There are countless ways and circumstances in which you could sustain a serious bodily injury that is not your fault while going about your daily life. From car and motorcycle accident cases to slip and fall accidents, our personal injury lawyers have seen it all. However, the good news is that we are well accustomed to fighting for clients who have been injured in a situation that wasn’t their fault.
The attorneys that make up our legal team have 75 years of combined experience between them and a thoroughly practiced grasp of Florida law in respect to personal injury and accident cases. Don’t accept the consequences of your injury without compensation, instead work with us to recover a settlement that will take into account your property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more!
It all begins with a free consultation with our office in Orlando, Florida. Someone is available 24/7 to answer your questions, provide free legal advice and show you the roadmap to maximizing your compensation. Every call to our office comes at no obligation and is entirely covered by the attorney-client relationship of confidentiality.
We highly recommend that you give us a call and get in touch as soon as possible. We will be with you every step of the way and work tirelessly to ensure that you get the settlement you deserve.
Defining a Serious Bodily Injury Under Florida Law
Serious can be quite a subjective term. However, Florida law lays out the exact definition of a serious bodily injury in Florida Statute 316.027.
This statute states that a:
‘Serious bodily injury means an injury to a person, including the driver, which consists of a physical condition that creates a substantial risk of death, serious personal disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.’
In terms of criminal law, if someone inflicts a serious bodily injury on another person, they will usually be looking at receiving a second-degree or third-degree felony. However, this varies on a case-by-case basis and may not always be exactly.
If you have sustained a serious bodily injury that was not your own fault, you should take this very seriously. With the help of an Orlando personal injury attorney, you could be looking at a substantial amount of compensation for your injuries and the complications you have received as a result.
To see how much your claim could be worth, contact a Florida personal injury attorney at our office any time of the day or night. Our lines are always open to schedule a free consultation. All you need to do is give us a call.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Serious Bodily Injuries in Orlando, Florida?
There are almost numerous ways that someone could sustain an injury that risks death, disability, or protracted impairment.
However, some serious personal injury case sources are more common than others. The following are the circumstances most often seen by our accident attorney team:
- Motor vehicle accidents, with motorcycle accidents and accidents involving large vehicles like trucks carrying a much higher risk of serious bodily injury than regular car-on-car accidents.
- Slip and fall accidents.
- Assault and battery by another person.
- Attack by an animal.
- Cases of medical and surgical malpractice.
We placed car accidents at the top of our list because they are by far the most common source of serious injuries in Orlando, Florida. In fact, according to a study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, over 70% of all reported chest traumas in the United States today result from car accidents.
However, no matter the cause of your accident, our legal team can help you to recover compensation for your injury and maximize your claim amount. Call us and arrange a free consultation to find out exactly how much your personal injury case could be worth.
How Is Liability Proven in Serious Bodily Injury Law?
If you have been seriously injured in an Orlando car accident or slip and fall case, you may be wondering how your personal injury lawyers will go about proving that the person at fault was responsible for your injuries.
The process hinges around proving that the liable party violated their duty of care. A duty of care is essentially owed in most situations. For example, anybody driving a car or motorcycle has a duty of care to follow the rules of the road and not put anybody else in unnecessary danger. The same is true for property owners, who have a duty of care to keep the area free from obstacles that could cause a slip and fall accident.
When demonstrating liability in a court trial, your Orlando personal injury lawyer will need to demonstrate the following:
- The other party owed the injured party a duty of care in the situation.
- The other party then violated this duty of care.
- The violation of this duty of care caused the injured party their injuries.
When a person has been proven to have violated their duty of care to the injured party, that person is said to be negligent. The way the law deals with negligence can be found detailed in Florida Statute 768.81 or Florida Statute 768.075 in cases of premises liability, which is what is responsible for slip/fall cases.
The Orlando personal injury lawyer team at our law firm is highly trained, experienced, and savvy when it comes to demonstrating that our clients were owed a duty of care. Whether it be dealing with an auto accident or premises liability, our thorough knowledge of liability and injury law will translate into the highest possible settlement for your situation.
Comparative Fault in Florida Personal Injury Law
One important aspect of injury law to remain aware of Florida’s comparative fault laws, which are detailed in Florida Statute 768.81.
