The Law Office of David Sacks has the best personal injury attorneys in Jacksonville, FL to help when you, a loved one, or friend are injured as the result of actions or non-action by another, because the anger, fear and confusion of what to do next can very often be overwhelming and result in a sort of paralysis on what to do.
When accidents happen, victims and families suffer. Medical expenses can be immense, time missed on the job can put a strain on family finances, and there may be many more unknowns including questions about the future.
Injuries can affect a person’s ability to work and can cause major lifestyle changes for some. Adjusting to life following a major injury can be stressful and difficult for everyone affected. The stress is compounded by the sad fact that for many individuals who have been injured due to no fault of their own, these expenses and hardships could have been easily prevented had negligent individuals taken due care and caution. For instance, when automobile drivers speed, drink, and drive, are too busy looking at their phones, or they just fail to follow the rules of the road, accidents can take place, with tragic consequences for everyone involved.
When someone or some company fails to show due caution, the law affords victims of personal injuries the right to seek compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Suing for personal injury can seem like an overwhelming process at first. Determining the value of an injury, negotiating claims, and litigating claims when necessary, is often a complex process.
At the Law Office of David Sacks, we are willing to evaluate what happened to you to see if you are entitled to compensation and if we believe we can get you the compensation you deserve. We look forward to the opportunity to evaluate your circumstances to see what we can do for you.
The fact that mishaps are fairly commonplace does not detract from the pain and confusion that can result when an accident or injury happens to you or a loved one. If you decide to take steps toward protecting your legal rights after an accident or injury, you may have a number of general questions about “personal injury” cases.
What is a “Personal Injury” Case?
“Personal injury” cases are really nothing more than one person taking action against another individual, or very often against a corporation, when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else, or some other group or organization, might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can either be settled without involving the legal system, or it can become more formalized through a civil action in a court of law. The purpose of a more formalized civil action in court, is to obtain a ruling from a judge or more often a jury as to who was actually at fault for the harm done, the extent of the harm done and then coming up with a remedy for that harm, usually in the form of payment from the at-fault party to the injured one.
Do I Have a Viable Personal Injury Case?
Any potential personal injury case requires a detailed understanding of the facts, the processes, and the law. If an accident has impacted your life, you can easily determine whether you have a case for personal injury, and even more importantly, whether you should pursue it. Most in the legal profession spend more time on trying to determine whether there is a claim or not and then operate following that determination. What is missed, however, and what is perhaps more important to the potential client is whether such a case is worth pursuing.
What should I do if I have been injured?
There are only so many things you can do when you are injured, however, the more things you do right when it happens, the easier it will be when and if you pursue a claim against the person, persons or corporation responsible for your injuries.
Here is what you should do: If you don’t want to call an ambulance, or at least go to the Emergency Room at the local hospital on your own, go to the doctor immediately if you even only think you may be injured. Chances are if you think you are injured you probably are.
- Follow-up with your own family doctor. Ask for a referral to an orthopedic doctor if you are having trouble with your back or a neurologist if you are having symptoms involving numbness, tingling or shooting pains from your neck down your arms, or down your legs from your lower back.
- If you have been involved in a car accident, contact your insurance company and advise them of the accident. This will cover you in terms of your obligation to notify your insurance company when the accident happens.
- In Florida, you are required to carry Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance. Request from your insurance company PIP forms for lost wages and medical bills. Complete the forms when you receive the forms and return the forms immediately to your insurance company.
What do I do about Witnesses?
If you can, get the names of anyone who may have seen what happened to you. If it is a car accident, in most states the investigating officer at the scene of the accident will do the work for you. Be sure to find out if an accident report was done by the Law Enforcement Authority charged with that obligation, and you can obtain a copy of that report. Getting a copy of this report is especially helpful when and if you do hire an attorney, as the attorney will be able to get useful information from that report. Along with the names of any witnesses, the name of the person responsible for the accident, along with the name of their insurance company, will be on the report.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
If you’ve been injured and intend to seek compensation, you may wonder how much your claim is worth. The process by which a lawyer determines the value of your claim is sometimes complex. While it might be easy to evaluate your medical bills and rehabilitation expenses, determining an amount to seek in lost wages might be a more involved process. For instance, your lawyer will have to evaluate how long you might be out of work, while also taking a look at your wages prior to your accident.
