People are hurt daily because of circumstances they are unable to control. Not all accidents lead to personal injury claims or civil lawsuits; there are circumstances and details around your personal injury situation that determine whether you might have a claim for damages against the party who is responsible for your injuries.
What Warrants Legal Action for a Personal Injury Claim in Brandon, FL?
A viable personal injury claim results from someone being hurt after the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another individual or entity. Not every personal injury claim leads to a legal proceeding for the purpose of trying to recover damages. In most situations, a claim is filed with the liable party’s insurance company (which might be multiple insurance companies). Most of these cases get settled before they get to court. Sometimes you have to let a jury hear your case and issue a ruling. A settlement could happen at any time during the claims process, right up until the time the jury hears the case.
Brandon Personal Injury Claims Legal Grounds
Most personal injury cases are the result of negligence. Negligence implies that an individual or employer had an obligation to act in an established way to another party but failed in that duty. The breach that resulted led the other party to be hurt. This is the most common personal injury action, which covers multiple classes of claims.
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Personal injury claims might result from another person’s intentional misconduct. This can happen when a person physically assaults another party or when someone is kidnapped by another person. If you suffer injuries because of these acts, most likely viable personal injury action exists. Most other personal injury cases are filed as a result of strict liability. This is a legal theory that was enacted for activities of an ultra-hazardous nature, dog bite cases, and cases for product liability. In what is called a strict liability case, you don’t have to prove the defendant acted in a manner that was intentional or negligent, it is enough to show you were injured as a result of the product or animal in question.
LEGAL ELEMENTS OF A NEGLIGENCE CLAIM IN BRANDON, FLORIDA
A Brandon negligence claim is based on four legal elements. To be successful with your claim, you have to establish all four elements based on a preponderance of evidence. This shows all the facts you are presenting regarding your case are accurate. This is a lower burden, making it easier to prove than on those television criminal cases. In those TV cases, the use the legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Using the “preponderance of evidence” benchmark, if it is 51% reasonable or likely that the facts presented in court are what did happen, you have met the standard and proven your case.
Duty of Care in Brandon, Florida
The initial element you must establish to be victorious in a negligence claim is that the defendant had a duty of care that was obligated. This duty is based on relationships between parties, thus for example: (1) employers are obligated to employees, (2) business owners or operators are obligated to clients or customers, (3) higher learning institutions and education directors have an obligation to students and staff, and (4) caregivers have an obligation towards those they are providing care for.
By law, everyone has specific duties that must be met; for example, we do have an obligation to drive safely while operating a vehicle. Everyone normally owes one another an obligation to act in a fair manner and avoid causing injuries to others, whenever it is deemed possible.
Breach of Duty
After proving the other party owed an obligation, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the other party failed to meet the obligations of that duty. Breach examples require evidence, which is dependent on the specific circumstances. Here is an example with the employer/employee relationship. Employers owe their employees an obligation to give them safe operating conditions while performing work duties. If a worker is hurt because a machine they must use wasn’t properly maintained, the employer has failed this duty. Another example is that caregivers owe the senior citizens they take care of the duty of care while providing services. If you have an older family member in a nursing facility or rehab center and that individual gets bedsores because the caregiver didn’t properly turn the elderly person enough, the duty of care has been broken. If you’re in a Brandon car crash and the other party was driving drunk, the duty of care to drive safely and adhere to the traffic laws was broken and the other party is liable.
After proving that other party did owe you an obligation for care and they broke that duty, you show the negligent actions of the other party caused your injuries and damages. You must be ready to prove you wouldn’t have incurred the injuries you want to be compensated for if the other party didn’t act in a negligent manner.
The last aspect of a Brandon, FL personal injury claim is proving damages. You must have suffered a true injuries and losses to legally recover damages, though all of the three primary parts have been proven. This means you have to establish either bodily injury or property damage resulted so you can be compensated for the other party’s negligent acts.
PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUITS & STRICT LIABILITY
There are certain members of society who are expected to behave more carefully and be attentive to the public safety, which also plays a role in liability for many Brandon personal injury cases. Someone or some company subjected to strict liability have far tougher legal standards to face off against. You must prove the person or company acted in a negligent or careless manner to prevail with your claim. A good example of the strict liability customary in Brandon is Florida’s dog bite laws. If the Brandon resident’s dog bites someone, the dog owner is responsible of the dog’s actions and for the damages suffered by the victim.
Most Common Kinds of Brandon Personal Injury Claims
Vehicle accidents are the traditional personal injury claim; it so common we’ve devoted a complete section of this Brandon Guide to them. There are several different kinds of personal injury claims brought forth by the injured people of Brandon, Florida with the most common ones listed below.
PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIMS
Premises liability claims result because the owner of the property, who owes an obligation of care to people on their premises, breach that duty and someone visiting their property is injured. A Brandon premises liability claim might arise because a customer, who slips and falls in a business area, or because of a guest tripping while visiting the home of someone else. Usually, homeowners can’t be held accountable for injuries that were caused by unknown conditions on their property if they had no reason to know these problems existed. Anyone visiting the property of another person is required to exercise due care for his or her own safety. The particular duty of care owed by property owners is dependent on the conditions as to why the victim enters their premises. There are three classes of guests, business invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Every visitor class has his or her own different duty of care.
The highest duty of care is for property owners to those invited for business or those who enter a property for the conducting business. This might include those operating a restaurant, a retail store, or a gas station. This classification extends to repairmen and various employees invited to a home to perform work duties.
When it involves business invitations, property owners are obligated to ensure the grounds are safe. Owners should either repair any dangers on the property or give adequate warnings about the danger. Property owners should regularly check their property for any threatening conditions. This might include spilled food and drink in the aisles of a market, merchandise blocking the associate gate, and various conditions that happen in places of business.
