Symptoms Of A TBI After A Car Accident (What To Do Next)

Each year in the U.S. over a million people go to their doctor due to an injury to their head. Over 100,000 will be diagnosed with TBI or brain injury, which can affect their lives seriously for a short time or possibly for the rest of their lives. An experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through some of the processes involved in recovery, but learning about a TBI might help start you in the right direction.

Even a mild TBI, can have the following symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and/or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Loss of consciousness for a few seconds, or a few minutes or more
  • No loss of consciousness for feeling dazed, confused or disoriented
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual

Signs and symptoms may appear at once, within 24 hours, or they may emerge days or weeks after the injury. Sometimes the symptoms are subtle. A person may notice a problem but not relate it to the injury. Some people will appear to have no symptoms after a TBI, but their condition worsens later. Whenever symptoms appear (no matter how mild), your doctor should be immediately called.

Also, depending on the details of the accident, the victim may be entitled to damages that could help immensely in the treatment and quality of their later lives. If you are diagnosed with a TBI, seeking the help of a personal injury attorney may be vital for you and your family’s financial and emotional future.

During a car accident (even what may seem like a mild one), your brain is subjected to extremely violent physical forces. It may be affected by bruising or bleeding, tearing or even swelling. The soft tissue of the brain may be violently pushed up against the hard bone of the skull.

When this occurs, the blood vessels in the brain may rupture or tear. This would result in blood flowing into sections of the brain where it should not be. An uncontrolled, unusual blood flow into the brain (a brain bleed) can cause extreme damage and also be highly detrimental to many cognitive functions. In a brain bleed, blood flows into the brain where there is no room for it to flow.

This creates pressure on the brain itself, causing parts to malfunction. Brain tissue is delicate and this pressure may cause the brain tissue to be damaged, malfunction or even die off. With excessive pressure, the affected parts of the brain may alter vital physiological functions such as breathing or heart rate.

The absolute first thing you should do after a car accident is get checked out medically. If there are symptoms of a TBI (even if mild), follow up with your doctor or possibly a specialist. Depending on the details of the accident and the diagnosis, get some informative advice from a personal injury attorney.

A car accident is a traumatic and complex event and advice from an attorney after an accident might be an important part of the process for you, especially if you suffered a potentially severe injury. You may very well be due money damages, and you may vitally need those funds for treatment, or to help with the changes to your cognitive function that affects the rest of your life.

What Other Types of Brain Injury can I Sustain in a Car Accident?

To be as simple about the matter as possible, there are essentially five different types of injury to the brain:

  • Concussion: This is a form of TBI that is due to the brain hitting the hard wall of the skull during a car accident, or other accidents that cause violent, instant movement. It may have many types of symptoms, such as: headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, amnesia about the accident, fatigue, ringing in the ears and others. It is a TBI and can have long term effects.
  • Contusion: This is for accuracy, a bruise on the brain. It also is caused by violent movement, such as a car accident. It may have different symptoms, such as difficulty forming sentences, slurred speech, difficulty forming new memories, numbness or tingling in the affected area, and finding it hard to concentrate.
  • Penetration: Debris in an accident may cause this type of injury. It usually is severe, and symptoms may include difficulty breathing, seizure, heavy blood loss, loss of bladder or bowel function, and even coma or paralysis.
  • Diffuse Axonal: This injury occurs usually in high speed accidents, and is caused by severe rotation or shaking of the head. The brain (and the rest of your body) keeps moving when the vehicle stops abruptly, and smashes into the skull. Signs include: headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and more.
  • Coup-Contrecoup: This injury occurs during violent accidents, such as a roll-over. Here the brain may be shaken severely and strike both the left and right side of the skull. Both sides of the brain may be damaged. This type of injury may result in a host of symptoms and damage, only some being: bleeding in the brain, swelling in the brain, skull fracture, memory issues, mood alteration, sensitivity to light and sound, tinnitus, and more.

After a Car Accident that results in a TBI, What Should I Do Next?

Always, as soon as possible, see your doctor if you or your child has received a blow to the head or body that concerns you or causes behavioral changes. Seek emergency medical care if there are any signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury following a car accident or other traumatic injury to the head.

The terms “mild,” “moderate,” and “severe” are used to describe the effect of the injury on brain function. However, a mild injury to the brain is still a serious injury that requires prompt attention and an accurate diagnosis.

TBI should never be ignored, and if you were not at fault or even suspect you were not, you should see a local personal injury attorney to discuss your case. Most accident lawyers will require no fee for discussion or unless damages are awarded.

They will look into all the details of your case, and help you receive the compensation for medical bills for your treatment and recovery. They also will work to get you the damages compensated for, so you and your family can have the life you deserve.

How To Stop Your Teen Texting And Driving: Our Top Tips

Raising teenagers is tricky at the best of times, but when they get behind the wheel, parental panicking can really kick into overdrive. From concerns about overloaded cars to angst over alcohol, there are a lot of potential risk factors. One of the most common causes of teen accidents is often overlooked however; texting while driving.

The stats in this area are alarming. Research shows that a whopping 55% of teen drivers believed that texting while driving was easy, while a worrying 78% admitted to the offense. With over 8 people killed every day in auto crashes involving a distracted driver, this is an issue most parents will want to eliminate as soon as possible. The trouble is, they could be part of the problem. The same study revealed that 48% of teen drivers had seen their parents talking on the phone behind the wheel, and 15% had seen their parents texting, citing this as an influence for their own behavior.

