THE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS PROCESS IN FLORIDA
Accidents can happen to anyone, and hopefully, we walk away from them with few injuries. However, accidents also occur that leave victims with substantial injuries that affect all aspects of their life. When your life's on the line, it is necessary to pursue a personal injury claim to cover expenses. If you have recently been injured and would like help pursuing a claim, call me, Steven J. Litvack, to get started. My office is located in Boca Raton, Florida; however, I also help clients in Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deer Field Beach, Coral Springs, and Coconut Creek, Florida.
Personal Injury in Florida
A personal injury occurs when you sustain injuries due to someone else’s negligence, and as a result, you pursue financial compensation. Bodily injury slightly differs, bodily injury usually refers to injuries sustained as the result of a criminal act like assault and will be handled in a criminal court. Personal injury, on the other hand, is handled in a civil court.
For example, imagine you're in a car accident caused by an inattentive driver. The accident leaves you seriously injured, but the other driver did not intentionally cause the accident. In this case, you could pursue both an insurance claim and a personal injury lawsuit to recoup damages not covered in the insurance settlement. Or, perhaps you were bitten by a neighbor’s dog who escaped from their yard. The dog owner had no intention of causing you harm but neglected to keep their dog contained. They are still responsible for the dog’s actions, and you could pursue a personal injury claim.
Florida Laws Addressing Personal Injury
Florida is a no-fault state which means if you are in a car accident, both party’s insurance will cover the costs of injuries. No-fault differs from an at-fault state when only the driver who caused the accident is responsible for paying damages. This can make it easier to get initial compensation, but can also leave many expenses uncovered making a personal injury lawsuit necessary.
Florida’s comparative negligence laws also come into play in these types of accidents. The comparative negligence law states that fault can be shared by both parties in an accident. For example, if a pedestrian was hit by a car, an insurance adjuster would try to determine how much each party contributed to the accident. If the pedestrian neglected to look both ways before crossing the street, they may hold responsibility for the accident. If they were 30% responsible, then the final settlement would be reduced by 30% to compensate for their portion of fault.
In general, Florida's statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim is four years from the date of the accident. There are a few instances where you will have less time, such as filing against a government agency where you only have three years.
The Claims Process
The first step in the claims process is to contact a personal injury attorney. A personal injury attorney is well versed in local and state laws. They can help file your claim to give you the best chance of a fair result with the insurance company and file a lawsuit if needed.
First, an attorney can help you gather evidence and record all the details of the accident. Determining the details will give you a better idea of who was at fault and whether you may share any portion of the liability. They will then send a notice that you are filing a claim and make your request for compensation. There will typically be a period of back and forth communication between you and the other party’s insurance adjuster. Your attorney can help you with these negotiations to ensure your rights are protected and your needs are being met.
Damages That May Be Recovered
You can generally pursue both economic and non-economic damages that resulted from your accident. Economic damages involve medical bills, lost wages, or loss of personal property. Non-economic damages cover pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium.
Hiring a Knowledgeable Florida Attorney
Working with a personal injury attorney can help you through a difficult time following an accident and help you get a fair and complete settlement. Call me - Steven J. Litvack - today if you are in Boca Raton, Florida, to schedule a consultation. I also serve clients in Palm Beach County, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Deer Field Beach, Coral Springs, and Coconut Creek, Florida.