The second highest duty of care is owed by homeowners to their guests. This includes friends invited into the house of the owner for a holiday dinner to guests who are not invited, such as a neighbor or friend who drops in unexpectedly to say “hello.” The duty owed to these people is to keep up the premises in a safe manner and to repair any safety violations. This duty requires homeowners to warn guests of any unsafe conditions on the property.
While a trespasser doesn’t have permission to be on someone’s property, the owner still has a restricted duty to keep any intentional and reckless injury from happening. The owner cannot cause intentional injury to an entrant while not facing some kind of civil liability. Homeowners even have an obligation to warn discovered trespassers of any dangers that cannot be noticed with average observation.
Children are Owed Elevated Duty of Care
Homeowners must exercise special care to protect children on their property regardless of whether they were invited or whether they entered the property without express permission. Homeowners should take steps to protect children from conditions on their property, especially in places that might entice children such as swimming pools, trampolines, backyard playsets, and any dangerous conditions which might be tempting. Reasonable steps should be taken by homeowners to get rid of any dangerous conditions or keep children away from them. Swimming pools can be a specifically dangerous for both injuries and liability claim, which means they should always be properly fenced and protected.
EXAMPLES OF PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
The responsibility to keep premises free from dangers could be a duty that applies to the inside of the home as well as the exterior of the property. This means the homeowner should keep the boundaries safe along with the outside areas, including the parking lot and the sidewalk in front any restaurant in operation. Of course, any food served to guests must be safe as well. The most popular category of premise liability claims is so called “slip-and-fall” cases, where somebody is injured because they slip on some item or obstruction on the ground or floor of your property and fall.
Other situations that give rise to premises liability claims include bumpy and broken sidewalks or stairs, broken or missing handrails or staircases, improper lighting, water puddling or slippery floor conditions, and even doors or windows that malfunction. Dog bites are also considered a dangerous condition on private property, also giving rise to lawsuits in premise liability. Anytime a person has been injured on the property of another as the result of a potentially unsafe condition, that person should consult an experienced Brandon attorney.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CLAIMS
Another negligence claim that arises with relative frequency in Brandon involves defendants in the healthcare industry. Medical malpractice lawsuits, while a specialized kind of personal injury claim, have specific requirements that involve presenting evidence. These cases require an injured party to prove that a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider fell below the accepted professional standard of care. Medical malpractice cases, therefore, require expert testimony regarding the proper standard of care in any given case, and there are many attorneys that specialize in solely medical malpractice law, as it is an in-depth area of law.
WORKPLACE INJURY CLAIMS
Another kind of personal injury claim results from injuries in the workplace. This area of law intersects with workers’ compensation law and is preempted in cases of just plain negligence. In cases involving intentional conduct by the employer, however, or in cases where the injured party was not an employee but an independent contractor, personal injury claims can be brought.
PRODUCT LIABILITY CLAIMS
Claims that result from injuries caused by defective products are another common kind of personal injury case. Dependent upon the case’s facts, it might be able to proceed under a negligence theory or based on a strict liability theory, but most of these claims are based on some kind of product defect. Design defects happen when the design of the product leads to the injury. A manufacturing defect happens when a product does not conform to the usage for the product and leads to an injury. A warning defect happens when a product does not display proper warning labels and doesn’t adequately advise customers about the risks that are associated with using this malfunctioning product.
WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS
The last are of personal injury claims are those brought after a loss of life resulting from the negligent or intentional actions of another. Wrongful death cases are brought pursuant to the Florida Wrongful Death Act, and there are two different categories of damages that can be awarded pursuant to this statute. The first category covers damages that the decedent’s survivors are entitled to recover. Survivors are those close family members defined in the statute entitled to damages for the death of a loved one. Close family usually includes the spouse, surviving parents, and any children. The second category of damages is those recoverable by the decedent’s estate. The estate cannot recover as many categories of damages as the survivors, as there is no compensation available for pain and suffering.
If you were partially to blame for an accident, you might be entitled to recover some of your damages. Florida follows a “comparative fault rule,” which means that the compensation you are entitled to receive is reduced by the same percentage that you were at fault for in the accident. If, for example, you were briskly walking through a parking zone, then twisted your leg in an open manhole, you may be found liable for some of your own injuries. If the court determines you were 10% to blame for your injuries, then your settlement is reduced by 10%. If your damages total $100,000, you might be able to collect $90,000. Courts in Florida are duty-bound to follow this decree for personal injury cases, and insurance claims adjusters are responsive to this rule further and often bring this up when you are in negotiation settlements.
HOW TO DETERMINE A VIABLE PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Personal injury cases can be difficult and take years to settle. Some cases are settled early on, but to protect yourself entrust your claim with a Brandon personal injury attorney if you’ve been hurt in any way. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know the viability of your claim and the relative probability of its success. He or she might offer an estimated value of your claim. Speaking with an experienced attorney before negotiating with the insurance company for the liable party usually significantly improves your chances of recovering a damage claim.
WHAT TO DO AFTER SUFFERING INJURIES
Be sure to document your injuries right away if you were hurt in an accident because of someone’s negligence or intentional conduct. Get immediate medical because the faster medical treatment is sought-after the better your chances for a full recovery. Keep copies of all documents associated with your accident and your injuries, including your medical records and all employment records showing lost wages. Gather contact information from witnesses at the scene of the injury and take photos of the scene if possible if you’re ready to pursue a Brandon personal injury claim for your damages. Witnesses should be talked with as quickly as possible while recollections of the accident are fresh in their minds.