With so much at stake, parents must do everything they can to prevent their teens from being tempted to text while driving; for not only their own safety, but that of all other road users. A compassionate personal injury lawyer can help when you need us, but we want to help you and your family stay safe from the beginning. 

What Does The Law Say?

According to Florida law, “ A person may not operate a motor vehicle while manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers or symbols into a wireless communications device to text, email and instant message.”

This means that not only is grabbing your phone while behind the wheel a seriously bad decision; it is also illegal. Culprits may be punished with a $30 fine for first offenses, a $60 fine for second, and up to three points on their drivers license – not the best start to life behind the wheel.

What Can I Do?

It is important that your teen is fully aware of the dangers of texting while driving, and you should make sure you have this conversation before they get their license, with regular check-ins while they are learning, and once they have access to a car. Some of our top tips for helping them get the message include:

  • Open The Lines Of Communication

As with all matters involving teens, you cannot simply assume that they know the right and wrong things to do. Make sure that you have a real, in-depth talk with them on the topic of texting and driving, allowing them to ask questions, and laying out the consequences without flinching. The hard truth is that your teen could cause death or serious injury to themselves, their friends, or other road users, simply by choosing to answer a text. For some teens, this may be deterrent enough, while others may need temptation out of site; perhaps by leaving the phone in the glove box or trunk while behind the wheel. Open, honest communication is essential for keeping everyone safe.

  • Make Sure Rules Have Consequences

In addition to clear communication, you need to ensure that you set serious consequences for breaking the rules – and follow up if required. Your teen needs to understand that driving is a privilege, not a right, and so any infractions will result in the suspension of this privilege; perhaps ban driving for a set number of months or years, or revoke access to a family vehicle. By setting these rules out clearly in advance, you are helping to set your teen up for success.

  • Make The Law Clear

It is not enough that texting while driving is a no-no in your family, your teen also needs to understand the legal implications. Make sure that they are clued in on Florida law, and the potential consequences of breaking the rules; is answering that text message really worth losing their license over?

  • Model Good Behaviour

As we mentioned, 15% of teens have seen their parents texting behind the wheel, and this can have a significant impact on their own choices. With teens, it needs to be a case of ‘do what I do,’ rather than ‘do what I say.’ Your child will respect you, your advice, and the law far more closely if they see you modelling good behavior.

This also includes being aware of your own behavior when your teen is driving; make sure that you don’t call or text during this time. If you accidentally do try to get in touch while they are behind the wheel, make it clear in advance that you will never get mad or punish them for not answering – this reduces the temptation, and they know they can focus on the road.

  • Use The Power Of Technology

Technology can be dubious, but it can also be useful in helping to monitor and manage your teen’s behaviour. There are a range of apps which can be installed on your teen’s phone which work with the GPS, allowing the device or particular functions – such as texting – to automatically shut off if the car reaches a particular speed. You will be able to select and program options for speeds, and even set the phone to send an automated response to any messages once you hit a certain speed. This means there is no temptation to reply while in motion, and the other party will be aware that the teen is driving. Parents can also set up an alert, telling them if the app has been disabled while the car is moving, and this allows the consequences system to kick in.

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Scare Them

Teens often think they are indestructible, and that there is no way parents could possibly ever be right. In these cases, shock tactics can sometimes be the only way to deliver a clear, sharp message – and this is what anyone who is operating a vehicle needs. Be honest with stats – you are three times more likely to be involved in an accident if you are texting while driving. In addition, sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for around five seconds – in this time, you could travel the length of an entire football field.

Look up videos often used in drivers ed classes, which can offer a sobering reality into the dangers of texting while driving, or track down interviews with real victims and their families. Sometimes, teens need to realize that their actions have heartbreaking, life-changing – or even fatal – consequences, and being a little too alert when driving is better than being tempted by distraction. Accidents can happen, and you may find you need a Florida car accident attorney on your side. We are here if you need us. Reach us at 561-557-4546. 

 

Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?

Sometimes it’s not easy to prove who was at fault for a traffic accident, but if you’ve been injured and you need compensation, proving who was liable is what’s required. To do that, you’ll need the advice and services of a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney.

In rear-end collisions, we usually assume that the motorist driving the rear vehicle was at-fault, but that may not always be the case. In Florida, if you’re injured in this kind of crash, what will you need to do to prove the other driver was negligent – and acquire the compensation you need?

If you’ll keep reading, that question will be answered in this short discussion of liability, rear-end collisions, and the rights of those who are injured by negligent drivers here in Florida.

How Many Are Hurt in Rear-End Collisions?

Rear-end collisions are not rare or unusual. More than 1.5 million rear-end collisions happen in the United States every year, resulting in more than 1,500 fatalities and roughly half-a-million reported injuries.

Blows to the head and traumatic brain injuries are often the result of rear-end collisions, but spinal cord and back injuries can be just as devastating and catastrophic. Victims who sustain these injuries will require the maximum amount of compensation that’s available.

In rear-end collisions, when a driver crashes or rolls into a vehicle that is legally parked or stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, the driver in the moving vehicle is almost always deemed liable for the collision.

Can Responsibility for Rear-End Collisions Be Shared?

Stopping a vehicle safely is perhaps the most important part of driving. A motorist who cannot safely bring a vehicle to a stop and causes an accident is usually considered the negligent party. Even so, in some cases, the other driver will have at least a share of the responsibility.

