A personal injury claim is a legal action initiated by an individual who has been harmed physically or emotionally due to another person’s negligence or intentional misconduct. The victim seeks compensation for the injuries inflicted to reimburse them for expenses and other damages.
Usually, the first step is to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. However, there will be instances where the defendant’s insurance company fails to accommodate the victim’s demands adequately. Should this happen, it is possible to elevate the case to a lawsuit in civil court.
It’s helpful to understand what types of situations lead to personal injury claims, how you can recover compensation, and what a lawyer can do to help.
Table of Contents
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Personal injury claims arise from various situations, with some of the most common including the following:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips and falls occur when you lose your footing due to a slipping or tripping hazard on someone else’s property, causing physical harm. Legal responsibility rests upon the property owner to safely maintain their property.
Negligent driving is often to blame for car accidents, such as drunk or distracted driving. The person who is at fault may be responsible for your injuries and losses.
Truck accidents involve larger commercial vehicles, which often lead to severe injuries or fatalities due to their size and weight. These serious injury claims can be complicated because there are several parties who could be responsible.
If you’re injured by a dog bite, the owner may be held responsible. Under Florida law, dog bites are governed by strict liability, meaning you do not need to show that the owner was negligent to recover compensation.
This involves a situation where an individual gets injured as a result of using inherently dangerous or defective products. In this case, a manufacturer or distributor can be held liable for damages.
If you’ve been injured due to negligence by a healthcare provider, you may be entitled to compensation. Common examples of medical malpractice include delayed diagnosis, failure to diagnose, and surgical errors.
Wrongful death claims arise when somebody dies due to another person’s negligent actions. This can be through a car accident, slip and fall, or any other type of personal injury. The surviving family members can seek compensation for their loss.
Recoverable Damages in Florida Personal Injury Claims
When you pursue a personal injury claim, various types of damages can be sought to offset your financial burdens. The most common include the following:
You are entitled to compensation for medical bills linked to your injuries; for example, ambulance fees, initial hospitalization, surgeries, physical therapy sessions, and any future required treatments.
If the injury impacts your ability to work, causing lost wages, you can recover compensation to reimburse you for these losses.
Should any belongings (like a vehicle or other personal property) get damaged due to the accident, you may be able to recover repair or replacement costs.
Pain and Suffering
Often difficult to quantify, it’s possible to seek compensation for physical pain and discomfort endured as a result of the trauma.
Serious accidents often leave victims emotionally rattled, leading to mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. You can seek compensation for these harms.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
If the injuries permanently prevent you from engaging in activities or hobbies you previously enjoyed, you may be able to recover compensation for loss of enjoyment of life.
The amount and type of damages you can recover will be very case-specific, but these are some common examples.
Proving Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim
When filing a personal injury claim, proving the negligence of the other party is the primary goal of the case and must be done to be successful. There are four main elements that you’ll need to establish:
Duty of Care
The first element is demonstrating a duty of care. This means you need to show that the defendant had a legal obligation to take measures to prevent or avoid potential harm. For instance, drivers have a duty of care towards all other drivers on the road and must behave in a manner that will prevent harm.
Breach of Duty
Next, you must show how this duty was breached by the defendant. For example, a driver who runs a red light or is speeding breaches their duty of care to other drivers on the road.
After establishing a breach of duty, you must show causation. This is the link between the negligent action and the accident. In the driving example, you would need to show that the driver’s negligent behavior – like running a red light – caused the accident.
Finally, you must prove that you actually suffered damages as a result of the accident. This could include medical expenses, car repair costs, lost income from time off work, or pain and suffering.
By providing evidence of these four elements, you can prove that the other party is liable, and you can collect compensation for your losses.
How Can a Miami Personal Injury Lawyer Help With Your Claim?
A lawyer can be of great help in a personal injury claim. Here’s how:
Your lawyer will collect as much evidence as possible related to your case. This involves gathering photos, finding witnesses who saw what happened, and getting copies of medical records that show your injuries.
In the majority of personal injury claims, the case can be settled before going to trial by negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company. The goal here is to get them to agree on an amount they’ll pay you for damages caused.
If negotiations fail, meaning your insurance claim doesn’t end up being successful, your attorney can file a lawsuit and represent you at all court hearings and at trial.