Serious bodily injury is much more than a superficial or minor injury that heals quickly. The term is reserved for serious physical injuries that result in substantial pain and inconvenience. In some cases, these injuries take a long time to heal, and some may never fully heal at all.
If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident in North Port, Florida, that resulted in any form of serious bodily injury. It is crucial that you seek counsel from a qualified Florida personal injury lawyer as soon as it is feasible. A lawyer will be able to provide you much-needed support and advice and as well as help you pursue damages from the at-fault party.
At The Law Place, our personal injury attorneys have over seventy-five years of collective experience. We can guide you through the legal process, meaning that you can focus on your recovery.
For a free consultation, call us. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can get legal advice when you need it most. Let our law firm take on your personal injury case and fight for the compensation that you deserve.
Florida’s Definition of Serious Bodily Injury
According to Florida Statute 316.027, serious bodily injury occurs when injury a person is injured, and their injury leaves them facing a substantial risk of death, serious and permanent disfigurement, or protracted impairment or loss of a bodily function or an organ.
As mentioned, serious bodily injury is more than just a superficial or minor injury which an individual could recover from easily. An injury of this nature will take a long time to heal or, in some cases, may never fully heal.
In criminal cases, the legal term “serious bodily harm” may be used to describe serious injuries. This legal definition seeks to differentiate from other forms of harm, like psychological or emotional damage. According to Florida law, serious bodily harm can be a result of an intentional act or an accidental injury.
If you are unsure whether your injury is considered serious under the law, call The Law Place for a free consultation. One of our personal injury attorneys can answer all of your questions and tell you if you have grounds to file a case.
Examples of Serious Bodily Harm and Serious Bodily Injury in North Port, Florida
Each state has its own definitions for serious bodily injury and serious bodily harm. In Florida, a serious bodily injury is long-lasting and never short-lived. Some examples of types of serious bodily injuries include the following:
- Severely broken bones.
- Loss of a limb.
- Spinal injuries.
- Head injuries.
- Neck injuries.
- Serious burns.
- Serious cuts.
- Permanent scarring.
- Serious disfigurement.
- Permanent disability.
- Loss or impairment of a bodily function.
- Loss or impairment of an organ.
Other types of serious injury can qualify, and you may have sustained another type of injury that could be considered serious. Due to the fact that no personal injury case is straightforward, our law firm offers a free consultation. A qualified personal injury lawyer can discuss your injuries with you and help you to make an informed decision on how to proceed with your claim.
Common Causes of Serious Injuries in North Port, Florida
Serious bodily injuries can be a result of both non-intentional and intentional circumstances. Examples of common causes of serious bodily injury in North Port, Florida, include:
- Serious car accidents.
- Accidents involving large commercial trucks.
- Car accidents involving a drunk driver (DUI).
- A criminal act of robbery involving unlawful physical contact.
- Assault consisting of intentional violence or a threat of physical violence.
- A construction accident.
- Accidents caused by heavy machinery or power tools.
- Accidents caused by defective and sometimes, unregulated products.
No matter how you sustained your serious injuries, you may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit in North Port. Call The Law Place to find out more in a free consultation.
Car Accident Involving Serious Bodily Injury in North Port, Florida
A large number of personal injury claims are filed following road traffic accidents. Florida is a no-fault state, as per Florida Statute 627.7407, which means that all drivers are usually expected to pay for their own injuries and damages following a car accident. They must do this by filing a claim with their own insurance company, regardless of who was at fault. All drivers in North Port and Florida, in general, are required to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection.
Because of this, drivers will not always file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party as their own car insurance policy should cover their medical expenses, lost income, and other damages.
However, due to the fact that expenses related to seriously injured drivers are not covered in full by most insurance companies and do not account for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, Florida does law permit seriously injured victims to file personal injury lawsuits.
A personal injury attorney from our law firm can explain more about this to you during a free consultation
DUI Resulting in Serious Bodily Injury in North Port
DUI causing serious bodily injury happens when a person, who is is driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, causes or contributes to the serious bodily injury of another.
