For all our laws and precautions, the world is hardly a safe place. At any given moment, whether you are driving, walking, shopping, or simply having lunch, you risk suffering the negative effects of another person’s negligence. Sometimes this negative effect is simply an annoyance, but many times it can result in life-altering injury. If you have been injured as the result of another person’s irresponsibility, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney about your legal rights and options, including the possibility of a Florida personal injury claim.
What is a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A Florida personal injury lawsuit is the action you are entitled to take when you have been seriously injured as the result of another’s negligence. This injury could be the result of a car accident, medical malpractice, slip and fall accident, a bike or motorcycle accident, or many other such incidents for which someone else’s negligent actions caused your injury.
Not all Florida injury claims will be settled in court. In fact, most personal injury cases result in out-of-court settlements between the parties and their lawyers. There are two ways to go about gaining compensation in a personal injury case:
- A formal lawsuit; or
- An informal settlement.
A Formal Personal Injury Lawsuit
A formal Florida personal injury lawsuit is the filing of a civil “complaint” by one person against another. This complaint can also be filed against a business, company, corporation, government agency, or any entity alleged to be responsible for the injury of said person.
As the injured party, your complaint must outline how the responsible entity caused your injury through carelessness or negligence. This can be achieved most successfully with the help of a personal injury attorney.
An Informal Personal Injury Settlement
An informal settlement is the “shortcut” through which most Florida personal injury lawsuits are resolved. This usually involves an agreement reached by the two parties involved, those parties’ insurers and their lawyers.
Such an agreement is often reached through extensive negotiation, and solidified by a written agreement. By signing this agreement, all involved agree to forgo further legal action in lieu of a predetermined and agreeable monetary settlement.
Once you have decided to file a personal injury lawsuit, it would be in your best interest to learn what laws govern Florida personal injury claims.
Laws Regarding Florida Personal Injury Lawsuits
Other than the statutes of limitations that state how long an injured person has to file a personal injury claim, there are not many statutes governing personal injury law. Instead, most Florida personal injury claims are decided based on precedent, which means previous court decisions. This is just one of many reasons an experienced Tampa personal injury attorney is crucial to the success of your claim.
Your lawyer will need to prove several important points in order to successfully recover compensation for your personal injury lawsuit. This includes proving that:
- The defendant owed you a duty;
- The defendant violated that duty;
- The defendant’s violation of that duty resulted in your injuries; and
- You suffered damages as a result of that negligence.
Additionally, Florida has other negligence laws that stipulate how compensation is awarded based on the degree of fault. Florida is a pure comparative negligence state but includes rules regarding joint liability. So if you were found partly at fault for your accident, the following rules would apply:
- If the other party is found 10% or less at fault, they won’t be responsible for your economic damages, such as medical expenses and lost wages;
- Anyone found more than 10% at fault but less than 25% at fault will only be responsible for up to $200,000 of your economic damages;
- Anyone found at least 25% at fault but not more than 50% at fault will not be responsible for more than $500,000 of your economic damages; and
- Anyone found more than 50% at fault won’t be responsible for more than $1 million of your economic damages.