Articles Tagged with personal injury

Unless you work in the legal field, you may not be aware of a measure recently passed by the Florida legislature and signed into law by the governor. However, if you are the victim of any type of accident in the state, the new statute could have profound impacts on your rights. Florida lawmakers enacted a tort reform measure in March 2023, which contains multiple provisions that change civil remedies and damages in personal injury cases. The biggest supporters of the law celebrated when it went into effect, namely the insurance companies that will always try to find ways to pay victims as little as possible. 

If you were hurt in an accident, there are three key provisions in the new law that affect your claim. You can count on your Miami personal injury attorney to tackle the challenges, as well as the other complexities that arise in any case. Still, to give you a better understanding of this tort reform, some basics are useful.

Three Important Takeaways from Florida Tort Reform

When settlement negotiations and mediation are unsuccessful in resolving a car accident claim, you will need to take your case to trial to recover the compensation you deserve. Though every matter is different, you can consider it a win when the jury comes back with a verdict in your favor and indicates the award amount. However, a judge still has the final say under Florida’s statute on remittitur and additur, legal jargon for increasing or decreasing damages. If the judge finds that the award is improper, it could be reduced. 

It might seem unfair that the court could change the amount that a jury has found to be reasonable. Still, the statute is clear: Lawmakers intended to bring practicality and logic to the civil court system, so it is in the best interests of Florida motorists to allow a judge to make adjustments. A Miami car accident attorney can explain details, but some background on this law is useful.

Factors Judges Weigh in Modifying Jury Awards

In a year when most health focus was on the pandemic, unintentional death and injury numbers may have been overlooked in 2020. However, the National Safety Council (NSC) compiled statistics from the same time period and reported some disturbing trends. Accidents claimed the lives of around 201,000 people, an increase from the 173,040 fatalities recorded for 2019. Plus, 55.4 million victims sought medical care at emergency rooms for unintentional injuries, with the top causes being motor vehicle crashes, slip and falls, and workplace accidents. 

Fortunately for victims, most of these incidents are covered by the at-fault party’s insurance. Motorists, businesses, and property owners carry liability policies to protect against accidents, so you will need to file a claim with the insurer to recover compensation. There is more to the process than filling out some forms, as you will need to submit a settlement offer and demand to the company. Your Miami personal injury attorney will prepare the necessary documents, but it is helpful to know what goes into the package.

Facts of the Accident

Drunk driving accidents claim the lives of thousands across the U.S. every year, and data from state officials reveal how the problem affects Florida motorists. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are more than 5,000 crashes annually involving intoxicated drivers. Approximately 375 people are killed in these incidents, while more than 3,000 victims suffer injuries in DUI collisions. Fortunately, you do have rights under Florida law if you were hurt by a drunk driver. You may qualify to recover compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. 

Though you might think your rights are clear when an intoxicated driver causes a collision, there are still complications with DUI crashes. You will need solid evidence of fault, so proof of impairment is critical. There are multiple sources of evidence for your case, and a Miami DUI accident lawyer will be thorough in gathering strong factual support. Some basics will help you understand what information might be useful.

Evidence for DUI Crashes

Florida has long been a hot destination for family and vacation travel, and recently released data indicates that the trend will continue. University of South Florida researchers estimated that more than 35 million people visited the Sunshine State during the third quarter of 2022, an increase over the same period last year. These figures are also an increase over the third quarter of 2019, so there are signs that the travel industry has moved on from the consequences of the pandemic. Compared to July 1 to September 30 of 2019, tourism data for the same quarter of 2022 was 8% higher. 

Many families head to South Florida for vacation, with the beaches, parks, and resorts being top attractions. There are plenty of activities for children, but it is important for parents to realize accidents are a common risk. You should discuss your legal options with a Miami resort tort lawyer if your child was hurt since these facilities are obligated to provide a safe space. To avoid having an accident ruin your vacation, consider the following tips.

