Most often, the people around us pay close attention to their duty of care to make sure that they avoid accidents and injuring others; unfortunately, this is not always the case. When someone disregards this duty of care and causes an accident, the victims in this accident are often entitled to compensatory damages to repay them for the losses and costs of this terrible experience. If you have been hurt in an accident that someone else caused due to negligent or reckless behavior, then you, too, may be entitled to compensation.
Contact 1-800-Injured To Connect With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Jacksonville as soon as possible. Trying to find an attorney who is available and willing to take your case is a stressful and overwhelming process, especially in the days and weeks after suffering serious injuries. Instead of taking on the additional stress, connect with an attorney with ease. 1-800-Injured is an attorney and medical referral service.
What Makes a Personal Injury Case?
As you can imagine by the many unique types of interactions people have each day, there is no way to simply list all types of accidents that count as personal injury cases. Instead, there are a few basic criteria that must be met in order for the accident to be covered by tort law, and therefore entitle the victim to seek compensation from the responsible party. They are:
- The defendant had a duty of care
- The defendant failed their duty of care
- This failure caused an accident
- The accident caused measurable damages to victims
A real-life example of a personal injury, using these important points, is as follows: When a person gets a driver’s license, they are accepting responsibility for obeying all applicable laws in order to maintain safety on the roads. When someone chooses to drive drunk, they disregard this duty of care. If they are driving drunk and cause an accident, and someone is injured in the accident, then they have introduced a situation that is covered by tort law, and the victim is entitled to seek compensation for their damages.
It is important to remember that all of these factors must be present, though. A drunk driver who is arrested for DUI/OUI but does not cause an accident has committed a crime, but no personal injury has occurred, much like a drunk driver who runs over a mailbox is only guilty of property damage.
Common Types of Personal Injury Cases
No two accidents are alike, meaning that no two personal injury cases are alike, either. However, there are some common types of cases that result from common accidents, some of which we have provided examples of below.
In 2018, Duval County had a total of 24,212 reported car accidents, which resulted in 143 fatalities and 13,858 injuries. As you can imagine, most of these accidents had someone who was responsible for the crash, and someone who was a victim of the crash, meaning that many of these accidents resulted in insurance claims filed by the victims. In all of Florida, there were a total of 403,626 reported crashes in 2018. What this shows, beyond the actual crash statistics, is that insurance companies have a LOT of practice settling claims each year, meaning that you are going up against a highly experienced team of professionals who are focused entirely on paying you as little as possible.
Duval County had 435 motorcycle accidents in 2018, out of a total of 9,143 motorcycle accidents across the state. Motorcycle accidents are unique in that the motorcycle riders typically suffer far greater damages than those in the other vehicle involved in the accident, due to the fact that motorcycle riders are not protected by the frame of the vehicle, airbags, safety restraints, or any other of the safety devices that a car has. In addition, motorcycles are at greater risk of accidents to begin with (especially in Florida), meaning that the likelihood of an accident is higher as well.
A typical long-haul truck driver will drive 100,000 miles or more each year, which means they spent significantly more time on the road than your average passenger vehicle driver or motorcycle driver. This is one of many reasons why commercial drivers are held to a much higher standard, such as a commercial driver’s license and a variety of certifications depending on the nature of the cargo that they are hauling, and the vehicle that they use. Commercial truck drivers are very responsible, but an accident with a semi-truck or an 18-wheeler can be devastating.
Slip and Fall Accidents
When you visit someone else’s property, whether it is someone else’s private residence, a government building, a shopping mall, or a supermarket, you have every right to expect that the individual or group in charge of property management has taken the appropriate measures to provide you with a safe and hazard-free experience. However, sometimes the responsible party fails this duty and you may be injured due to an avoidable hazard such as falling over a broken stair tread, and exposed pipe, a hole in the sidewalk, or a slippery floor. These injuries are all covered under “premise liability” laws, and you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
When you purchase a product, it is expected that the manufacturers, designers, distributors, and advertisers have all taken the appropriate steps to alert you of any possible hazards, illustrate the proper usage, and ensured that there are no defects in the product that may cause harm. In most cases the products are fine, and most injuries come from user error. However, there are many instances where a user is injured due to things like design defects, false advertising, manufacturing issues, or other problems that cause an accident and the user is entitled to compensation as a result. If you are uncertain of your options in this situation, contact 1-800-Injured to connect with an attorney today.
