Personal Injury Claims: Important Questions to Ask
Have you recently been injured but are unsure about speaking with a lawyer? We understand that the time following a serious injury is often confusing and stressful. You may be unsure what your rights and responsibilities are. Below we highlight essential questions to ask before considering legal action.
Do I have a valid personal injury case?
If you’ve been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may have a personal injury claim. To file a successful personal injury claim, you must first prove that the injury was a result of a third party’s negligence or wrongdoing. Often, personal injury cases involve physical injury and damages, as these are the injuries that cause the most noticeable pain and keep you from living a full life. But do not think about these types of injuries only. Personal injury can include mental suffering as well and can include compensation for pain and suffering now and in the future.
What is negligence?
Negligence is the foundation of any personal injury claim. Negligence concerns how a “reasonable person” is expected to act in a specific situation. A person is negligent if he or she fails to act in a way that an “ordinary reasonable person” would behave. For example, a driver is expected to follow the rules of the road while operating a motor vehicle. If they fail to follow these rules and cause a car accident as a result, then they were behaving negligently and may be held responsible for damages.
What is the first thing I should do following an accident?
The most important thing to do following an accident is to seek medical attention. In the stress and chaos following an accident, you may not even realize that you’ve been hurt or the effects of the injury might not present themselves until some time after the accident. It is your responsibility, following an accident, to seek medical attention to identify or rule out any injuries and properly treat them.
How soon after my accident should I file a claim?
Under Florida’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you fail to file a claim within this timeframe, the court may refuse to hear your case. The best thing to do following an accident that wasn’t your fault and that left you injured is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to discuss the specifics of the accident with you and advise you on the best course of action.
What information/evidence is vital to my claim?
The most successful personal injury claims have supporting documentation that details the timeline of events, the seriousness of the accident, and the effect of the injury on your day-to-day life. This can include pictures, eyewitness accounts, accident reports, insurance claims, and medical records. You should keep all information relating to the accident in a safe place and provide it to your personal injury lawyer when discussing your case.
Will the person who caused my injuries be punished?
Personal Injury claims are civil, not criminal actions. Therefore, defendants in personal injury cases cannot receive jail time or criminal fines for their negligence since there was no malicious intent to hurt the victim. In some cases, however, punitive damages can be recovered to offset the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. These damages are designed to “punish” the defendant who behaved recklessly and prevent others from behaving in the same manner.
If you’ve been hurt in an accident, contact us today. Our experienced attorneys can discuss the details of your claim and advise you on the next steps.