Carefully Supervise Around Pools

Millions of American households are home to dogs, cats, fish, ferrets, birds, and every other swimming, flying, or crawling pet you can imagine. These creatures are a part of the family for many, so pets often accompany their owners on trips around Miami. Dogs, especially, are proud to sit perched on their owner’s lap and take in the view, not realizing the extreme distraction they cause. Motorists who drive while interacting with a pet contribute to the number of distracted driving accidents, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) reports on the risk. Every year, there are more than 265 fatal crashes and 49,000 injury-causing collisions linked to distracted driving.

Driving with a pet may not lead to a ticket in the same way as using a phone, but the dangers are profound with any type of distraction. You do have rights under Florida law, so make it a priority to consult with a Miami distracted driving accident attorney if you were hurt. An overview of the risks is also useful.

Pets and the Impacts on Driving

Though you may have seen an increase in the news coverage about Camp Lejeune water contamination in recent months, the origin of the story dates back to the early 1950s. This is when researchers have estimated that members of the military, their families, and some civilians working on base were first exposed to toxins in groundwater. For the next several decades, those who developed medical conditions related to the contamination had little or no legal recourse. However, lawmakers enacted the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 (CLJA) on August 10, 2022, opening the door for victims to seek monetary damages for their losses. 

If you suffer from a medical condition or lose a loved one, passage of the statute means you finally have access to remedies that were prevented by government immunity concepts. However, there are still requirements for recovering compensation. To avoid putting your rights at risk, trust a Camp Lejeune water contamination claims lawyer in Miami for assistance. Some of the requirements include the following:

Time of Service

Vulnerable road users get their name for a reason, comprising a group of individuals who are not traveling in vehicles that protect their safety with a metal shell. Motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicycle riders fall under this umbrella, but some new vulnerable road users are capitalizing on the recent popularity of e-scooters. There are many advantages of renting or owning an electric scooter, and these vehicles are especially appealing to young people who appreciate their convenience, flexibility, and reasonable cost. 

However, these benefits can be overshadowed by the risk of crashes with larger, faster motorized vehicles. Those accustomed to traveling in an enclosed auto may be unfamiliar with a unique, extremely painful type of injury that tends to affect e-scooter operators: Road rash. This trauma is a friction wound to the skin, but it is surprising how a seemingly minor injury could carry significant risks. A Miami e-scooter accident lawyer will assist with your remedies.

Overview of Road Rash Injuries

Most personal injury accidents happen because someone was careless, and though the conduct may not have been intentional, Florida law still allows victims to recover damages. You may qualify to receive amounts for medical costs, pain and suffering, and emotional distress as compensation for your losses. However, there are instances where the wrongdoer’s actions go beyond mere carelessness. The person or entity crossed the line into reckless, wanton, and potentially even criminal conduct. In such a case, a victim may have grounds to seek additional amounts under the Florida punitive damages statute. 

As the term suggests, this class of damages aims to punish the at-fault party for misconduct. Because punitive damages can significantly increase the amount a victim can recover, the bar is quite high for obtaining these damages. A Miami personal injury attorney can explain how they work and whether pursuing punitive damages is appropriate in your case. Plus, a summary is useful as background.

Application of Florida’s Statute on Punitive Damages

While it is disturbing to know that accidents are the number one cause of death for children and teens, Florida parents should also be concerned about the potential for serious injuries. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 21 million children receive care at hospital emergency departments to treat unintentional injuries annually. The top cause of accidental harm is falls, which injure more than 6.8 million young victims. Motor vehicle accidents take the #2 spot, leading to around 2.87 million ER visits for children aged 0 to 14. The CDC even tracks emergency care for dog bites, which cause harm to 316,400 kids. 

Seeing your child in pain from accidental injuries is horrifying for a parent, and the financial and emotional implications hit hard. It is encouraging to know that you have options under Florida law, and a Miami child injuries lawyer can assist with the legal process. Because proper medical treatment is so critical for your child’s health and your legal remedies, always head straight to the ER for:

  • Excessive Bleeding: A cut or laceration will usually lead to bleeding, but it is cause for concern if the injury is deep enough to cause significant blood loss. The accident could have led to arterial or venal bleeding, in which the blood vessels running either to or from the heart are ruptured.
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