Personal Injury: What You Need to Know

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured as a result of the negligent actions of another party, various state laws come into play. Every case is unique and must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine how to proceed with filing a claim or lawsuit to recover damages. 

Statute of Limitations in Florida
Under Florida law, you have four years from the time of the injury accident in which to file a claim, or you will be barred from filing a lawsuit. If your claim is being filed against a governmental agency, you have only three years, and certain filings must occur very soon after the incident. While this may seem to be plenty of time, the longer you wait, the more difficult it could be to obtain and preserve the evidence needed for your claim or lawsuit. 

Over time, eyewitnesses can become harder to find, and memories often fade. Critical evidence could be lost or destroyed. It is advised that you speak to us at Panzer Law as early as you can after the incident so we can manage all the crucial issues for you while you focus on what is important – your health and wellbeing.

Claim or Lawsuit? 
After suffering a serious injury, the need for compensation becomes an urgent matter. You may hope that your case is resolved quickly, and in some cases, a settlement can be negotiated within a few months, but not in all cases. 

The more serious the injuries, the more challenging it may be to negotiate the terms of a settlement. It may require some time to determine the long-term impact of the injuries on your physical and emotional condition. For example, a person who suffers a TBI (traumatic brain injury) may fully recover, recover partially, or may never recover, and some time is required before a doctor could provide an accurate prognosis. 

Insurance Settlements and Your Case
When an insurance company fails to make a fair settlement offer, you may be tempted to accept it – but this could be a disaster. You may require ongoing medical treatment, be unable to work for months, years, or longer, and the settlement amount may not come close to meeting your needs. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. At Panzer Law, we are very familiar with negotiating fair settlements for our clients, but we want them to recover the highest possible amount. When the settlement offer is very low, we need to increase the pressure, and filing a lawsuit may be necessary. In many cases, that is all it takes to make the insurance company sit up and listen and come through with an offer that is reasonable. 

What Damages are Paid in a Personal Injury Case?
The damages we pursue at Panzer Law are of two types: economic damages and non-economic damages. In some rare cases where gross negligence or intentional misconduct can be fully proven, we may pursue punitive damages, which are intended to punish the responsible party. Here is a brief outline of what is included in these damages:

Economic Damages
These damages include but are not limited to:

  • Past, current, and future estimated medical expenses
  • Lost wages, past and current
  • Lost earning capacity if your injuries have affected your ability to work in your profession
  • Cost of rehabilitation treatments
  • Cost of in-home nursing 
  • Transportation expenses
  • Cost of medical equipment, medications, and other similar costs

Got questions about a personal injury case?

Non-Economic Damages
These damages are often the highest portion of an insurance settlement or jury award in a personal injury case, and the state has imposed no caps on the amount that could be paid. Valuing pain and suffering will include reviewing the severity of the injuries, the age of the injured, any preexisting conditions, and the likelihood of ongoing consequences from the injuries. These damages include but are not limited to:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of companionship
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Damages for disfigurement
  • Damages for permanent impairments

Punitive Damages
Under Florida law, a claim for punitive damages can be filed if there is a “reasonable basis” for these damages. Clear and convincing evidence must be presented that proves the defendant was guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence, or conduct so reckless and lacking in reasonable care that it constitutes a “conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.” These damages are capped at $500,000.

Proving Negligence
Every personal injury case will hinge on the legal concept of negligence. Negligence refers to a person failing to exercise reasonable care to protect against harming another person. As an example, if a person chooses to drive drunk when it is illegal and well-established that drunk driving puts others at risk, this is an act of negligence. The same is true of other poor driving conduct, such as texting while driving, speeding, driving while drug intoxicated, or operating your vehicle in an unsafe manner that could endanger others. A personal injury claim must establish these facts:

  • The party named in a lawsuit or claim acted in a negligent manner.
  • Their negligent actions contributed to causing the accident and the injuries.
  • The incident led to damages to the other party, including injuries and other losses.

Each of these points must be established in every personal injury case. As Florida is a “comparative negligence” state, this means if you are partially at fault for an accident, the amount in damages paid will be reduced by your percentage of fault. 

Why Choose Panzer Law?
At Panzer Law, your case will be in the hands of a personal injury lawyer who genuinely cares about you and your future. Our entire legal team is compassionate, talented, and focused on fighting for justice for the injured. We take all the time necessary to evaluate the case thoroughly, collect and preserve supporting evidence, and may call upon resources such as medical experts, accident investigators, or others. We offer a unique benefit: our founder, Gil Panzer, has achieved both a law degree and a master’s degree in economics, giving him a great breadth of understanding of the complex financial matters in personal injury cases. Once we take on a case, we go the distance for the people we serve. 

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