Gainesville Personal Injury Settlements: Myths vs. Reality
Bill Allen | October 4, 2022 | Personal Injury
Most Gainesville personal injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiations. Our legal team strives to obtain the maximum settlement amounts for all personal injury cases. However, many factors impact how much a personal injury claim is worth.
Factors that could impact the amount you receive for a personal injury settlement include:
- The strength of the evidence proving fault and liability
- The severity and type of your injuries
- The amount of your financial losses
- The availability of insurance coverage
- The willingness of the insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement
- Allegations of contributory fault
- Failing to seek prompt medical care
- The parties involved in your personal injury case
Our Gainesville personal injury law firm receives numerous questions about injury claims and settlements. Many of the questions our attorneys answer about insurance claims are based on myths about personal injury settlements.
Five common myths people believe about personal injury claims and the reality of those myths include:
Myth #1: You Cannot File Car Accident Lawsuits in Florida
While Florida is a no-fault state for car accident insurance, it does not mean you can never sue another driver for causing a car accident. All Florida drivers must have no-fault insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. No-fault insurance pays benefits to the covered parties regardless of who caused the accident.
Therefore, your first claim after a car crash is to your PIP provider. However, Florida insurance laws allow you to sue an at-fault driver if you sustain serious injuries. Serious injuries are generally injuries that cause death or permanent impairment or disability.
You have the burden of proving a negligence claim to win your case. However, if you win, you can recover compensation for damages from the at-fault driver that exceed your no-fault insurance benefits.
Myth #2: Accident Victims Always Receive Large Payouts for Injury Claims
Many personal injury claims result in large settlements for the injured parties. However, the allegations by insurance companies that people exaggerate and file false claims to receive large payouts are not true. The amount of money you receive for a personal injury claim is based on your damages.
You must prove that you sustained damages and what those damages are worth to receive a personal injury settlement. The insurance company works very hard to lower the value of your damages to avoid paying large settlements.
The compensation you could receive for a personal injury claim includes:
- Reimbursement for the cost of diagnosing and treating your injuries, including medical bills for doctors, surgeries, hospitals, therapy, and nursing care
- The loss of income because you could not work during your recovery, including the loss of benefits
- Reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and costs, including personal care, travel expenses, and help with household chores
- The pain and suffering you experienced, including your physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional suffering
- The loss of enjoyment and decrease in quality of life
- Permanent impairments, disabilities, scarring, and disfigurement
You can also recover compensation for future damages if you sustain a permanent impairment. Future damages could include long-term nursing care, ongoing medical expenses, and diminished earning capacity.
In a small number of cases, injured victims may receive punitive damages. However, insurance companies do not include punitive damages in settlement agreements because obtaining punitive damages requires you to prove specific legal elements in court.
Myth #3: You Cannot Receive a Settlement if You Are Partially to Blame for the Cause of Your Injury
Only four states and the District of Columbia have laws that bar injury victims from recovering compensation if they are partially to blame for causing the accident or their injuries. All other states have adopted pure comparative fault laws or modified comparative fault laws.
In modified comparative fault states, the law bars an accident victim from recovering money for damages if the accident victim is over 50 or 51% at fault for the injury. However, Florida adopted a pure comparative fault standard for personal injury claims.
You could be 99% to blame for the cause of your injury. Yet, you could still sue the at-fault person for 1% of your damages. In contributory fault cases, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to you for causing your injury.
Myth #4: Florida Does Not Have Caps for Damages
Some states set caps for damages in personal injury cases. The states set limits on how much money a person can receive.
Florida does not cap economic damages. These damages compensate you for the financial losses you experience because of the accident, your injury, and your recovery period. They also compensate you for future financial losses you might experience because of permanent disabilities.
Florida does not cap non-economic damages. Those damages compensate you for the pain and suffering caused by the accident and your injuries. At one time, Florida did cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice claims, but the Florida Supreme Court found that cap unconstitutional.
Myth #5: Hiring a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer is Expensive
Insurance claims adjusters prefer working directly with injury victims. Some claims adjusters might tell claimants that hiring a personal injury lawyer will decrease their settlement amount or cost too much money. The reason is that the claims adjuster’s job is to pay as little as possible for your claim. They know that personal injury lawyers typically recover larger settlement amounts than those who represent themselves.
Some accident victims might not need to hire a personal injury lawyer. Our Gainesville personal injury attorneys provide free consultations. We give you an honest assessment of your case and tell you whether we believe hiring a lawyer would benefit you.
Most people are unaware that they could be entitled to more money than they think their claim is worth. They do not know they can recover money for pain and suffering or future damages. The insurance company will not tell you that you agree to accept a settlement offer below the value of your claim.
Our injury lawyers accept cases for a contingency fee. Our attorneys’ fees are based on a percentage of the settlement amount. Therefore, if we do not recover money for your case, you do not owe us fees for our legal services.
At Shaked Law Firm, you receive a free consultation from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Gainesville. Therefore, before you trust an insurance adjuster whose job is to protect the insurance company from liability, talk with a lawyer to ensure the company’s settlement offer is fair.
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: