You got hurt. Maybe you were rear-ended in Deerfield Beach, or, perhaps you tripped and fell because of a crack in a Fort Lauderdale sidewalk. You’ve seen the dramatized advertisements on TV in South Florida that lead you to believe you now have a Personal Injury case. But do you really, and if so, what should you do?
This educational Personal Injury blog series will help guide you from accident to settlement. The content is based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence from our South Florida practice, so while your particular situation may not be suited to every example illustrated, it will at least prove a handy reference in the event you are hurt because of someone else’s actions. Let’s get started.
Who has a Personal Injury Claim?
Just because you got hurt does not necessarily mean you have a Personal Injury claim. It’s not unusual for a law firm like ours to deal with people who caused a particular accident and then believe that, because they are hurt, they are entitled to untold riches. It simply doesn’t work that way. In order to bring a successful Personal Injury claim a few very important things need to happen.
Lawyers are very fond of using legalese — fancy words and incomprehensible language. You may have heard the terms, “duty, breach, causation, damages, etc.” However, to put it simply, to bring a Personal Injury claim, you need to be hurt because someone else did something they shouldn’t have done. That’s Personal Injury Law in a nutshell.
- Related – Negligence and Automobile Accidents
You Do Not Have A Successful Personal Injury Claim If…
There are many common Personal Injury myths out there. The bottom line is that there needs to be an accident and you need to be hurt because of it. But that’s just the beginning. You need to prove both the guilt of the at-fault party and the extent of the injuries they caused you to suffer.
The following three different scenarios will not lead to successful Personal Injury claims. If you…
- Caused the accident
- Got into a car accident and can’t prove that the other party was at fault (even when they were)
- Got into a car accident, can prove that the other person was at fault, but can’t prove the type and extent of your injuries.
Keep Expectations in Check: Personal Injury Misconceptions
It is a common misconception that it’s easy to get huge settlements from Personal Injury cases. The so-called “Tort Reform” advocates would have us believe that Personal Injury claims are the very reason for all of the country’s economic woes. Listen to them and it’s easy to think that getting a huge settlement for pain and suffering is cake.
Here in South Florida, there is no shortage of billboards advertising how much money so-and-so got from their injury. We have all seen the advertisements where some happy actors claim that because of their car accident, they are now multi-millionaires. There’s great music and great images to go along with the spokesperson. By the end of the commercial, you’re left thinking, “Wow – I fell the other day and scraped my knee. All my money problems can be solved!” Lawyers deal with this line of thinking more often than you think. The real truth of the matter: it is always better to have not gotten into the accident in the first place.
Being Awarded Pain and Suffering Isn’t Easy
It is incorrect to assume that being awarded pain and suffering damages is easy. In the overwhelming number of auto accident cases tried before a jury in Florida, the jury finds that the plaintiff did not suffer a permanent injury. Section 627.737 Florida Statutes bars a plaintiff in most car accident cases from receiving pain and suffering damages unless they can prove to a jury one of the following:
- Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function
- Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement
- Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement
If You Have A Personal Injury Claim, Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you find yourself in the unfortunate predicament of being hurt by someone else’s actions, contact The Ticktin Law Group. Our experienced Personal Injury attorneys can go over the facts of your particular claim to help you get a much better idea of the steps to take. Our Personal Injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing — not even out-of-pocket expenses — unless we recover money for you. And in Florida, you have four years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. For a free consultation, call (561) 232-2222 or complete the convenient contact form here.
- Read this Next – Lay the Groundwork for A Successful Personal Injury Claim: Your Crucial First Steps After A Car Accident
Attorney Grant J. Skolnick is the Director of the Personal Injury Department for The Ticktin Law Group. Grant is committed to providing each of his clients with the exceptional customer service, attention to detail, and dedication they rightfully deserve.
Related – Q&A with Attorney Grant J. Skolnick
Editor’s note: updated on November 26, 2018