TITUSVILLE & WEST MELBOURNE FL INJURY LAWYERS
Being injured in an accident can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. In addition to enduring emotional stress and physical pain, more severe accidents may require the injured party to undergo months or even years of expensive medical treatment. Recovery time and medical visits typically lead to a significant amount of time away from work, which translates to a loss of income.
Obtaining compensation for injuries suffered during an accident often is not a straightforward process. In some instances, the injured party is required by law to file an insurance claim. At other times, victims or their families might file a claim in court against the party who is responsible for causing the accident and resulting injury. Because of the many important factors that are usually involved in personal injury cases, individuals who have suffered as a result of someone else’s negligence should immediately seek the guidance and professional assistance of a qualified West Melbourne personal injury lawyer.
At Couture Law P.A., we’ve handled many cases just like yours, and we are prepared to fight hard to help you recover the compensation you deserve and ensure that justice is served. Our injury attorneys understand the pain and frustration you are experiencing as the victim of another person’s negligent behavior, and we are committed to making the legal process as easy as possible so that you can concentrate on healing.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY
Confronted by a seemingly vast sea of lawyers, accident victims sometimes feel overwhelmed when attempting to decide which lawyer is best suited to handle their case. What can you expect? As a general rule, those who seek legal counsel should expect to receive a free consultation upon contacting a law office. During the consultation, the attorney or a staff member will ask a number of standard questions common to all injury law cases, in the interest of learning more about the individual’s injury and the circumstances under which the accident took place. Interactions with the lawyer and law firm staff should be compassionate, courteous and confidential.
After listening intently and deriving an idea of what took place on the day of the accident, the attorney advises the injured person regarding whether he or she is likely entitled to compensation, and the discussion of plausible courses of action begins. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will be familiar with the local laws and the appropriate procedures for filing a claim in court, as well as communicating directly with the insurance company in applicable cases. Clients usually find that there are numerous advantages to choosing an attorney who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies in addition to being familiar with local court personnel. A client should expect his or her attorney to communicate important details of the case regularly and to ensure that all documents are filed appropriately and on time. An injury lawyer should always explain how the contingency fees process works.
Before meeting with any attorney, always check to make sure that the lawyer “is in good standing” with the Florida Bar. Being in good standing means that the lawyer is not “retired, resigned, delinquent, inactive or suspended.”
ELEMENTS OF A FLORIDA PERSONAL INJURY CASE
In Florida, there are three major components that comprise a valid claim for damages in a personal injury lawsuit:
- First, the party who is alleged to be responsible for causing the injury is required to have had a legal duty to not cause harm to the plaintiff, and he or she must have failed to meet the obligations of the duty by committing a harmful act.
- Second, the plaintiff must prove the harmful act led to his or her injury.
- Third, the plaintiff must establish that he or she suffered damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, or permanent disability as a result of the injury.
AN EXCEPTION FOR CAR ACCIDENTS
Auto accident lawyers will tell you that Under Florida law, car accidents are governed by different rules than other personal injury cases. Florida is a no-fault state; therefore, all Melbourne and Titusville drivers are required to maintain valid auto insurance that includes personal injury protection. When accidents occur, each driver is required to utilize insurance coverage to pay for his or her own injuries up to $10,000. However, injured parties may file suit and receive additional compensation if their injuries are determined to be severe or if the injury has resulted in disfigurement, permanent injury or death.
WRONGFUL DEATH LAWSUITS
In instances where an accident results in a person’s death, the victim’s family members may bring an action in criminal court. The decedent’s spouse, parents, children, and/or any sibling or adopted relative who is wholly or partially dependent on the decedent for support and services may seek to sue. In Florida, if a child is born to unmarried parents, he or she may recover damages in a wrongful death action in which the mother is the decedent. However, the child may only receive wrongful death damages for his or her father if the father has formally recognized the child and was obliged to provide support.
The lawsuit must be filed by the representative of the decedent’s estate, though additional family members may be listed as individuals who have an interest in the case. The representative may be named in the will, or the court may otherwise appoint a representative.
TYPES OF DAMAGES
In a personal injury lawsuit, the amount of compensation the plaintiff may receive is determined by the other party’s percentage of fault in the accident. In Florida, if the defendant is more than 10 percent at fault, he or she may be ordered by a judge to pay for a portion of the plaintiff’s economic losses. Examples of losses a defendant may be required to compensate include:
- past medical expenses
- future medical expenses
- property damage
- emotional distress
- losses that affect ability to work
- losses that affect ability to perform daily tasks
An experienced Melbourne or Titusville injury attorney can help accident victims receive the compensation they deserve by assisting with ensuring the above listed losses are properly documented, submitted, and presented as required by the court.
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