A personal injury can occur almost anytime or anywhere you are. These injuries can cause a great amount of physical pain, loss of income, financial and family stress, and a lot of overall emotional stress. After an injury, many feel that they are fine or are initially checked out and seem okay. Then some time goes by, and symptoms begin to appear that were caused by the initial accident. This interim time period is not unusual in a personal injury case.
What is the statute of limitations, and how does it affect my case in Florida? The time limit, in which the injured may file a lawsuit for the personal injury case is referred to as the statute of limitations. It starts on the date the injured had the accident (or injury), and varies in Florida from 2 to 4 years. The time limit to file varies depending on the type of case that is filed and possibly the nature of the injury itself.
For example, the statute of limitations is 4 years for an injury due to an automobile accident. Normally if you don’t file during that period, the court may find that you have waived your right to file for the personal injury case and not allow you to.
In some cases, the time period to file may be extended past the usual allotted time. This is usually due to the fact that the effects of the injury don’t manifest themselves until after the statute of limitations have passed.
An experienced, local personal injury attorney
is invaluable in determining if you are within your rights to file, or help you get the time period extended and get compensation needed for you and your family. In any personal injury case, it is important to act quickly and get the professional advice you need.
How is it determined which person, or persons, may be responsible for my injury? Once again, the type of injury the victim suffers usually has an effect on the determination of the parties who may be responsible. In Florida, the “pure comparative negligence rule” is used when analyzing who is at fault in your particular case. Under this rule, the amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive as a result of an accident will be reduced according to your applicable percentage of fault for the very same accident. For example, if you are found responsible for 20% of your injury, you may get only 80% of what you may be due or less. Getting the proper guidance quickly and accurately, and that corresponds to the details of your case, is critical to the best outcome.
What Do I Need to Do to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Try to get the best professional advice on your particular personal injury case and it’s details. If you believe you are still within the statute of limitations for your lawsuit, speak to a personal injury attorney at once. Even if you believe you are past the time period to file, a local personal injury attorney may be able to help you with getting the compensation you deserve.
There are many things that can change in your life due to an injury. Some examples of what you may get compensation for are:
- Lost income due to being unable to work for periods of time or becoming disabled.
- Pain and suffering due to the injury. This can be physical and also emotional.
- Loss of quality of life due to the injury. Being unable to do the things you loved or even spend time with your family.
- Medical expenses, including hospitalizations, medications, therapy treatments, medical equipment, and additional medical services related to your injuries.
- Property damage.
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement.
- Punitive damages. This is especially true if any reckless or dangerous behavior was involved in your injury.
Along with the statute of limitations, the Florida legislature has instituted some different statutory damage caps in order to limit a person’s recovery. These caps are involved mostly with non-economic recovery, such as “pain and suffering” or punitive damages.
Punitive damages are meant to penalize a wrongdoer for acting in a way that was particularly dangerous or reprehensible to the average person (an example is drunk driving). Florida limits punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater. An experienced, detail oriented personal injury attorney, who is prepared to sit down and evaluate your case, will navigate you to reach your best possible outcome.
Is Filing a Personal Injury Case a Long Process?
Filing a personal injury case is essentially a 5 step process:
- First you will meet with your personal injury attorney and go over all the exact details of your case. Your attorney may look over medical documents and other documents, speak with witnesses, and generally gather all the evidence needed to provide you with the best defense possible.
- The attorney will file a claim on your behalf. It will list your injuries, how your life has been altered, and why you deserve the compensation you are requesting.
- You will then enter into negotiations with the at fault party. This is where experience pays off on your attorneys part and usually is where most cases are settled.
- If there is no settlement, then your attorney will file an official lawsuit in a Florida civil court.
- At this point there will be a trial and the judge and jury will make a final decision on your settlement.
A personal injury can devastate you and your family. It is vitally important that your personal injury attorney has the experience needed to help injured victims get the justice they deserve.
- Sit down with you and explain the details and steps in your case.
- Be available by cell phone and text access.
- They should know the local judges and insurance companies.
Your case is unique and a personal injury attorney can help answer any questions you have regarding your next steps towards recovery.