Drivers should leave sufficient space between vehicles so that, if a motorist suddenly stops in front of you for no obvious reason, you can stop your vehicle safely. But in fast-moving or heavy traffic, sometimes there’s nothing you can do if a motorist slams on the brakes unexpectedly.

In some rear-end crashes, the motorist in front can be held partially responsible if his or her brake or taillights were broken, if that driver makes a turn without a turn signal, or if he or she doesn’t use hazard lights or blinkers when stopping because there’s a problem with the vehicle.

What is the Role of a Personal Injury Attorney?

However, when you were the driver in the rear vehicle, it may be difficult to prove that the other driver had any share of the fault. In this situation, you will need the advice and guidance that a good south Florida personal injury attorney can provide.

A personal injury lawyer will review the police report, any photos of the accident site and the damaged vehicles, the records of your medical treatment, and any eyewitness statements to determine precisely how the crash occurred and which motorist should be deemed liable.

After identifying which motorist is liable for a rear-end collision, if the law entitles you to compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, and related losses, your lawyer will negotiate – or if the case goes to trial, ask a jury – for the compensation you need and deserve.

What Should You Do After a Rear-End Collision?

If a negligent driver crashes into you from behind and injures you, do not admit or confess fault. Don’t accept a settlement offer, and don’t sign any insurance documents or make any statement to the other driver’s insurance company before you’ve consulted your personal injury attorney.

Especially in rear-end collisions at low speeds, auto insurance companies have offered injury victims settlement amounts that are substantially below the actual amount the victim is entitled to. Don’t make a quick settlement for a sum that’s less than your injury claim is really worth.

Safety experts have found that in rear-end accidents, headrests provide the best defense against spinal cord, head, and neck injuries. Don’t set a headrest too low, however, as that could strain and hyperextend your neck if your vehicle is struck from behind.

Why is Having a Medical Exam Essential?

Some of the injuries sustained in rear-end collisions aren’t immediately obvious and could remain latent and undiscovered. Even if you don’t “feel” injured, if you’ve been in a rear-end crash – even at a low speed – have a medical exam as quickly as possible.

Every Florida driver should know about the “14-day rule.” Should you suffer injuries – including latent injuries – and you don’t have a medical exam within 14 days of an accident, a Florida auto insurance company may not reimburse you through your personal injury coverage.

The 14-day rule is a difficult-to-overcome legal obstacle to injured victims of negligence who don’t seek medical attention immediately. This cannot be stressed strongly enough: after any traffic accident in this state, you must have a medical examination as soon as possible.

The 14-day rule is not the only obstacle to compensation that a victim of negligence faces in our state.

Who May File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A victim may only file a personal injury claim if he or she suffers permanent loss of an important bodily function, has suffered substantial and permanent scarring and disfigurement, or if the injuries are permanently disabling.

A physician must make that determination, and you’ll need a south Florida accident lawyer to guide you through the legal hurdles required to obtain compensation. In some cases, if it’s necessary, your attorney may arrange for a second doctor to provide a second opinion.

If your attorney’s investigation of the accident indicates that a defective vehicle or faulty vehicle part was the underlying cause of an accident, he or she may recommend filing a product liability lawsuit against the maker of the vehicle or the part.

Victims of Negligence Need Personalized Legal Advice

You’ve been reading a general introduction to liability for rear-end collisions in Florida. However, if the injury victim is you, you’ll want to know more, so you will need precise and personalized legal advice.

If you are injured in a south Florida traffic crash, now or in the future, after you’ve been treated by a medical provider, seek legal guidance at once from a West Palm Beach personal injury attorney. If you expect to receive compensation for your injuries, you’re going to need that help.

How To Recover Compensation For Slip-and-Fall Injuries

What should you do should you slip, fall, and become injured because of a wet or slippery floor in a supermarket, a restaurant, or a shopping mall in south Florida? Seek medical attention first, but your second priority is speaking with a West Palm Beach premises liability attorney.

To be compensated for injuries after a slip-and-fall incident, you’ll need to prove, with your personal injury lawyer’s help, that the property owner was negligent. Keep reading, and learn exactly what steps to take, because anyone could be seriously injured in a slip-and fall accident.

Florida law requires property owners to maintain their properties in a way that eliminates or significantly reduces the risk to visitors. If a property isn’t maintained with the safety of visitors in mind, the owner may be held liable for injuries that others sustain on the property.

Owners aren’t held accountable for slip-and-fall incidents that they couldn’t reasonably prevent, but if a property owner was aware of a hazard – or should have been – and you’re injured, you have the right to file a premises liability claim and seek damages from the property owner.

HOW CAN YOU PREVAIL WITH A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?

If you’re injured on private property in a slip-and-fall accident, seek medical attention at once. You’ll need the medical paperwork and test results if you pursue an injury claim to seek reimbursement for your accident-related lost wages and medical costs.

Take photographs of the accident scene and your own injuries. Pictures are powerful evidence that can make the difference in a premises liability case. If there were witnesses, try to get their names and contact information. Your attorney may need their statements or testimony later.

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PREVAIL WITH A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?

Winning a premises liability claim requires the injury victim (the plaintiff) and his or her attorney to prove the three “elements” in a claim for premises liability:

1. The owner of the property (the defendant) owed a “duty of care” to the plaintiff.
2. The defendant breached the duty of care through negligence.
3. That negligence was a direct cause of the victim’s personal injury or injuries.

