those cases will resolve prior to trial through mediation or settlement.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Florida Personal Injury Case?

Anyone who has been injured in Florida due to the negligence of someone else needs an attorney to represent their interests. The reason for this is very simple – chances are you are dealing with an insurance company representing the other side that’s trained to negotiate and adjust claims so that they pay you the least amount of money they can. By retaining a Florida personal injury attorney, you are hiring an advocate that’s going to represent your interests, maximize your recovery, and get you the compensation you deserve as a result of the other party’s negligence.

How Long Do You Have to Seek Medical Treatment to Be Able to Qualify for PIP Benefits?

An amended provision to the PIP statute enacted several years back requires that, if you need medical care and treatment, you must seek treatment within 14 days of your accident. If you do not receive treatment with these14 days, you will have no PIP benefits available to you to pay your medical expenses.

How Long Will It Take for My Florida Personal Injury Case to Get to Trial?

That answer depends on a number of factors. A lot of times, cases will resolve without having to file a lawsuit and won’t even get to trial. The ones that ultimately do require a trial take longer, naturally, because it takes longer for the case to make its way through the system. There’s a lot of work that has to be done to get the case ready to be tried – depositions, medical examinations, mediation, and hearings. Timelines can also vary from county to county, with a case taking longer in one county and much less time in another. There’s no hard and fast timeline for cases that go to trial. The good news is that 75 to 80 percent of Florida cases will settle or resolve short of litigation.

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How Much Will It Cost to Hire an Attorney for My Florida Personal Injury Case?

Florida Personal Injury GuideIt should not cost you anything to hire an attorney to represent you in an injury claim in Florida. All the lawyers that do injury work in the state of Florida work on what’s known as a contingency fee agreement. This means they take a percentage of what they collect for you from the at-fault party insurance company. Typically, these fees total 33⅓ percent of the gross recovery if the case is resolved pre-suit and 40 percent if litigation is necessary.

How Quickly Should I Contact an Attorney After I Was Injured by Another Person?

I would recommend contacting an attorney as quickly as possible or as soon as you certainly can after you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident in the state of Florida. The sooner, the better, quite honestly. The reason being is, if you do not contact an attorney, you’ll start to get phone calls from the insurance company for the at-fault party, and this could lead to them pressuring you to give recorded statements or to get authorization from you so they can get your medical records. Once you have an attorney, all that contact is going to stop, and the attorney that you decided to represent you then can facilitate moving your case forward in the way that he or she thinks it should be.

If I Am Injured in a Florida Truck Accident, How Will I Pay for My Medical Bills?

If you are injured as a result of a truck hitting your car, your medical bills will be paid for by your own PIP insurance, as in a car accident case. The fact that the person who hit you was in an 18-wheeler or truck really has no bearing on how your medical bills get paid. Under a PIP policy, you have $10,000 available. Medical bills are paid at a rate of 80 percent, while lost wages are paid at a rate of 60 percent. PIP will also pay for other incidentals, such as mileage to and from the doctor and prescription expenses.

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If I Have Been Injured, How Do I Find a Personal Injury Lawyer?

There are many ways today to locate a personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured. Word of mouth is certainly one of the best ways, in my opinion. Whether it be a family member, friend, or coworker, a personal recommendation is certainly a strong endorsement. You can also do your research online, read reviews, and go to Martindale-Hubbell, a lawyer rating service. I would certainly recommend retaining a lawyer that’s got an AV rating because you know you’re going to get top quality representation. Those are just some of the ways people typically find attorneys when they have been injured in an accident in Florida.

If My Health Insurance Pays Any of My Medical Bills for Treatment Related to My Accident, Do I Have to Pay Them Back?

Yes, if health insurance steps in and pays for accident-related medical care and treatment, they enjoy what’s known as a right of subrogation or right of reimbursement. This means they are entitled to reimbursement from your settlement proceeds totaling what they paid for your medical bills.

If My Insurance Company Sends a Request for Me to Do an Examination Under Oath, Do I Have to Attend?

Importance of a Personal Injury AttorneyOne of the duties you have under your auto policy is to cooperate with your insurance company. As part of this cooperation, if your insurance company asks you to submit to an examination under oath – also known as an EUO – you must submit to that examination under oath. I would never go to an examination under oath, however, unless you were accompanied by an attorney. Consult with an attorney so that he or she can accompany you to this examination under oath, if one is requested.

Should I Sign an Authorization Allowing the Insurance Company to Obtain My Medical Records?

It is never advisable to sign an authorization so that the at-fault party insurance company can collect your medical records. You may have to sign an authorization for your own insurance company, if they request one. In that scenario, I would not do that unless I had an attorney that was advising me to that, however.

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What Are PIP Benefits and What Do They Pay For?

Generally speaking, PIP benefits are available to you if you have been injured and require medical care and treatment arising out of the use, operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle. A car accident falls squarely within that definition. PIP will pay 80% of your medical expenses up to $10,000 and 60% of your lost wages, as you accrue those losses. PIP can cover other costs, as well, such as prescriptions and mileage to and from the doctor.

What Can I Recover If I Win My Florida Personal Injury Case?

There are several different categories of damages that you might be able to collect in a Florida personal injury case. You should be able to recover and collect certain economic-style damages, such as past and future medical bills and past and future lost wages or loss of earning capacity. You may also be able to recover so-called intangible types of damages, such as pain and suffering, aggravation, inconvenience, mental anguish, etc.

What Documents Should I Bring with Me to My Personal Injury Lawyer Consultation?

