Many people believe that if they have been injured in an accident they are automatically entitled to be compensated for their damages. This is not the case! Putting insurance issues aside (as there may be insurance that will pay you regardless of fault), your case still needs to be evaluated to determine whether there is evidence to support all of the elements you would have to prove if you were to go to court.
What Do I Need to Prove My Florida Personal Injury Case?
In every personal injury case, there are 3 main elements that you must prove in order to be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. They are as follows:
Simply put, liability is who is at fault for your accident. In many cases, this is easy to determine. For example, if you were rear-ended by another car while you were sitting at a stoplight. It is pretty easy to see in this scenario that 100% of the fault would lie with the driver that rear-ended you. However, not every case is this easy.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say you are in a store shopping. As you are walking down an aisle (for the third time) looking for your merchandise, you slip and fall on a wet substance on the floor. As a result, you are injured. Assuming that you can prove notice on the part of the store (see our Free Report – The Ultimate Guide To Florida Slip and Fall Cases – for an explanation of the notice requirements in a Florida slip and fall case), the mere fact that you fell inside the store does not mean that the store is 100% at fault. The store will certainly argue that you should have been watching where you are walking, and that you should have seen the spill before you fell, as you had previously walked past it. Don’t worry though, not all is lost.
Florida is a comparative fault state. This means that more than one person (or entity) can be judged to have been at fault for causing an accident. So, even if you think you’re at fault, this does not mean that you don’t have a claim, or that you can’t recover. The question will be how to divide the fault between the parties. If 50/50, and your claim has a value of $100,000, then your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault. You would then recover $50,000 for your damages.
In order to succeed in your personal injury claim, you have to suffer some type of injury. As a result of the injury, and the treatment you receive or will need in the future, you may then be entitled to recover damages for your injury.
In the State of Florida, the damages you can recover in a personal injury claim include:
- Past medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Past lost wages
- Loss of Future Earning Capacity
- Past/Future pain and suffering
Causation is the link between the accident and your injury. It is often the most contested element in a personal injury case. This is especially true if you have had any prior injuries or treatment to the same area of the body. For example, if you are claiming a back injury from an accident, any prior chiropractic treatment, massage treatment, or any prior complaints of back pain will be used by the insurance company to try and break the link.
In order to prove causation, you will need your doctor/surgeon to give an opinion that your injury is causally related to the accident. This is often done by what is called “clinical correlation.” This is simply a doctor ruling out all other causes for injury based on what you tell him/her, or by what the doctor may have read in any prior medical records. Therefore, you must be honest with your doctor. The most important evidence to prove causation is your medical records. They can also be used against you to destroy your case.
If you have questions about your Florida accident case, you can download our Free Reports:
- Your Guide to Florida Car Accident Claims;
- The Ultimate Guide to Florida Slip and Fall Cases; and
- 5 Medical Mistakes That Will Destroy Your Personal Injury Case
which are available at our website, or you can click the link provided. You can also contact us at (813) 419-3866 to talk directly to a Ruskin Personal Injury Attorney now.