The duty of care differs in different circumstances. Homeowners owe visitors a basic duty; they are required to keep their properties reasonably safe, warn visitors about known hazards, and avoid creating hazardous situations for visitors.

A more demanding duty is owed to others by business owners, who must protect clients, customers, employees, and contractors. You can tell visitors to your home to use caution on a cracked sidewalk, but if that sidewalk is part of your business property, you must fix it promptly.

WHAT ABOUT TRESPASSERS?

No duty of care is owed to a trespasser, but a property owner cannot intentionally create a hazard to hurt trespassers. Owners should instead count on locks, alarm systems, and security guards. If your business is guarded by a dog, a warning sign has to be visibly and clearly posted.

The duty of care to a visitor is mostly determined by the visitor’s purpose. If you’re injured in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you should be able to explain your relationship with the property owner and the reason why you were visiting when the accident happened.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A BREACH OF THE DUTY OF CARE?

Determining a property owner’s duty of care is merely the beginning of a premises liability claim. The alleged breach of the duty of care must also be considered, and that is often complicated to determine. You’ll need the help of a good south Florida premises liability lawyer.

A property owner breaches the duty of care when he or she fails to keep visitors to the property safe from a slip-and-fall incident that can cause a serious injury. Here are several instances of what could constitute a breach of the duty of care:

1. A failure to tell visitors about an aggressive dog
2. A failure to clean up spilled liquid – promptly – on a grocery store’s floor
3. A failure to lock a swimming pool area securely to keep children out
4. A failure to keep areas accessible to the public reasonably free of hazards and debris

IF YOU CAUSE YOUR OWN INJURY

The word “reasonably” comes up often in discussions of premises liability. Property owners do not have liability for every conceivable injury that may be sustained on their premises.

For example, if you stroll into someone’s barbecue pit or pool because you were looking at your smartphone, it’s your own fault, and you won’t have a liability claim.

PROVING THAT YOUR INJURY WAS CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE

Even if you and your attorney can prove that a property owner owed you a duty of care and breached it, that’s not enough to prevail with a premises liability claim. You and your attorney also must show that the breach of the duty of care directly caused the victim’s injury.

When a premises liability case goes to trial, if a property owner could have prevented a slip-and-fall accident, and didn’t – even when he or she was aware of the hazard and had adequate time to repair it – the property owner will be found liable and ordered to pay damages to the defendant.

Few of these cases actually go to trial. Most premises liability claims are resolved out-of-court when attorneys for both sides meet in private negotiations.

Of course, an injury victim also has to prove that he or she was genuinely injured. This is why it is so essential to have a thorough medical exam after a slip-and-fall accident. It’s also why, if you slip and fall but you’re able to get up and walk away uninjured, you have no liability claim.

OBTAIN AN ATTORNEY’S PERSONALIZED ADVICE

Every case is unique. You’ve been reading a general introduction to slip-and-fall injuries and premises liability law. However, if you are the person who’s injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you’re going to need personalized legal advice about how the law applies to your own situation.

The statute of limitations in Florida gives you four years to file an injury claim arising from a slip-and-fall accident, but you’ll need to act promptly. Evidence and memories deteriorate over time, so the sooner you can put your attorney on the case, the better.

If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident in south Florida, seek immediate medical attention, and then take your case to the right West Palm Beach premises liability attorney. If you are injured in this state by another person’s negligence, the law entitles you to full compensation

Do All Personal Injury Attorneys in Florida Charge the Same Contingency Fee?

If you were involved in an accident in Florida that was not your fault, you might want to hire an experienced and affordable personal injury lawyer in West Palm Beach. However, you may also wonder whether or not you can afford to hire an attorney.

Read on to find out what you can expect to pay a personal injury lawyer that you hire to work on your case. 

CONTINGENCY FEES FOR PERSONAL INJURY CASES

Personal injury lawyers in Florida use a unique method to charge for their services. Most personal injury attorneys will charge a contingency fee for their legal services. 

In this arrangement, an attorney agrees to represent you and only gets paid once the case has been resolved in your favor. This means the attorney will only get paid if they are able to win either:

  • A settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company, or
  • A verdict in your favor

Basically, you will only have to pay the attorney if they are able to recover compensation for your injuries. If they cannot obtain compensation for you, they will not be paid for their services.

WHAT PERCENTAGE WILL PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS TAKE?

Your lawyer will take a percentage of the compensation you are awarded for your injuries.

The standard contingency fee is 33 percent, or a third, of your settlement or verdict. However, the percentage may vary between 25 and 40 percent, depending on several factors, including:

  • The complexity of your case
  • Whether your case goes to court
  • The value of your case

Make sure you discuss your attorney’s contingency fee upfront so you know what to expect.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A CONTINGENCY FEE ARRANGEMENT?

There are a few reasons why a contingency fee arrangement is ideal for personal injury claims. These include:

  • The injured party may have to undergo costly medical care, leaving them unable to afford legal services. Fortunately, this arrangement ensures that victims will not have to pay for representation out of their own pockets.
  • The arrangement motivates the attorney to work hard in order to obtain as much compensation as possible. The more they win for you, the more they will be paid.
  • If you don’t win your case, you won’t be left with a huge bill for legal services.

ARE THERE OTHER LEGAL FEES OR EXPENSES?

Depending on the contract that you sign with your lawyer, you may have to pay other fees and expenses apart from the contingency percentage. 

