Getting into any sort of accident can be extremely disruptive to your life, especially if you have been injured as a result of the accident. In situations where you caused the accident, you are liable for your own injuries and the expenses that are associated with it. However, if someone else caused your accident, then it is very likely that they must compensate you for the damages that you have incurred as a result of their actions (or inactions) as we will discuss in greater detail below.
1-800-Injured makes finding attorneys and doctors for your case simple and painless by connecting you to our robust network of experienced and proven professionals who are ready to take your case today. Finding a lawyer does not need to add to the stress of your situation. When you work with 1-800-Injured, we make finding a legal professional simple so that you can focus on getting the money you deserve.
Read more below to get an idea of a variety of different aspects of personal injury law and how it is handled in Orlando, and contact us now to get started on your own case.
About Personal Injury Law
Personal injury law is a civil law that alleges a defendant committed a tort, which is defined as “an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.” Essentially, if a person acts in any way that causes you to be injured as a result of their actions, then they are liable to compensate you for these injuries. While tort law is based on courts “imposing liability,” there are many times that a personal injury case will not need to go to court because the victim and their lawyer will be able to negotiate with the responsible party for an out-of-court settlement. These are usually preferable for both parties because they save time and money, but additionally, avoid embarrassing or damaging information about the defendant’s behavior being made public.
To initiate the process of getting the money you deserve, you will need to file a claim—typically with an insurance company who is representing the responsible party, but in certain instances, directly with the other party and their attorneys. Regardless of the involved parties, one of the first goals of this process will be to reach a settlement agreement without needing to file an official complaint with the courts, thereby avoiding costly and time-consuming court sessions, legal fees, and more.
Each side will work through a series of negotiations in an attempt to reach an agreement on the settlement amount, citing a variety of evidence and information in support of their position. If this negotiation process fails, then the next step will be to file an official complaint with the Florida courts and begin preparations for a trial.
Damages in a personal injury case focus on “compensatory” damages, which are intended to repay a victim for measurable expenses and losses that they have experienced as a result of the accident. There are some situations where a case goes to trial and a judge or jury decides to award the victim additional “punitive” damages, but these situations account for less than 2% of cases that go to trial, with a median punitive award of between $40,000 and $50,000. These types of damages are intended to dissuade the defendant (and others) from engaging in this behavior again. However, since punitive damages are not determined by the defendant’s legal team, your attorney will not factor these damages into the amount that you are seeking. If your specific situation seems favorable to a punitive award, your attorney will determine how you should proceed.
How Much Is a Personal Injury Case Worth?
There are a lot of specific details that go into determining the overall value of a personal injury case, which depends on a range of factors such as the extent of the injuries that the victim sustained, their historical income and the impacts to their earning capacity, and more. To get an accurate idea of what you should be seeking for damages after your accident, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. During your free initial consultation, you will be able to go through some of the major factors and get a ballpark idea of the amount to seek. However, this amount will change as new information arises and your legal team continues to fine-tune your case.
Take a look below to get a general idea about some of the factors that go into these calculations, but keep in mind that the only way to truly determine the answer to this question, you will need to begin working with an attorney.
Calculating Economic Damages
These damages are the foundation of a personal injury case for reasons that will become clear when we discuss non-economic damages in the following section. Simply put, economic damages make up the damages in an accident that have established, measurable, and calculable dollar amounts appended to them, and typically come with receipts, invoices, and financial statements that prove the value of these damages.
These types of damages include all of the medical-related costs such as hospital bills, ambulance rides, prescriptions, surgeries, physical therapy sessions, copayments, and more. There are likely many more medical-related impacts than you are initially aware of, which is another reason that working with a lawyer is a great way to get a comprehensive understanding of your options.
In addition to medical costs, they also seek compensation for any income-related effects of the accident including missed time from work, vacation time or paid time off cashed in to cover missed work, and any impacts on the victim’s overall earning capacity. If your injuries impact your ability to return to work for an extended period of time, you may also be eligible to include disability payments in the damages amount. In certain cases where a victim is unable to return to their former work as a result of the accident, they may be able to receive compensation for things like job training, education, and other services to help them find a new career.
Finally, your economic damages will include expenses for any type of service that you have needed to hire that you would have otherwise been able to perform yourself, such as grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and any others. Your attorney will help you go through your day-to-day in order to get a good sense of these damages.
Calculating Non-Economic Damages
As mentioned above, economic damages make up the basis of a personal injury lawsuit for a variety of reasons. First is because they are the most simple to calculate, but secondly, they are the amount that your non-economic damages rely on to be determined. This is because non-economic damages are intended to seek financial compensation for damages that do not have any measurable economic value, such as the actual pain and suffering that come with a physical injury.
Non-economic damages consider all of the “intangible” factors of an injury that are just as important as the measurable financial damages and attempts to put a dollar value on them. Pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, depression, and sadness, and being unable to pursue hobbies are just a few examples of non-economic damages, and while they are hard to put a value on, they are just as important.
