If you or someone you care about sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual, entity, or business in Florida, you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. Filing a personal injury claim against the at-fault party can help victims recover compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other losses incurred due to the injury. Here, we want to review some of the most important points to understand when considering a West Palm personal injury claim.
Do You Have a Personal Injury Claim?
The first step in a personal injury case is determining whether or not you actually have a claim. In order to move forward with a personal injury civil case, there must be a situation where one party’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional actions caused injury to another party. Personal injury claims arise in a wide variety of ways, including vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice incidents, accidental drownings, slip and fall cases, boating accidents, defective products, and more.
If you are unsure of whether or not you have a personal injury claim, we encourage you to contact an attorney for a free consultation of your case. Your attorney can help determine the best steps moving forward.
Florida’s Personal Injury Statute of Limitations (2023 Law Update)
Personal injury victims must keep timelines in mind, specifically the Florida personal injury statute of limitations. Previously, individuals had four years from the date and injury occurred to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party.
However, recent tort reform laws changed the statute of limitations from four years to two years. This means that personal injury victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party, or they will lose the ability to recover compensation for their losses.
Compensation Available for a Florida Personal Injury Claim
There may be various types of compensation available for a successful personal injury claim in Florida. Typical compensation recovery will include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are the measurable losses personal injury victims will likely incur as a result of the incident and the aftermath. By using receipts or bills the victim receives, an attorney can help adequately add up the following:
- Any medical bills associated with the incident
- Lost income and loss of future earning potential
- Any household out-of-pocket expenses are rising due to the incident
- Property damage expenses
Non-economic damages are designed to help personal injury victims recover from more immeasurable losses they are likely to sustain after an incident. This includes a victim’s physical pain and suffering as well as their emotional and psychological pain and suffering caused by the injury, the recovery process, and any disabilities. These types of damages can also include loss of quality of life considerations as well as the impact of any scarring or disfigurement.
Partial Responsibility – What if You’re Partly to Blame? (2023 Law Update)
As part of the tort reform changes made in 2023, Florida has also altered the way they handle partial responsibility after an injury incident occurs. Previously, the state used a pure comparative negligence system that allowed individuals to recover compensation even if they were upped in any 9% responsible for causing their own injuries.
Under the new changes, Florida is now a modified comparative negligence state that prevents individuals from recovering compensation if they are found to be more than 50% responsible for the incident. Any individual less than 50% responsible for causing their own injuries may still be able to recover compensation, but at a reduced amount, depending on their percentage of fault.
Will You Have to Go to Court?
Most personal injury claims in Florida are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, in which case individuals will not have to go to court. However, if the insurance carriers or at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement, filing a civil personal injury lawsuit may be the only way to recover the compensation the victim needs.
Even after filing a lawsuit in court, it may take quite some time for a case to go in front of a jury. It is not uncommon for a claim to settle while the discovery process is going on or during required mediation before a jury trial becomes necessary. Only if the case does go to a jury will you have to go to court for your claim.
How Long Will Your Case Take?
There is no set amount of time for how long a personal injury case in Florida will take to resolve. In some situations, an insurance settlement may occur within a few weeks or a few months after the injury incident. However, in the event the other party refuses to offer a fair settlement, and if a personal injury trial becomes necessary, it could take multiple years for a case to resolve.
We encourage you to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer who can help you understand an estimate of how long it may take your case to reach completion.
A Note on Car Accidents and Personal Injury Lawsuits
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state, and this plays a role in the ability of West Palm Beach car accident victims to file a personal injury lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. Every driver in Florida is required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, which drivers turn to for compensation after an accident, regardless of who caused the injury. This system also prevents drivers from filing a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent party unless the incident meets certain criteria. These criteria include the crash causing:
- A permanent injury
- Substantial and permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Substantial and permanent loss of a bodily function
- A fatality
Call a West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one have been injured due to the negligence of another party, reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. A West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer can work with you every step of the way and find solutions to help you recover compensation for your losses.