These state that it is possible for the person raising the claim to be jointly negligent in a situation. This may be down to the quality of your driving in the event of an auto accident, or the presence of a self-made distraction or inappropriate footwear, for example, in cases of slip and fall claims.
If you are found to be partially responsible for your injury, even if it is a serious one, you will lose a portion of your settlement under Florida personal injury law.
This amount will be proportional to the amount of fault you are found to have displayed in the situation. If you were 25% to blame, you could expect to have 25% taken from your final settlement.
Luckily, nothing is set in stone when you have the right Orlando personal injury lawyers behind you. We intimately know comparative fault issues in injury law and have a wealth of experience defeating arguments to maximize the compensation received by our clients.
So, even if you were partially to blame for your accident, we highly recommend that you still arrange an initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer from our Orlando office. We will be able to tell you exactly where you stand with your case for free.
Florida Insurance Requirements in the Event of an Auto Accident Injury Case
Florida is what’s known as a no-fault insurance state. Florida’s no-fault laws, as detailed in Florida Statue 627.7407, may play a serious part in determining the possibility of your claim.
These laws essentially mean that every individual driver deals with their own insurance company in the event of an auto accident, no matter whether they were personally at fault or not.
What this means is that every driver is required to carry Personal Injury Protection insurance – which is also known as PIP. The limits of this insurance are detailed in Florida Statute 627.736, but we will also explain below.
The statute explains how every driver must carry at least $10,000 worth of Personal Injury Protection insurance. This will cover up to $10,000 in medical or disability payouts for injuries as a result of an auto accident, with $5,000 being available in the event of a death.
Any claim that exceeds this amount will need to be made through the courts in accordance with Florida personal injury law. This is yet another reason why you will need a good personal injury lawyer to maximize the amount of money your serious bodily injury claim is worth.
Which Types of Injury Count as Serious Under Florida Law?
While we have provided the definition of how a serious bodily injury is defined under Florida law, we thought it might be helpful to provide an exact list of which common injuries fall into this category.
The following injuries will be classified as a serious bodily injury under Florida law:
- Severely broken bones and complicated fractures.
- Amputation of limbs.
- Injuries to the spinal cord.
- Any kind of serious mobility impairment, including paralysis.
- Brain and head trauma.
- Serious, life-threatening cuts, burns, and soft tissue injuries.
- Serious scarring or disfigurement.
This is a necessarily non-exhaustive list. There are things that are too specific or uncommon to include above. The best way to find out if your case will be considered a serious injury is to contact an Orlando personal injury attorney at our office today. We will answer all your questions and clearly explain exactly how the law handles your situation in the State of Florida.
What Is the Best Protocol to Follow Immediately After Being Injured in an Accident?
There is a specific set of steps you can take immediately after your accident to not only maximize your claim but also to make sure you and others involved in the accident are as safe as possible.
These steps, which may vary slightly depending on the exact circumstances of your accident, are:
- Prioritize physical safety – The first thing you should do after experiencing an accident is remove yourself from additional danger. Get clear of the site of the accident and ensure others involved are able to do the same.
- Alert the authorities – If you have been involved in a serious accident, especially an auto accident, you are required by Florida law to alert the relevant authorities. You should also ensure that medical attention is sought for anybody at the scene who is injured.
- Collect details – Once you are safe, you will need to get as many personal details of the others around you as possible. You will need the insurance details of the person at fault and contact details for anybody else who can act as an eyewitness. Try to get as much information as possible and don’t forget about registration plates if it was a motorcycle or car accident.
- Never admit fault – It may seem natural to make the other party feel better by admitting some of the fault for the accident. However, doing so can disastrously impact your claim amount. Never admit fault, even passingly.
- Acquire photographic evidence – If you are safe and able to do so, or if you have a family member or friend present, now is the best time to acquire photographs for use by your Orlando personal injury lawyers. Use your phone to snap pictures of all relevant environmental details and of your own injuries.
- Contact your insurance company – You are required to disclose all accidents to your insurance company within a specific time frame (usually 24 hours, but may vary between insurance companies) if you want to make a claim. Give as little information as possible and never sign anything without a lawyer present, as insurance companies fish for unnecessary details in order to lower your claim amount.