Study your contract in detail to find out whether you’ll be responsible for paying for the costs associated with your claim. You may be responsible for paying for the cost of photocopying, hiring witnesses, filing paperwork with the court, and obtaining copies of your medical records. 

The contract may state that you are to pay these fees as they become due. In this case, you can expect to receive a bill as these expenses are incurred. 

However, some firms will cover all the fees and expenses as they arise. The firms will then add up their total costs and deduct them from your settlement or verdict. 

Your contract must also state whether the contingency fee will be calculated before or after the expenses are deducted.

For instance, let’s say your contract stated that any expenses incurred should be deducted from your final settlement. The contract also states that your attorney will take a 33% contingency fee that is calculated prior to the deduction of expenses. Your attorney wins $70,000 in compensation for your injuries and incurs $10,000 in expenses throughout your case. The $10,00o in expenses will be taken off of the top, leaving you with $60,000. Your attorney charges a 33% contingency fee, so they will receive $23,100, or 33% of $70,000, for their legal services. This means in total, you will pay the attorney $33,100 for their legal services and expenses. The remaining $36,900 will be yours. 

If the contingency fee was calculated after expenses were deducted, your attorney would receive $19,800, or 33% of $60,000. 

ARE THERE OTHER FEE ARRANGEMENTS?

Some lawyers may choose not to use a contingency fee arrangement. For example, some attorneys may require you to pay a retainer fee upfront before they start working on your case. The lawyers may later collect their contingency fee after the case is settled. 

Make sure you understand how your attorney expects to be paid for their legal services prior to hiring them.

CAN YOU NEGOTIATE CONTINGENCY FEES?

The contingency fee percentage is negotiable–just like everything else in your contract. Many injured parties usually want to get their compensation as soon as possible. As a result, they often fail to negotiate the attorney’s fees.

Don’t make this mistake. It never hurts to ask whether your attorney is willing to accept a slightly lower contingency fee for their legal services. Try to have this discussion during the initial consultation so you know you are both on the same page when it comes to payment.

Finally, always ask the attorney to outline the details of the contingency fee agreement in writing. If a lawyer isn’t willing to provide a written contract, this may be a red flag. Professional attorneys do not offer oral agreements.

WHY SHOULD YOU HIRE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY?

If you were involved in an accident, the at-fault party’s insurance company will do its best to minimize your injuries and give you a low settlement. After all, the company isn’t in the business of giving out money. 

A personal injury attorney will help you build a strong case and ensure that you get the highest compensation possible for your injuries. The value of hiring an attorney is even higher when your injuries are serious. For such cases, your settlement should be higher, and the insurance adjuster will try all they can to reduce this settlement. 

Rather than leave your case at the mercy of the insurance adjuster, get a personal injury lawyer that has successfully handled car accident and other personal injury cases in the past. Working with an attorney will increase your chances of securing the compensation you are entitled to by law.

What Is Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits?

If you are involved in an accident that results in a personal injury in Florida, your West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit or an insurance claim against the defendant. 

The attorney may also inform you of some laws that may affect your injury claim. One such crucial law is the statute of limitations. This law comes into play in personal injury lawsuits in Florida. You should have an idea of how this law works and why you need to act quickly when filing a lawsuit. 

Read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know about Florida personal injury statutes of limitations. 

WHAT IS A STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

A statute of limitations is a law that restricts the amount of time that personal injury victims will have after an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. 

It is important to know the statute of limitations for your injury case. This is because if the deadline passes before you file a lawsuit, you will lose your rights to pursue the claim in a civil court and to receive compensation for the injuries.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR PERSONAL INJURY CASES IN FLORIDA?

The statute of limitations for personal injury cases vary from state-to-state. According to Florida Statutes Annotated Section 95.11 (3), personal injury victims have up to four years to file a lawsuit to get compensation. This four-year time period starts immediately on the date you sustained your injuries.

This statute of limitations applies to most personal injury cases, with few exceptions. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases, for example, is only two years.

WHAT IF YOU FILE A PERSONAL INJURY LAWSUIT AFTER THE DEADLINE HAS PASSED?

If you file a lawsuit after the deadline has passed, the court will dismiss your case. 

After the statute of limitations has expired, you will lose the right to pursue your case in court and recover compensation for your injuries.

WHAT ARE THE EXCEPTIONS TO THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

There are exceptions to the statute of limitations law for personal injury cases in Florida. Some of these exceptions include:

WHEN THE RULE OF DISCOVERY APPLIES

The discovery rule applies in instances where a personal injury victim wasn’t immediately aware that they were injured. In this situation, the discovery rule would apply. This means the statute of limitations would not begin on the date of the accident, but rather the date your injuries were discovered. 

For example, say a negligent physician made a surgical error when performing a surgery on you. However, you did not realize that the physician made an error right away. You discovered the injuries–and linked them back to the surgery–three months after the surgery took place. In this case, the statute of limitations would not begin until the date the injuries were discovered.

TOLLING CASES

Tolling refers to temporarily delaying or pausing the statute of limitations due to situations that are beyond a victim’s control. These situations often make it impossible for a lawsuit to move forward. As a result, the deadline will be paused. 