The law regarding DUI causing serious bodily injury can be found under Florida Statute 316.193. The crime consists of three key elements, all of which must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused drove or was in actual physical control of a car, truck, or any other vehicle.
- The accused was under the influence to the extent that their normal faculties were impaired, or they had a breath/blood alcohol level of over .08 percent.
- As a result of their actions, a car accident occurred, and the accused caused or contributed to another person’s serious bodily injury.
Other Types of Criminal Cases Involving Serious Injury
Depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, criminal cases that involve serious bodily injury could result in a misdemeanor charge or even a felony charge for the defendant. While a misdemeanor involves more minor crimes, felonies are very serious and come with more severe penalties. For example, a battery crime is generally charged as a misdemeanor. However, if the act of battery results in serious bodily injuries, it could be elevated to a felony charge.
The penalties associated with felonies and misdemeanors can be found under Florida Statute 775.083. The punishments will vary depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, how they sustained them, the defendant’s actions following the incident, and the quality of their legal representation. However, it is likely that it will involve mandatory minimum prison sentences as well as hefty fines.
Anyone who has found themselves navigating the court system should have proper representation, whether they are the defendant or the victim.
Florida’s Negligence Principles
Most personal injury cases are based on the theory of negligence. Negligence occurs when a person’s actions do not meet the standard of a “reasonably prudent person,” and as a result, another person is injured, as stated in Florida Statute 784.05.
To establish negligence, a personal injury lawyer must prove these three key elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the defendant owed a duty of care – For example, in a case of medical malpractice, a health care provider owed a duty to act according to accepted medical practices. In the case of a car accident, the defendant had a legal duty to drive in a safe manner and adhere to the rules of the road.
- That the defendant failed to uphold their duty – For example, a driver drove recklessly, or a medical professional’s care fell below the accepted standard.
- That this failure directly caused the victim to be seriously injured – And as a result, the victim suffered damages.
Florida’s Comparative Negligence Principles
Comparative negligence is a term that is commonly used in personal injury cases. If a defendant argues that the injury victim contributed to the accident in some way or that they somehow made their injuries worse, this can affect the amount of compensation that is eventually awarded to the victim.
The State of Florida follows the comparative negligence rule, as laid out in Florida Statute 768.81. This rule states that the amount of compensation awarded will be reduced according to the degree of fault you had in the accident.
Most accidents involve a series of important facts. In a car accident case, the defendant may have been speeding, but the other driver could have been distracted in some way. The jury or insurance company involved in this case may think that the defendant is 80 percent at fault and that the victim is 20 percent at fault. If the total damages equated to $200,000, the victim’s damages would be reduced by the 20 percent that they were found to be responsible for, and their total damages would be reduced to $160,000.
Establishing the Elements of a North Port Personal Injury Claim
Any person who files a personal injury lawsuit has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that another person was negligent and that this directly led to their injuries. In most cases, this is only possible with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. However, there are some things you can do to preserve vital evidence and protect your personal injury claim:
- Write down everything you can remember straight away to preserve your memory while it is fresh.
- Ask for contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.
- Take pictures of the accident scene. In the case of a car accident, take pictures of the vehicles involved and any marks on the road.
- In the case of a car accident, contact your local law enforcement agency and file an accident report. Official documentation of the accident is vital.
- In the case of a workplace accident, report the incident to the relevant person.
- Take pictures of your injuries and get checked over by a medical professional even if you think that your injuries are minor.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer before providing a statement to an insurance company representative. A professional lawyer will be able to tell you how to best navigate the situation.
For more information about things you can do to help your North Port Personal injury case, contact The Law Place in Florida for a free consultation with a qualified personal injury attorney.
A skilled personal injury attorney can work to reduced your total percentage of fault to ensure that you are given the maximum amount of compensation possible in your case. For more information, call The Law Place today for a free consultation.
Damages in a North Port Personal Injury Lawsuit
If you have been seriously injured in an accident that someone else was responsible for, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation to cover your losses. Some examples of damages that you may be entitled to following an accident-related injury include:
- All medical bills relating to the accident and injury – This includes all current, past, and even future medical expenses (e.g., physical therapy).