There is also the issue of determining how much to seek in pain and suffering. Deciding on how much to seek in pain and suffering is a process that does not lend itself to an exact formula. Each case is different. What to seek comes down largely to the specific facts of each case.
- We will evaluate the unique circumstances of your case to determine what we feel is the value of your claim.
- We will take the time to carefully look at all factors to do our best to ensure that you receive the compensation that you deserve.
- We will work closely with you to make sure that all aspects of your case are taken into account.
- We will also, however, try our best not to give you false expectations, but instead a real, calculated and thoughtful appraisal of all facts in your case. Of course, the final decision is always yours.
In some cases, there is maximum compensation allowable under the law. These are called caps. If they apply in your case, we will take them into account and advise you of what they are.
The Settlement of a Personal Injury Claim:
The most common form of the resolution of a personal injury claim is by a “settlement.”
In reality, most disputes over fault for an accident or injury are resolved through informal settlement, usually among those personally involved in the dispute, their insurance companies (if they have insurance), and attorneys representing both sides. A settlement commonly takes the form of negotiation, followed by a written agreement in which both sides forgo any further action (such as a lawsuit), choosing instead to resolve the matter through payment of an agreeable amount of money.
The settlement is by far the best result for the injured person. This is because it results in finality and certainty. Finality because the ordeal of being injured and not being able to work or take part in normal daily activities of certain kinds due to the injury, and the stress such a change can result from, are, at least in part, alleviated by receiving some sort of admission by the wrongdoer who caused the harm. Certainty, because the stress and inconvenience that can be caused by the process of seeking compensation are over and the element of the unknown in how the injured person will proceed is removed.
Unfortunately, this idea of “settlement” has, in recent years, become more of a negative event than a positive one. The reason for this is simple. Some of the larger law firms who represent injured persons have forgotten the individuality of the client, and due to the enormous costs of operating a law firm, have been forced to look at personal injury claimants more as revenue sources than people.
The benefits of having a small law office or sole practitioner attorney represent you as the personal injury claimant is the more individualized attention you will receive. Your phone calls are more likely to be returned by the lawyer representing you rather than an assistant or paralegal. This leads to a more trusting relationship between the lawyer and the client. A relationship that unfortunately has been eroded by time and the hardships of running a business. The law is not a traditional business but more and more frequently it is being practiced like one.
Filing a Formal Civil Action:
When all attempts at resolution of the personal injury claim by negotiation have failed, either because the offending party believes it did nothing wrong or the injured person believes the value of his/her injury exceeds any amount of money the alleged at-fault person or entity is willing to offer, then a civil action or lawsuit is initiated. It is essential to know that your lawyer is not concerned or, worse, afraid, of going to court on your behalf from the moment you hire that attorney.
Filing a civil action, or lawsuit typically starts when a private individual (the “plaintiff”) files a civil “complaint” against another person, business, corporation, or government agency (the “defendant”), alleging that they are somehow at fault for the injuries sustained by the injured person. Whether by action or inaction, there has to be a connection between the injury and the action or failure to take action, before any person or entity will be willing to take responsibility for the injury sustained. Ultimately, a settlement is achieved during the litigation process, or the case is resolved by a trial before a judge and jury. The litigation process is a long and difficult one which is why most people involved, would rather try to settle the case than go to trial. Also, the trial is full of uncertainties and because of the appeal process, lack any finality or certainty.
What is a Statute of Limitations?
Plaintiffs have a limited time in which to file a lawsuit, called a “statute of limitations.” Generally speaking, the period of time dictated by a statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury. Statutes of limitations are established by state law and often vary by type of injury. For instance, the statute of limitations for injuries to an individual in Florida is four (4) years.
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