Florida is on its way to becoming one of the most populated states in the country. The state is known for its luxurious beaches, miles of highways and roads, and a large number of people. With all this hustle and bustle going on, you are at greater risk of getting injured, whether it is a motor vehicle accident, slip-and-fall injury, or even a dog bite. After the incident, the question arises who is to blame for the personal injuries that you suffered. More importantly, who is covered under the personal injury protection?
What does negligence mean in a legal sense?
It is important to first understand the meaning of negligence. In layman terms, negligence means that the person did not take the proper care or were careless. In the legal world, it is a bit more complicated. The legal definition of negligence means that a person, business, or company failed to exercise the degree of reasonable care expected of someone in order to minimize the risk of harm to another person. Basically, if you go into the supermarket and slip in a pool of milk, the store could be seen as negligent; however, you must be able to show that the store was aware of the spilled milk.
If you can prove that the store was aware of the problem you can claim damages from them. Damages are compensation that is provided to the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) for the harm or injury that was caused or was a result of the other person’s (the defendant) negligence. The amount that you will be able to claim depends on what injuries were suffered, what the circumstances was as well as who the defendant is.
There is another element that you must consider. It is called comparative negligence. This is where the plaintiff is also partly at fault for the accident or incident. If the court finds that there is comparative negligence then it will diminish the amount that can be claimed.
It is sometimes possible that there are more than one person or entity who is responsible for damages. If this is the case, then all the tortfeasors must pay damages. Tortfeasors is a legal term referring to more than the person who caused the injury. The tortfeasors can claim among each other if one has paid more than the other.
There are also time limits that are applicable in which you can file the lawsuit. This time limit is referred to as the statutes of limitation. There is not one set time period for all claims. Each type of negligence has its own time frame. The time frames vary but for most injury cases the statute is four years.
Types of Claims for Personal Injury Protection in Florida
There are various victims that are covered under personal injury protection (PIP) in Florida. First on the list is someone that was injured in a car accident. Determining liability in an accident is very difficult if you do not put the evidence together correctly. Make sure that you gather as much evidence as possible. The sooner the better. If you are unable to do so due to your injuries, appoint someone to assist you with this.
When you are in a bicycle accident you can also claim. However, there are various factors contributing to this. There are different rules that apply here such as the common bicycle laws as well as the cyclist’s responsibility. There are also bicycle helmet laws that are taken into account when determining liability.
When you are a victim of a slip and fall accident you can claim damages. Just remember that you must first find out who is responsible. What was the cause of the slip and fall? Was it due to a dangerous environment like bad maintenance or was it because your safety was guaranteed during your visit such as in the example mentioned about the spilled milk.
Medical malpractice also falls under Personal Injury Protection. It is also a very expensive case to pursue and it is extremely complicated to prove. Make sure that you have an experienced liability lawyer in your team when you are taking on a medical malpractice case. The statute on medical malpractice is two to four years, however, professional malpractice has a statute of limitations that is two years.
If you are injured by someone else’s child, you can actually claim from their parents or legal guardians. Remember it is more difficult to establish but it can be done. Children’s legal responsibility is transferred to their parents or legal guardians in certain instances. Familiarize yourself with these instances.
When you and your beloved pet is on holiday in Florida, you decide to go for a lovely walk on the beach. The next moment you are attacked by a dog, not your own, which is not on a leash. Dogs cannot be held responsible for their actions. You must then take action against the owner of the dog.
Lastly, you can be injured by a product. Product liability originates from a situation wherein a party, often the consumer is injured because of a faulty or malfunctioning product. If the product was defective, legal concepts such as strict liability can result in your lawsuit being settled almost automatically.
Do I need evidence?
It is of vital importance that you keep as much evidence of your injuries as is possible. After the incident, it is advisable to take photos, take names, numbers and social security information of everyone involved. Write down the whole incident while it is still fresh in your mind. Find out who is in charge or who the manager is if the incident happened in a public place. During a car accident take down all the information of the other vehicle like registration number, color, make and model. Ask the other driver for their insurance information. It is also your responsibility to contact the relevant authorities to inform them of the incident.
Keep all the information on your accident and injuries safely together in one place. It is also advisable to make copies and the moment you have acquired an experienced attorney, share with them all the information. If you are unsure whether you will be able to claim or be covered by Personal Injury Protection, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Tampa, Florida.