- Lost wages – As a result of missing work due to your injuries or because of missing work for essential medical appointments.
- Lost earning capacity – In the event that the accident forced you to take a lesser-paying position or even giving up work altogether.
- Compensation for permanent disfigurement or disability – The full value of this can be hard to determine, but an experienced lawyer can ensure that your settlement is reflective of your ongoing suffering.
- Property damage – Such as vehicle repairs in the event of a car accident.
- Pain and suffering damages – For emotional distress, e.g., stress, ongoing physical pain, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Loss of consortium – Compensation for the injured victim’s spouse or other family members in the case of serious injury, which may have suffered due to loss of income to a family household or loss of support.
- Any other applicable damages.
An experienced personal injury lawyer from our law firm will be able to determine the full value of your claim and fight for the full amount of compensation that you and your family deserve following a serious accident. To find out more, call today for a free consultation.
Medical expenses usually account for a large portion of the total amount of damages in North Port personal injury cases. Your medical bills can also be used to estimate the value of your pain and suffering following an accident. A personal injury lawyer will be able to recover compensation for all of your medical expenses if they can establish that they are all directly related to your serious bodily injury.
In North Port, Florida, courts refer to the “collateral source rule,” which dictates that all defendants in a personal injury case cannot use any evidence about any payments insurance companies have made for your medical bills in an attempt to reduce the total value of your personal injury claim. This rule exists to protect people who have been injured because another person was negligent. However, if a jury is shown medical bills that have not been settled following an insurance payout, your compensation could be reduced.
A North Port personal injury lawyer from our law firm can explain this to you in more detail during a free consultation.
The Statute of Limitations in a North Port Personal Injury Case
The statute of limitations is a legal time limit that affects a victim’s ability to file a personal injury lawsuit. If an injury victim does not file a claim before this time period has passed, their claim can be rejected, even if liability in the case is clear. In general, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits in Florida is four years. This time limit will start from the date of the accident that caused the serious injury. The time period is shorter in some situations.
There a few exceptions to the statute of limitations. In very rare circumstances, an injury may not be discovered a considerable time after an incident. This can happen in medical malpractice cases. If the injury was not discovered, and there is no way it could have been, the statute of limitations may be extended for two years. This can also happen in cases of fraud. If an act of fraud meant that an injury was not discovered, the statute of limitations could also be extended by two years. In any case, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within seven years.
These exceptions to the statute of limitations are rare and should not be relied upon. Therefore, it is vital that you contact a North Port personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident to protect your legal rights and your right to file a claim. Call today to find out how much time you have to make your claim.
How a North Port Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
A qualified North Port personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction can explain how they apply to your injury case. They can use their skills to investigate your case and identify all of the parties who may be legally responsible for your injuries. They can handle all necessary exchanges with any insurance companies and lawyers who are involved in your personal injury case. They can negotiate for a fair settlement that is reflective of your pain and suffering. If you are offered compensation that does not cover the damages you have sustained, a good lawyer will be willing to take your case to court and fight for what you are rightfully owed.
Our team of personal injury attorneys at The Law Place will work tirelessly until you are awarded a fair settlement. Don’t go through the legal process alone. Call us today for a free consultation and let us support you through this difficult time.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer From The Law Place
At The Law Place, we charge on a contingency fee basis. This means that we will not accept payment for our legal services if we cannot successfully help the injury victim recover damages. If our client is not awarded compensation, our personal injury lawyers will not be paid for any legal services.
For more information regarding legal fees, contact us today for a free consultation.
Speak to the Personal Injury Lawyers at The Law Place in a Free Consultation Today
If you have been seriously injured in an accident in North Port, Florida, and think that you may have grounds to file a claim, contact a personal injury lawyer in your area as soon as possible.
The personal injury lawyers at The Law Place have seventy-five years of combined experience in handling serious bodily injury lawsuits in North Port and almost every other county in Florida.
If you get in contact with us, we can promise a free consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who will be able to give you an idea of the value of your claim and provide you with much-needed support and guidance.
So don’t hesitate, contact us today. Our phone lines are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.