Examples of cases where tolling may apply include:

  • If you are incapacitated due to a permanent or temporary mental or physical injury that happened at the time of the accident. However, this extension is not open-ended. There is a 7-year limit from the time the accident happened and the time you will have to file the lawsuit. This means that you should file the lawsuit within seven years after the incident.
  • If, after the accident, the defendant left Florida for another state before you could file the lawsuit. In this case, you’ll have to wait for the person to return to Florida to file the lawsuit.
  • If you were a minor at the time that the incident occurred. However, the 7-year deadline also applies in this case.
  • If the defendant tried to conceal their identity such that it was impossible for you to serve them the lawsuit summons or to file the lawsuit, the statute of limitations will be paused.

STATUTE OF REPOSE LAWS

A statute of repose is similar to a statute of limitations. However, a statute of limitations sets a deadline based on when the victim sustained an injury, whereas a statute of repose sets a deadline based solely on how much time has passed.

The statute of response law applies to several types of cases, including medical malpractice cases. For medical malpractice incidents, the statute gives victims up to four years from the date the malpractice was committed to file a lawsuit. This is true regardless of when the injury was discovered.

There are several exceptions to this rule, including when the doctor commits fraud to conceal the patient’s injuries. In such a scenario, the deadline will be extended by two more years. But even with this extension, the law states that a medical malpractice lawsuit cannot be filed more than 7 years from the date the malpractice was committed.

PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT

If the at-fault party is a government or public entity, the statute of limitations may be different. 

For instance, if you were injured by the negligence of a city bus driver, the city may be liable for your injuries. The statute of limitations is different for cases involving government entities, which is why you should seek legal representation from a personal injury attorney.

GET HELP FROM A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY IN FLORIDA

There are other situations in which the statute of limitations deadline may be extended. To learn more about the limitations and how they apply to your case, consult a personal injury attorney. Your lawyer will advise you on other exceptions that may be apply to your injury case.

Personal injury lawyers are skilled and experienced in handling various types of injury cases. Your attorney will build a strong case to increase your chances of getting fair compensation for your injuries.

How Social Media Can Sabotage Your Personal Injury Claim

Have you been injured by someone else’s negligence? There are a number of steps you need to take right away. The process might look like this: seeking medical treatment, calling West Palm Beach attorneys, and focusing on recovering from your injuries. Where in the process does social media come in?

Insurance companies do not want to pay you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To reduce the value of your claim, insurance companies use a number of tools and tricks, including social media. 

In this post, you will read extensively about how your actions on social media can negatively affect the outcome of your personal injury claim. 

HOW CAN SOCIAL MEDIA AFFECT YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM?

Insurance adjusters routinely search social media to look for evidence that can be used to reduce the value of your claim or deny it altogether. Anything you say or post online, including pictures, comments, and check-ins, can be used as evidence in your personal injury case.

For example, if you post a picture of you exercising, the insurance company may use this as proof that you are not as injured as you claim.

AN EXAMPLE OF A PERSONAL INJURY CASE SABOTAGED BY SOCIAL MEDIA

Charisma Smith was involved in an accident. She claimed to have injured her knee and spine, and filed a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. In her personal injury claim, Smith alleged that her injuries reduced the quality of her life, so she asked the defendant to pay compensation for the loss of her enjoyment of her life.

Smith routinely posted pictures on her Instagram account. Some of the pictures show the woman engaging in physical activities, including walking on a sidewalk and mountain climbing. The defendant in the case, Frank Pasquale, used Smith’s Instagram photos to argue that she was exaggerating the severity of her injuries.

He even went further by saying that Smith at some point after the accident changed her account from public to private. Seeing how this might turn out, Smith’s legal team chose to seek a protective order against Pasquale  instead.

John Higgitt, the court justice, denied the protective order, and ordered Smith to answer if she had an Instagram account or not. If the incriminating pictures are verified, they could ruin Smith’s case.

Should this be allowed? Checking social media evidence in search of evidence?

CAN INSURANCE COMPANIES INVESTIGATE YOU?

Repeating what you have read earlier, insurance companies do not want to compensate you for your injuries. They will aggressively find ways to cut down or completely ruin your claims. In many cases, the evidence they use to do this is found on the plaintiff’s social media pages. 

Though we see surveillance as a debatable tactic used in the prosecution of crime, insurance companies depend on it in their effort to dismiss as many claims as they can. This might look wrong; a company that should be trusted with information is using surveillance tactics. The law, however, allows it.

In fact, the law allows insurance companies to shoot videos, make audio recordings, and capture still photos during the course of their investigations.

Does that mean you should be scared? No, there is a limit to the level of surveillance that insurance companies can conduct. You have the right to privacy inside your house, for example.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA EVIDENCE ALLOWED IN PERSONAL INJURY CASES?

Insurance companies are allowed to access your public information. If your social media page is public, insurance companies are allowed to access it. So, it’s important to remember that anything you post online could be accessed by insurance companies. It can serve as a tool for a defendant if you ever become a plaintiff.

Back to Smith’s case, once she has put the pictures online for public consumption, the defendant has the freedom to check them and used them to dismiss her claim. And so, she provided her opposition with the evidence which was used to defeat her.

Be careful what you post–especially if you have filed a personal injury claim. West Palm Beach attorneys are always available to help in every situation. But they can not help when you have provided the defense with the evidence they need to win your case.

What You Need to Know About Florida’s Dog Bite Laws

A West Palm Beach attorney can help dog bite victims recover compensation for their injuries. But who is at fault for these injuries? 

Dog bites are cause serious, devastating injuries. Sadly, many dog bite victims are children, and the experience of being attacked by a dog can lead to emotional trauma in addition to physical injuries. 

