A personal injury case is a type of tort lawsuit where the plaintiff has suffered a physical or mental injury in some kind of incident.
These cases are filed against an at-fault party who caused the injury through their negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or other wrongful conduct. The plaintiff may be able to recover damages, which is a financial award to compensate them for the injuries or losses they sustained.
Personal injury lawyers are those who primarily represent clients in personal injury cases. They play a crucial role in helping victims navigate the personal injury case process.
If you were injured in a personal injury accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL, contact our office to discuss your case with a member of our team. Until then, continue reading to learn more about the personal injury case process.
What Are the Elements of a Personal Injury Case in Florida?
To succeed in a personal injury case, you will likely need to show that the other party was negligent.
Negligence essentially means that someone failed to exercise reasonable care and caution under the circumstances, resulting in injury to another. To prove negligence, a personal injury plaintiff must establish the following four elements.
Duty of Care
To succeed in a personal injury case, the first element you must establish is that the other party owed you a duty of care. A duty of care is a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.
To put it another way, one must act the way a reasonably prudent person would under the circumstances. For example, a driver owes a duty to other drivers to drive with a reasonable amount of care and safety.
Breach of Duty
Once a personal injury plaintiff establishes that a duty of care exists, they must then establish that the defendant failed to meet this duty. For instance, a driver who is speeding or driving under the influence has breached the duty to drive with reasonable care and caution.
The next element you must establish in a personal injury case is causation. That is, you must show that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care was the actual and legal cause of your injuries.
The final element you must prove in a personal injury case is damages. This may seem obvious, but you must show that you suffered injuries or losses that can be compensated for.
What Damages Are Available in My Personal Injury Case in Fort Walton Beach?
In personal injury cases, the primary remedy available is compensatory damages. These damages aim to make the victim whole again after the accident or injury. There are two categories of compensatory damages: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages relate to the direct financial costs of an accident or injury. These include past and future medical costs, vehicle repair costs, property damage, and lost wages. Economic damages are sometimes referred to as tangible damages or special damages.
In contrast, non-economic damages relate to the emotional or subjective impacts of the accident or injury. They include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of companionship or consortium, diminished quality of life, and disfigurement. Non-economic damages are sometimes referred to as intangible damages or general damages.
Damages can be difficult to establish and may require considerable evidence. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help assess your potential damages and gather the evidence to support your claims.
How Long Do I Have To File My Personal Injury Case in Florida?
Each state provides a time limit within which personal injury victims must file their lawsuits. In Florida, a personal injury victim generally has two years from the date of the accident or injury to file their case. However, certain cases have different filing deadlines instead – you may have additional or less time to file a lawsuit in your circumstances.
What Steps Should I Take After a Personal Injury Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a personal injury accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL, you should take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention to assess and treat your injuries
- Take photographs of the accident scene and your injuries
- Collect the contact information of potential witnesses
- Write down your recollection of the events, including dates, times, names, and any other pertinent information
You should also consult a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options and other steps you may need to take right away in your case.
Do I Have To Hire a Lawyer for My Personal Injury Case?
There is no requirement that you hire a personal injury lawyer to represent you in your case. However, the personal injury claim process can be complex and difficult to navigate. A skilled personal injury lawyer can handle every aspect of your case by doing the following:
- Investigating your case and identifying the at-fault party
- Gathering facts and evidence to support your claims
- Assessing the extent of your damages
- Contacting the insurance company on your behalf to negotiate a favorable settlement
- Filing your case and representing you in court, if a favorable settlement cannot be reached
Furthermore, a personal injury lawyer can focus on navigating the complexities of your case, so that you can focus on moving forward with your recovery.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Cost?
Most personal injury attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that the client does not pay any attorney’s fees upfront. Instead, the attorney collects their fee at the end of the case as a percentage of the client’s ultimate recovery.
This percentage is usually between 33% and 40%, depending on the complexity of the case, the time the case takes to settle, and whether it proceeds to trial.
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you were harmed in a personal injury accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL, you may be dealing with injuries, medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and other unexpected costs. Reach out to an experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyer, you can call (850) 863-5297 to discuss your options and the potential compensation you may be entitled to.