- Seek medical assistance – We highly recommend seeking medical assistance for any level of injury. Not only are some injuries worse than they may seem, but also Florida Statute 627.736 means that you must have sought medical attention within 14 days of sustaining your injury to make a personal injury claim.
Once everything on the list is complete, it is time to contact your Orlando personal injury lawyers and begin making your claim as quickly as possible.
What Damages Can an Orlando Personal Injury Attorney Help Me to Claim for My Serious Bodily Injury?
If you are raising a claim concerning a serious bodily injury, there are a number of different categories of compensation that may apply to your case.
You are not limited to claiming for only one of these damage types, and if your injury has impacted your life in multiple ways, you will be able to claim for all of them that are applicable to your situation. In terms of the monetary scale of your compensation, generally speaking, the worse the damages and consequences to your life, the greater the amount of payout you can expect.
The following sections will cover the most common types of damages associated with serious bodily injury claims and explain how they work.
However, it is worth remembering that the best way to get a clear idea of which damage types apply to your case and how much they could be worth is by speaking to a member of our experienced personal injury lawyer team. We can give you all the information in a free consultation, available at any time and at no obligation when you ring our office.
Raising a Claim for Property Damage
Property damage claims do not deal directly with your serious bodily injury. However, if you were in a situation such as a car accident that caused damage to your personal and valuable belongings, it is worth considering boosting your claim value.
Your attorney will be able to help you claim back the cost of any valuable items damaged in your accident, where this is a car or valuable items you had upon your person. This can be extremely helpful, especially when concerning motor vehicles, as having your primary mode of transport irreparably damaged during a period of financial precarity can cause serious problems.
Raising a Claim to Cover the Cost of Your Medical Bills
We probably don’t need to tell you that the medical bills associated with a serious bodily injury are often not only financially devastating but also a cause of great anxiety. In fact, medical debt is the leading cause of American bankruptcy today.
Thankfully, there is something you can do about this. Your personal injury lawyers will be able to assist you in reclaiming the amount that your medical care cost.
In order for this process to go as smoothly as possible, you should retain all copies of any documentation and billing given to you by the hospital following your treatment.
Raising a Claim to Cover Wages Lost While Recovering From Your Serious Bodily Injury
Unfortunately, the financial implications of a serious injury do not stop at often sky-high medical bills. If you have sustained a serious injury, you will almost certainly be required to take some time off from work so that you can recover.
Increasingly, modern employers are not willing to cover this time spent off with a reasonable amount of pay or often do not offer sickness or recovery pay at all. This is where a claim for lost wages comes in.
If your ability to attend your job and earn your usual amount of money has been impacted by an injury due to an accident that wasn’t your fault, you are within your legal rights to make a claim to recover these lost earnings.
In order to provide evidence for your claim, you should ensure that you have copies of all of your communication with your employer concerning the time you have been forced to take off.
Raising a Pain and Suffering Claim
The aptly named pain and suffering damages are a huge help when making a claim for a serious bodily injury. These are designed to calculate a financial amount based on how long your recovery process took, how much pain was involved in the process and whether or not your life has been permanently impacted in any way.
These permanent impacts can take many forms and cover considerations for mobility impairments, disabilities, scarring/disfigurement, mental or cognitive health difficulties, or lifestyle-impacting anxiety.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often try to find ways around paying out the appropriate amount of money for pain and suffering damages. However, fortunately, the lawyers at our law firm are used to this process and are adept at countering their strategies.
The best thing that you can do to help us out with this process is to obtain a copy of your medical history. This way, your insurance company will not be able to claim that the lasting impacts of your serious bodily injury were, in fact, long-term conditions that you are wrongfully claiming for.
How Is the Payout for a Pain and Suffering Claim Calculated?
There are two main ways of calculating the value of your pain and suffering claim. The first is known as the Per Diem method, and the second the multiplier method. These will be explained briefly in the following sections, as pain and suffering compensation usually makes up a large part of a serious bodily injury settlement.
It is possible that your insurance company will use a different way to calculate your pain and suffering settlement. The insurance company is under no legal obligation to use these methods and may use computer programs or established precedents to calculate an amount instead. If this amount is unfair, your Orlando personal injury lawyers will be able to fight to negotiate a higher settlement amount.
The Per Diem Method for Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation
Per Diem is the Latin translation of ‘per day.’ This essentially means that an economic figure will be calculated for each day of the duration of your recovery process.
