What exactly is a personal injury in Florida?

by Jan 27, 2022Personal Injury

What exactly is a personal injury in Florida?

by Jan 27, 2022Personal Injury

Man suffered personal injury in south florida
Man suffered personal injury in south florida

Personal injuries are the hurts to you as distinguished from damage to cars, buildings, and other property. Physical harms, such as pain, bruises, broken bones, and cuts, readily come to mind. However, non-physical damages also come under the personal injury umbrella. These include psychological, emotional, and reputational harm. Below, we discuss more fully how personal injuries occur, the injuries for which a personal injury attorney in Florida seeks compensation for your damages and injuries.

1. Personal Injuries Arise From Carelessness

A personal injury in Florida often occurs when a party commits a tort. The term refers to a violation of a duty imposed by law in general instead of an obligation arising out of a contract. Within the area of tort law lie wrongful acts such as assaults, batteries, false imprisonment, and negligence.

Negligence entails the failure of a party to exercise reasonable and ordinary care under particular circumstances. You can find careless acts and inattention resulting in many incidents, such as slips and falls, construction accidents, criminal attacks by third parties from negligent security, defective products, and improper handling or storage of flammables.

2. Motor Vehicle Crashes Generate a Sizable Portion of Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury attorney in Florida helps victims of motor vehicle negligence. Claims from auto crashes predominate the area of personal injury law. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 341,399 crashes occurred on Florida roads in 2020. Those incidents claimed 3,332 lives and injured 212,432.

These incidents involve passenger vehicles, commercial trucks, buses, and motorcycles. Negligent driving manifests itself through:

  • Speeding or driving too fast in conditions such as rain, fog, or darkness
  • Texting and using social media while driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances
  • Unsafe lane movements
  • Failure to give turn signals
  • Following too close
  • Defective brakes, tires, and other safety equipment on vehicles

3. Personal Injuries Can Prove Serious

Personal injuries from automobile accidents can prove debilitating and otherwise severe. In these cases, a personal injury attorney in Florida sees physical injuries such as fractures, cuts, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, scars, and constant pain. These physical injuries can impair your ability to walk, bend, lift, remember, hold objects, and perform other essential bodily movements and functions. Paralysis can occur to victims of more severe crashes.

Among the mental and emotional harms are depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, embarrassment, and other emotional distress. Victims may sense physical and other impacts such as lack of sleep, digestive problems, loss of appetite, irritability, high blood pressure, and headaches.

4. Injured People Often Face Financial Harm

You feel the economic costs of an automobile accident or other instances of negligence in medical expenses, lost wages and lost earning capacity. Medical expenses include the costs of an emergency room or hospital stay, the ambulance ride or airlift to the hospital, surgeries, therapy, rehabilitation, medication, and other examinations and treatments by physicians. Some crashes lead to broken teeth, requiring reconstruction or repair by dentists. Depending on your injuries, you may recover from a personal injury in Florida the expenses for wheelchairs, walkers, prosthetics, and care by home health nurses or in nursing homes.

Time in the hospital or at home recuperating translates to lost time from work. In addition to the lost wages, you may have lost earning capacity if you become disabled in a car accident. Your past work experience, education, skills, and diminished ability to lift or move will factor into the extent of your lost future earnings.

5. Personal Injury in Florida Includes Pain and Suffering

Personal injury claims also contain a non-economic component. Pain and suffering refer to the discomfort and anguish that come from a car crash. Anxiety, depression, poor mood, and insomnia become mental or emotional byproducts of the serious physical injuries caused by a car crash.

Florida Statutes Section 627.737 allows you to recover pain and suffering in a lawsuit if the motor vehicle crash results in one of the following:

  • Permanent and significant loss of a body function, such as walking, sight, hearing, holding items
  • Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability (not counting scars or disfigurement)
  • Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • Death

6. You Can Get Compensation Regardless of Fault – To a Point

Florida is a no-fault state. That means you can recover at least some of your medical expenses and lost wages even if you bear some or all of the blame for the wreck.

Personal injury protection insurance provides the mechanism for no-fault compensation in Florida. Every motorist in Florida must have at least $10,000 of personal injury protection coverage. With this insurance, you get 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages and other expenses up to the policy limits.

7. A Personal Injury Attorney Can Pursue Compensation Beyond No-Fault Insurance

If you’re involved in a motor vehicle crash, your damages could exceed $10,000. Personal injury protection insurance benefits may not adequately compensate you for your injuries.

You may look to the other driver’s liability insurance. However, Florida law generally does not require that motorists carry bodily injury liability coverage. Exceptions apply if the driver that injured you:

  • Was operating a vehicle registered as a taxi, in which case the minimum bodily injury coverage is $125,000 per person and $250,000 per incident, or
  • Had a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance within three years of the crash, in which case the minimum bodily injury coverage is $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident, or
  • Was operating a commercial vehicle, in which the type of cargo determines the amount of minimum liability coverage

Bodily injury liability insurance pays for your damages only if you prove that the other driver was at-fault in causing the wreck. As a comparative negligence state regarding liability claims, Florida allows you to recover even if you’re partially responsible for the impact. In such a case, the proportion of your negligence reduces the damages you otherwise would collect.

These rules on liability claims also apply if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Such types of insurance pay your damages to the extent at-fault insurance or personal injury protection policies do not cover them.

With the help of a personal injury attorney in Florida, you can pursue all of the available sources of compensation for your injuries. This includes identifying the at-fault parties and the insurance policies so you can be compensated.

If you or a loved one have suffered a personal injury, contact a personal injury lawyer at the Bodden & Bennett Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation.

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