Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyers
Gainesville, Florida, records several personal injuries annually. Unfortunately, many people cannot identify the cause that qualifies for a personal injury case. Oftentimes, they should consult with a Gainesville personal injury attorney to help.
Seeking compensation in Florida isn’t always straightforward. You may have to approach your insurance company with your claim.
However, a Gainesville personal injury attorney can represent you during this process. Additionally, our lawyers can assist you during insurance negotiations or lawsuits. With several decades of experience handling personal injury claims, you can rest assured that you'll be in good hands.What Is a Personal Injury in Gainesville?
This is the first step to understanding why you need a Gainesville personal injury lawyer. A personal injury is any injury to a person’s body or mind. Therefore, it's the opposite of property damage. Usually, personal injuries result from another party's:
- Recklessness, or
These actions can cause any of the three major types of personal injuries, including:
- Actual bodily harm
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
This refers to the physical injuries that result from an accident. Consequently, it's always best to seek medical attention after an injury. You should see a doctor even if you aren't in pain. We also advise medical care for minor accidents and wounds.Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering essentially covers the physical pain and mental anguish that results from the accident. This pain usually lasts for a long time after the accident. In addition, it leads to various levels of suffering. Therefore, the law allows compensation to victims for both issues.Emotional Distress
Finally, victims can also seek compensation for emotional distress. This covers issues such as:
- Loss of sleep
- Panic attacks
If the personal injury caused any of these problems, you might be eligible to seek compensation.Examples of Gainesville Personal Injury Accidents
Gainesville residents can sustain personal injuries in different ways. Furthermore, the examples of mishaps we explain below have various consequences.Motor Vehicle Accidents
Vehicle collisions may well be the most popular source of personal injuries. In 2020, there were over 35,000 fatal auto collisions. Car crashes usually occur because a driver is driving carelessly. In addition, they may have disobeyed a traffic rule. You may have a claim against the at-fault party or with your insurer.Premises Liability Claims
The law requires property owners to keep their premises safe. However, many property owners leave their environments in hazardous conditions. Visitors can then sustain different kinds of injuries.Medical Malpractice
When someone goes to the hospital, they should trust that doctors will do their best for them. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Instead, medical practitioners sometimes act negligently or recklessly. This then worsens the patient's condition or creates another medical problem.Dog and Animal Bites
Gainesville residents love their dogs. However, many of these dogs and other pets can be dangerous. If you suffer from a dog bite attack in Gainesville, FL, you could proceed against the careless dog owner.Product Liability
Some of the products we use daily may be dangerously defective. These include our:
- Clothing materials
- Medical devices
- Children's toys
Therefore, you can sue the manufacturer if a harmful product harms you.Other Types of Personal Injury Accidents
There are other sources of personal injuries, including:
- Birth injuries
- Aviation and boating accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Intentional torts such as assault and battery
- Workplace accidents
- Defamation slip and fall cases
Florida isn't a fault-based accident state. To seek compensation, you don't have to prove the negligent driver's liability. Additionally, you don't directly file a claim with the at-fault party's insurance company.
Instead, you should approach your insurer under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance. Florida law requires that vehicle owners purchase PIP insurance before registration. A driver must have a minimum of:
- $10,000 coverage for personal injuries, and
- $10,000 for property damage losses.
For example, suppose you're in a car accident. Your insurance can cover up to:
- 80% of your medical bills,
- 60% of accident-related income losses, and
- $5,000 in death benefits per fatality.
Determining fault and proceeding against the at-fault party can be necessary. However, this only happens in cases of serious injuries. These include the following classes of injuries:
- Permanent wounds
- Significant and permanent scarring
- Wounds leading to permanent loss of bodily function
- Injuries that cause death
You can sue the at-fault party and seek compensation in these cases. You may also seek to recover compensation when your losses far exceed the PIP insurance coverage.Common Gainesville Personal Injuries
A typical personal injury accident can result in significant injuries. Essentially, you can hurt any part of your body. However, the most prevalent injury types include:
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Burns and bruises
- Crush injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Spinal cord injuries
- Arm and leg wounds
- Facial injuries and scars
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Ankle and knee wounds
Personal injury accidents don't just cause wounds. In worst-case scenarios, the victim can also die. For example, a person can die because of the accident's impact, while others can pass away while receiving treatment.