These calculations usually use daily income as their foundation, as your personal injury attorneys will need to demonstrate why they have chosen a certain figure as the goal for your injury claim.
We prefer to steer clear of this method wherever possible when dealing with clients who have long-term injuries, especially those that will carry on into the future, as it is hard to put a fair and representative daily figure on these.
The Multiplier Method for Calculating Pain and Suffering Compensation
The multiplier method also works by gathering quantifiable figures to work out an appropriate amount of money for pain and suffering damages.
These quantifiable figures may include your medical bills, wages lost while out of work recovering, and damage sustained to your personal property.
The next step is to multiply the total of these figures by a number that is taken to represent your level of pain and suffering. This is usually a number between one and five, although it is not unheard of for the number to be much higher with a serious bodily injury claim.
Examples of situations that would likely result in your accident attorney being able to bargain for a number higher than five are brain injuries and paralysis.
Raising a Claim in the Event of the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
If a family member or a close loved one tragically lost their life after sustaining a serious injury, there is also a special type of claim that you can make under Florida Statute 768.21 to hold those at blame financially responsible for the huge changes they forced upon your life.
We understand that discussing money in relation to a recently lost loved one often seems barbaric and that no amount of money will come close to making a difference to the grief that you feel. However, we also understand that a dramatic change in family circumstances such as this often comes with its own unique set of financial anxieties that can complicate and disturb the natural grieving process.
A wrongful death claim will take into consideration the often surprising cost of burial and funerary expenses, the lost wages that your loved one would have continued to contribute to your household income, the emotional damage to your family unit, and the loss of consortium to you and your family members.
How Long Do You Have to Raise a Claim for a Serious Bodily Injury?
Unfortunately, thanks to the statute of limitations in Florida, you do not have forever to claim compensation following the accident that caused your serious bodily injury.
In line with Florida Statute 95.11, you have exactly four years in which to raise your claim. This time period begins to expire on the exact date on which your accident occurred.
There is one exception to this that often catches people unawares. If you are raising a claim for the wrongful death of a family member, the statute of limitations is shorter. In order to successfully raise a claim for wrongful death, you must submit your claim within two years of the exact date on which your loved one lost their life.
When Is the Best Time to Begin the Claims Process for a Serious Bodily Injury?
Many people see that they have four years in which to raise a claim and think that this means that they should not rush. This could not be more wrong. It is important that you contact your personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after the accident occurs in order to maximize the value of your settlement amount.
This is true for several reasons. The first is that the evidence you and your personal injury lawyers will need to support your claim. The more evidence you have, the higher the likelihood of your claim being successful and the more money you are likely to receive.
Evidence naturally becomes less available over time. If you strike while the iron is hot, it is likely that most of the evidence will remain at the scene of the accident for documentation. It is also more likely that your eyewitness accounts will remain contactable for corroborating statements. While The Law Place in Orlando does have access to personal investigators (to track down eyewitnesses) and expert accident recreation teams, nothing can beat immediate and freshly collected evidence.
The second reason concerns the other legal teams that are likely to be working on the same case. It is likely that the person at fault in the accident has their own legal team. These attorneys will be collecting their own evidence and solidifying the defendant’s case – you do not want them to gain too much of a head start.
The same is true with your insurance company. While insurance companies like to portray themselves as being helpful and on your side, this could not be further from the truth. It is in their best interests to pay out the lowest amount possible in your settlement, as this will save them money. They employ their own teams of attorneys as well as experienced claims adjusters in order to achieve this.
So don’t delay. Contact the Orlando personal injury lawyers at The Law Place as soon as possible to recover the maximum amount of compensation. Free legal advice is available 24/7 for all of our prospective clients. All you need to do is give us a call.
Contact The Law Place Today
Whether you sustained your injuries in a car accident, slip and fall, or some other way, a personal injury lawyer from our Orlando office can help you to maximize your claim amount.
Don’t get caught up in the complexities of Florida injury law or caught out by our insurance company. Instead, arrange a free consultation with our legal team. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and all calls are at no obligation.
All accident cases worked by our law firm are operated on a contingency basis. This means that you will have to pay nothing in fees up until your final settlement and will only be charged if your case is successful.
For more information on how our law firm can help you, call us!