Suffering severe injuries due to the negligence of another party can leave you struggling in more ways than one. Not only do you have substantial medical bills to contend with and a variety of challenges to face on your road to recovery, you may wonder about your legal rights. Do you have the right to compensation for your injuries? Who bears liability for your accident?
If you suffered serious injuries in an accident due to the negligence of another party, the personal injury attorneys at Shiner Law Group can help you learn more about the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at 561-777-7700 for a free consultation regarding your personal injury claim.
Shiner Law Group: Helping Florida Victims Recover Compensation Following Their Accidents
Following a serious accident, you need serious help. All too often, the victim ends up lost in the shuffle of the insurance paperwork, investigations, and legal jargon as they struggle for the compensation they deserve after a serious accident.
Shiner Law Group can help. We put our clients first in each personal injury claim, letting them know that they have our team on their side as they navigate the complexities of their personal injury claim.
Once retained, our team can help investigate your accident, identify all liable parties if relevant, and give you a better idea of how much compensation you deserve so you can tackle your personal injury claim with all the relevant information in the palm of your hands. Furthermore, we provide our clients with ongoing support through the personal injury claim process, helping them to better navigate the challenges they may face.
Common Florida Personal Injury Claims
You may need to file a personal injury claim any time you suffer serious injuries due to another party’s negligence. However, many serious injuries fall into the same general categories.
Every year, an average of nearly 3,000 people across Florida die in severe traffic accidents. Thousands more suffer serious injuries as the result of the negligence of another driver. Auto accident injuries can have many lasting consequences in the victim’s life, including difficulty working and taking care of daily tasks around the house or in regards to daily self-care.
Auto accidents may include:
- Big truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Rideshare accidents
Construction Site Accidents
Construction site accidents may result in serious, even lifelong injuries. Construction companies must exercise care to ensure that the construction site does not include unnecessary hazards and that people can safely visit and work on the construction site. Unfortunately, in many cases, those companies do not exercise the caution they should. Construction sites may offer electrical hazards, fall hazards, heavy equipment dangers, and a host of potential challenges that visitors must navigate.
Premises Liability Accidents
A slip and fall accident can leave you facing serious, long-term injuries that can derail your plans and leave you struggling long-term. Often, the owner of the premises may bear liability for whatever accident you faced because of their negligence. If you slipped and fell due to a faulty handrail, suffered serious injuries due to damaged flooring, or had an accident because of a spill that did not get cleaned up, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim against the party that caused your injuries.
When you put your care in the hands of a doctor, you expect that doctor to take care of you to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, doctors can make errors that lead to serious injuries for people under their care. From misdiagnosis to surgical errors, doctors can end up causing significant pain and suffering for the patients under their care when they do not exercise due caution.
Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse
In nursing homes, patients require a high standard of care to help protect them and maintain their quality of life for as long as possible. Unfortunately, due to staffing challenges, overwork, and simple negligence on the part of some caregivers, nursing home residents may suffer serious injury. The nursing home may bear liability for any neglect or abuse the resident faces while living there.
When you purchase a product, you assume that it will perform its designated function without placing you or your family in undue danger. Unfortunately, some product manufacturers may not take the steps necessary to protect your family or prevent serious accidents. Thus, you may find yourself with burns, broken bones, or severe lacerations despite using the product properly and according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Being out on the open water can feel freeing and exciting. Unfortunately, some people do not necessarily exercise the caution they should. Boats can suffer serious failures that lead to accidents on the water, or other boaters may fail to exercise precautions on the water, which may result in serious accidents. Even when everyone in the boat wears a floatation device, drowning can occur.
The Injuries Commonly Sustained in Serious Accidents
You may have grounds for a personal injury claim any time you suffer severe injuries in an accident due to the negligence of another person. However, many people suffer the same types of severe injuries—many of which can have long-term consequences.
Some common injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injury, which can cause immense difficulty with focus, concentration, or memory as well as emotional regulation challenges.
- Back and neck injuries, which can make it very difficult for victims to participate in normal daily activities.
- Spinal cord injuries, which can cause complete paralysis below the site of the injury.
- Broken bones, which can lead to immense limitations in the victim’s daily life, including at work or engaging in normal self-care tasks.
- Drowning, which may lead to death or long-term limitations, including brain damage.
