Personal Injury Overview
Were you injured in an accident? Whether it was a car accident, slip and fall accident or motorcycle wreck, our Gainesville personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm, P.A. can help.
Collectively, we’ve been handling personal injury cases for 70+ years. Just give us a call today for a personal injury overview that can help you understand your legal rights. As always, your consultation is 100% free of charge.
What is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law gives accident victims a way to recover financial compensation if they get hurt in an accident. Personal injury cases are handled in civil court. The purpose of a lawsuit is to hold negligent parties accountable for the accidents they cause.
Personal injury is a type of tort law. Tort law and criminal law are different for several important reasons. Criminal laws are more concerned with punishing a defendant for intentional acts. Personal injury law is designed to make the victim financially whole again after an unintentional accident.
In some cases, defendants can be held both criminally and civilly liable for their actions. In other words, victims of intentional acts have the right to sue the actor for compensation even if they’ve been charged with a crime.
Why Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
A serious injury can have a ripple effect on your entire life. If you’re in pain or recovering, you might not be able to work. For some of us, that means it can be difficult to pay the bills and put food on the table.
You’ll also quickly start to see medical bills stack up.
A personal injury lawyer can help alleviate some of this financial stress. While you focus on your health, a Gainesville personal injury lawyer can start building your injury claim.
At Allen Law Firm, P.A., that means:
- Investigating to find out what caused your accident
- Putting an accurate value on your claim
- Handling all communications with the insurance company
- Taking care of the paperwork and administrative burden of an injury claim
Personal injuries can quickly get expensive. Hiring a personal injury lawyer gives you the best chances of getting the money you deserve.
Are Personal Injury Lawyers Expensive in Gainesville?
Not always. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., we recognize that many of our injured clients are already struggling financially. A contingency fee means that you don’t pay anything up front.
Instead, our attorneys’ fees come out of your eventual settlement or verdict. In other words, we only get paid attorneys’ fees if we win.
What Compensation Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Accident victims in Florida are entitled to compensation for all tangible and intangible losses. Available damages are grouped into three primary categories, as follows:
Economic damages represent your actual out-of-pocket costs. Examples of available economic damages include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Future medical bills
- Lost future earning capacity
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitative care
- Long-term care
- Property damage
- In-home modifications
- Medical devices
Your economic damages award should put you in the same financial position as prior to the accident. In other words, it should be like the accident never happened at all.
Of course, money can’t really make up for the pain and suffering caused by an accident. Non-economic damages are designed to account for your intangible losses. In other words, they’re supposed to compensate for things that money can’t buy.
Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Diminished quality of life
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of your independence
It can be extremely difficult to put a dollar value on these types of damages. Our experienced personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm, P.A. have developed relationships with experts who can help. With their help, we can fight to get the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Punitive damages don’t really have anything to do with the losses you’ve suffered. They’re designed specifically to punish the person who caused your accident.
Most personal injury victims aren’t entitled to punitive damages. Florida judges tend to award punitive damages only in cases where the defendant’s actions were intentional.
For example, if a drunk driver caused your accident, you might be entitled to punitive damages under Florida law.
Damages for Wrongful Death
Wrongful death lawsuits are slightly different. Certain family members are entitled to sue for wrongful death if the fatal accident victim would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Survivors can recover compensation for:
- Loss of a loved one’s company, financial support, and parental guidance
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of inheritance
- Medical bills
- And more
If you lost a close family member in an accident, call our law firm today to see how we can help.
Florida Personal Injury Laws
Personal injury law is really a group of several different laws. Depending on your case, any one or more might be important.
Every state’s personal injury laws are different. Some of the relevant Florida personal injury laws include:
Pure Comparative Negligence Law
Florida follows a pure comparative negligence law. That means accident victims can recover compensation even if they’re 99% to blame for an accident. As long as at least one other party shares in the blame, the Florida comparative fault rule lets you sue for damages.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations is important in every single personal injury case. It’s the law that limits the amount of time you have to file a civil lawsuit.
In Florida, you lose your right to compensation once four years have passed. The time limit is only two years if the injury proved to be fatal. Shorter timelines also apply in personal injury cases based on medical malpractice or filed against government entities.
The Burden of Proof
To recover compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, the victim has to show that someone else was responsible for their injuries. This is called the burden of proof.
You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In the civil context, the standard is a “preponderance of the evidence.” So, to recover damages, the victim has to show that their account of the events was more likely than not true.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Establish Liability After an Accident?
Most personal injury claims are based on negligence. Generally speaking, negligence is another word for carelessness. Even defendants who didn’t intend to hurt anyone can be liable for damages caused by their own careless acts or omissions.
Four key elements are needed to establish negligence:
Duty of Care
As a baseline, the plaintiff in a personal injury case has to establish that the defendant had a duty of care. That means showing that the defendant had a duty to act reasonably and responsibly to keep others safe. This duty must have been owed to the plaintiff.
For example, all drivers on the road have a duty to drive carefully to prevent accidents.
The plaintiff must also have proof that the defendant breached the duty of care. In other words, that the defendant acted carelessly or recklessly and put the plaintiff in a dangerous situation.
The defendant’s breach of duty must have actually caused the injuries in question. If something else intervened to cause the damage, the defendant can’t be held liable even if they did act carelessly.
The damages element requires showing some type of injury. Usually, those injuries are both physical and financial. Damages can also be emotional–for example, if the accident caused ongoing emotional distress, you might be entitled to damages even without a physical injury.
Allen Law Firm, P.A. Offers a Comprehensive Personal Injury Practice
Any type of accident can give you the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. At Allen Law Firm, P.A., we’re proud to offer full-service personal injury representation.
Our personal injury attorneys handle personal injury claims that result from:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Boat accidents
- Uber or Lyft accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Negligent security
- Defective products
- Construction accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
In short, personal injury laws apply whenever you’re in an accident that someone else caused.
How Do I Know Whether I Have a Personal Injury Claim?
Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to find out whether you have a valid claim. Allen Law Firm, P.A. offers a free initial consultation. We can sit down, listen to your story, and discuss options for recovering compensation.
An injury can disrupt your life even if you expect a full recovery. Don’t assume you don’t have a claim. Our lawyers have been handling injury claims like yours for more than 20 years. We know what to look for and are here to evaluate your likelihood of success.
Contact an Experienced Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer at Allen Law Firm, P.A.
Remember, the insurance company isn’t your friend. You should always speak with an experienced attorney before making any formal statements.
If you were hurt in an accident, call our personal injury lawyers at Allen Law Firm, P.A. for help. We’d be happy to schedule a free consultation to explore your options.