What Is a Florida Personal Injury Claim?

If you have suffered an injury because of someone else’s negligence, you should not have to pay for it. In Florida, a person may bring a personal injury claim to recover damages, money awarded as compensation for a loss.  

A person who brings a claim is referred to as a plaintiff, and the alleged at-fault party is called the defendant. A personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages by filing a claim on your behalf.

Elements of a Personal Injury Claim

To recover damages for a personal injury, you must prove negligence – at least in most cases (some types of cases have other causes of action, such as intentional torts).  To prove negligence, the evidence must establish four elements: (1) duty, (2) breach, (3) causation, and (4) damages. 

Duty

The very first question in a personal injury claim is whether the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. A duty is an obligation to act in a particular manner. For example, if you drive in Florida, you owe a duty of care to other drivers on the road to drive your car safely.

Breach

Once a duty is established, the next question is whether the defendant breached that duty. A breach occurs when someone fails to meet his or her duty of care. 

A drunk driver who crashes into another car has breached their duty of care. Driving intoxicated is negligent because it violates the law and increases the risk that an accident will occur. 

Causation

Next, the causation element must be met, meaning the defendant’s conduct must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries. In Florida, the evidence must establish that, but for the defendant’s negligent conduct, the injury would not have occurred.  

The harm must also have been a foreseeable result of the defendant’s negligence, which is called proximate cause.

Damages

Finally, damages must be proven.  In Florida, there are two primary types of damages: economic and non-economic. More on these below.

Damages Available in a Personal Injury Claim

In Florida, you can recover economic and non-economic damages from a successful personal injury claim. Economic damages cover the victim’s losses from the car accident, including medical expenses and wages. These damages are meant to place you in the position you would have been in had the accident never occurred.

Economic Damages

Economic damages also include lost and future wages. If you cannot work due to an accident, you can recover your loss of earnings, including your salary and paid vacation time.  

Further, if the accident caused a permanent injury that prevents you from working in the future, your damages include the money you would have earned had you not been injured.

Non-Economic Damages

You can also recover non-economic losses. These losses are subjective and include things like pain and suffering. To prove non-economic damages, a lawyer may present a full picture of how the victim’s life has changed since the accident. This is typically done by presenting the victim’s own testimony, psychological evaluations of the victim, and testimony from friends and family members.  

To calculate pain and suffering, a jury considers factors like a victim’s age, the extent of injuries, and how the injuries have affected the victim’s daily life.

Contributory Fault in Florida Personal Injury Claims

Sometimes, more than one party is negligent, and a damages award will reflect that. In Florida, damages are reduced by a victim’s percentage of fault. There is also a 51% bar to recovery. 

For example, if a victim is found to be 20 percent responsible for a car accident and the damages suffered are $1 million, then the victim would receive only $800,000. Further, if the victim is more than 50 percent responsible for causing the accident, the victim cannot recover anything.

Note, however, that this principle only applies to car accident claims against the other driver. You can utilize your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance without regard to fault. 

Get in Touch With an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have suffered injuries because of someone else’s negligence, you should be compensated for it. If successful, a personal injury claim will result in a damages award that will cover your losses.  

Generally, a claim founded on negligence must be brought within two years of the date of the accident in Florida. Set up a free consultation with an experienced attorney as soon as you can.

Contact a Personal Injury lawyer at Norden Leacox Accident & Injury Law Today

For more information, please contact Norden Leacox Accident & Injury Law to schedule a free consultation. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Orlando, Palm Bay, Melbourne, Cocoa, and Titusville.

Orlando, FL Office
964 Lake Baldwin Ln Ste. 200, Orlando, FL 32814, United States
407-801-3000

Palm Bay, FL Office
4620 Lipscomb Street N.E Suite #3K, Palm Bay, FL 32905, United States
321-677-5964

Melbourne, FL Office
1600 W Eau Gallie Blvd #205j, Melbourne, FL 32935, United States
321-450-7134

Cocoa, FL Office
717 S Cocoa Blvd STE 203, Cocoa, FL 32922, United States
321-449-8042

Titusville, FL Office
4527 S Hopkins Ave Suite B, Titusville, FL 32780, United States
407-801-3000