One common method that an attorney may use in order to put a value on these damages is by using a multiplier, a number intended to indicate the severity of these damages in an understandable way. The attorney will take an accepted scale—for example, 1 through 5—and, after taking all of your non-economic impacts into account, choose a number that makes the most sense. This number will be the multiplier and applied to your economic damages in order to reach a final dollar amount.
If your attorney determines that your non-economic damages have a 2x multiplier and your economic damages are $100,000, then your non-economic damages will be 2 x $100,000, or $200,000 total.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
Prioritize Your Health
When you first consider the benefits of working with an attorney, you may not think of it as actually helping your health outcomes. However, it has been repeatedly proven that emotional stress can have a serious negative impact on recovery from physical wounds, which means that any steps that you can take to reduce stress are very helpful for your long-term recovery. In addition to reducing your stress, hiring an attorney will also give you back a lot of your valuable time that would be otherwise spent dealing with legal headaches, so that you can focus on recovery instead of jumping through legal hoops.
Fight Back With Help of an Experienced Lawyer
When an injury claim is filed, the defendant and their legal team—whether it is an insurance company, corporation, individual, or any other organization—will jump into action and try to determine the most effective ways to limit the amount of money they pay for the accident. One of the main things that they will rely on is the victim’s lack of experience with these situations and the stress they are trying to combat by resolving this case quickly. Instead of letting them overwhelm you into settling for less than you deserve, fight back with your own legal team.
Personal Injury Data and Statistics
Car accidents are one of the most common situations that result in a personal injury claim. According to a report by FHSMV (Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles), there were nearly 400,000 car accidents in 2017 across Florida, amounting to an almost 2% increase from 2016’s accident statistics. 2,924 of these 400,000 crashes were fatal and had a total of 3,116 deaths. Additionally, there were a total of 254,310 injuries reported.
Car accidents are just a portion of all of the personal injury cases that are handled in Florida each year, but this significant amount of injuries can give you a good idea of how experienced the defense teams are that represent these cases. One of the recommended ways that you can fight back and get the money that you deserve is by hiring your own attorney, and beginning your negotiations aggressively.
Why Choose 1-800-Injured?
As you can see, the process around personal injury law and cases is complicated and overwhelming, especially when you are attempting to get your life back on track and focus on recovering from your injuries. Trying to find a lawyer who you trust and feel confident in is just one more layer of complication that you will need to navigate through unless you are able to access a network of experienced, seasoned lawyers with minimal effort.
1-800-Injured is happy to help victims of personal injuries meet a diligent attorney for their needs with as little stress or effort as possible. Contact us now for a free consultation where you can be connected with an experienced, proven lawyer for your case with minimal work on your behalf.
Common Personal Injuries Cases
The following list of personal injury cases is nowhere near comprehensive but is merely intended to give you a general idea of some situations that are commonly handled in Orlando. Whether or not your own situation is mentioned below, contact us as soon as possible so that you can speak with an attorney about how you should proceed with your injuries and how to get a solid chance at a fair settlement as possible.
As we have already discussed, car accidents are very common in Florida, and Orlando is no exception. In fact, there were over 30,000 accidents in the Orlando Metro area alone in 2017. Injuries and damages from a car accident can vary greatly, from a minor fender-bender with minor whiplash, or a head-on collision resulting in death and serious injuries for everyone involved. All too often, car accidents are caused by distracted driving like texting or using a smartphone behind the wheel, or from someone deciding to drive while intoxicated.
Slip and Fall Cases
A slip and fall is a type of premise liability case where a victim encounters some sort of hazard that causes them to fall and suffer an injury as a result. In colder climates, ice is a common factor of these cases, but in Florida’s warm weather, a slip and fall accident is typically caused by wet tile floors, improperly maintained stairways, or other dangerous situations that can cause someone to lose balance or slip due to unexpectedly low friction.
Florida is the most dangerous state in the United States for motorcycle accidents, and the injuries that someone can suffer from a motorcycle accident are often much more severe than a car crash at the same speed. In 2017 there were 515 people who were killed in motorcycle accidents, with a total of 9,707 accidents. 7,725 injuries were reported from motorcycle accidents in addition to the 515 fatalities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Injury
Should I accept the insurance company’s first offer?
When you are dealing with an insurance company for an injury claim, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is in the insurance company’s financial interest to limit the amount of money that it pays for any claim. As such, their legal team and the claims adjuster assigned to your case will be hard at work from the moment you file a claim to identify every possible way to limit your settlement amount. When they make an initial offer, they will likely position it by saying that it is the most you can get, but in reality, this should be the start of an ongoing negotiation to get towards a realistic and fair dollar amount.
How much is my personal injury case worth?
As you can imagine by just a few details mentioned above about calculating damages, this answer is much more complicated than can be answered in a sentence or two, especially without specific information about your accident. Contact us as soon as possible so that you can be connected with an attorney and start on the path towards determining this amount.
Do I even have a personal injury case worth hiring an attorney for?
When you find an attorney through 1-800-Injured, you will be able to take advantage of a free initial consultation where you can get a better sense of your situation at no cost. You will be able to discuss your accident with an experienced professional who can advise you on the steps to move forward, whether that is pursuing a personal injury case or not. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you will be able to get an answer to this very important question.