The laws regarding dog bites can vary from state-to-state. Some cities and counties have even established their own specific dog laws. For this reason, it’s important to understand the laws that govern dog bites where you live.

WHO IS LIABLE FOR DOG BITE INJURIES IN FLORIDA?

Florida is a strict liability state. This means that owners of dogs are responsible for dog bite injuries. It doesn’t matter whether or not the owner knew that the dog was aggressive or if the dog had a history of biting people. 

Because of the strict liability law, victims will not need to prove that they were bitten as a result of the owner’s negligence or the dog’s viciousness. There’s no need to prove fault–the dog owner will be held liable. 

However, this strict liability law only applies to dog bites that occur while the victim was on public property or lawfully on private property.

ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS TO FLORIDA’S STRICT LIABILITY LAW FOR DOG BITES?

Yes, there are exceptions. And you can find them under Florida’s dog bite strict liability rules. The strict liability law does not apply if:

  • The injured person was trespassing on private property at the time the bite occurred.
  • The injured person’s negligence played a role in the incident.

If the victim was negligent, the liability of the owner may be reduced to account for the role that the victim played in causing the dog attack. This means the owner of the dog may not need to pay as much compensation to the victim since the victim was partially responsible for their own injuries.

HOLDING DOG OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR NEGLIGENCE

You do not need to prove that a dog owner was negligent in order to recover compensation under the strict liability dog bite laws. However, victims also have the option of filing a personal injury claim based on the owner’s negligence. This is an option for victims who were bitten by a dog as a result of the dog owner’s negligence.

Examples of negligence may include:

  • Letting a dog roam freely without supervision around West Palm Beach
  • Walking a dog without a leash
  • Failing to keep a dog contained on a private property

If a dog owner’s negligence caused your dog bite injuries, you may file this type of claim in order to recover compensation.

HOLDING DOG OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR INTENTIONALLY CAUSING HARM

Most of the time, dogs make their own decisions regarding when to bite someone. But their owners could also make them bite another person. This can be in the form of an action that provokes, incites, pushes, orders or encourages the canines to use their teeth on someone else. 

If an owner tells its dog to bite, you could file a claim to hold them accountable for intentionally causing you harm. This is considered an intentional tort. The injured victim may seek compensation for the injury with the help of a West Palm Beach injury attorney.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR DOG BITE CASES IN FLORIDA?

You should act fast in order to recover compensation for your dog bite injuries. The statute of limitations for dog bite cases is four years, which means you have four years from the date the injury was sustained to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party.

If you file a lawsuit after this deadline has passed, you may lose the right to recover compensation for your injuries.

 

How Do Florida Drivers Injure Cyclists?

In Florida, like many parts of the world, cycling is considered to be a healthy and convenient way of traveling around town. It is, however, possible to sustain serious injuries while riding a bike. 

There are countless accidents involving cars and bicycles in West Palm Beach every year. Usually, the bicyclists sustain more severe injuries than the motorists since they are not protected by seat belts, air bags, and other safety features. If this happens to you, the best people to talk to are the West Palm Beach injury lawyers at our law firm.

ARE DRIVERS AT FAULT IN BICYCLE ACCIDENT CASES?

Both bicyclists and motorists can be held liable for bicycle accidents. But the majority of bicycle accidents that occur in Florida are caused by negligent driving. 

 

A driver has a legal duty to ensure that they drive safely to avoid harming other users of the road, including bicyclists. Failing to fulfill this legal duty is considered negligence. If the driver injures a bicyclist as a result of a failure to fulfill this legal obligation, they could be held liable for the bicyclist’s injuries. 

WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF BICYCLE ACCIDENTS IN FLORIDA?

As previously mentioned, negligent driving is one of the leading causes of bicycle accidents. Negligent driving can take on many forms, including:

DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS 

Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. They may not see everything in front of them or be able to safely judge distances when stopping, making turns, or passing bicyclists on the road. 

TURNING DANGEROUSLY

Some drivers turn suddenly at an intersection when a cyclist is quickly approaching them from behind.  If the cyclist isn’t careful, they might run directly into the car. The cyclist can even crash into the car if the driver has miscalculated the speed of the bicycle. There is little time for the cyclist to stop or get out of the way, so this situation often leads to a tragic outcome.

PASSING ERRORS

A cyclist only needs a small space to move around on the road. Despite this, many drivers still will not give cyclists enough space to safely maneuver. If a car is driving too closely to a cyclist, the driver may accidentally side-swipe the cyclist with their car’s side mirror. This may not seem like a major accident, but the force of this impact could send the cyclist into traffic or push them off of their bike.

DRIVING IN DESIGNATED BICYCLE LANES

This is another cause of conflict between cyclists and drivers. Drivers are often too aggressive in approaching bicycle lanes. This can either scare the cyclist or cause a collision between the two. It’s best if drivers respect the lanes designated for cyclists. 

OPENING DOORS WITHOUT CHECKING FOR CYCLISTS

This commonly happens when the car is parked. If a driver opens the door without checking for cyclists, a cyclist that is quickly approaching might run straight into the opened car door. This could have been prevented by checking for cyclists, especially when the car is parked parallel to the road. All the driver would have to do is look at their mirror and wait until the cyclist has passed before opening their car door. 

TALK TO AN ATTORNEY AFTER A BICYCLE ACCIDENT

If you are ever involved in an accident as a cyclist and the other party was to blame, you have the right to demand compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation with a West Palm Beach injury lawyer to find out your legal rights after a bicycle accident.