Whichever the case, the death doesn't extinguish the family’s right to seek damages. The deceased's estate can sue on their behalf for wrongful death. To prove wrongful death, someone must prove that the victim would have been alive if it wasn’t for the accident.Do I Need a Gainesville Personal Injury Lawyer?
Suppose you've suffered any of the personal injury accidents above. Then, you may wonder whether you need an attorney. Unfortunately, many Gainesville residents shy away from hiring lawyers for various reasons.
However, speaking to and working with an attorney may be your best decision. Below are the top reasons you should hire a Gainesville personal injury lawyer.Protection From Insurance Companies
Insurance companies are the first hurdle when seeking compensation. They usually don't prefer paying out claims to increase their profits. Therefore, insurers may reduce or deny your claim.
For example, they may misconstrue your statements which can be detrimental to your position. Thankfully, an experienced lawyer can prevent this from happening. An attorney can control the communication and has the skills to negotiate while representing your interests.Evaluation of Your Compensation
Injury victims only know that they've been hurt, but they rarely know how much compensation they should seek. Furthermore, their knowledge is often restricted to their apparent losses. These include property damage and medical bills.
Moreover, their estimation of these losses may be wrong. However, a lawyer considers less apparent damages such as emotional distress. They also have methods for calculating the actual cost of existing damages. This way, you can seek full compensation for your losses.Accident Investigation and Evidence Storage
The strength of your accident compensation claim depends on the available evidence. However, you may not know how to investigate what happened. Even if you conduct an investigation, you may not recognize crucial sources of evidence.
Yet again, recovering from your injuries and investigating the collision can be too much. This is where our Gainesville personal injury lawyers come in. We can take over the investigation of your case while you focus on recovering.
Our attorneys will start from the accident scene to determine who caused the crash. In addition, we will gather the following evidence:
- Photographs and videos of the collision
- Photos of skid marks on the road
- Statements of the eyewitnesses
- Police report
- Conclusions of accident reconstructionists
- Vehicle evaluation reports
Finally, we'll adequately store these resources until they are needed.Go to Court if Necessary
Finally, there's a chance that your case will get to trial. If it does, it is recommended to have a skilled attorney representing you. Gainesville's injury compensation process can be complicated, and you will need to file documents within strict time frames. A personal injury lawyer can help with the entire process.Insurance Settlements vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits
Immediately after your accident, you may choose whether to file a lawsuit or potentially accept an insurance settlement. A lawyer's first step is sending a demand letter to the relevant insurance company. This insurer may accept or deny your claim.
If they accept your claim, negotiations will open up. Then, you'll present your case to seek compensation. Suppose the insurer denies your claim, then you may have to file a lawsuit. However, an insurance company may also offer settlements that are too low.
Insurance companies hope that you'll accept a lowball offer. In these cases, excellent lawyers will advise against accepting an inadequate offer. A lawyer may then help with filing a lawsuit.Notable Facts About Personal Injury Settlements
Before you make a decision, it'll be best to understand some facts about personal injury cases, including:
- You can accept a settlement offer any time before judgment
- After accepting a settlement, you'll agree not to sue the fault party
- If you're already in court, you'll agree to withdraw the case
- You can only sue the at-fault party after accepting a settlement in limited scenarios
Financial restraints may prevent people from hiring a Gainesville personal injury attorney. It's not that they don't want to work with a lawyer. Rather, they think they cannot afford to pay for one.
However, the reality is that hiring an attorney does not have to be a costly endeavor. This is because most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
A contingency fee agreement exists when an attorney handles your case on an arrangement that you pay when and if you win. Therefore, if you don’t win your case, then you possibly will not be charged.
