Do I Have A Personal Injury Case?
Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions in Florida Injury Law
If you have been recently injured and have consequently experienced costly medical bills or the inability to work, you are probably wondering, “Do I have a personal injury case?”
First, before running off to hire an injury lawyer, take a few minutes to determine whether or not you have a legit injury compensation claim, and also review some of the other most commonly asked questions by injury victims.
How does Florida Law entitle you to an injury compensation claim?
Under the laws of the State of Florida, an individual is entitled to receive compensation for his or her injury if the following is proved:
- The person or party owed you a duty of care and breached that legal duty in causing your injury. This concept is generally referred to as “negligence.”
- In consequence of the response party’s action(s) (or lack thereof), you suffered some form of losses or damages (e.g., lost wages, disability, property damage, or medical expenses).
If you schedule a free consultation with Collingsworth Law, we will review the facts of your case and can determine whether the above test has been satisfied.
For further insight, read how Florida’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals interprets the theory of negligence here, in the 2011 case, Downs v. U.S. Army Corps.
For What Types of Damages Can I Sue for and Recover?
Florida is a comparative fault jurisdiction. This means that a party’s percentage of fault in causing the injury is used as a measure to determine damages. If the other party’s actions contributed to or caused your injury, they will pay for some, or all, of the losses you sustained from the accident. These losses include:
- past and future medical expenses;
- past and future lost wages;
- damaged property;
- emotional distress;
- disfigurement or disability; and
- any other losses that impact your ability to work and function, perform day-to-day tasks, and have healthy relationships.
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Many people are understandably wary when it comes to seeking legal advice, because, after all, lawyer fees are typically pretty steep. However, in the case of Florida injury law, virtually all attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that you don’t pay the lawyer anything upfront; they are only paid from the settlement or verdict that is awarded in your case. In other words, you don’t pay an injury lawyer until AND unless they win your case. Lawyers typically keep 1/3 of the client’s successful settlement or verdict to cover their legal fees. To learn more about how this works, check out this post that explains the concept in more detail: Florida Contingency Fees Explained
What to consider when hiring a personal injury lawyer?
If you’re hiring an attorney, the first thing you need to do is confirm that they are licensed to practice by the Florida Bar. Secondly, you want to find a lawyer that you are comfortable. If you have been severely injured, you have a lot at stake. Because the legal process can take many months to unfold, it’s important to have a lawyer in which you trust. Don’t just consider the lawyer’s experience or past verdicts. It’s equally important to weigh factors such as the size of the firm, the law office’s distance from your home, and the lawyer’s handling of communication. Learn more about choosing a personal injury lawyer here.
Once I hire an injury attorney, what are my rights?
Whether or not you have already hired a personal injury lawyer, it’s important to know that the State of Florida provides certain protections of your rights to help safeguard you from unscrupulous lawyers. Please, do yourself a favor and read the following piece published by the Florida Bar Association: Statement of Clients’ Rights in Contingency Fee Cases.
How long do I have to file an injury claim or law suit?
In most situations, if you have been injured by another party, a fixed time period is set that defines the amount of time you have to file a law suit against the offender. This is referred to as a “statute of limitations.” Under Florida law, if you been injured in an accident, you must file suit within four years of the date of the accident. Once this date has passed, you are barred from seeking any legal claim for losses resulting from the accident.
How long does it take to go through the legal process and receive a check?
Personal injury cases vary significantly in length. Some cases settle within weeks, while others go on to trial and can persist for months or even years. Typically, the more complex the case and/or the higher the amount of damages being sought, the longer the process will be.