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We are all required to use a certain degree of care in our day to day lives. All motorists, for example, must comply with traffic laws and use reasonable care when driving. Other individuals, including healthcare providers, manufacturers of consumer products, and property owners, on the other hand, are required to use even greater care, as these individuals are in a position to cause harm on a much larger scale. Fortunately, those who fail to fulfill this duty can be held accountable for their actions by plaintiffs who file personal injury lawsuits against the at-fault parties, so if you or a loved one were recently injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, it is important to contact an experienced Florida personal injury attorney who can ensure that your claim has the best possible chance of success.
Types of Personal Injury Claims
Under Florida law, those whose negligence causes others to sustain serious injuries, can be held liable for damages compensating the victim for his or her losses. Although personal injury claims can and are based on a wide range of accidents, most involve one of the following:
- Car and truck crashes;
- Pedestrian accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Animal attacks;
- Medical malpractice;
- Birth injuries;
- Slip and fall accidents; and
- Defective consumer products.
Regardless of the type of case in question, a plaintiff who is alleging negligence must be able to prove that:
- The defendant in question had a duty to use reasonable care;
- The defendant breached that duty; and
- The plaintiff suffered an injury as a result of the defendant’s actions.
Only plaintiffs who can fulfill these elements are entitled to damages compensating them for related losses.
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Plaintiffs who can successfully demonstrate that someone else’s negligence caused them to suffer an injury could be eligible for compensatory damages, which as their name suggests, are intended to compensate the victim for his or her losses. Compensatory damages are further divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages. The former refers to losses that are easily quantifiable, such as:
- Medical bills, including the cost of emergency treatment, lab and diagnostic testing, surgery, prescription medications, rehabilitation, and therapy;
- Lost wages, which includes reimbursement for time taken off work, as well as lost earning capacity; and
- Property that was damaged or destroyed as a result of the accident.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, compensate injured parties for losses that are more difficult to calculate, including:
- Pain and suffering, or the physical and emotional pain that victims endure as a result of their injuries;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Emotional distress, which can take the form of anxiety, depression, or insomnia; and
- Permanent disability or disfigurement.
The amount that a person receives in compensatory damages depends in large part on the type of accident in question, the egregiousness of the at-fault party’s conduct, and the seriousness of the plaintiff’s injuries.
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Fortunately, even when plaintiffs contribute to their own injuries in some way, they will not be barred from recovery. This is because Florida abides by the legal theory of comparative negligence, under which plaintiffs who contribute to their own accidents can still recover damages, although the amount of any monetary award will be reduced in proportion to their degree of fault. If, for instance, a plaintiff is found to be 10 percent responsible for a car accident that resulted in $100,000 worth of damages, he or she will still be eligible for an award of $90,000.
Statute of Limitations
In Florida, plaintiffs who file personal injury claims must do so within a certain time frame, known as a statute of limitations. For instance, most negligence based claims must be filed within four years from the date of the accident in question. In some cases, however, the statute of limitations is much shorter. Medical malpractice lawsuits, or claims based on a healthcare provider’s negligence, for example, must usually be filed within two years of the injury. Abiding by these deadlines is extremely important, as plaintiffs who fail to do so will almost always have their claims dismissed by the court, meaning that they could miss out on their only opportunity to recover compensation for accident-related losses.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
To learn more about how an experienced Florida personal injury attorney can help those who have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, please call the dedicated legal team at the Noakes Law Group today. We can be reached at our office by calling (561) 301-6999 or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.
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Our lawyers have the skill set and experience you’re looking for, and know how to bring forth successful claims. Call our legal team today for a free consultation for answers to your questions.