- Severe lacerations, which may cause serious scarring, blood loss, and other challenges.
- Burns, which can cause immense pain and have a high risk of complications, including infection.
Talk to an attorney any time you suffer a severe injury related to the negligent actions of another party.
Determining Liability After Your Florida Accident
After a serious accident, the dedicated attorneys at Shiner Law Group work with our clients to help ensure that they can identify all parties that may share liability for their accident and, therefore, for their injuries. Many serious accidents leave more than one person liable for the accident and the injuries sustained in it.
To determine who may share liability for the injuries you suffered in your accident, our attorneys will ask several key questions.
1. What Individual or Entity Committed a Negligent Act?
Often, seemingly minor acts of negligence can lead to immense consequences for the victim. For example, a store owner or manager might think nothing of allowing a spill to go untended while handling other tasks. Unfortunately, if you slip in spilled liquid, resulting in severe injury, you may end up with lifelong consequences for that moment of negligence. Likewise, many drivers think nothing of checking their cell phones or even sending text messages while behind the wheel, but the momentary distraction of a text message can result in severe injury when it takes the driver’s attention away from the road at the wrong moment.
Other acts of negligence can also lead to severe injury. For example, a doctor who fails to check their patient’s records and prescribes a medication to which the patient has known allergies may end up setting off a chain of events that ends in severe illness or even death for the patient. A truck driver who fails to check their cargo, or a trucking company that forces its drivers to drive despite exceeding the federally limited number of hours they can spend on the road each day, may commit acts of known negligence. For the individuals injured in the resulting accident, however, those acts of negligence could result in lifelong consequences.
2. Did That Individual or Entity Bear a Duty of Care to You?
Establishing duty of care remains a critical part of the personal injury claim process. To show that the other party’s negligence resulted in an accident for which you deserve compensation, you would need to show that the entity bore a duty of care to you in some way—that, for whatever reason, that individual or entity needed to take action to protect you or to prevent you from suffering some type of injury. In general, this can include both people who may have a direct duty of care to you, including doctors or nursing home staff, as well as people who bear an indirect duty of care to you because of your proximity to them, including your use of a business or a business’s goods.
In the case of an auto accident, each driver on the road automatically bears a duty of care to all others on the road. The American road system functions on a system that assumes that drivers will look out for one another, take steps to avoid potential accidents, and protect one another when possible. A doctor bears a strong duty of care to their patients; not only to harm none, but to provide each patient with the highest possible standard of care to improve overall medical outcomes. In a store, the owner of the facility and the management team bear a strong duty of care to the customers who visit it: they must provide a safe environment where customers can shop without fear of unnecessary accidents.
On the other hand, if the entity did not bear a duty of care to you at the time of the accident, you may not have grounds for a personal injury claim. Suppose, for example, that you entered an “employees only” area of a store without authority and suffered an accident because of exposed wiring you should never have touched; or that you trespassed on someone else’s fenced property and ended up with a bite from the family dog.
Those individuals may not have held a duty of care to you at the time of the accident due to your decision to move into an area where you should not have gone. Likewise, an individual standing by who witnesses your accident, but did not warn you about a possible hazard, may not have had a duty of care to you at the time of the accident.
3. How Did the Individual’s Negligence Cause or Contribute to Your Injuries?
To establish your right to file a personal injury claim, you would need to show that the negligent entity’s actions caused you to suffer serious injury.
Imagine that you slipped on wet flooring in an area without a sign. You caught your balance quickly and did not sustain any injuries. As a result, you would not have grounds for a personal injury claim, despite the business’s negligent actions and the fact that they impacted you. A driver texting in the lane next to you, but who does not contribute to your auto accident in any way, does not bear liability for the accident.
On the other hand, when another party’s negligence leads to serious injury, you may have grounds to file a personal injury claim that would allow you to seek compensation for the losses you suffered. A personal injury claim helps you recover compensation for the substantial medical bills and significant pain and suffering that may accompany severe injuries; so if you do not sustain serious injuries, you may not need to file a personal injury claim.
Commonly Asked Questions from Victims of a Personal Injury
If you have individual questions about the compensation you deserve following a serious accident due to another party’s negligence, contact Shiner Law Group today to learn more. Do you have more general questions about your potential rights after a serious accident? Take a look at the FAQ below.