Our law firm offers this arrangement to prospective clients. We are motivated to help you win and try to make it as convenient as possible.Lawyers Fees vs. Procedural Bills
Notably, there are certain expenses that you must pay. These include:
- Cost of discovery
- Court filing fees
- Cost of witness logistics
- Printing and photocopying bills
You and your lawyer must agree on their payment before the case starts. Usually, Gainesville personal injury attorneys collect their fees in percentages. This often ranges from 30-40% of the recovered sum.
You can pay them from a court judgment or a settlement. However, several factors affect the amount your attorney ultimately receives.How Long Do I Have to File a Gainesville Personal Injury Claim?
Have you chosen to file a personal injury lawsuit? Then, you have to file early on. This is because of Florida's Statute of Limitations. It provides specific time limits for filing your personal injury claim.
Gainesville personal injury claims usually derive from negligence. Therefore, you have two years to sue the fault party in Gainesville, Florida. The time starts counting from the date of your injury. Suppose the injury victim dies. Then, the survivors have four years to file a wrongful death case. However, the clock starts ticking from the death date.
Note that medical malpractice victims only have two years. If you don't file your lawsuit early, the defendant can inform the court of your default. Consequently, the judge will likely dismiss your case. That's why we suggest working with our Gainesville personal injury lawyers who are familiar with Florida’s Statute of Limitations.Exceptions to the Florida Statute of Limitations
Most Florida laws have exceptions, and a Gainesville court will not always strictly apply the Statute of Limitations. Rather, there are periods where the court will allow you to file a lawsuit outside the 4-year window. We explain some of them below.The Absence of the Defendant
You must serve the fault party with the court document before the case begins. This notifies them that there's a case against them. Therefore, suppose the defendant leaves the state. Then, you cannot locate them to serve the papers. Therefore, the court may wait until the negligent party returns to Florida. Only then will your time start counting.Underage Injury Victim
Minors have two choices when filing lawsuits. Firstly, they can wait until they reach 18 years old or have their parents sue on their behalf. If the minor doesn’t sue through their parents, they have until they are 18 to sue. Therefore, the four-year period starts counting from their 18th birthday.The Discovery Rule
Injury victims don't always discover their wounds right away. Rather, it could take days, weeks, or months before they notice that someone caused an injury. In these cases, it would be unfair for the statutory period to start counting when you don't know about the injury.
That's why the law may wait until people discover the wounds. Similarly, the law could pause until you discover whether the current injury is from a pre-existing condition. This principle is the discovery rule.Recoverable Damages in Personal Injury Claims
Personal injuries have one of the broadest classes of damages. If you win your case, the court can award significant damages as compensation. The following are the available compensatory damages:
- Medical bills
- Cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Cost of medical equipment
- Pharmaceutical bills
- Property damage bills from the personal injury accident
- Loss of future wages
- Lost opportunities
- Cost of hiring domestic servants because of incapacitation
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of parental guidance
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Any other losses resulting from the accident
Finally, a court may also award punitive damages. This class of damages isn't compensatory. Instead, they punish the defendant for their conduct. Furthermore, the court hopes to deter other people from acting similarly. However, you must prove that the fault party's conduct was so detrimental that they deserve punishment.Hire a Gainesville Personal Injury Attorney Today
Have you or a loved one suffered a personal injury? Did you lose a relative in an accident? Then, you may be eligible for compensation. First, you should consult with an excellent Gainesville personal injury lawyer.
Florida's personal injury process is complicated. Furthermore, Florida isn't a fault-accident state. You may not have an obvious right to sue the negligent party. Therefore, you can use the help of a lawyer to advise you on the chances of winning your case.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, we've handled several personal injury cases for years. These claims have involved unscrupulous insurance companies too, and we've helped our injured clients recover from their financial losses. Call us today at (561) 800-8000 for a complimentary consultation.