Personal Injury Lawsuits Lakeland, FL
Grounds for Lakeland, FL personal injury lawsuits take many forms – car accidents, premises liability, dog bites, dangerous products and medical malpractice, just to name a few. But regardless of any specific accident scenario, nearly all personal injury claims share common elements. Those elements impact everything from someone’s ability to sue to how much money can be recovered.
Below are the basics of Florida’s personal injury laws. Note however that every case is different, so if you have recently been injured in an accident, it is important to connect with a personal injury lawyer Lakeland, FL residents trust instead of making assumptions (for better or worse) about your situation. Even if you aren’t sure of whether you can file a Lakeland, FL personal injury lawsuit, the team at David & Philpot, PL can help to clarify your legal options and walk you through them one by one. That way, you’ll be able to make whatever informed decision is right for you.
The Factors Needed for a Negligence Claim
The vast majority of personal injury suits allege negligence on the part of the defendant. But what is negligence? For purposes of personal injury litigation, these five elements must be present:
1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
2. The defendant breached that duty of care
3. Because the defendant breached the duty of care, the plaintiff suffered harm
4. The defendant foresaw or should have foreseen that his actions could injure someone else
5. The plaintiff suffered harm (physical, financial, etc.) as a result of the defendant’s actions
What If You Were Partially at Fault?
In most personal injury scenarios, fault for the accident primarily lies with one person or a small group of people. But there are times when the victims of accidents are sometimes partially responsible for the accident itself or for making their own injuries worse than they would otherwise be. Is shared fault a barrier to pursuing compensation?
Thankfully, the answer is no. Florida recognizes a legal doctrine known as “comparative negligence.” Under this doctrine, the plaintiff in a personal injury suit can recover damages even if he or she was partially to blame for the accident or injuries. However, their financial compensation will be reduced by the amount of blame attributed to them.
Let’s say that a plaintiff sues a texting driver who injured him in a distracted driving crash. The defendant is largely to blame, but the driver may have contributed to his own injuries by failing to wear a seatbelt. He wins the case but the jury determines that he is 10 percent at fault. Because of this, he will be able to claim 90 percent of the total damages he was seeking in the lawsuit.
What Kinds Of Damages Can You Claim?
Damages are simply financial compensation claimed for an injury or loss. They fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are those with objectively quantifiable costs, including:
· Medical bills (past, present and future)
· Lost wages
· Reduced earning capacity
· Property damage
There are also non-economic damages, which are harder to quantify, including things like pain and suffering. While these are not always easy to quantify, they can be very real consequences of an accident and deserving of compensation.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, you likely have the right to pursue compensation through a Lakeland, FL personal injury lawsuit. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, contact our firm today.