1. How much is my Florida personal injury claim worth?
Each personal injury claim will have a different outcome, even if you suffer similar injuries under similar circumstances to another victim. Many factors can contribute to the compensation you may recover for your injuries.
However, most people will claim the same general elements of compensation as they manage their personal injury claims.
- Compensation for your medical bills. After a serious accident, you may find yourself dealing with substantial medical bills. Unfortunately, those medical bills may continue to grow as you undergo considerable treatment for your injuries. The more treatment you need, the more medical bills you may have—not just your immediate, emergency medical bills, but also the cost of long-term hospitalization, procedures and surgeries to help treat your injuries, and the cost of therapy to aid in your recovery. Track all medical costs associated with your accident so that you can more easily include them as part of your personal injury claim.
- Compensation for lost wages. It may take time before you can go back to work after your accident. Many serious injuries, from broken bones to traumatic brain injury, can prevent you from completing your usual work tasks. You may have a hard time doing any lifting, dealing with customers, or even maintaining the focus necessary to handle your job duties. Your boss may not want you to come back to work until you have moved further through your recovery, due to potential liability issues the company can face if you remain on the job while healing. Those lost wages can leave you in a financial bind during a period when you may already have substantial issues to deal with. Fortunately, you could claim compensation for those injuries through a personal injury claim.
- Compensation for pain and suffering. When it comes to medical bills and lost income, you can point to tangible dollar amounts: specific amounts you lost because of your injuries. When it comes to pain and suffering, on the other hand, it can take more effort to prove exactly what you have suffered. An attorney can help you detail your suffering and give you a better idea of how to include it in your personal injury claim.
In addition to your losses related to the accident, the party that caused your accident, and the insurance policy that covers that entity, can impact the compensation you may receive for those injuries. Consult an attorney to learn more about that insurance policy and the coverage carried by the individual as well as how those elements may impact your personal injury claim.
2. Do I really need a lawyer to manage a personal injury claim?
A lawyer can offer advantages to your personal injury claim. First and foremost, an attorney can help you better understand the compensation you really deserve for your injuries. Often, people who sustain serious injuries have no idea how much compensation they should pursue, which can make it difficult for them to make decisions about settlement offers and the compensation they deserve. At Shiner Law Group, we work with our clients to help ensure that they fully understand their legal rights when filing a personal injury claim.
Next, an attorney can help investigate the accident and identify all parties that may share liability for your injuries. In many personal injury scenarios, more than one party ultimately bears liability for the accident. Sometimes, that can increase the compensation you may receive for those injuries.
Finally, an attorney can help support you throughout the process, from putting together a compelling claim to dealing with the insurance company that covers the liable party on your behalf. At Shiner Law Group, we focus on making sure that our clients receive support and guidance as they move through their personal injury claims. We help reduce the stress often associated with the serious injuries our clients have suffered and provide them with guidance as they make vital decisions about the next steps in their claims.
3. How long does it take to settle a personal injury claim?
You should expect it to take some time to reach a settlement agreement regarding your personal injury claim. First, both your attorney and the liable party’s insurance company will need to conduct a full investigation into the accident, including taking a look at your injuries and the suffering you have faced because of the accident. Sometimes, your attorney may recommend waiting until you have a full assessment of what your recovery will look like and what your long-term medical bills will cost before moving forward with a personal injury claim.
Next, you may need to go through several rounds of negotiation with the liable party before arriving at a reasonable settlement agreement. Each round of negotiation takes time as you and your attorney work to maximize the compensation you can receive for your injuries.
4. The liable party’s insurance company offered me a settlement. Should I take it?
Often, the liable party’s insurance company will get in touch with you shortly after your accident to issue a settlement offer. That offer may look incredibly tempting, especially as your other bills continue to add up. Unfortunately, the insurance company may be trying to take advantage of your lack of legal experience, and try to convince you to accept a low settlement offer.
Talk to a personal injury attorney before accepting a settlement offer. An attorney can help go over your accident, the insurance policy, and your right to compensation and give you a better idea of how much compensation you should really expect for your injuries.
