1. How Does a Personal Injury Compensation Claim Begin?
If you have been involved in certain accidents, such as a vehicular accident, your first step should be to contact the police. The police will assess the scene, potentially determine who is at fault, and create a police report of the incident. While at the scene, be sure to document as much as possible. Additionally, it is crucial that you seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you think that you are not injured. Fort Lauderdale care accident lawyers Bernheim Kelley Battista & Bliss suggest that you consult a Florida licensed personal injury attorney once you have received necessary medical attention. From there, a complaint is filed and served to the party that caused the injury, also known as the defendant. This is the beginning of a personal injury compensation claim.
Unlike other areas of law, such as bankruptcy law, personal injury law is governed by state law, not federal law. Under Florida state law, to have a valid personal injury compensation claim, the injured party must be able to show:
- Duty of care
- Breach of that duty of care
- The harm caused because of that breach of duty of care.
While this may seem straightforward enough, personal injury law contains many nuances only an experienced and knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be able to ascertain. For example, under Florida law, a plaintiff has four years from the date of the accident to file suit. Although you may have met the elements necessary for a valid personal injury compensation claim, you may have surpassed this statute of limitations. Therefore, to learn whether you have a valid personal injury compensation claim, it is best to consult a well-versed Florida licensed personal injury attorney.
Every personal injury claim is unique. As a result, the damages that are available in a personal injury suit vary on a case-by-case basis. Potential forms of relief include:
● Lost wages caused by missed work following the incident
● Current and future medical expenses that relate to the injury
● Property damage resulting from the incident
● Pain and suffering
There are multiple types of legal fees. The most common types of legal fees are hourly fees and contingent fees. As its name might allude, attorneys that utilize an hourly fee structure charge a set fee for each hour. If this is your potential attorney’s fee structure, be sure to ask for an estimate of hours that will be spent on your case. Conversely, a contingent fee is only paid if the injured party wins the case or obtains a settlement. From there, the attorney will collect their share of the case’s earnings. Contingent fees are required to be in writing and must be signed by you, the client.
Do NOT sign if an insurance company asks you to sign a medical or property damage release document. By signing, you effectively sign away your right to fair compensation. Moreover, if the insurance offers you a settlement, even if you believe it is a good offer, do NOT accept this settlement offer until you have first consulted an experienced Florida personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys who have been working in the industry for years can determine the actual value of your personal injury case. In addition, they will be able to inform you of whether you are being offered the short end of the stick.
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