10 Things You Should Know Before Filing a Personal Injury Claim
Bill Allen | March 26, 2021 | Personal Injury
Injuries due to another party’s intentional misconduct or negligence can result in catastrophic consequences. In addition to severe injuries, you might experience overwhelming emotional distress and financial losses. Florida’s personal injury laws allow you to seek compensation for your damages.
If this is your first accident or personal injury, you might not be familiar with the process of pursuing a personal injury claim. Before you begin, you need to know these ten things about personal injury claims in Florida.
1. Do Not Sign Anything Before Talking with a Personal Injury Lawyer
The insurance company for the other party might pressure you to sign a statement or other documents. Do not sign anything until you consult with a personal injury attorney.
Always ask if you are speaking on a recorded line and decline to have the conversation recorded. The statements you make in writing or on a recorded line could be twisted and used against you to hurt your case. In addition, signing documents without legal advice could mean giving up legal rights.
2. Personal Injury Laws Protect Injured Victims and Their Families
Personal injury laws protect your right to recover compensation for injuries and damages caused by another party.
Personal injury cases include, but are not limited to:
- Automobile accidents
- Construction accident
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Workplace accidents
- Premises liability
- Slip and fall accidents
- Boating accidents
- And many more
Personal injury and wrongful death laws provide compensation to victims to reimburse them for financial losses, pain, and suffering. Financial awards cannot undo the harm someone causes, but they can help you pay expenses while you continue to recover.
3. Talking with a Lawyer Avoids Costly Mistakes
The statements you make and what you do after a personal injury or accident can significantly impact the outcome of your case. Consulting with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury can help you avoid costly mistakes.
4. It Does Not Cost Anything to Get Legal Advice
Most personal injury lawyers offer free consultations, so meeting with a lawyer to discuss your case does not cost you anything. Most lawyers take cases for a contingency fee. Therefore, hiring an injury lawyer does not cost you anything upfront.
5. You Have the Burden of Proving Your Case
The injured party must prove the elements of negligence or liability to recover compensation for damages. In most cases, you must prove the following:
- The party who caused your injury owed you a legal duty of care
- The party breached their legal duty of care through the inactions or conduct
- The breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because of the party’s breach of duty
The burden of proof in a personal injury case is by a preponderance of the evidence. You must convince jurors that it is more likely than not the party caused your injury.
6. Personal Injury Cases Can Be Time-Consuming
Investigating an accident or injury is time-consuming and costly. You must have sufficient evidence to prove each legal element of a personal injury case. Insurance companies have unlimited resources to investigate and fight your claim.
Hiring a personal injury law firm evens the playing field. Your lawyer might hire accident reconstructionists, medical specialists, financial professionals, and other experts to assist with your case.
7. Calculating The Value of Your Claim Requires Knowledge of Damages
Most people understand they can receive reimbursement for their economic damages in a personal injury case. These damages include their out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, and medical bills.
However, injury victims might be surprised to learn they can also receive compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Impairments and disabilities
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
Putting a price on pain and suffering is challenging. When a person talks with an injury lawyer, they are often surprised to learn their claim is worth more than they thought.
8. You Have a Limited Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Every state has different deadlines for personal injury claims. The Florida statute of limitations sets timelines for filing a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. However, the deadlines can vary depending on the parties involved in the case and the type of injury claim. Also, there are exceptions to the general rule.
It is best to talk with a lawyer as soon as possible after an injury. Some exceptions to the statute of limitations could shorten or lengthen the time you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, waiting to talk with a lawyer could result in losing your legal right to pursue a claim.
9. Insurance Adjusters Are Not on Your Side
An insurance adjuster’s job is to protect the insurance company from liability. They might tell you they are on your side and working on getting you the most money possible for your case. However, they are trying to uncover evidence the company can use to deny or undervalue your claim.
It is best to refer the insurance company and adjusters to your personal injury lawyer instead of talking to them about your case.
10. People Who Hire Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Have a Better Chance of Receiving a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies understand experienced personal injury lawyers know how they work. Seasoned injury lawyers know the tricks and tactics companies use to cheat people out of the compensation they deserve.
Therefore, when you hire a personal injury attorney, the insurance company knows it cannot engage in bad faith practices or unfair tactics. Companies are often willing to negotiate better settlements with an experienced personal injury attorney.
If you have questions about a personal injury case, the best way to get answers you can trust is to talk with a Florida personal injury lawyer.
Contact Our Gainesville Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
If you need legal assistance, contact the Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We have three convenient locations in North Central Florida:
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Gainesville office
2550 SW 76th St #150
Gainesville, FL 32608
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Downtown Gainesville
621 W University Ave
Gainesville, FL 32601
Allen Law Firm, P.A. – Ocala Office
112 S Pine Ave
Ocala, FL 34471