Personal injury law covers a wide range of cases: car accidents, boating accidents, slipping and falling on someone else’s property, plane crashes and many others. A personal injury plaintiff must show that:
- The defendant had a duty to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached (failed to fulfill) that duty
- The failure to fulfill that duty was the cause of plaintiff’s injuries
If that sounds a bit technical and complicated, don’t worry. In plain English, you can generally pursue a personal injury claim if you have suffered an injury through someone else’s negligence. Your personal injury attorneys will explain what type of evidence is needed to prove your claim and help you to gather that evidence.
The plaintiff also has to prove damages. In a personal injury case, some common types of damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Property damage
The goal of a personal injury case isn’t just to get your medical bills and other direct expenses paid, but to fully compensate you for the injury you suffered. You may also be entitled to recover for less concrete damages, known as “non-economic damages.” The most common of these in a personal injury case is pain and suffering.
During your free consultation, the personal injury lawyer will ask questions to determine which types of damages you may be entitled to.
Is There a Time Limit on Filing a Personal Injury Case in Florida?
Florida law allows a personal injury victim up to four years to file a lawsuit. In this sense, Florida personal injury law is more generous than most—many states allow only two years from the date of injury.
However, you can’t afford to think that you have plenty of time and delay contacting an attorney. Although the law allows you four years to file your claim, evidence can be lost or destroyed and witnesses may not remember clearly.
The sooner you seek counsel after your accident, the better chance your attorney will have of securing the witnesses and evidence you need to prove your case, documenting information that may grow hazy over time and building a file that will put you in a strong position to negotiate for a favorable settlement or proceed to trial.
Help Preserve Your Personal Injury Claim
Immediately after your injury, you should seek medical treatment. Obviously, seeing a physician is important for your health and peace of mind, and it should be your primary concern after an accident.
Obtaining immediate medical care and following the doctor’s instructions also strengthens your personal injury claim, in that:
- The medical records will become evidence, documenting your injury
- You will avoid claims that the injury occurred later and the defendant isn’t actually responsible
- You will protect against the defendant claiming that your injuries were aggravated by failing to seek medical care
In short, seeking medical care is the best thing you can do for your health and for your personal injury case.
If you are able or there is someone with you who has not been injured and is able to assist, it is also helpful to:
- Collect names and contact information from any witnesses
- Take photographs of the accident scene
Of course, in the case of a serious accident, you won’t be in a position to gather evidence. That’s okay. Take care of yourself and see a personal injury attorney as soon as possible afterward, so that the attorney can take charge of identifying witnesses and gathering evidence.
Personal Injury Verdicts, Mediation and Settlements
A personal injury case can be resolved by proceeding to trial before a judge or jury or through an agreement between the parties, called a settlement. The best approach to any personal injury case depends on the specifics of the case, the goals of the injured party and a variety of other factors.
In recent years, mediation has become a popular option for resolving personal injury claims. Mediation assists the parties in reaching a settlement, generally with far less stress and less expense than a trial. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine which approach is best for you and your case.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer Right Away
It is never too soon after your injury to contact a personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights and options. The sooner you get an experienced advocate on your side, the less likely you are to lose important evidence.
Take the first step toward protecting your rights and getting the compensation you deserve right now. Call us at 1-800-253-5523 or fill out the free consultation form on this page.