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It's common in car accident and medical malpractice cases for a person to feel like they deserve compensation for injuries they sustain. But Florida's personal injury laws serve to protect the rights of all parties involved. This can complicate the legal requirements for both parties and often requires an attorney.
If you've been injured in Tampa, Miami or Orlando, use LawInfo's Florida personal injury articles to learn about the laws surrounding your case and to find a qualified attorney.
A statute of limitations limits how much time after an injury occurs that a plaintiff has to pursue legal action against a defendant. Once the statute "runs out," a lawsuit cannot be pursued. Florida's civil statute of limitations includes:
Things can get hectic after a car accident and it's easy to miss crucial moments for collecting information for a potential personal injury lawsuit later. As always, everyone's safety at the scene of the accident is the first thing you should attend to. Then you should contact law enforcement and emergency services if needed.
You should then collect contact information from the other person, plus insurance and vehicle information if it's a car or motorcycle accident. You'll also want to talk to any witnesses and get their contact information as they can testify for the case in court.
Never point fingers or lay blame on anyone, including yourself, at the scene of the accident. You don't want to accept responsibility for the accident even if you believe you were—let your lawyers sort out fault and negligence in court. If the police ask you questions, answer them truthfully but without specifically assigning or accepting blame for the accident.
Make sure to take pictures of the scene and the injuries. Keep track of your medical bills, insurance bills and any lost time at work if you were injured. If any property was damaged, get a valuation of the losses and repair costs. All of this information will help you estimate your actual damages.
In all Florida personal injury lawsuits, the court may charge each party with contributory fault. This means that if the court finds some degree of negligence on the claimant's (the plaintiff's) part, a proportionate amount is deducted from the claimant's economic and noneconomic damages award. For example, if the court found you to be 20 percent at fault for your personal injury, you may receive 80 percent of the damages claim.
Florida courts determine negligence in both parties (the plaintiff and the defendant) by measuring their actions surrounding the injuring incident to those of a "reasonably prudent" person. A reasonably prudent person is one who, in a similar situation, reacts within reason and responsibly under law. Did you/your defendant do what a responsible and reasonable person would do in your situation, etc.?
The defendant's negligence may be confirmed if the court finds that:
Injuries cost money, including time away from work, medical bills and other complications. You should have an attorney help you with your claim. Not sure if you have a good injury case? Speak to a local personal injury attorney about the merits of your case. This one step can help you protect your rights and take the proper next steps.