5. What tactics could the insurance company use to try to limit the compensation I can receive for my injuries?
Insurance companies may attempt to use a variety of tactics to reduce the compensation you can receive for your injuries, especially in the case of severe accidents and catastrophic injuries, which may have much higher overall costs.
In addition to issuing a low settlement offer immediately after the accident, they may:
- Try to pressure you into taking a settlement offer fast. The insurance company may try to insist that you have a limited amount of time to accept a settlement and that you need to make a fast decision—often one that will not give you time to consult with a lawyer. You may even fall under pressure to accept an offer immediately, rather than having time to think through the compensation you deserve. An attorney, however, can help prevent you from feeling as much pressure from those tactics, providing you with a better overall understanding of the law and your rights.
- Attempt to prove that you caused the accident. In some personal injury claims, the insurance company may try to establish that your negligence, rather than the negligence of your client, ultimately caused the accident and your injuries. Instead of admitting fault, the liable party may try to show that you committed actions that resulted in your injury or that you deliberately caused your own injuries.
- Try to show that you did not suffer as much as you claimed from your injuries. The insurance company may attempt to prove that your injuries do not cause the limitations you claim or even that you did not suffer the injuries you actually sustained in your accident.
By working with an attorney, you can avoid many of these tactics and help increase the odds that you will ultimately receive the compensation you deserve.
6. Will I have to go to court to settle my personal injury claim in Florida?
Most of the time, personal injury claims will settle out of court. Going to court can substantially increase the overall costs associated with the claim, and many insurance companies will try to avoid that added expense if at all possible. Unfortunately, in some cases you may still need to go to court to receive the compensation you deserve. This is more likely if the insurance company wants to contest liability in the accident. If you do need to go to court to settle your claim, having an attorney on your side can be vital.
7. How long do I have to file a personal injury claim in Florida?
The statute of limitations will define how long you have to file a personal injury claim in Florida. However, several conditions could change the statute of limitations in your specific claim, from the need to file a claim against a government entity to needing to file a claim for a child who suffered serious injuries in an accident.
Talk to a personal injury attorney as soon after your accident as possible to get a better idea of how long you may have to file a personal injury claim. An attorney can help start the claim process and help ensure that you do not miss out on the compensation you deserve because of your injuries.
By contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your accident, you can also make the claim investigation easier. Often, evidence can prove more difficult to find as more time goes by after the accident. Witnesses no longer have the same sharp memory of the incident. Premises owners may redo the property to remove potential hazards or erase the signs of an accident. Even video footage can disappear quickly, especially if you do not take the time to secure it. An attorney can start working to collect and keep that information shortly after your accident, which can help protect your right to compensation.
8. How much does it cost to hire a personal injury attorney?
At Shiner Law Group, we will start with a free consultation to go over your injuries and your claim and assess the compensation you may deserve. Then, we accept many of our clients on a contingent fee basis. Instead of requiring payment upfront for your legal fees, we would take payment from a percentage of your personal injury claim.
For many clients, this payment method makes legal assistance much more affordable in the aftermath of a serious accident, during a time when you might have more trouble with your finances due to increasing medical bills and the inability to go back to work.
9. What should I do to protect myself after a serious accident?
The actions you take immediately after your accident can, in some cases, have a serious impact on the compensation you can ultimately claim for your injuries.
Even if you do not follow the right steps immediately, however, doing your best to follow these steps can make a big difference in your legal right to a personal injury claim.
- Prioritize medical care. Any time you have an accident due to another party’s negligence, let a doctor look you over and evaluate the extent of your injuries. A doctor’s care will both help establish that you do not have further injuries and provide evidence of when your injuries took place.
- Report the accident. If you have a car accident, report the accident to the police. If you have an accident in a store or at work, report it to the relevant entity. Reporting the accident provides a record of when the accident took place.
- Take pictures. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene, from what led to your accident to your specific injuries. Do not put yourself in further danger to collect evidence, but do try to document the scene.
- Contact an attorney. As soon as possible after your accident, get in touch with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you learn more about your right to compensation and aid you as you file a personal injury claim. Contact Shiner Law Group today to get started.
Do You Need a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer?
At Shiner Law Group, we work to help our clients maximize the compensation they receive while supporting them during this difficult period in their lives. If you need a Florida personal injury lawyer, contact us today at (561) 777-7700 for a free consultation.