Personal Injury FAQ
Unless you spend your free time reading legal statutes, you probably don’t know much about personal injury. In fact, some individuals don’t even realize that they are victims of personal injury or that they are able to receive compensation. With this personal injury FAQ, you can learn everything you need to know about this unique area of law.
Here at Friedland & Associates, we realize that personal injury law is confusing. We want you to get the answers to all of your questions regarding your case. By working with us, you can have a better understanding of the process and what it means for you.
What is Personal Injury?
Personal injury refers to an accident that was caused by another party’s reckless or negligent act. Many accidents fall under this umbrella.
For instance, a car accident caused by a distracted driver is a personal injury. If the driver had been paying attention to the road, they might have avoided a collision. Another example of the incident is a slip and fall in a retail store. Had the store owner cleaned up the spill or had signs warning customers of the hazard, the accident would not have occurred.
If you are a victim of personal injury, you could go through a difficult time. Often, the medical bills that come with the injury are expensive. You might not be able to work, or you could miss significant time from work due to your doctor appointments.
However, personal injury victims shouldn’t be responsible for paying for another individual’s recklessness. Rather, the negligent individual should be held accountable. By filing a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for the accident.
Are Criminal Charges Enough?
In some personal injury incidents, the liable party faces criminal charges. This is often the case in drunk driving and assault cases. Every year, about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents. Although the police usually arrest the guilty individuals, an arrest may not be enough.
Consider this example: A drunk driver loses control of their vehicle and hits an oncoming car. Although the drunk driver has minimal injuries, the other driver has serious injuries. The police arrest the drunk driver and they receive a harsh sentence.
However, the victim of the accident has a long road to recovery. They also have piles of medical bills to pay. Because the victim’s injuries are permanent, they can no longer work. In this situation, the victim deserves compensation. Criminal charges cannot award compensation to the victim. But a civil lawsuit can. With a personal injury lawsuit, the victim can receive money for their present and future damages.
It’s worth noting that the outcome of a criminal case does not impact the outcome of the civil case. The burden of proof is greater for criminal cases than it is for civil cases. Therefore, an individual could receive a verdict of not guilty for a criminal case, but be responsible for damages through the civil case.
What Are the Damages?
If you have a successful personal injury claim, you can recover damages for the accident. The type of damages you receive depends on your state’s laws. However, Floridians can recover damages for past and future medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.
Some states have limitations on how much money you can receive. Known as damage caps, these prevent victims from receiving excessive compensation. Usually, they only limit non-economic damages. However, some states limit economic damages on malpractice cases.
It’s impossible to say how much money your case is worth. Because every case involves different circumstances, there is no way to guess the value of yours. However, you can speak to an attorney to get an estimate. They consider the cost of your medical bills, the severity of your injuries, and the amount of time you missed from work. Although some of the damages have firm monetary values, the non-economic damages are harder to measure.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
Most often the victims of personal injury claims file the lawsuit, but that isn’t always the case. A spouse can file for their partner, or a parent can file for their children. If the victim dies in the accident, a loved one can file a wrongful death claim against the liable party.
If a spouse files, they may be able to receive money for a loss of services. For example, their spouse might be incapable of mowing the lawn. They could receive money for lawn services. The same is true for loss of consortium. If the couple can no longer engage in a certain activity, this is factored into the compensation. You should speak to a personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to learn more.
What Is the Timeline For a Claim?
Some claims can come to a quick resolution, while others can take years. The outcome depends on several factors. Perhaps the most important factor is whether or not you settle out of court. Because settlements don’t involve a trial, they are quicker than cases that go to court. Most cases end with settlements.
If your case does go to court, it could take some time to resolve. The availability of the court, straightforwardness of the case, and your legal representation all affect the timeline.
The sooner you file, the sooner you can resolve your case. But there’s another reason to file quickly. If you wait too long to file a lawsuit, you put your case at risk. Every state has a different statute of limitations on filing the claim. In Florida, you must file within four years from the date of the accident.
There are a few exceptions to the statute. Therefore, you should work with an attorney to learn more about your deadline. By filing early on, you can avoid missing the deadline.
What Are Your Chances Of Winning?
The details of your case impact your chances of a good outcome. Typically, the more obvious the act of negligence, the better your chances. Your legal representation also plays a crucial role.
By working with a personal injury attorney Fort Lauderdale who has extensive knowledge of the law, you can improve your chances of a positive outcome. Contact us at Friedland & Associates to learn more.