Seeing a doctor or another trained medical professional usually comes with the trust that the medical professional will take all necessary precautions to provide you with reasonable care in accordance with current best practices. However, there are many times when a doctor or medical professional gives a patient flawed medical advice that leads to further injuries, such as a misdiagnosis, improper treatment, or a prescription error that causes serious harm. If you have been injured as a result of your medical care, then you may be entitled to compensation in the form of a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. To learn more, connect with an attorney through 1-800-Injured today.
The Benefits of Working With a Personal Injury Attorney
In many situations, you will file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company so that they can investigate your situation before returning to you with a payment intended to compensate you for all of your damages. Sounds simple, right? Think again. When you are working with an insurance company, their primary goal is to pay you as little as possible while still managing to settle their legal obligations and resolving any possible future issues. The problem, though, is that this focus is entirely on the financial needs of the insurance company.
When you have an attorney who is handling all communications with the insurance company or the defendant’s attorneys, you can focus on your own personal life, your recovery, and getting yourself back on track after this traumatic experience and life-changing injuries. It has been shown that stress has a serious negative impact on recovery times, so the more you are able to shield yourself from the stress of your legal case (by working with someone who can take it on for you), the better your chances of making a speedy recovery will be.
At the same time, you can understand that your situation has a path forward, so as you see your medical bills mount or your lost wages continue to cause you stress, you can discuss these issues with your attorney so that you can confidently move forward knowing that there is someone who is working to make this all right with you. This type of overwhelming stress is one of the ways that an insurance company can convince victims to settle for far less than what they are entitled to, choosing short-term relief instead of long-term financial stability.
When you work with a personal injury attorney, you have a trained legal professional working on your behalf, focused on what YOU are entitled to, not just what the insurance company wants to pay. The legal process of successfully resolving a personal injury claim, whether through direct settlement negotiations or a lawsuit, is extremely complex and requires an in-depth knowledge of American tort law, negotiation tactics, how to calculate damages, and much more.
While the insurance adjuster investigates your claim, your attorney will be doing the same. When it comes time for the insurance company to make you a settlement offer, you will be shocked at the difference between your lawyer’s calculations and the insurance company’s, because of the significant differences between what each party thinks is important. Once the initial offer is made, your attorney will initiate ongoing negotiations with the insurance company in an attempt to close the gap between your two figures while avoiding a lawsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injuries In Jacksonville FL
The following questions and answers are just a few examples of the many questions that you certainly have for an attorney, and are intended to give you a general idea of the answers that you can expect from your own situation. However, your case is extremely unique, and the answers to your own questions will be equally unique as you work with a Jacksonville personal injury attorney.
In order to determine how much you are rightfully entitled to after suffering a personal injury, you and your attorney will need to work closely in order to examine all areas of your life that have been impacted, both economically and otherwise. A personal injury claim is divided into two pieces: economic damages and non-economic damages, each of which is intended to compensate the victim for specific injuries and damages that they have suffered.
Economic damages include the obvious things like medical bills and lost wages, as well as any other accident-related cost or financial impact. Non-economic damages are more complicated to calculate and include things like the pain and suffering of an injury, the emotional turmoil that a victim must endure following a traumatic accident, and more. Each of these must be quantified before you can truly determine what you deserve as the victim of a personal injury in Jacksonville.
While it is impossible to track all settled personal injury claims, there are some estimates stating that as few as 5% of all personal injury claims ever go to trial, with roughly 50% of all claims reaching a settlement before a lawsuit is ever filed at all. While this is no certainty for your own experience in one way or the other, it can give you a sense of what to expect. Your attorney will be able to give you a much better idea of the upcoming process once you begin working together.
In some instances, you and your attorney may decide that it makes the most sense for you to push for a trial since punitive damages are only awarded by a judge or jury and can not be sought by the plaintiff. These damages are awarded in truly egregious cases where the responsible party acted particularly recklessly or dangerously, and the damages are intended to be a deterrent for any similar future behavior.
The short answer: hire an attorney before you even file a claim. Here’s why:
In the early days following an accident, filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company is a fairly simple and straightforward process and does not raise any indication that an attorney should be present. However, from the moment you initiate your claim the insurance company will begin to look for every possible way to reduce your award, meaning that each statement you make and each piece of information that you submit will be analyzed and picked apart to be used against you.
When you have an attorney who is representing you from day one, they are able to carefully consider each statement or piece of information submitted, and with their experience with tort law and insurance negotiations, they can avoid making missteps that could come back to haunt you down the road. Something as simple as an apology at the scene of an accident can be used by the insurance company as an admission of guilt, and can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.