Violations against a person could be personal or to their property. These violations challenge the rights of individuals protected by law. But then, it is a known principle of law that for every right, there must be a remedy.
So, while most of the time, infliction of injury is voluntary on the part of the wrongdoer, the remedy that comes afterwards is obligatory. It is however not enough for one to know he has certain rights.
Rather a clear understanding of what your rights are when they are being violated is quite important.
Personal Injury and the Law
Personal injury unlike damage to property or reputation, refers to physical bodily injury suffered by a person. Physical injury that causes bodily harm and damages to the victim. Consequently, the victim pays medical bills among other expenses to take care of the injury suffered.
Be that as it may, laws exist in place to provide legal remedies and defenses to civil suits (personal injury case inclusive).
What then is personal injury law?
Personal injury law refers to the legal remedies and defenses involved in civil lawsuits brought as a result of wrongful conduct. Personal injury is a wrong covered under tort.
Unlike criminal actions, tort actions are individually taken to court by affected persons and not by the government.
Particularly, the aspect of law of tort that most personal injury cases usually fall under is the principle of negligence. Here, it is required that a person would exercise a duty of care. Thus, every member of our society is expected to exercise a reasonable level of care and not put others at risk.
Examples of this can be, you let your dog roam the streets and it bites someone, or car accidents due to drunk driving. The success of a personal injury law suit is highly dependent on if the victim is able to prove that the wrongdoer was indeed careless and the carelessness caused the injury suffered by the victim. The provisions of the statutes provides for the personal injury law.
Personal Injury in Florida
Under the Florida laws, personal injuries refer to injuries which cause the victim to have obvious and permanent bodily infliction that prevent the victim from using a vital part of his body, bodily infliction that causes permanent scarring or disfigurement, among others.
Mind you, right to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida does not last forever. There is a limit to it. Florida law requires that the personal injury lawsuit must be filed four years from the date of the injury. Failure to comply with this time limit will amount to the victim of the personal injury giving up his or her right to sue for damages. It is to be noted that limitations statute varies from state to state and dependent on the type of accident that occurred.
The standard of proof in a civil personal injury case is proof beyond balance of probabilities
In order to claim damages in Florida for the personal injury suffered, it is legally required that the victim prove that first, the defendant has a duty of care to have avoided causing the injury but the wrongdoer failed in performing this duty and then it must also be proved that the failure to perform the duty resulted in the injuries suffered by the victim.
Establishing a personal injury case will definitely require the service of a competent attorney in the field of negligence. Then, documents, witnesses, among others should be made available to the court.
Meanwhile, a remarkable exception to the Florida personal injury laws is automobile accidents. This is connected with the fact that Florida is a no-fault state. By implication, damages are apportioned between negligent parties based on their share of the fault. This has however been heavily criticized, with much emphasis being placed on the fact that it will allow a person to recover damages from an accident he or she contributed in causing.
Damages for Personal Injury in Florida
After knowing all this about personal injury, the question must be running through your mind: What will I get if I am injured? Well, there are damages which a victim of personal injury is entitled to.
As a victim of personal injury, you could be entitled to either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are those comprising monetary compensations for loss of any property due to the injury. Non-economic damages refer to the compensation for psychological or emotional distress you suffered as a result of the injury inflicted on you.
You should know that, in Florida, damage caps exist for certain kinds of negligence cases. Currently, there is no damage limit for normal personal injury cases. However, in cases of punitive damages, there is a cap in Florida.
The reason is to deter the chance of loose and bad behavior that people could exhibit. These damages are not common. The limits for them in Florida depends on which is greater: 3 times the amount of compensatory damages (like loss of wages, medical bills, etc.) or $500,000.
Meanwhile, upon establishing a successful claim of personal injury against the person who wronged you, you can be awarded any of the available damages.
These damages could be:
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury
- Other property you lost as a result of the injury
- The emotional distress state you passed through
- Permanent disability suffered by the plaintiff
- And all other costs that were incurred as a result of the injury.
However, questions might arise and disturb your mind as a victim of personal injury where the blame is on more than one person. Who will be held responsible for damages in this instance?
Well, at one time, under the Joint and Several Liability Rules of Florida, more than one party would be responsible for the damages, no matter who holds the biggest responsibility.
Now, each party is assessed blame based on their actual fault in the matter.
As good as that sounds, they change when the victim of a personal injury equally contributed to the cause of the injury.
Comparative Negligence Law Exists in Florida
If a person partially contributed to what caused his or her injuries, they will have a reduced award of damages at trial.
For example, when a victim shares the blame of the personal injury with the tortfeasor’s, the victim’s recovery of damages will be reduced by a percentage of responsibility.
Moreover, individuals are not the only category of persons that can commit a personal injury against someone. A company would also be held responsible when a person is injured by the company’s product. This is quite different from other personal injuries.
Companies ordinarily have strict liability. And this means that the company has an obligation to make its product safe for its consumers. This principle of law has long been immortalized in the locus classicus case of Donoghue v Stevenson. Failure of a company to therefore make their product safe will make such company liable in damages for any personal injury caused as a result.
What to do if you have been a victim of personal injury?
It is quite simple. A person who is a victim of personal injury should take note of relevant information of the event of the wrong and the wrongdoer. And then, get the aid of a competent attorney to pursue the case for the victim and gets desired damages and compensations.