It is important to bring a number of things with you when you come to an attorney’s office for a consultation on a personal injury case. These include any insurance policies that might be applicable to the accident or the loss, as well as crash or incident reports. You will also want to bring any medical records that you might have or medical bills, along with any letters or correspondence from insurance companies that you might have been dealing with prior to the consultation. Lastly, if you have any photographs of the area where the accident occurred, the scene of the accident or of your injuries, bring those to your initial consultation with your attorney, as well.

What Information Should I Gather at the Accident Scene?

Collecting Car Accident EvidenceIf possible, at the accident scene, take scene photos on your smartphone, as well as pictures of the other vehicle that was involved in the crash with you.

If there are witnesses hanging around the scene of the accident, get their names and contact information, as they may be needed later to corroborate what happened at the accident scene.

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What Is Liability Insurance?

Liability insurance is a type of coverage on an automobile policy that provides for the reimbursement of damages that you have sustained as a result of a car accident. If you are hit by someone in a car accident, we typically look for bodily injury liability coverage from the at-fault party’s insurance company. Essentially, this coverage will provide you compensation for missed time from work, lost wages, and medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

What Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?

There are a lot of factors that go into determining the value or the worth of a personal injury case in Florida. These factors can include how the accident occurred, the value of the policy limit that’s applicable and, most importantly, the injuries that you’ve sustained as a result of this accident. Whether you’ve got fractures, a spinal injury, a traumatic brain injury or a strain or sprain injury, your injuries will play an important role in determining the value of your personal injury case. Additionally, if you suffered lost wages in the past or will have a loss of earning capacity in the future, those economic damages will also play an important role in assessing and determining the value of your personal injury case.

What Kinds of Fees Are Associated with Personal Injury Lawsuits?

Normally, if you have a personal injury lawsuit, the attorney that’s representing you will work on a contingency fee basis. This means that he or she will get a percentage of whatever they collect for you. Normally, in Florida, the percentage totals a third of the gross recovery, if the case is resolved pre-suit, and 40 percent, if the case is resolved or tried to a verdict.

What Should I Do If I Was Injured Due to Another Person’s Negligence?

The first thing you want to do is make sure you seek any medical care and treatment that you might require as a result of this person’s negligence. The second thing you will want to do is make sure you gather anything that pertains to the accident, whether it be an incident report or a crash report, a medical record or a medical bill, or a witness statement and photographs. Thirdly, you’re going to want to contact a personal injury attorney to assist you with the claim. Contact his or her office, make an appointment, and go in for a free consultation to see if you have a case.

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What Should I Do If the Insurance Company Offers Me a Check Right Away?

I would be very leery of accepting a check from an insurance company immediately after an accident or even shortly after the accident. The reason being is the insurance companies are trained professionals; their job is to get claims in and get claims resolved while paying the least amount possible. A lot of times, too, when a claim is presented and it’s only been a few days or a few weeks after a crash, the full extent of your injuries might not be realized. The last thing you want to do is resolve a case too soon and not receive the full value of your claim because it’s not yet realized.

Who Does PIP Coverage Apply To?

Who Does PIP Coverage Apply ToPIP applies to car accident cases only. Essentially, if you’re injured and require medical care and treatment arising out of the use, operation or maintenance of a motor vehicle – and a car accident falls within that definition – then your PIP coverage will step in and pay for medical expenses, at the rate of 80 percent up to $10,000. They will also pay for prescription expenses, if you require prescription medication, as well as mileage to and from the doctor’s office. PIP also covers lost wages that you can document, at a rate of 60 percent. The only thing that is required to trigger your entitlement to PIP coverage is if the services that are rendered are a result of a motor vehicle accident.

Why Consult with an Attorney in an Accident Injury Case?

It’s important to consult with an attorney if you’ve been involved in an accident because they are trained in the laws of the state of Florida. They know the ins and outs of injury claims and dealing and negotiating with insurance companies. Trying to go it alone or trying to go with an attorney who does not specialize in personal injury comes with a number of perils. It’s advisable that you seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process.

Will I Have to Go to Court for My Florida Personal Injury Case?

You won’t automatically be destined to try your case if you file a claim here in the state of Florida. Most cases – in fact, probably somewhere between 75 and 80% of all injury cases that are filed in the state of Florida – will resolve short of even having to file a lawsuit against anybody. The other 20 or 25% of those cases sometimes require litigation, but those, too, a lot of the times, will be resolved in litigation, at mediation or through a proposal for settlement or some other settlement device, and really only a small percentage of cases in the state of Florida will ultimately result in a trial.

Will My Florida Personal Injury Case Settle Out of Court?

Statistically, I would say the chances of your Florida personal injury claim settling out of court are high. Probably anywhere between 75 and 80% of all injury cases in the state of Florida will resolve prior to even filing a lawsuit. Those that do require litigation, a lot of those will also resolve in the litigation process through either mediation or other settlement discussions with the defense attorney. All but a very few cases will ultimately resolve prior to actually going to trial.

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Contact Our Brevard County Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured by another person’s act of negligence, you deserve the chance to fight for compensation. The Brevard County personal injury lawyers at Layman Law Firm are proud to stand up for the rights of victims. Our firm has been helping clients for almost 10 years and is driven by considerate compassion, personalized care, and aggressive zeal. Before Layman Law Firm can be an advocate on your side, however, you will need to inform the firm about all of the details surrounding your case.

Our firm is pleased to offer prospective clients a free case evaluation. By contacting our office, we can get a better idea of how we can fight for you. Don’t postpone providing us with the necessary information, so we can get to work for you immediately! In the wake of a traumatic accident, you want experts and professionals on your side, and that is the kind of people that Layman Law Firm employs. Contact us today and take advantage of our free case evaluation.