Hire a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who represents people who have been physically injured by the wrongful behavior of another. Normally, this “wrongful behavior” is negligence, which means something like carelessness. Typical examples of negligence claims include:
- Auto Accidents (see Miami car accident lawyers page)
- Drowning Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Brain Injuries
- Just about any type of injury caused by carelessness
A personal injury claim can also be based on intentional misconduct, such as a nightclub beating or a “road rage” incident.
Personal injury attorneys in Florida gather evidence and typically negotiate a private settlement compensating you for all of your losses arising from the accident that injured you — medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, child care expenses, etc. Although in some cases it is necessary to take the defendant to court, most personal injury claims are settled outside of court.
You Don’t Need A Dime To Retain Me
If you have never used a Florida personal injury lawyer before, you might be under the impression that you cannot afford one. Such is not the case at my office. Your bill is calculated as a percentage of the amount you actually win, and if you do not receive either a judgment or a settlement, your total legal bill will be $0.00.
Don’t Worry About the IRS!
Fortunately, neither the IRS nor the Florida tax authorities tax personal injury compensation, with the following exceptions:
- Amounts you receive for lost wages are taxable. Since you would have been taxed on these wages if you had earned them, however, you won’t be paying any more than you would have paid if you hadn’t been injured in the first place.
- Punitive damages are taxable. Punitive damages are paid, if at all, in addition to ordinary compensatory damages. Since most injured victims do not receive punitive damages even if they win their case, this probably will not affect you.
- Interest income is taxable. You may receive interest on your compensation backdated to the date of your accident. This income, typically minor in comparison with the total amount you receive, is taxable as ordinary interest income.
Traffic Accidents and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Traffic accidents are perhaps the most common form of personal injury. Florida is a “no-fault” auto insurance state — Florida motorists are required to carry $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. PIP insurance is designed to cover your own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. It does not cover your liability to the other driver if the accident was your fault.
If your accident is considered serious enough, however, you may file a claim against the at-fault driver’s liability insurance policy as well as the at-fault driver himself. Since the at-fault driver may be uninsured or underinsured, however, it is best that you purchase more than $10,000 in PIP insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
I was in a traffic accident that was partly my fault. Can I still win?
Florida applies a “pure comparative negligence” system. A Florida court will apportion fault between you and the defendant on a percentage basis – 35 percent your fault and, 65 percent the defendant’s fault, for example. In this case the defendant would pay 65 percent of your personal injury damages (and you would pay 35 percent of the defendant’s damages). In settlement negotiations, of course, you would estimate what percentage a court would assign and then negotiate from there.
What do I have to prove to win?
To win a Florida personal injury claim, you must prove four “elements” – duty of care, breach, causation and damages:
- Duty of care: Every driver has a duty to drive with reasonable care, for example, but a doctor has a higher duty — to perform medical treatment you using a professional standard of care and skill.
- Breach: The defendant failed to meet his duty of care – he ran a red light, for example, or allowed his dog to run free.
- Causation: You must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty actually caused the accident.
- Damages: You must prove the losses you are claiming with admissible evidence (medical bills are admissible evidence, for example).
Do I have a personal injury case?
The strength of your case depends on many factors including the four elements of a personal injury claim described above, the extent (if any) to which you share fault for the accident, and, above all, how well you are able to gather evidence for your claim. A skilled personal injury attorney in Florida can evaluate your claim and give you a rough estimate of its strength after consulting with you on the details of your case.
How long does a personal injury lawsuit take?
I learned long ago that every case is different and every client is unique. Because of this reality, it is impossible to provide a good estimate of how long it will take to resolve your claim without learning the details of your case first. Speaking generally, most claims are resolved in a few weeks or months –only a small minority of cases drag on for years.
Should I hire Personal Injury Attorneys In Florida?
Yes. Personal Injury Attorneys In Florida will understand the complex rules of civil procedure and evidence that apply, and will be skilled at gathering evidence that weaves together fact and law to create a powerful claim on your behalf.
More importantly, defendants and insurance companies tend to become far more cooperative once they learn that you have taken your claim seriously enough to hire a top personal injury lawyer to represent you. A personal injury lawyer in Florida can help guide you through the personal injury legal minefield.
Act Quickly to Preserve Your Claim
If you have been injured in Florida by the misconduct of someone else, you are going to need a personal injury attorney in Florida. Contact DLE Lawyers today at (305) 363-7855 or fill out my online contact form for a free initial consultation.