 

Can Temporary Employees Sue For Work Injuries?

Temporary workers are a huge part of the U.S. economy in the 21st century. Currently, about four million people work in this country as temporary employees. That number should grow as two of every five companies in the U.S. are looking to hire temporary employees in 2019.

With so many people working as temporary employees, it’s important to know if and how those employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits if an injury happens on the job. If you’re a temporary employee, what are your rights if you’re injured? How can a West Palm Beach work injury law firm help?

Can you be compensated for medical expenses arising from a work-related injury? Will you have to file a lawsuit?

WHAT DOES WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PROVIDE?

Temporary employees who have been injured at work are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in Florida. Employers with four or more employees are required by Florida law to carry workers’ compensation coverage for their employees.

Workers’ comp in Florida:

  • provides workers who are injured on the job with partial compensation for lost wages
  • covers the medical expenses arising from job-related injuries
  • compensates permanently disabled workers

Temporary employees work for both a placement agency (or “temp” agency) and for a client company, but in Florida, responsibility to provide workers’ comp coverage falls to the placement agency unless the agency and client company have a contract that specifies another arrangement.

IS WORKERS’ COMP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER’S ONLY OPTION?

Still, a client company may in some cases be sued for negligence – if in fact, the company was negligent – when a temporary worker is injured on-the-job. This means that both employers could be held accountable for the damages suffered by an injured temporary employee.

If you are a temporary employee in the state of Florida, you need to know who is liable for any work-related injuries you may suffer. If the placement agency can’t or won’t give you the information you need, you should probably look for different work or a different agency.

INJURED AS A TEMPORARY EMPLOYEE? WHAT STEPS SHOULD YOU TAKE?

If you are injured in Florida while working as a temp employee, you should follow the standard workers’ comp procedure. You must inform your employer within thirty days of a workplace injury or within thirty days of receiving a diagnosis for a work-related illness.

Injured temp workers must inform both the temp agency and the client company. One of them should provide the paperwork to apply for workers’ comp benefits. If they don’t, get the form from the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, and speak to a workers’ comp lawyer.

Even though you are entitled by law to workers’ comp benefits if you are injured on the job, the reality is that most workers in Florida will face a genuine challenge when they pursue a workers’ compensation claim.

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF WORKING PEOPLE IN FLORIDA?

Temporary workers in Florida may not qualify for employment-based health insurance, retirement plans, or vacation time, but in other respects, temp workers are entitled to the same rights as full-time workers, including the right to:

  • a hazard-free, safe workplace
  • training in a language the employee understands
  • appropriate safety and personal protective equipment
  • report job-related injuries without reprisals or retaliation

Full-time and temp workers also both have the right to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to request a workplace safety inspection.

DO TEMP WORKERS FACE MORE RISKS THAN FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES?

OSHA tells us that temp workers face more job-related risks than full-time workers – and sustain more job-related injuries – because temp workers are always “new” on the job and are unfamiliar with the location and the standard procedures.

Significant workplace injuries are covered by workers’ compensation, but cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries usually will not be covered. If you’re exposed repeatedly to toxic chemicals that cause headaches or other symptoms, you will probably qualify for workers’ comp benefits.

Medical attention is your first priority if you’re injured at work. If you are a temp worker, report the incident to both your placement agency and the client company immediately. Put your report in writing and hold on to a copy of it.

WHEN SHOULD YOU SPEAK TO A WORKERS’ COMP LAW FIRM IN FL?

As mentioned previously, you have thirty days to report an injury to an employer, but do not wait thirty days. Report injuries at once. In south Florida, you should also speak to an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney immediately after a work-related injury.

Without an attorney’s advice, an injured temp worker may have difficulty obtaining workers’ comp benefits, but a good workers’ comp lawyer will see to it that your benefit claim is accurate, complete, and that no misunderstandings or mistakes will delay the payment of your benefits.

Employers and insurance companies sometimes try to deny the workers’ compensation benefits that an injured employee is entitled to. An employer or insurance company might claim that your injury occurred away from the workplace or that it’s not as severe as you claim.

HOW WILL A WORKERS’ COMP LAWYER HELP AN INJURED TEMP WORKER?

If your claim for worker’s comp benefits is denied, let a workers’ compensation attorney help you appeal to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation. A workers’ comp lawyer can arrange for you to be seen by an independent doctor and receive a second opinion.

If you have grounds for filing a personal injury claim against a temp agency’s client company – or against another third party that may have liability for your injury – an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney can explain your rights and help you take legal action.

If you’re injured at work, exercise your rights immediately. A number of deadlines apply to both worker’s compensation claims and personal injury claims, so you cannot afford to procrastinate, and if you miss a deadline, you’ll receive no benefits, and no attorney will be able to help you.

WHAT WILL IT COST TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS?

You have the right to a good attorney’s help if you’ve been injured at work in Florida, and if you take advantage of your rights, it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you in any way.

If you are not sure whether you qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits or to file a personal injury claim, it costs nothing to learn more about your case and your rights. Your first meeting with a worker’s comp attorney will not cost you anything or incur any obligation.

According to the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, more than 50,000 job-related injuries were reported in Florida in 2018. That means whether you are a temp worker or a full-time employee, it’s not difficult to get injured at work in this state.

If an on-the-job injury happens to you anywhere in the state of Florida, exercise your rights, get the legal help that you’re very much going to need, and get that help immediately.