Have you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in an accident in Miami, FL? If you sustained injuries due to someone else’s negligence or intentional wrongdoing, Florida’s personal injury laws allow you to pursue fair compensation from the at-fault party.
Personal injury law is complex, and recovering the compensation you need for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain can be an uphill battle. An experienced injury attorney can level the playing field against the insurance company and put decades of experience to work negotiating on your behalf.
Shaked Law Firm was founded in 2007 by Sagi Shaked Esq., one of the youngest lawyers to ever win a multi-million-dollar jury verdict. Our lawyers have been featured prominently in South Florida media and bring more than 100 years of experience to every case.
Learn about personal injury law in Florida and how these laws impact your case. Then, call Shaked Law Firm at (305) 937-0191 or contact our law office online for a free case review with a Miami personal injury lawyer who will fight for you.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Florida personal injury law entitles injury victims to seek compensation from the party responsible for their accident. Personal injury cases can be handled in two ways: a liability claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or a personal injury lawsuit filed in court.
Personal injury cases can be divided into three main types: unintentional torts ( negligence cases such as car accidents or slip and fall accidents), intentional torts (such as assault), and strict liability (dog bite and dangerous product cases).
The following events may give rise to a personal injury claim:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Product liability
- Defective products
- Dangerous drugs
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Sexual assault
- Wrongful death
A personal injury case can result from any type of injury caused by someone else’s intentional wrongdoing or carelessness.
How Much Is My Personal Injury Case Worth?
You may be hoping for an easy way to estimate the value of a personal injury case, but unfortunately, there isn’t one. Every case must be evaluated on its own merits.
To estimate the value of your case, we may consider:
- Whether you contributed to your accident or failed to mitigate damages
- The severity of your injuries
- The long-term impact of your accident on your mental and physical health, ability to work, quality of life, and independence
- Your total economic losses
- Whether you will have ongoing medical needs
- Whether you can return to your job
- The strength of your evidence
- The amount of insurance coverage available
The best way to assess the possible value of your case is through a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer. They can help you document your losses and calculate your claim’s value.
What Florida Personal Injury Laws Affect My Case?
Many statutes will affect your case. Florida personal injury laws govern how long you have to file your injury claim, the types of damages you can recover, and how shared fault will influence your case.
Here are some of the most important Florida laws affecting personal injury claims.
- Florida’s pure comparative negligence doctrine may reduce your damages if you share fault for an accident. Under this doctrine, you can recover compensation even if you are 99% at fault for your injuries. However, your compensation will be reduced to account for your share of the blame.
- You typically have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. This time limit is reduced to two years for medical malpractice and wrongful death claims. There are exceptions to these statutes of limitations that may pause or toll the deadline.
- Florida is a no-fault insurance state. After a car accident in Florida, you must file an injury claim against your own car insurance to recover compensation. PIP coverage only pays for 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages. You can pursue the at-fault party for additional damages if you meet the “serious injury” threshold.
Your Miami personal injury attorney can help you understand how these Florida statutes will impact your case.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case in Miami, FL?
Under Florida law, injury victims are entitled to recover compensatory damages related to their accident. Compensatory damages are divided into two categories. Economic damages compensate for your financial losses, and non-economic damages compensate for personal and subjective losses.
Your case may entitle you to compensation for:
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Disability, reduced earning capacity, and lost benefits of employment
- Current medical bills
- Future medical treatment you will need
- Home or vehicle modifications
- Domestic services
- Home health care
- Personal losses, including pain and suffering, anguish, distress, disfigurement, and reduced quality of life
Punitive damages are only available in a small share of Florida personal injury cases. A jury may award these damages to punish the defendant for extreme misconduct or gross negligence.
What is the Burden of Proof in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
Different legal cases have different standards of proof. To win a personal injury case, you must prove your case by “a preponderance of the evidence.” This means it is more likely than not that your version of events is true and the defendant is liable for your damages. By comparison, a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
How Do I Prove Fault in a Personal Injury Case in Florida?
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence. This means the defendant’s careless or unreasonable behavior caused your injuries.
To prove negligence, you must establish all four elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- Duty – The defendant owed you a duty of care
- Breach – They breached the duty (i.e., failed to act like a reasonable person under the circumstances)
- Causation – The breach caused your injuries
- Damages – You suffered damages
Causation is the hardest element of negligence to establish. You will need to show that you would not have suffered injury “but for” the defendant’s breach of duty.
You may also prove your case based on the “negligence per se” doctrine. Under this rule, a defendant is deemed negligent for violating a safety law or regulation intended to protect people in the plaintiff’s position. There is no need to prove a reasonable person would have acted differently.
Some personal injury cases in Florida revolve around strict liability, not negligence. The two main examples are dog bite cases and product liability cases.
In the case of a dangerous product, you do not need to prove negligence if you can show the product was defective in design, manufacture, or warning/marketing.
Likewise, Florida holds dog owners strictly liable for most dog bite injuries. It does not matter if the animal had never bitten anyone before.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer?
Do not let the worry of out-of-pocket costs or retainers keep you from seeking experienced legal counsel to help with your personal injury case. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. You only pay attorney’s fees if the attorney recovers compensation for you.
How Long Do I Have to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Florida?
The Florida statute of limitations determines how long you have to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, your case will be dismissed, and you will miss the opportunity to recover damages from the at-fault party.
For most personal injury cases, the statute of limitations is four years. This deadline applies to motor vehicle accidents, product liability cases, and premises liability cases, among others. Medical malpractice cases and wrongful death claims have a shorter two-year statute of limitations.
Your case may have a statute of repose. This is different from a statute of limitations. A statute of repose extends beyond the statute of limitations and sets a final deadline based on the date of the action. This may give you more time to file a claim based on when you learn or have reason to know the cause of your injury.
For example, if you are harmed by a defective medical device, the date you discover your injury is the start of the statute of limitations. However, the statute of repose begins on the date the device was placed. Suppose the injury didn’t occur or wasn’t discovered until four years after this date. In that case, you are barred from recovering compensation – even if you later suffer an injury caused by the device.
There are some exceptions to these deadlines. This is why it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible to protect your case.
How Long Will it Take to Settle My Personal Injury Case?
After reviewing the details of your case and the strength of your evidence, your personal injury lawyer can give you an estimated timeframe to settle your case. However, it’s impossible to predict how long it will take – or even if your case will settle or need to go to court.
Some important factors that influence the timeframe to settle your case are:
- The type of injury case and its complexity
- The number of defendants and insurance companies
- The estimated value of your case
- How long it takes to reach maximum medical improvement (MMI)
- The amount of time needed to investigate and build your case
- Whether the insurance company acts in good faith
- The strength of your evidence and negligence case
Keep in mind that you can generally settle a personal injury case in weeks. However, unless your injuries were minor, this likely means you are accepting only a fraction of your actual damages. The more serious your injuries and the higher your case’s value, the longer it will probably take.
Do not be discouraged by the amount of time it takes to settle a personal injury lawsuit. After all, the alternative is rushing and accepting a lowball offer that may not even pay for your short-term financial losses, let alone your long-term damages, pain, suffering, and anguish.
Call Shaked Law Firm for a Free Consultation with a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer
Have you or someone you love been hurt in an accident? At Shaked Law Firm, we are committed to holding them accountable for their carelessness and seeking the compensation you need.
Shaked Law Firm is ready to take on the insurance company in pursuit of fair compensation. Call our law office today to schedule a free case review with a Miami personal injury lawyer to discuss how we can help you.